264 Mr P. Fraser, N.Z. Prime Minister, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered WELLINGTON, 23 May 1940, 2.30 p.m.

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

I am very grateful for the opportunity of perusing your telegram of 22nd May to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom [1], and I have today despatched the following telegram to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom- 189. MOST SECRET Following for the Prime Minister from Prime Minister- His Majesty's Government in New Zealand have this morning considered the text of Mr. Menzies' personal telegram to you of 22nd May.

Our first reflection is that the step proposed by Mr. Menzies might conceivably be construed by wavering neutrals as an admission of the extremity of our position and, in the second place, if taken without prior consultation with the Government of the United States, might perhaps antagonise that administration, who might well look upon it as inconsistent with neutrality.

On the whole we feel at present that we should support the proposal if- (a) the military situation requires such a step;

(b) previous informal enquiries at Washington have made it clear that such a request would not be unwelcome to the administration and would in their opinion be likely to lead to useful results.

This message has been repeated to Australia.

1 Document 261.

[AA: A981, WAR 45, iv]