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

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

The New Zealand Minister, Washington, to the Prime Minister

17 February 1942

At an interview with the President yesterday I stressed and he understood New Zealand's [group omitted – problems?], particularly the need for its defence and its value as a base if things went badly and Fiji was not held. He set out reasons for the War Council in London and the Staff Council at Washington. He stated that anything that required action would come to Washington, but that British and Dutch questions would first go to London and, after consideration there, would come to Washington with recommendations for action.

I stressed the need for anti-aircraft defences, with which he agreed. I shall continue to stress to the Chiefs of Staff for their attention our need for all equipment. He urged that our Staff officers should make immediate contact with the United States Chiefs of Staff, which they will do on Wednesday. He maintained he would send for me if questions affecting us required his consideration and also would see me when I wished to represent our case. I asked especially if I could contact personally the United States Chief of Staff, Marshall,2 to make our case at any time and he answered, ‘Yes’.

I hope now to make some contacts with Hopkins,3 Sumner Welles, the United States Chiefs of Staff and others, and I shall keep you advised.

2 General of the Army the Hon. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff United States Army, 1939–45.

3 Mr Harry L. Hopkins, adviser and assistant to President Roosevelt, 1941–45; died 29 Jan 1946.