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

152 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs1

The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs1

6 March 1942

Following from Prime Minister for Prime Minister:

Ministerial representatives of the New Zealand Government with the Chiefs of the New Zealand Naval and Air Staffs are at present in consultation with the Australian Government War Council and Chiefs of Staff on problems of mutual defence. As one result agreement has been reached on certain aspects of unified control which are page 165 set out in Curtin's telegram of 4 March, and with which the New Zealand Government are in agreement.

With reference to the proposed Anzac Council in Washington, we feel that the obvious advantages of having the Australian and New Zealand Governments and General Staffs directly represented on a Council which would deal with questions of policy and the provision of forces and supplies for the Anzac area, and on which the United States as well as the United Kingdom would be represented, would outweigh whatever difficulties may arise from the setting-up of yet another authority in addition to the Pacific War Council in London.

The New Zealand Government note and support the proposal by the Australian Government that General Brett should be appointed Supreme Commander of the Anzac area. They regard the appointment of a Supreme Commander of that area, with power to exercise that unified command which the Japanese are apparently exploiting so successfully, as a matter of the very utmost importance and urgency calling for action without delay.

1 Repeated to the Prime Minister of Australia.