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

36 — The Hon. P. Fraser to the Prime Minister — [Extract]

The Hon. P. Fraser to the Prime Minister

18 November 1939

Your telegram of 18 November (No. 35) has been received and noted. The High Commissioner will publish the announcement here simultaneously. Today I saw Ironside who expressed his entire concurrence and approves of Freyberg's appointment. He has telegraphed the Secretary of State for War3 for formal approval. I expect to receive this on Monday and shall telegraph you immediately. In the meantime you will of course not publish the appointment until you have received my telegram. Ironside and Gort4 both consider that Freyberg should immediately spend a page 29 period in France with the British Expeditionary Force, and Ironside has promised a suggested programme of his movements, which I shall telegraph to you on receipt….1

3 Secretaries of State for War in the United Kingdom Government during the war were:

29 May 1937 – 6 Jan 1940Rt. Hon. Leslie Hore-Belisha, PC.
6 Jan 1940 – 13 May 1940Rt. Hon. Oliver Frederick George Stanley, PC, GCSI, MC.
13 May 1940 – 23 Dec 1940Rt. Hon. R. A. Eden, PC, MC.
23 Dec 1940 – 23 Feb 1942Rt. Hon. Viscount Margesson, PC, MC (in 1940, Captain the Hon. Henry David Reginald Margesson).
23 Feb 1942 – 4 Aug 1945Rt. Hon. Sir (Percy) James Grigg, PC, KCB, KCSI.
4 Aug 1945 – 5 Oct 1946Rt. Hon. John James Lawson, PC.

4 Field-Marshal Viscount Gort, VC, GCB, CBE, DSO, MVO, MC; Chief of the Imperial General Staff 1937–39; Commander-in-Chief, British Field Force, 1939–40; Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Gibraltar, 1941–42; Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Malta, 1942–44; High Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief, Palestine, 1944–45. Died 31 Mar 1946.

1 Notification of the despatch in a later telegram of biographical details of General Freyberg's career has been omitted.