59 Cablegram From Harrison to Menzies

Cablegram, London, 13 March 1951

1439. TOP SECRET PERSONAL

Your 1071.[1]

Gordon Walker this morning handed me a copy of personal message to the Prime Minister which is being sent through the United Kingdom High Commissioner Canberra and which sets out in detail United Kingdom policy on the Pacific pact. He also gave me aide-memoires in reply to your 1071 and 1441[2] which I am telegraphing separately.

2. You will note strength of the United Kingdom opposition to inclusion of the Philippines in a Pacific pact. In my opinion there is some substance in their fears. The Government has already been subject to strong criticism in the House and press on the appointment of Admiral Fechteler[3] and this attack will be renewed shortly. Consequently Government fear inclusion of the Philippines in a pact with Australia, New Zealand and the United States might be the occasion for fresh attacks in Parliament and the press. This could be used in a way which would be not only most damaging to the British Commonwealth but would strengthen attitude held by Dulles that the Empire and the Commonwealth are outmoded and of no future value in world affairs.

3. I personally feel there is strong grounds for United Kingdom Government's fears and indeed share their view that the inclusion of Philippines might be left to some later date when the wider concept of including India, Pakistan etc. might be effected.

4. I cannot stress too strongly swing of public opinion against obvious encroachment made by United States in what were traditionally British spheres.

1 Document 51.

2 Document 58.

3 In February, Truman had nominated Admiral William M. Fechteler, US Chief of Naval Operations, for the position of Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic and the nomination had caused the UK Government to be criticised by the Opposition, which favoured a British appointment, in the House of Commons.

[NAA : A6768, EATS 77, ii]