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

495 — General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

14 September 1945

Your telegram of 14 September.

1. As far as United States and Australian forces are concerned, we depend upon broadcast statements and reports in Stars and Stripes and British newspapers for our news, much of which may be inaccurate, and it causes considerable confusion. Based on such reports, our understanding of the long-term policy for the occupation of Japan is that immediate occupational forces of the kind referred to in my following paragraph are to be replaced by forces enlisted voluntarily in the United States and Australia. In the case of the Americans such volunteers, if they are already serving in an overseas theatre, are to receive a period of home leave in the United States before going to Japan. The paragraph in my previous cable [No. 490] was meant to relate only to the raising of a voluntary force, and I did not consider, therefore, that our call for a voluntary force from the New Zealand Expeditionary Force overseas would meet with much success without similar leave in New Zealand.

2. With regard to the employment of Australian, American, and British troops for the immediate occupation of Japan, the point that is evident is that these troops were actually being employed in operations against the Japanese or were deployed in the Far Eastern operational area at the time of the Japanese surrender. In carrying out their immediate occupational duties in Japan they are doing no more than the New Zealand Division did in Trieste and the British are still doing in Austria. As we are not called on to do garrison duties in Europe, I see no reason why our short-service personnel, who have seen little or no fighting, should not be used as a temporary garrison force in Japan.