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

146 — The Prime Minister of Australia to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Prime Minister of Australia to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

17 May 1940

Your telegram of 16 May (No. 144). The following telegram has been despatched to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs:

The wisdom of diverting US 3 to the United Kingdom is still causing His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia some doubts, and before agreeing to this course, which would mean the splitting of our forces, they would appreciate early advice of the possibility of completing the training of the troops in North-West India.

If the estimate given in your cable of 4 May (No. 135), that the Red Sea route can be re-constituted within the first three months of the war with Italy is borne out, training could be carried out during this time and there would appear to be no difficulty in re-establishing the division when the Red Sea is clear.

Would you therefore please advise us of the capacity of India to accommodate, train, and equip these troops, and whether such a course holds any advantages in the release of British troops in India for service in other theatres. In addition, we would like to receive your views on the alternative of training in South Africa page 110 should the Government of that Dominion be willing for the troops to embark [disembark?] there.

This telegram has been repeated to South Africa and to New Zealand.