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

139 — The New Zealand Minister, Washington, to the Prime Minister

The New Zealand Minister, Washington, to the Prime Minister

8 February 1942

The following is the text of a memorandum handed to me yesterday by Sir John Dill:

‘Combined Chiefs of Staff. Representation of Ministers of the Dominions and Dutch.

‘Memorandum by Combined Chiefs of Staff.

‘1. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have considered the President's outline of proposals for representation of the Dutch and of the British Dominions. In their view these proposals would work out as follows:


A separation will be made between political and strategic questions, borderline cases being treated as strategic.

page 152

All discussion on political questions will be conducted in London, where the principal representation of the Dominion Governments and the Dutch Government is centred.


Strategic questions will be handled in Washington through the Combined Chiefs of Staff in accordance with procedure to be prescribed. This procedure will be laid down in the final agreed version of “war collaboration between the United Nations”.


The Dominions and Dutch Staffs will be represented by Staff Missions in Washington, each primarily responsible to their own Chiefs of Staff. While there will be normal contacts between the Dominion Staff Missions and the United States Staffs, it will be the responsibility of the United Kingdom Joint Staff Mission to conduct preliminary discussions with the Dominion Staff Missions and to evolve, if possible, a co-ordinated British Commonwealth point of view. The United States Chiefs of Staff will be responsible in a similar way for preliminary discussions with the Dutch Staff Mission.


Where questions affecting any Dominions or the Dutch are under discussion by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the heads of the Staff Missions concerned will be invited to attend.


The interests of the Dominions and the Dutch are primarily confined to particular theatres of war. The British and United States Chiefs of Staff on the other hand have to consider the strategy of the war as a whole, the interests of their two nations being world-wide. The responsibility for making final recommendations to Governments will therefore remain with the Chiefs of Staff.

‘2. The whole question of Dominion and Dutch representation is at present under active discussion between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and His Majesty's Governments in the Dominions and the Dutch Government. The representatives of the British Chiefs of Staff are not yet in a position to give the views of London on the matter.

‘By direction of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.’

I have not seen the President's outline of the proposals referred to. Sir John stated:


That the Combined Chiefs of Staff were taking over a complete building in Washington.


That he would make a suitable room available in the building for New Zealand attachés.


That we might now consider appointments of higher ranking attachés to represent the Dominion.

page 153

That whilst he would see Casey or myself at any time, the meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff would be confined to Staff Officers of fighting units.

The proposals appear to be in line with the arrangements detailed in your telegram [No. 135] and we are confined to representation which can only be supported at meetings by attachés—and attachés of our Staff will be allowed to take part in the discussions—on general questions which may affect us, when invited to do so by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.