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

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

The New Zealand Minister, Washington, to the Prime Minister

13 May 1942

The United States plan for the relief of Fiji was issued this afternoon. A copy is being forwarded to you by air, leaving tomorrow, also a copy to GOC Fiji. In the main it is the same as indicated in my telegram of 10 May [No. 288]. Details of individuals reliefs and shuttle service are to be worked out by Ghormley, the New Zealand page 325 Chiefs of Staff, the United States General1 designate (who accompanies the first echelon to Fiji, arriving approximately 9 June) and Mead. Your point about individual reliefs is agreed with in principle. The ship Coolidge2 detailed for the shuttle [service] is capable of carrying 3250 troops, 10,000 tons of cargo, cruising speed 17 knots. The United States Staff estimate that the United States division will be complete in Fiji sixty days after the first troops arrive in Fiji.

The United States Staff request that RNZAF units remain in Fiji until the changeover is completed, the date to be determined by local commanders.

1 Maj-Gen R. S. Beightler; GOC 37 US Div; Commanding General, United States Forces in Fiji, 1942.

2 President Coolidge, US liner, 21,936 tons; troop transport; sunk at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, on 25 Oct 1942.