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104 Cablegram From Spender to Casey

Cablegram, Washington, 12 July 1951


Since my telephone conversation[1] with Watt this morning, I have received your 804[2] and have had an opportunity of refreshing my memory from perusal of text of Article VIII and from cables which have passed. Berendsen and I have consulted on the matter. We both agree that at this late stage to seek to lay down stipulations repeat stipulations conditioning our initialling of a draft which has already been agreed upon (see your 800[3]) and such agreement communicated to State Department, could only be justified in an extremity which does not appear to exist.

2. We think the terms of the draft are clear enough and that there is nothing to preclude repeat preclude the Council consulting with anyone or any country. I understood from my telephone conversation with Watt that this was the relevant consideration. Apart from the fact that it would be unthinkable, unless there were words of express prohibition to the contrary contained in the agreement, that any one of the parties would not feel that the Council and anyone of them would be completely free to consult with the United Kingdom [or any other Government],[4] only as late as 10th July Dulles clearly expressed the view we hold on the relevant meaning of Article VIII - see last sentence of paragraph 2 of my 1216.[5]

3. I do not think that you would want me at this very late hour, when the draft has been finally cleared up to the President, to attach to the initialling of what is already an agreed draft the language of stipulation or conditional agreement. To do so would in our joint view be an exceedingly unwise course to follow, as at the very least it could cause a postponement of any announcement. There is nothing that Dulles can say that could take the matter beyond what he has already said - see paragraph 2 of my 1216 - and it received no greater value by being said a second time. We think the United Kingdom apprehensions, if any, are quite unfounded and in the circumstances, having regard to the above observations and the protracted and detailed negotiations which have taken place, we decided to confine ourselves to making a relevant reference to our understanding. I feel sure you will agree with the course pursued.[6]

1 No record of the telephone conversation has been found.

2 12 July. It communicated to Spender the text of Document 103.

3 See note 1 to Document 100.

4 Words in square brackets were added by hand.

5 Document 99.

6 Telegram 242 (12 July) from the New Zealand Government to the New Zealand High Commissioner in Canberra repeated to its Embassy in Washington asked New Zealand representatives overseas to 'concert' with Australia 'any necessary action with the United States authorities' regarding Article VIII because 'we agreed to the Australian proposal that our acceptance of the phrase ['in the Pacific area'] should be on the clear understanding that it did not preclude consultation with the United Kingdom and indeed that this was intended'. Berendsen replied by telegram on 12 July that he would simply mention this interpretation as New Zealand's understanding of Article VIII with Dulles before initialling on that afternoon. He added: 'We have had the draft in front of us, have accepted the terms for initialling, and have told the Americans we have so accepted them, and I would regard it as unthinkable to make any further conditions at this particular point after presidential approval and all arrangements for ceremony of initialling today. To do so, in my opinion, might well wreck the whole thing. Spender is at the moment in New York but on the telephone he tells me that he holds the same views and has told his government so'. See Robin Kay (ed.), The ANZUS Pact and the Treaty of Peace with Japan, Government Printer, Wellington, 1985, pp. 741-2.

[NAA : A1838, TS686/1, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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