335 Mr M. J. Savage, N.Z. Prime Minister, to Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered WELLINGTON, 22 December 1938

SECRET

With reference to my secret letter of 19th May, 1938, referring to the suggestion to hold a conference on the Pacific Islands matter, and your secret letter Z.15/1/1 undated in reply thereto [1], the New Zealand Government have now received a secret telegram from His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom agreeing to the conference and signifying that they would be agreeable for it to be held in New Zealand if such a suggestion commended itself to Commonwealth and New Zealand Governments. In replying thereto New Zealand Government have stated that they would be quite willing for the Conference to be held here but that they think the scope thereof should now be enlarged to include the whole strategic situation in the Western Pacific including discussion on such matters as the arrival of the British naval forces at Singapore.

The New Zealand Government have also intimated that they think the Conference should be held as early a date as is possible, the governing factor probably being the time at which British representatives could arrive. I would suggest that it would be a natural feature of the Conference to discuss closer liaison between Australia and New Zealand as indicated in my secret despatch of September 23 of this year. [2] I would now be glad of your comments on the proposal to hold the Conference in New Zealand and to enlarge its scope. Presumably you will also advise His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of your views.

SAVAGE

1 These letters have not been found. Z15/1/1 was a Prime Minister's Department file entitled 'Defence of Pacific islands', which has not been located.

2 Document 298.

[AA : A981, PACIFIC i]