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

275 — Letter from the Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Governor of Fiji

Letter from the Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Governor of Fiji

27 April 1942

Dear Sir Harry


I have your secret and personal letter of 21 April3 with reference to the defence of Fiji. Believe me, we fully share the views to which you have given expression and we have over a lengthy period of time repeatedly made most urgent and vigorous representations on the matter both to the United Kingdom and to the United States. These representations we have repeated and reinforced by additional facts during the last few days, and we are informed by the New Zealand Minister in Washington that the matter is at the moment receiving the urgent and, I hope, sympathetic consideration of those responsible in Washington. You may rely on us to leave nothing undone that will contribute towards the strengthening of the Fijian defences and I shall not fail to use your own views on the matter as and when the occasion arises.

With reference to your enquiry as to Allied Command arrangements for this area, I attach hereto a statement4 showing the boundaries of the various areas in the Pacific which have now been agreed to between the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, page 306 the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. From this you will observe that an area bounded on the North by the equator, on the West by longitude 160 East (with a small deviation in the North to exclude the whole of the Solomon Islands) and on the East by longitude 110 West, now constitutes the ‘South Pacific Area’, including as you will see New Zealand, Fiji and, roughly speaking, all the Islands in the Pacific south of the equator and east of the Solomons. This area will be under an American Admiral, who we understand is to be Vice-Admiral Ghormley, who will, in turn, be responsible to Admiral Nimitz of Honolulu. Admiral Ghormley has not yet taken up his post but it is understood that he is at present in Washington en route to the South Pacific.

Kind regards,
Yours sincerely


(Sgd) P. Fraser

3 No. 272.

4 Not reproduced. The statement was a copy of Annex 1 to No. 178 of 3 April.