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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II

465 — The acting Prime Minister to General Freyberg1

page 432

The acting Prime Minister to General Freyberg1

16 May 1945

Your telegram of 6 May (No. 461). We are very anxious that as many men as can be spared be returned to New Zealand as soon as possible, and have noted with interest your proposal for the return of the 6th and 7th Reinforcements subject to the release of the Division from its present operational role. We would not of course wish, by preferring such a request at this juncture, to cause any embarrassment to the Commander-in-Chief, and would be glad if, in order that we might consider the matter further, you could advise us whether or not it has been discussed with Field-Marshal Alexander and what views he holds. Provided Alexander agrees, then we would raise the question of shipping with the United Kingdom authorities.

We have, however, just been informed by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs2 that plans have been prepared for the allocation of troop transport capacity during the next six months. These provide for the movement of 20,000 from the New Zealand Division in the first quarter and 2700 in the second (an estimated percentage of 66) subject to the approval of the Combined Chiefs of Staff and the United Kingdom Government. These plans are moreover liable to modification in the light of operational requirements in the war against Japan. If these arrangements mature then a substantial proportion of the Division will, in any case, be returned to New Zealand before the end of September, which is entirely in accordance with our wishes.

1 Repeated to Mr. Fraser at San Francisco.

2 The information contained in this paragraph is a summary of advice received by the New Zealand Government in two telegrams dated 10 May from the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. The telegrams have not been reproduced in this volume.