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

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

page 40

48
The Hon. P. Fraser to the Prime Minister
[Extract]

17 November 1939

I have discussed your telegram of 11 November (No. 47) with the War Office. All arrangements for the move will be made in the first instance by them in collaboration with the Admiralty and Ministry of Shipping, and it is not necessary to approach the last two Departments separately. It is fully appreciated here that adequate escort is an essential [contingency?].

As it is not clear from your telegram whether you desire the fitting-out of transports to be done in the United Kingdom or in New Zealand please communicate further on this point. As regards public[ity], care should be taken to keep the destination and date of sailing secret. I suggest that you confine the public statement to the fact that the force will proceed overseas shortly for further training, but please see next paragraph of this telegram.

In view of the importance of the decision indicated in your telegram under reference, I consider that the information should be conveyed officially by telegraph as from Prime Minister to Prime Minister and that the public announcement should be delayed until then. In the meantime I have informed the authorities here unofficially of the substance of your telegram….1