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

177 — The New Zealand Minister, Washington, to the Prime Minister

The New Zealand Minister, Washington, to the Prime Minister

2 April 1942

Subsequent to my discussion with General Marshall this morning, Brigadier-General Smith,1 the secretary of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called and submitted the directives it is proposed to issue, if approved, to the Supreme Commander of the South-West Pacific and to the Naval Commander of the South Pacific. On the evidence it is likely that MacArthur's command will extend to the boundaries which I have previously conveyed to you and that the South Pacific, including New Caledonia, Fiji and New Zealand, will be placed under an Admiral, with Admiral Nimitz as Commander-in-Chief of the South, Centre, and North Pacific areas. I pointed out that the effective defence of New Zealand as a land area would require a directive to the New page 197 Zealand Chief of the General Staff as approved by the New Zealand Government, and whilst such command would require to fit in with general naval strategy for the South Pacific, its work on land would probably require specific definition.

General Smith advised me that Evatt has [group omitted–agreed?] to the directive submitted, and that he would suggest that an amendment to ensure complete understanding as to control of the land defence of New Zealand would be provided, after which it would be submitted to Sir John Dill for consideration by the British Joint Staff Mission and subsequent consideration by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, prior to submission to yourself and other Governments concerned for consideration and confirmation if approved.

1 Lt-Gen W. Bedell Smith, US Army; US Secretary, Combined Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1941–42; Chief of Staff, Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, 1943–45.