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

493 — The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

12 September 1945

Your telegram of 5 September [No. 490].

I am most grateful for your endeavours in connection with the formation of a brigade group for Japan on the basis of volunteers. The difficulties are appreciated. I have had an opportunity of discussing the matter with members of the Government party, and I am now negotiating with the Leader of the Opposition party on the basis of New Zealand participation in the manner suggested in your telegram under reference, namely a force of three battalions plus rearward services, composed of single men of the 13th, 14th and 15th Reinforcements. I am doing my best to reach an agreed decision as soon as possible. The position has been rendered more difficult in the meantime by the announcement over the BBC this morning, in a despatch from Rome, that 5000 single men from the 2nd Division will be called upon to volunteer for garrison duty in the Pacific.2

2 This despatch was published in the New Zealand press. On 13 September General Freyberg replied that ‘considerable annoyance’ had been caused by the despatches of the BBC's Rome correspondent. He asked, in the absence of military censorship, whether something could be done to stop such announcements.