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

414 — The Deputy Prime Minister to Admiral Halsey

page 430

The Deputy Prime Minister to Admiral Halsey

4 December 1943

From a survey of the manpower situation1 undertaken by War Cabinet it is apparent that New Zealand is faced with a most serious crisis, particularly in regard to the production of foodstuffs. Accordingly every effort is being made to effect the temporary release of any further men from the Armed Services, and it is most earnestly desired that men who are to be relieved of garrison duties in the Pacific should be brought back to New Zealand, if possible before the end of the year. Indeed, unless these men in the Pacific can be made available for employment in the freezing works before the peak of the season in January, it will not be possible to fulfil the commitments in respect of meat, either for the United States Forces in the Pacific or for the urgent needs of the United Kingdom.

We are satisfied that the situation calls for a number of urgent measures if a serious breakdown is to be avoided, with subsequent wastage of valuable foodstuffs owing to the fact that processing will not be possible at the right season. It is understood that you are willing to make shipping available to bring the Pacific garrison troops on Tonga and Fiji back, and it would be much appreciated if this could be arranged as a matter of urgency before the end of the year.

1 See also Vol. II, Maintenance of 2nd New Zealand Division; the Replacement Scheme.