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

132 — 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

28 January 1942

winchNo. 2.

Your pefra No. 1.2

1. We are most grateful for your full and ready acceptance of the proposed Anzac area and we are glad to learn you agree. [See] page 145 Washington telegram of 25 January [No. 128] defining the boundaries of the Anzac area, the allocation of forces, and the tasks of those forces.

2. We fully agree that command of a predominantly British fleet by a United States officer raises difficulties, but against this must be set, as you point out, the closer co-operation from the United States Pacific Fleet which this arrangement will bring about. In our view the technical difficulties could be largely overcome by the United States Flag Officer being ashore, from where, in close co-operation with the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board, he would exercise command over the Anzac area, while the actual conducting of operations at sea would be in the hands of the Flag Officer commanding the Royal Australian Navy. In any case a New Zealand liaison officer on the staff of the United States Flag Officer will undoubtedly be desirable, and we assume you will arrange this direct with the United States Flag Officer on his arrival.

3. The proposal in your second paragraph that there should be unified control—land, sea and air—in the Anzac area, as is the case in the ABDA area, is receiving urgent and most careful consideration and I will communicate again.

4. We are satisfied that the proposal for naval control over the Anzac area is the best that can be devised to meet the present situation, but agree that it may require modification later.