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

205 — 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

4 March 1942

Following from Prime Minister for Prime Minister:

Your pefra No. 5. The estimate you refer to is leakage at a very early stage of examination of the question for which you asked, and in no way represents the views of the Chiefs of Staff, who have not yet even been consulted. This shows that there are disadvantages as well as advantages in liaison between your officers and ours in initial stages of staff study.

I agree with you that whatever is likely to invade New Zealand will not be a brigade group. Your telegram will be shown to the Planning Staff at the same time that any reports from their juniors are considered.

I am aiming at three large measures for New Zealand security. First, inducing the United States Navy to give effective protection in the Anzac area; second, their reinforcement of Fiji and New Caledonia, which we arranged at Washington; and third, the sending of American troops into New Zealand as an alternative to recalling the New Zealand Division from the Middle East, thus saving shipping and needless movement.

It is impossible to say with certainty that the Japanese will not attack New Zealand in force, but there are many other far more tempting objectives for them and their resources are not unlimited. I am hoping that the recovery of sea power during May by the United States of America and our own naval developments in the Indian Ocean may alter the strategic values which at present exist.

I am doing everything in my power to get you the weapons and munitions for which you have asked. All good wishes.