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106 Cablegram From Spender to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram, Washington, 12 July 1951

1229. Following are texts of statements by,
(a) Dulles,
(b) Berendsen, and,
(c) Myself.


(a) During the latter part of February 1951 I had several days of discussion at Canberra, Australia with Mr. Spender, then the Foreign Minister of Australia and Mr. Doidge, the Foreign Minister of New Zealand. We explored the possibility of an arrangement between our three countries pursuant to the United Nations Charter which would make clear that in the event of an armed attack on any of them in the Pacific each of the three would act to meet the common danger period.

After I had reported our conclusions to President Truman he asked the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and me as his special Representative to pursue this matter further.

This has been done and has resulted in the negotiation of a proposed Security Treaty for consideration by the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. This is the draft now being made public.

As said by President Truman in his statement of April 19th 1951,[1] this arrangement between our three Governments is one of a series of arrangements described in the preamble to the Draft Treaty now being worked out by the United States to strengthen the fabric of peace in the Pacific. These arrangements are in turn as the President said in his April 19th statement only 'initial steps'. It is expected that in due course these initial steps will be followed by others in order to achieve what the preamble and Article VIII of the draft treaty describes as 'the development of a more comprehensive system of regional security in the Pacific area'.

It is expected that this treaty will be signed at about the same time as the signing of the Japanese Peace Treaty. There has not yet been any final decision as to the place or precise date of signing.

I'm very happy to join with Ambassadors, Spender and Berendsen in announcing the results of our discussions. It has been a great pleasure to work with both of them and with other officials of the Australian and New Zealand Governments. I am confident that what we have done will be an important step on the road to peace.

(b) It is my privilege to initial this draft treaty on behalf of New Zealand and I wish to pay my tribute to the invaluable assistance rendered in this matter by Mr. John Foster Dulles and his associates.

The proposals appear to me to meet the essential requirements of all useful international engagements in that they conform with[in][2] an existing situation with the facts and the necessities of the time and the area. On completion, this pact will formally record what so clearly and happily exists today, the close relation between the interests of the parties in the Pacific; the warmth of the regards of their peoples one for the other; their common desire for peace; and their common intention to resist aggression. And this pact when completed will be more than a piece of paper - it will be an engagement between three parties who in the defence of liberty have in the past fought side by side on many a hard-won field; who know and respect each other's character and capacity; who trust each other in all circumstances; and who have proved their determination and their ability at all times to honour their pledged word.

I believe that this treaty when concluded will be entirely in conformity with the aims, the ideals and the principles of the charter of the United Nations; that it will prove a useful measure to maintain and preserve peace in the Pacific; and that it will be of real and lasting benefit to all its signatories and indeed to the World.

(c) The end of the negotiations which have resulted in the initialling for identification on behalf of the three countries concerned of this draft security agreement marks the beginning not only of a new and important relationship between our three countries in the Pacific but an historic occasion of profound significance to the free world.

For too too long this part of the world has not received the attention which its growing importance merited. This draft agreement which will be formally signed at an agreed and not distant date is but one but nonetheless an exceedingly important step in building up the security of the Pacific area. Based upon mutuality of interests and obligation what in substance it does is to recognise that any armed attack on one of the parties is an armed attack on all and obligates the other to come to the assistance of the party attacked.

Based upon the close and intimate understanding which already exists between the three countries, any understanding which was fortified and developed by the great comradeship which arose between the men of the three countries in the perilous days of the last conflict. Australia dedicated to the cause of peace is happy to join in this great association of free peoples and faces the future in the firm knowledge that we stand together.

I would like to record how much the Australian Government appreciates the great labours which have been put in the negotiations by Mr. Dulles and the officials associated with him. The splendid consultations which have taken place between us is a happy augury for the progress of this proposed agreement. At all times he and his associates have been frank, reasonable and prepared to see a different point of view.

My own satisfaction in being so intimately associated with these negotiations is I hope understandable. But merely as an Australian I know I speak for my countrymen when I say that the successful conclusion of these negotiations will be warmly hailed by Australia.

1 See editorial note - The Presidential Statement and Document 88.

2 Corrected with reference to the text published in Current Notes, vol. 22, 1951, p. 400.

[NAA : A5460, 217/6, iii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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