Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
307 — Despatch from the Governor-General of New Zealand1 to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs2
Despatch from the Governor-General of New Zealand1 to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs2
With reference to Lord Passfield's3 secret despatch, No. 342, of 5 November 1929,4 and to my predecessor's secret despatch of 22 August 1930,5 I have the honour to inform you, at the instance of my Prime Minister,6 that His Majesty's Government in New Zealand have recently had under consideration the commitment entered into in August 1930,7 to despatch to Fanning Island a garrison of two platoons (60 men) with two machine guns, when requested to do so by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.
In view of the length of time the garrison might have to stay on the island, and the possible wastage through sickness, it has been suggested that the force should be increased to one company of infantry, consisting of two platoons of machine guns and two rifle platoons—a total of 150 men as against the present 60.
1 Viscount Galway.
2 Rt. Hon. Malcolm MacDonald, PC; Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, 1935–38, 1938 – Jan 1939.
3 Lord Passfield, PC, OM; Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, 1929–30; Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1929–31.
4 Not published.
5 Not published.
6 Rt. Hon. M. J. Savage.
7 As a result of a recommendation in 1929 by the Oversea Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence on local forces in the Pacific, the New Zealand Government in August 1930 had agreed to despatch to Fanning Island for the protection of the cable station a garrison of two platoons, with two machine guns, ‘when requested to do so by His Majesty's Government in Great Britain.’ This commitment was reviewed in 1937 by the New Zealand Chiefs of Staff Committee and, on this committee's recommendation, Cabinet approved an increase in the size of the force to a company of 150 men.
8 Available for the force were nine Europeans employed by Cable and Wireless Ltd., two Europeans employed by Fanning Island Plantations Ltd., and the Administrative Officer. The New Zealand Government arranged to give a short course of military training to employees of the company detailed in New Zealand for employment on Fanning Island.
His Majesty's Government in New Zealand would be grateful for the views of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom on the above points.
A copy of this despatch is being forwarded to the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific,1 for his information.
I have, &c.,