16 Letter From Moodie to Shaw
Letter, Washington, 4 August 1950
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
It may be useful to you to have some background to our telegram 622 sent on 3rd August regarding a talk between Dean Rusk and Allen Brown. The telegram was prepared in rather more of a hurry than I like in the last minute bustle before the P.M.'s delegation departed.
In the first place Brown was extremely punctilious about the whole thing and most reluctant to get dragged into any discussions on foreign affairs. On the other hand Rusk had indicated in casual talks to a couple of other members of the delegation whom he had met at parties that he would like to have a talk to Brown and it would have been difficult for him to refuse. Brown asked McNicol and me to go along with him.
The talk was very helpful to us since Rusk got us round a table with the Chiefs of his regional offices and then set out their views. His observations on the Pacific Pact idea gave a pretty clear indication, both Brown and I thought, of his own views. It is only fair to record, however, that David McNicol who knows far more about Far Eastern matters than I, and who does much of the dealing with State Department people on them, didn't draw the same conclusions as we did. David felt Rusk was interested in having further discussions about a Pact or arrangement, whereas we thought the questions Rusk raised suggested that behind them lies a general reluctance on his part to go any further with the idea.
It seems to me likely that the State Department have had reports from the American Embassy in Canberra that members of the Australian Government are not in entire agreement on the advisability of a regional arrangement in the Pacific. They may perhaps have had a report that the Prime Minister is dubious about it. If so, Rusk would obviously be interested in meeting the Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department and talking to him with the hope of getting some confirmation of these reports. If so, it must be said that Brown took an entirely correct line and gave no indication of any such division of opinion. He simply listened and encouraged Rusk and his colleagues to talk.
This is clearly not a matter for an official report, but I thought you and Alan Watt might be interested to know about it. I consequently thought it worth while to depart from the rule regarding communications from overseas officers to officers in the Department. I should add that all the time I have been here, I have got the impression from nearly all State Department people, when the Pacific Pact question cropped up, that they didn't want it, or at least didn't want any white country to take a lead.