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

419 — Major-General Barrowclough to the Prime Minister

Major-General Barrowclough to the Prime Minister

11 March 1944

I have received your most secret and personal telegram of 10 March and also General Puttick's similar message [No. 417].2

All here will deeply regret the decision on the temporary withdrawal of the 3rd New Zealand Division but all will understand that this development was inevitable. The disappointment is largely relieved by the indications you have given of the possible resurrection of a new and complete 3rd New Zealand Division in 1945, when we can complete the unfinished job. As requested, I make the following comments:

Firstly, the overriding requirements of 7000 men ready for work early in July will, I consider, make it impossible for us to fulfil the role of area reserve for forearm, and Halsey should be so advised at the earliest possible [date] to enable him to make other plans. An important factor will be the time required in a non-malarious area before disbanding the troops in New Zealand. The omission of this precaution is likely to result in a considerable incidence of malaria after the troops have been added to industry.

Secondly, I think, however, a scheme could be devised whereby we could fulfil until 30 April our present not unimportant roles in developing and holding operational bases in the Treasury and Green Islands and still supply 7000 men to begin work on approximately 1 July. page 436 This should give time for some degree of consolidation of the mercantile and forearm positions. Possibly 2000 could be released almost immediately, but I would require advice regarding relevance of length of service and marital status as affecting the men to be released, as well as occupational status.

The scheme is dependent on the availability of shipping, which probably is not an insuperable difficulty, and also on the question whether Halsey would desire that we continue in that capacity. Would you wish me to attend the proposed conference with Halsey? If yes, request advise place and time of rendezvous and sufficient warning to enable me to obtain permission to leave temporarily my present command.

2 This message was sent by Mr Fraser, not General Puttick.