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

476 — 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

13 August 1945

1. As soon as the Japanese surrender has been accepted by their Governments, the Allies will be faced with many tasks resulting from the Japanese capitulation. We trust that we may rely on your assistance in these, and indeed we regard your assistance as indispensable. The proposals set out below are to be regarded as replacing the suggestion for a British Commonwealth force dealt with in my telegram of 31 July1 and in connected subsequent telegrams.

2. The tasks confronting us are:


The reoccupation of key areas of occupied territories in order to secure effective control and to enforce the surrender and disarmament of the Japanese armed forces.


The earliest release of British and Allied prisoners of war and internees.


Participation in the occupation of Japan.


Protection of British interests in China.


The ending of our state of war with Siam.2

3. Subject to your agreement, we suggest that plans shall be made on the following assumptions on policy:


The South-West Pacific area will pass to British and Australian command.


It is highly important that British Commonwealth forces should accept the surrender of Hong Kong at the earliest possible date.


A British Commonwealth force shall take part in the occupation of Japan. We suggest that it should be formed from one brigade group each of Australian, British, British-Indian, Canadian and New Zealand troops with a tactical air force contingent. Questions of command can be dealt with separately.

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May we have your very early agreement in principle to these suggestions?

4. Orders have been given to the Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia,1 and the Commander-in-Chief British Pacific Fleet,2 to make plans for the following operations:


The early reopening of the Straits of Malacca and the occupation of Singapore and the key areas of Malaya.


The early re-establishment of a British garrison in Hong Kong. The proposal is that the Commander-in-Chief British Pacific Fleet should embark from Borneo an Australian force of about one brigade strength and transport it with all possible speed to Hong Kong. It will be relieved, as soon as the Straits of Malacca are opened, by forces from South-East Asia Command.


The acceptance of the surrender of Japanese forces in Java, Sumatra and French Indo-China, and the preliminary arrangements for handing back these territories to the Dutch and French.


The occupation of Siam.

5. We are asking the Australian authorities to arrange for accepting the surrender of all Japanese troops in Borneo and in the territory east thereof. We should welcome the association of Royal New Zealand Air Force squadrons in this operation and, if you agree, I suggest that you communicate with the Australian Government direct on this point. We have undertaken to make some assault and merchant shipping available to this area.

6. We hope that you will agree to the continued attachment of the New Zealand ships to the British Pacific Fleet.

7. In view of the time factor, we are informing the United States Chiefs of Staff of the proposals in paragraphs 3 and 4 above and inviting their comments.

1 Admiral Mountbatten.

2 Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fraser, GCB, KBE (then Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser); Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, 1943–44; C-in-C Eastern Fleet, 1944; C-in-C British Pacific Fleet, 1945–46; First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, 1948–51.