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

433 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom — [Extract]

The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

9 September 1944

pefra No. 4

1 I should like to add that since I saw you there has been a further change in the disposition of our forces in the Pacific. As you will recall, it was decided, on the advice of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, to withdraw the 3rd Division from active operations in the Pacific and to concentrate cadres in New Caledonia, which were to be used for rebuilding a new division for service against the Japanese in 1945. At the instance of the Americans, however, these cadres have now been moved from New Caledonia back to New Zealand.2

We have delayed taking a final decision with regard to the disposition of our land forces overseas, firstly, because we were reluctant to take our 2nd Division out of action in the European theatre unless we had some firm indication that New Zealand troops would be required in the Pacific and would be given a definite role in the war against Japan, and secondly, because we did not wish to request the withdrawal of our Division in Italy at a time when those forces were actively engaged in what may well be the final victorious stage of the war against Germany, and in operations in which, as you yourself advised me only a few days ago, they are sorely needed….3

2 See No. 426.

3 In a telegram to Mr Fraser on 25 August Mr Churchill reported briefly on his visit to the Division in Italy. The telegram concluded: ‘The Division is sorely needed in the forthcoming operations.’