Tripartite Security Treaty.
Myron Cowen told me yesterday that he has recently had discussions (with which Andrew Foster was associated) with Pentagon authorities on establishment and functioning of the Council. As a result of these discussions he said that the State Department has incorporated their views in a letter which should now be in the hands of the Secretary of the Department of Defence. He assured me that it has been made clear in the State Department letter that the Council should be a body of substance and not simply a name. Cowen put it to me that, although time in all probability could not permit of it, he personally would like to see the first meeting of the Council held in Australia during the Coral Sea Celebrations and asked what your likely reaction would be to such a proposal. I replied that I could not speak for you other than to say that level of United States representation would be one of the main factors to be considered.
2. Whilst Cowen's remarks are a little reassuring I still harbour the view that we are likely to encounter continuing opposition from the Department of Defence who I feel are more concerned about military problems as between themselves and Japan and whose attention is directed to the North Western rather than the South West Pacific Area. If this is the view, and everything seems to point that way, I think we should use every means at our disposal to obtain at an early date agreement in principle as to general nature of the Council to be established and its necessary ancillary machinery. I feel that, subject to information we received from preliminary soundings as to the precise nature of the State Department's proposals and the reaction of the Secretary of the Department of Defence to this, we should request Cowen to arrange meeting with Defence Department referred to in my 367 since if we simply rely on the State Department or urge our claims with the Department of Defence we may find that the Defence Department will continue to stall. I would urge, therefore, that after consultations with New Zealand and subject to the information we obtain from our preliminary soundings of State Department, the New Zealand Ambassador and myself instructed to press now for agreement in principle to the establishment of the Council with substantive authority and with machinery for continuous planning and consultation generally along the lines of the outline we discussed with Cowen when you were here, whilst of course leaving it to Council itself at its first and subsequent meetings to make the substantive decision as to the manner and extent to which the Council and its ancillary machinery shall function.