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

364 — Major-General Barrowclough to Lieutenant-General Puttick

Major-General Barrowclough to Lieutenant-General Puttick

24 June 1943

General Harmon requested me to discuss the Fijian question with him and General Peck prior to their discussing the matter with Admiral Halsey. I made it clear I was not an emissary of the New Zealand Government or of Army Headquarters, but answered their page 389 questions to the best of my ability. They appear to doubt the wisdom of releasing two battalions now in Fiji from their local defence role as it might preclude them later from withdrawing United States troops from Fiji for use elsewhere. They also seemed reluctant to part with the Fiji battalion now in the Solomons, which they contemplate using in a general reconnaissance role rather than limiting its employment as an integral part of my Division. It was evident they desire to employ us in any event, whether on a two- or a three-brigade basis. I emphasised the desirability of having three full brigade groups. I pointed out that if we were on a two-brigade basis we might not require equipment of a third field regiment and other ancillary troops of a third brigade, but that I thought a third field company fully equipped would be useful in any event. They requested me to remain in Noumea to discuss this in the light of Admiral Halsey's decision, which is expected later this afternoon. Will signal you the proposals in this regard when they are known, requesting your concurrence. You will appreciate that even if the equipment of the third brigade ancillary units is not required the personnel should come here as reinforcements.