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

85 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

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

5 December 1941


My telegrams [Nos. 78], paragraphs 3–5, [No. 80], paragraph 7, and [No. 82].

1. We have explained to His Majesty's Minister at Bangkok for his most secret and personal information the nature of the Kra Isthmus page 93 plan and the circumstances in which it would be put into operation. We are also consulting him on the following lines:


It is important that, if and when the operation is carried out, it should not meet with Thai resistance. It is in our view our best first strategical move in the circumstances envisaged, not excluding further possibilities, and represents the best means of helping Thailand.


We have it in mind, therefore, in order to prepare the way, to give Thailand an assurance that in the event of a Japanese attack we will help them to the best of our ability.


We hope this promise to assist might encourage Thailand to resist Japan, and that the Thailand Government, if compelled to abandon Bangkok, would transfer themselves to British territory while their troops retired southwards to link up with our own.


We understand the Thai position to be that no military arrangement of any kind is practicable without a definite warning to Japan by the United States and ourselves. We are consulting the United States Government about the possibility of a warning, but Sir J. Crosby should make no approach to the Thai Government pending further instructions.

2. A further telegram will be sent on receipt of Sir J. Crosby's reply. In the meantime we have informed His Majesty's Ambassador at Washington that we are consulting Sir J. Crosby in this sense. We hope (see paragraph 5 of [No. 82]) that the United States Government may feel able to join with us in the assurance as in paragraph 1 (2) above.