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

119 — The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

14 January 1942

winch No. 1

Following are proposals which have been agreed to by the United States of America Naval Staff and by the President for establishing a new naval area to be known as Anzac:

‘1. Definition of Area: A new naval area to be called Anzac area is to be established. The boundaries of this area will be as follows:


From longitude 141 degrees east eastward along the Equator to the longitude of 170 degrees east; thence south-eastward to latitude 020 degrees south, longitude 175 degrees west, thence south along meridian 175 degrees west.


From a point on the Equator southwards along meridian 141 degrees east to the south coast of New Guinea, thence east along the southern New Guinea coast to the meridian 143 degrees east, thence in sea areas south along this meridian to the Pole.

‘2. Designation: This area is designated as an adjunct of the Pacific Ocean area, and naval forces operating therein will be considered to be an adjunct of the United States Pacific Fleet.

‘3. Command Relations:


The command of naval forces of associated powers operating in the adjunct area will be vested in a United States Flag Officer directly responsible to the Commander-in-Chief United States Pacific Fleet,2 and under his strategic direction.


The Commander-in-Chief United States Pacific Fleet will exercise general supervision over the operations in the adjunct area and will correlate them with operations when adjacent to the areas; but he may not change the allocation of the vessels assigned to the adjunct [area].

‘4. Allocation of the Forces within the Area:

Proposed initial assignments of forces located in the adjunct area:


by the British—one aircraft carrier;


by the United States—one heavy or light cruiser;

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by Australia—two heavy cruisers, one old light cruiser, three armed merchant cruisers, three destroyers, three sloops, two anti-submarine patrol vessels;


by New Zealand—two light cruisers, one armed merchant cruiser.

Note: (1) The remainder of Royal Australian Navy vessels other than local defence forces to be assigned to ABDA area.

(2) All local defence armaments to remain at the disposal of Australia and New Zealand.

(3) The United States will undertake to furnish to the Australian and New Zealand Governments all practical assistance in ships, planes, munitions, etc., to be manned by Australia and New Zealand.

‘5. Assignment of Tasks:

The tasks assigned to the forces of the associated powers in the adjunct area are:


to cover the eastern and north-eastern approaches to Australia and New Zealand;


to safeguard by all practicable escorting and covering operations convoys in the adjunct area;


to support the defence of islands in the adjunct area, with particular emphasis on its key points; to attack adjacent enemy key points;


to correlate operations with the forces in the ABDA area and with the United States Pacific force.

‘6. Forces assigned to the adjunct and adjacent areas are authorised to extend their operations into other areas as may be required.’

You will realise that decisions had to be taken at once, and I hope you will agree that this is a valuable step forward to meeting the position which you have represented to us. I have communicated in the same sense to Mr Curtin.

2 Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN; Commander-in-Chief US Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Area, 1942–45.