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

Cablegram unnumbered WELLINGTON, 24 January 1939, 11.30 a.m.


With reference to your telegram of 12th January, I have to thank you for agreeing to join in the proposed Conference. I contemplate a conference on the lines of your second alternative, i.e. covering the strategic situation in the Western Pacific in its widest aspect and embracing all those political, economic and geographical considerations which would arise in a simultaneous war in Europe and the Far East. The United Kingdom Government have proposed the middle of April as the date of the Conference but I am suggesting to them that it is most desirable to hold it at the latest by the middle of March. As a preliminary list of points to be discussed, I have suggested:

(a) possible lines of action by enemy Powers against Empire interests in the South Western Pacific in the period before the arrival of Naval reinforcements including

(1) operations to capture bases in the Western Pacific

(2) nature and scale of possible operations against Empire trade

(3) and scale of possible operations against Australia and New Zealand.

(b) Measures necessary to defend

(1) Pacific Islands and the Mandated Territories notably Fiji, Tonga, New Hebrides and Solomon Islands

(2) ships trading with the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia

(3) Australian and New Zealand Territories.

(c) Most effective means of co-operation with the United Kingdom in the defence of the British Commonwealth after providing for security in the South Western Pacific including schemes for mutual reinforcement.

(d) Co-ordination of defence policies in peace and war.

(e) Sources of supplies of equipment after the outbreak of war.

(f) Scales of reserves of supplies including fuel and equipment.

(g) Possible effect of the German demand for the return of mandated territories.

(h) Economic aspects of war including the probable effect on trade and shipping.

(j) Policy in relation to the Trans-Pacific Air Route and United States activities in the Pacific.

I would be grateful if you could advise me by telegram of your views regarding (1) the date of the Conference and (2) the above proposed agenda. I presume you would at the same time inform the United Kingdom Government of the substance of your reply.



1 Document 4.



[AA: A981, PACIFIC 1]