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

491 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs1

page 521

The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs1

7 September 1945

My telegram of 29 August [No. 485].

Advice has now been received from General Freyberg that it will not be possible to obtain a sufficient number from the 2nd New Zealand Division on a volunteer basis for the purpose of providing a brigade group for service in Japan. We are thus faced with the alternatives of exercising compulsion, which we are most reluctant to do at this stage, or of endeavouring to obtain a sufficient number of volunteers largely from New Zealand, supplemented by others from the Division.

The matter clearly calls for an immediate decision and I should like to take the opportunity tomorrow of discussing the whole question with the Government party and, if possible, of reaching a definite conclusion on the course to follow. Before I raise the matter I wish to know whether or not the United States have actually been advised of the proposed British Commonwealth force and, if so, whether they have signified their agreement to this form of participation in the occupation of Japan. As you will appreciate, we do not wish, in view of the difficulties already confronting us, to go ahead with our arrangements if the proposal to send a British Commonwealth force should not prove acceptable.

1 In a telegram on 11 September to the acting High Commissioner for New Zealand in London (Dr R. M. Campbell) the Prime Minister advised that this telegram should have been addressed Prime Minister to Prime Minister. Mr Fraser asked Dr Campbell to ensure that this telegram and the Dominions Office reply (No. 492) were seen by Mr Attlee.