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109 Cablegram From Spender to Menzies[1]

Cablegram, Washington, 20 July 1951


Pacific Security Treaty
The following is text of an aide-memoire handed me today from Dulles;

'With the initialling on July 12th of the Tripartite Security Treaty[2] between the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United States, the Government of the United States believes that early consideration should now be given to the question of the time and place of the formal signing of the treaty. This Government has considered that the formal signing might take place at San Francisco on the Saturday immediately preceding the convening[3] of the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference, or if the Governments of Australia and New Zealand preferred, we would explore the possibility of signing it at Canberra promptly following the signing of the Japanese Peace Treaty.

The Department would welcome the views of the Australian Government on this subject. The views of the New Zealand Government are also being sought'.

He verbally added that whilst they would explore possibility of signing taking place in Canberra if Australia and New Zealand so desired, it would, however, not be possible he thought to send any high ranking delegation for that purpose.

My own views, which I submit for consideration, are as follows:

1. The Treaty should be signed before, not after, the signing of the Japanese Peace Treaty. By so doing, we would publicly indicate that our consent to Peace Treaty was dependent upon and conditioned by the formal execution of the Pacific Security Treaty.

2. Greater advantage is to be gained
(a) by execution at or about the occasion of the signing of the Peace Treaty;

(b) by the world publicity coverage which it will receive were it executed in San Francisco at this time.

3. Moreover, the importance of the Security Treaty and the inter dependence between it and the Peace Treaty is more likely to be emphasized upon the United States public and the members of Congress, particularly the Senate, if the execution takes place in United States.

For these reasons I suggest San Francisco at the date proposed by United States for execution.

I hesitate to advance another reason which is not wholly immaterial, namely, that I hope it would prove possible that you should authorise me to sign on behalf of Australia.

I will try to ring you over the weekend.[4]

1 Spender marked the cablegram 'To Prime Minister alone in absence of the Minister'. Casey had left by air on 20 July on a tour of South-East Asia.

2 Document 105.

3 The Conference for the Conclusion and Signature of a Treaty of Peace with Japan, convened at San Francisco on 4 September.

4 An Australian Embassy in Washington aide-memoire dated 24 July indicated that the 'Government of Australia is agreeable to the formal signature of the Tripartite Security Treaty at San Francisco on 1st September, 1951'.

[NAA : A1838, TS686/1, ii]

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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