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

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

page 137

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

22 January 1942

peeraNo. 1.

My colleagues and I have studied the proposals put forward in your telegram WINCH No. 1 of 14 January,1 which we welcome from the point of view of the closer association with the United States forces which they will necessarily involve. We accept the proposals in their entirety. We assume that the technical disadvantages of operating under the command of an American Admiral a fleet that is predominantly British have received full consideration, and that this has been accepted because of the close American co-operation which it ensures. As the Anzac squadron will include New Zealand naval units, it will be essential for New Zealand to be represented by a suitable liaison officer on the staff of the American Admiral.

We note that the proposals are purely naval, and we feel it desirable to point out that, in our opinion, the problem is not solely naval and that, as in the case of the ABDA area, some form of unified control—land, sea and air—in the Anzac area might well be established with American, British, Australian and New Zealand association.

We assume that the present proposals are an interim measure to cover immediate requirements while Allied forces in this theatre of war necessarily remain on the defensive. We feel that you are well aware that from the broadest aspect the present proposals leave untouched the main problem to which we have previously drawn attention. These proposals, with those for the ABDA area, divide the theatre of operations into individual and to some extent artificial areas. Unified command over all naval forces engaged in the war against Japan, and the eventual formation of a fleet superior to the Japanese capable of wresting from our enemies the command of the Western Pacific, remain, in our opinion, essential to the defeat of Japan.

1 No. 119.