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

236 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand

16 July 1940

Your telegram of 12 July.

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom much appreciate the proposal of His Majesty's Government in New Zealand to send a small party of expert officers to Fiji to discuss with local authorities detailed arrangements in case it became necessary for a brigade group to be sent there from New Zealand, and they consider that such discussions would be valuable. It will be recognised that all possible steps are being taken to avoid deterioration in our relations with Japan, and that at the present moment no question arises of the despatch of forces to Fiji. Any action on these lines might, it is thought, be liable to misconstruction on the part of the Japanese Government. It is hoped very shortly to communicate a full appreciation of the situation in the Far East and the Pacific, but it is not yet possible to define the precise suggestions which we should like the New Zealand Government to consider as regards employment and location in that area of their available forces. In these circumstances it is hoped that the utmost secrecy will be preserved in regard to the despatch of any mission to Fiji so that no publicity would attach to the matter. The Secretary of State for the Colonies1 is telegraphing to the Governor of Fiji in this sense with a view to ascertaining whether he concurs in the despatch of such a mission, and the New Zealand Government will thus be in a position to communicate direct with the Government of Fiji in the matter.

1 Lord Lloyd, PC, GCSI, GCIE, DSO; Secretary of State for the Colonies, May 1940 – death, 4 Feb 1941.