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

74 — 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

30 November 1941

My telegram [No. 73]. The following is the text of two telegrams received in reply from His Majesty's Ambassador at Washington.

First telegram begins:

‘Have seen Hull who left me in no doubt as to his own personal opinion, which would be to do immediately what we want. He is telephoning the President, who is in the country, and advised me to make our Naval Staff Mission at once see Stark,1 asking the latter also to call on the President.’

Second telegram begins:

‘1. After telephoning the President, Stark has told the Commander-in-Chief Asiatic Fleet to make the desired reconnaissance flights. Aircraft have been instructed not to approach Japanese ships in a manner to indicate offensive intention, but are authorised to defend themselves if attacked.

‘2. The Secretary of State has given the President the message in your telegram [No. 73] and the President will telephone the Secretary of State tomorrow (Sunday) morning. The President is expected to be back in Washington on Monday.

‘3. You cannot count on the President taking a decision on policy before his return, and he has so far given no indication whether he will feel able to take a decision in favour of supporting us, to which he will undoubtedly feel inclined. The Secretary of State will tell me anything he can after his telephone talk to the President tomorrow (Sunday) morning.’

1 Admiral H. R. Stark, USN; Chief of Naval Operations, 1939–42; commanded US Naval Forces in Europe, 1942–45.