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Historical documents

316 United States Embassy to Department of External Affairs

Note CANBERRA, 12 December 1946


The Embassy of the United States of America presents its
compliments to the Department of External Affairs of the
Commonwealth Government of Australia and has the honor to transmit
herewith the reply of the Department of State to the question
concerning MANUS raised in conversation on November 12, 1946,
between the Minister of External Affairs and the Ambassador. [1]

The Department of State has referred to the occasion of the
Minister's visit, when the latter raised the question of the joint
rights of use of MANUS in exchange for similar Australian rights
at GUAM. [2] The Department states that this proposal was and is
unacceptable to the United States Government. The Department of
State has also referred to the offer made to the Minister of
External Affairs of such rights at CANTON ISLAND and in AMERICAN
SAMOA in exchange for similar rights at MANUS.

Likewise, the Department of State has referred to a preliminary
draft of a suggested base agreement for MANUS, handed to the
Australian Embassy in Washington on March 14, 1946. [3] The
Department of State now states that it will be glad to enter into
discussions in Washington, at any time convenient to the
Commonwealth Government, with a view to early agreement as to
American use of MANUS, and to the inclusion in the same of a
provision for similar Australian use of CANTON ISLAND and AMERICAN
SAMOA, with, however, a further provision that the United States
Government shall not be financially obligated at MANUS.

1 The U.S. Ambassador, Robert Butler, cabled a record of the
conversation to Byrnes on 13 November in which he noted that Evatt
'expressed desire for arrangements for mutual use of facilities
[at Manus] and for discussion as to financing same, saying that,
to satisfy his Parliament, Australia must have arrangements for at
least token right for mutual use of facilities in at least one
American base'. See U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of
the United States 1946, vol. I, pp. 680-1.

2 See in particular Documents 1 and 3.

3 Volume IX, Document 127.

[AA:A6494 T1, SPTS/1/5]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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