88 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr M. J. Savage, N.Z. Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered 4 March 1940,

MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

My Government has under consideration the increase of the 2nd A.I.F. to an Army Corps comprising two divisions with the necessary Corps troops. They desire to know whether your Government would be willing to combine New Zealand forces in an Anzac Corps under command of G.O.C., A.I.F.

As the name of Anzac has become synonymous with the highest degree of military prowess, the opportunity of recreating a force to carry on the traditions associated with this name has considerable appeal to us. Such a step would be inspiring to the national morale of Australia and New Zealand in particular and the Empire in general. There is also a close psychological affinity between our troops. The effect of such a decision would certainly not be encouraging to the enemy and it would certainly be a further demonstration of the solidarity of ourselves with the United Kingdom. There are also mutual operational and administrative advantages in concentrating our forces in one Army Corps.

The interests of your forces and your Government would be fully safeguarded in the organisation and administration of the Corps and by the right of direct communication of your senior officer with the New Zealand Government.

Early advice of your views would be appreciated and if proposal meets with your concurrence it is suggested that a staff representative be sent to Australia early to discuss the working out of details.

It is requested that this cablegram be treated with the greatest secrecy particularly the reference to possibility of expansion of our forces, which I will not be announcing here before Wednesday evening. [1]

MENZIES

1 This suggestion was discussed by the New Zealand Govt but was not put into effect. See Documents Relating to New Zealand's participation in the Second World War 1939-45, vol. II (Wellington, 1951), pp. 1-15.

[FA: A3196, O.1301]