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

375 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Governor of Fiji

The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Governor of Fiji

5 July 1943

Your message of 1 July [No. 373].

The considerations which have influenced your decision are fully appreciated. We were, as you know, most willing and anxious to have the Fijian Brigade in the 3rd New Zealand Division, though both Generals Puttick and Barrowclough considered it preferable operationally to employ one battalion with each New Zealand brigade rather than the Brigade as a whole. When, to our very great regret, comsopac declined to agree to the employment and transfer of the page 397 Fijian Brigade, we then represented the case for one battalion, which we considered would be of very great value to the 3rd New Zealand Division. We had also acted on the assumption that as one battalion had already been despatched to the Solomons you would prefer that the second battalion should be employed on active operations in that area rather than remain in Fiji. I should perhaps make it clear that, although it was stated that this battalion would be used as a scouting and raiding unit, there was no intention of breaking it up, but rather to keep it together as a divisional reconnaissance regiment and employ it on those duties as part of the operations of the whole Division. There was and is, I assure you, no desire on our part to attempt any disposal of Fijian troops against your wishes, but as comsopac has in quite definite terms registered his objections to your Brigade leaving Fiji and, after our further representations, limited his approval to the one battalion, we feel we cannot, at any rate at the present moment, again reopen or press the matter with him, even though it leaves us now with no option but to abandon with regret the proposal to employ Fijian troops with the 3rd New Zealand Division.