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

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

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

15 August 1945

Victory in Europe has been speedily followed by the surrender of the last of our foes.1 On behalf of the Government and people of this country I send this message of congratulation to our kinsfolk in New Zealand. Our hearts have gone out to the people of the Dominion in the anxieties which have so long beset them and today we join with them in rejoicing and thanksgiving for victory. New Zealand was with us from the moment when, nearly six years ago, war was loosed upon the world, and in many widely separated theatres of war her sons have added lustre to her name. Their feats of arms, whether on distant seas, on the European and African continents, or in the air warfare, are the admiration of the world and worthily compare with those of the earlier generation when, in the furnace of conflict, New Zealand proved her title to nationhood. We hail also the work of all those who in field or workshop have contributed to the material resources without which human effort would be powerless to conquer. page 509 Through long years of toil New Zealand has never failed to provide of her best in all that lay within her power. We are now called to finish the work so well begun, to build a new world whence the scourge of war and the fear of aggression have been removed, to repair the devastation which these years have brought in their train and to open up the prospect of hope to all those who still sit in darkness. In all these efforts we know that we can count on the willing partnership and unfailing help of New Zealand. From all our hearts we thank you.

1 An announcement by President Truman and Mr Attlee that Japan had accepted the Allied demand for unconditional surrender was made at midnight on 14 August. The instrument of surrender was signed on behalf of the New Zealand Government by Air Vice-Marshal L. M. Isitt, Chief of the New Zealand Air Staff, on 2 September. The surrender took place on board Admiral Halsey's flagship, USS Missouri, in Tokyo Bay.