Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
424 — Report from Major-General Barrowclough to Headquarters, United States Army Forces in South Pacific Area — Withdrawal of Personnel from 3rd NZ Division for Purposes of Industry
Report from Major-General Barrowclough to Headquarters, United States Army Forces in South Pacific Area
Withdrawal of Personnel from 3rd NZ Division for Purposes of Industry
1. I write to report the result of my visit to New Zealand and my interview with War Cabinet in Wellington.4page 438
2. After my conference with Admiral Newton1 and General Barnett2 on the 23rd instant I prepared a memorandum for submission to the War Cabinet. I enclose a copy of it herewith.3 This memorandum was designed to bring to the notice of War Cabinet the fact that if my Force were reduced below 6000 men it would be impracticable to keep it in existence as a skeleton upon which to build a reconstituted Pacific Division. I recognised that if men were to be returned to industry in time for the forthcoming seasonal occupations they must, in the first instance, come from my Division. I thought, however, that in the near future a decision could, and should, be made on the broad question as to whether all the requirements of industry were to be found from my Division or whether some of them would not be found from the Middle East Division. I could, I thought, accept a reduction in my present strength of between 17,000 and 18,000 to around 6000 without destroying the nucleus of the Division. That meant that I could expect the return to New Zealand of between 11,000 and 12,000 men. These may not all be absorbed into industry in New Zealand until about October, on which date it seemed likely that the final decision would have been made regarding our ultimate fate and if we were to continue in existence New Zealand would probably rely on withdrawals from the Middle East for all future requirements.
3. The War Cabinet accepted this memorandum in its entirety and instructed me to negotiate with the American Commander of the South Pacific with a view to implementing it in such a way as to cause the least inconvenience to Admiral Halsey's plans. I am now conducting a survey of the industrial classes in this Division and hope, within about a week's time, to be able to submit lists showing the number of men to be returned to New Zealand, the stations from which they would be withdrawn and the approximate dates when their return would be the most acceptable to New Zealand. It is realised that it may not be practicable to provide the shipping exactly on the desired dates but I propose to send a responsible staff officer to Noumea to place our desires before you and to finalise the details of shipping movements in accordance with the decisions which you may make thereon.
4. I understand it to be acceptable to you that we should reduce our strength in Green Island and in Treasury Islands in order to provide manpower for New Zealand industries and leave our reduced units in those islands until such time as they would normally be relieved. By June of this year we shall have completed nine months in the Forward page 439 Area and possibly about that time you may think it desirable to move all our forward elements back to New Caledonia for rehabilitation and re-organisation.
(Sgd) H. E. Barrowclough,
goc 3 nz division
4 General Barrowclough had discussions with War Cabinet on 25 March and on the 26th attended a meeting of the full Government Cabinet.
1 Vice-Admiral J. H. Newton, USN; Deputy Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Area, 1943–44; commanded South Pacific Area, 1944–45; Inspector-General, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Area, 1945.
2 Maj-General A. J. Barnett, US Army; Chief of Staff at Headquarters US Army Forces in South Pacific Area, 1943–44.
3 Not published.