Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
265 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of Australia
In the light of the recent and rapid deterioration of the situation in the Pacific, we have recently been considering the position of the various island territories which might be used by the Japanese as a stepping stone southward. Our attention has naturally been directed inter alia to New Caledonia, the capture of which would, it seems to us, directly jeopardise our position in Fiji and indirectly militate strongly against the line of reinforcement by air and sea from the United States of America. We would be most grateful if His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia would urgently consider what steps they could find it possible to take to strengthen the page 297 defences of New Caledonia, in much the same way as we have taken great risks to strengthen Fiji. A somewhat similar position arises with reference to Norfolk Island which, it will be noted, contains an important cable connection.1
1 On 26 February the Australian Government replied that the defence of New Caledonia had been discussed by the British and United States Chiefs of Staff and plans agreed upon. An AIF company was already located there and a United States force then en route to Australia would probably provide a temporary garrison for the island.