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

48 — The acting Prime Minister of New Zealand to General Freyberg

The acting Prime Minister of New Zealand to General Freyberg

9 July 1941

Consideration is being given by the Government to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and related questions, but before coming to a decision it is necessary to have certain information from you.

You have 31,000 troops serving in Egypt according to our estimates. Of this number some 26,000 are regarded as establishment, leaving a surplus of approximately 5000 reinforcements. At present 4000 are en route to the Middle East and another 1600 are due to sail this page 34 month. Here in New Zealand we have 4100 training for transhipment in September. Provided there is no high degree of wastage you should have about 14,700 reinforcements by October.

Difficulty is being caused at present by the manpower situation, and in considering the formation of the Army Tank Brigade we must know at once whether on these figures you have more than sufficient reinforcements. Instead of sending the 8th Reinforcements, it may be necessary to hold that number to be trained for an Army Tank Brigade.

Until the prior questions of the Army Tank Brigade and the reinforcements have been considered in relation to the present manpower position, the proposals relating to Corps and Line of Communication troops are necessarily deferred.1

It is most essential that full details of the strength of the 2nd NZEF and the use of all troops in relation to the above figures should be supplied immediately.2

2 A copy of this telegram was also sent to Mr. Fraser in London.