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

452 — The acting Prime Minister to General Freyberg

The acting Prime Minister to General Freyberg

9 June 1945

After close consideration of all factors, War Cabinet sees little prospect of being able to provide a force against Japan exceeding fifteen or sixteen thousand. We recognise the disadvantages of a force of less than a complete division and the difficulties that may arise if British or other troops are added to complete. You will observe from our telegram of 8 April [No. 444] that we envisaged 15,000 would provide a two-brigade division with ancillaries. The Chief of the Imperial General Staff has made the same assumption, while in your cable of 11 April [No. 445] you consider only one brigade possible. We would be glad to have this point reconciled. If the Fiji Brigade of three battalions is available it would be additional to 15,000 New Zealanders. We would like your views regarding its inclusion before asking for the brigade. We agree with you that, as far as possible, Base and other facilities in rear of the Division should be provided by New Zealand troops and that the Division should be under New Zealand command. We wish you to discuss the position with South-East Asia Command and, if you consider necessary, in person, and forward as early as possible the proposed organisation of the force showing the British or other component, if any, and any comments you may wish to offer. The Chief of the Imperial General Staff has been informed of the situation as above and requested to approve and facilitate your consultation with South-East Asia Command.