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

196 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

3 February 1942

Following for Prime Minister from Prime Minister:

I have given the fullest consideration to your requests for supplies of war material, and in particular to those set out in your message to me of 30 January, with the earnest wish to meet your needs to the maximum extent. Our further proposals have been conveyed to you in the Secretary of State's telegram of today No. 87.2 I can assure you that they result from a careful review of the requirements of the various theatres of war in which the requirements of the United Kingdom have been placed last in order of priority, and I hope that you will find that they meet your most pressing needs. You recognise as I know that the task of allocation is one of extreme difficulty at the moment with a rapidly changing situation in several parts of the world. I should like to bring to your notice two considerations:


There is a large flow of reinforcements of all kinds into the ABDA area. In addition to what we are sending to you, an important consignment is being provided for the defence of Australia. This will contribute directly or indirectly, according as the situation develops, to the defence of New Zealand.


We are already heading dangerously near the point where the spreading of our resources must lead to a general weakness. There is a point beyond which we cannot interfere with the flow to the Middle East, whence so many Army and Air units with their equipment have already been withdrawn for the Pacific.

page 220

As stated in the Secretary of State's telegram, we shall be undertaking a further review at the end of March, and I can indeed assure you that we are watching the situation in all its bearings from day to day.

2 Not published. Contained details of the principal items of equipment – chiefly fighter aircraft, artillery, rifles and tanks – which the United Kingdom Government proposed to provide up till the end of March 1942.