285 Fraser to Chifley

Cablegram 75 WELLINGTON, 11 June 1949, 11.3 8 a.m.


After considering the communication received from the United Kingdom regarding the organising of the defences of Hongkong [1] the New Zealand Cabinet are prepared to offer the use of three frigates and will consider the possibility of providing air units.

It seems to us most desirable and in fact essential in our own interests in the Pacific and the Far East that Hongkong should not be allowed to fall to any attack by the Chinese Communists.

We feel that the successful organisation of the defences of the island or at any rate sufficient show of strength and determination may very well prevent any such attack. For these reasons I entirely agree with the decision taken by the United Kingdom to make of Hongkong the point where they would resist Communist aggression in the Far East and we are prepared therefore, within the limits of our resources to give what assistance we can.

While we fully appreciate the desirability of avoiding publicity it is obviously impossible in peace time for a Dominion Government to suppress or deny information as to its participation in a situation like this. We have to answer questions in Parliament and any movement of personnel must immediately become known to the public.

The form and timing of any announcement must, however, be given the most careful consideration in consultation with the United Kingdom and yourselves. Moreover, we would not wish to state publicly what we are doing until we had ascertained what your own intentions were.

I shall be grateful for early advice.

1 Document 282.