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

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

The New Zealand Minister, Washington, to the Prime Minister

24 June 1942

The following message, dated 23 June, was received today from Admiral King:

‘With reference to my letter of 10 June,1 will you be good enough to transmit to the Prime Minister the following:

‘General Marshall and I have given further consideration to your proposal that the New Zealand troops in Fiji should remain there. After discussing the pros and cons, we are of the opinion that a greater service to our combined effort in the Pacific would be served by carrying out the present plan for their relief. The New Zealand troops thus relieved we hope can be made available for amphibious training with our 1st Marine Division in anticipation of joint offensive action to the north-west.

‘It is our intention, as you know, to further reinforce the Fijis, building up by September to a total of about 23,000 troops (ground and air). Pending the arrival of these reinforcements, it will probably be desirable to supply some New Zealand troops

1 See No. 302.

page 332 in Fiji. This matter we believe should be decided locally by General Beightler, United States Army, after consultation with General Mead. In this connection it will not be possible to delay the United States transport Coolidge longer than required to transfer the United States troops at present in Auckland to Fiji.1 Other arrangements can be made for [group mutilated—tanks?] and General Beightler and Admiral Ghormley will be so informed.’

I will see Admiral King later, but will hold up the visit until I receive your comment and instructions on this message.

1 Part of 37 US Division; the rest had arrived in Fiji, direct from the United States, on 10 June.