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

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

The New Zealand Minister, Washington, to the Prime Minister

22 June 1942

Your telegram of 19 June.

The statement in your first paragraph, ‘It has been our intention that he should take full advantage of, and assume full responsibility for, development and allow all our forces1 to meet the requirements both of defence and future offensive operations’, appears to conflict with the last sentence in paragraph 4: ‘We do not wish, at the moment, to press for the inclusion of the New Zealand Army within Admiral Ghormley's command beyond what is already provided for.’

With regard to paragraph 2. King has already expressed his agreement with the suggestion that New Zealand should train an amphibious

1 The text of telegram No. 227 was mutilated in transmission. In the original text this passage read: ‘the development and equipment of all our forces’.

page 264 force to work in conjunction with American forces, and I believe he would co-operate completely in making special arrangements for any proposal necessary to enable us to take part in offensive operations.1

The circumstances which led to the exclusion of the land defence of New Zealand from the South Pacific directive, as referred to in paragraph 3, are set out in my telegram [No. 177] of 2 April.2 Such exclusion was, however, clearly subject to the command fitting in with the general naval strategy of the South Pacific. I do not think that King had anything special to do with the exclusion.

I have several times discussed the question of the use of our forces in offensive operations with King, and in particular see my telegram [No. 299] of 9 June.3 I have no doubt he will concur in any arrangement to ensure the fullest effectiveness of our forces in any role, either under command of the New Zealand GOC or Admiral Ghormley, whichever is most satisfactory.

Other than normally discussing the question of command, I will await your instructions before specially raising the subject of any alteration.

It is difficult to understand paragraph 5, but if it means the handing over of command of the Royal New Zealand Air Force to Ghormley, who in turn would delegate the command of it and the American Air Forces in New Zealand to our Air Command, there seems no objection to it. But I cannot clearly understand the text. In any case, paragraph 5 of Ghormley's order from Nimitz appears to give him control of all aircraft in the South Pacific. Could you clarify the position?

With regard to paragraph 6. If you will advise me what is required with regard to the unified control of land and air forces, I will approach King and endeavour to obtain his approval of your proposals. There is nothing more important at the present time than to secure unity of command and effective co-operation, and the sooner every possible doubt is cleared up the easier our minds will be and the more effective our operations.