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

334 — The Prime Minister to the New Zealand Minister, Washington

The Prime Minister to the New Zealand Minister, Washington

8 April 1942

Your telegram of 4 April [No. 332].

We note and approve your arrangements for Fanning Island and greatly appreciate United States assistance. It may well be that the best means of relieving our force would be for them to leave the island on the vessel that brings the American troops, even if that vessel should be returning to America, and we assume that you will keep us advised of the possibilities in this respect.

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs advises that Admiral King has asked the Joint Staff Mission in Washington for authority for the United States forces to use any Pacific islands under United Kingdom or Dominion control, and that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom propose to agree.

This will, of course, cover the case of Fanning Island, our proposals for which are in any case already known to the United Kingdom Government.

At the same time as the United Kingdom Government give this general consent to American use of the Pacific Islands, will you please inform the United States Government that the New Zealand Government will at all times welcome United States forces to this Dominion and to any islands administered by New Zealand. Prior notification is of course desirable in order that any necessary preparations may be made, but in any case where such prior notification page 348 is not considered feasible by the United States authorities, we will quite understand the position. As regards the British administered islands in the Pacific for which New Zealand has assumed defence responsibility, a similar position will arise so far as we are concerned, but the formal approval must come from His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.