383 Burns[1] to Shedden

Letter, WASHINGTON, 10 November 1949

TOP SECRET

The Secretary of the Army, Mr. Gordon Gray, has received your letter of 6th September in which you enclosed a Progress Report on Aspects of Security in Australia for the period 1st June to 1st August 1949. I understand that Mr. Gray is replying to you, acknowledging receipt of the letter, and also informing you that I have taken over from him the responsibility of acting for the Secretary of Defense on the subject of your correspondence regarding the security situation in Australia. Mr. Gray further indicated in his reply that you would receive a letter from me commenting on your 6 September communication.

We very much appreciate the report which you enclosed in your letter, and I can assure you that it is receiving the same thorough study that has been given to previous documents which you have furnished on the same subject.

The concluding portion of your 6 September letter raises several matters on which I wish to comment.

As to informing you of any points wherein we consider there is a deficiency or possibility for improvement, I would like to observe that our study of your security organisation and your security measures indicates that they appear sound and your Progress Reports indicate a continuing improvement in security within your governmental structure.

The Secretary of Defense appreciates your repeating the invitation authorised by the Prime Minister for Mr. Johnson to accredit U.S. representatives to your establishments to observe the effectiveness of the security measures now in effect. The Secretary, however, does not feel that there is a necessity to take advantage of this invitation, particularly since your Progress Reports are of such thoroughness that it is possible to obtain a very clear picture of the situation from them.

The Secretary of Defense has asked me to inform you that the question of a revision of present U.S. security policy with respect to Australia, is under continuous study, which is being greatly facilitated by your comprehensive and illuminating Progress Reports. You will, of course, be advised immediately when a decision has been reached.

I have noted in paragraph 6 of your letter the dates of your contemplated return to Australia and also your desire to maintain the status quo concerning any possible public statement about your activities prior to completion of the present situation.

[1] James H. Burns, Assistant to US Secretary of Defense for Foreign Military Affairs and Military Assistance.

[AA : A5954, 1795/3]