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

52 — The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

26 December 1941

Your telegram of 8 December. In view of the situation in the Pacific and the threat to Fiji, which has recently increased enormously in importance, we are considering the necessity of diverting to that area some or all of the 8th Reinforcements intended for the Middle East. We have, of course, no intention of ignoring our responsibility for maintaining the Middle East Forces at proper strength, though neither we nor you can disregard the possibility that events in this part of the world may greatly increase our difficulties in this respect. If it becomes necessary to divert the 8th Reinforcements as suggested,3 I feel sure you will understand the position, and I should greatly appreciate your comments.

3 On 27 Dec Army Headquarters advised Headquarters 2nd NZEF that the sailing of the 8th Reinforcements had been indefinitely postponed.