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116 Letter From Scherger to Spender

Letter, [Washington], 27 September 1951


The machinery required to assist and advise the proposed Pacific Council, which is understood to be an ad hoc body set up in the terms of the Pacific Pact,[1] should undoubtedly be as simple as possible, not formalized in any way, and should use existing facilities to the maximum possible extent.

A good precedent, I believe, is the machinery which at present exists in Australia, New Zealand and U.K. to deal with matters arising from and through the setting up of the ANZAM region. In brief, this machinery comprises the Australian Chiefs of Staff as the main advisory body in peace, and the body which in war will control military operations in that area. It is assisted, in matters concerning this region, by:-

(a) The Head of the United Kingdom Services Liaison Staff in Australia who receives his briefing, as required, from the U.K. Chiefs of Staff.

(b) The Senior New Zealand Service Representative in Australia, who is also briefed by his Chiefs of Staff as required.

There is, in New Zealand, a Senior Australian Defence Representative available for discussion as necessary with the New Zealand Chiefs of Staff, whilst in the U.K. there is again a Senior Australian Defence Representative available for discussion with the U.K. Chiefs of Staff on any matters pertaining to the ANZAM region.

Projecting this same idea to the current problem of coordination in the Pacific, as required under the terms of the Pacific Pact, we could use a similar type of machinery. For example, when matters directly concerning Pacific defence were being considered by the American Chiefs of Staff, the Australian and New Zealand Senior Services Representatives (one from each Dominion) would be invited to attend and assist at the discussion of these matters. It is assumed that at lower (e.g. planning) levels, use would be made of the Australian and New Zealand Service Staffs also, so that when the matter came up for discussion by the Chiefs of Staff, they (the Australian and New Zealand representatives) would be well informed on the background.

Similarly, in Australia and New Zealand, the Senior American Services Representative would be called on by the appropriate Chiefs of Staff to assist in or be present at (as appropriate) discussion of any matters directly arising out of the Pacific Pact, or impinging on the defence of the Pacific. In this regard America might consider it necessary to provide additional representation in Australia on a higher level than the present Attache's level, as it is evident that very many of the questions being discussed by both the Australian and New Zealand Chiefs of Staff would concern the defence of, and operations in, the Pacific. It is assumed that, on the political level, Ambassadors in each country would serve, as appropriate, as deputies of the Ministers for External Affairs, or, in the case of the U.S.A., The Secretary of State.

On the economic and production side a similar arrangement could well be followed, without altering or in any way formalizing our existing type of representation, or increasing the number of representatives.

It would probably be unnecessary to decide, at this stage, whether America or Australia should be the 'centre' of activities as matters can be dealt with when and where they arise under the system proposed above. If it is necessary to define where the centre should be, it is suggested that America would be the appropriate place, since it undoubtedly would be the location of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in any future war, and it would be on America and Canada that we would rely for supplies in such a war.

I believe such an arrangement would be acceptable to the Americans, but I do not believe that they would accept the setting up of any new and completely formal machinery since it would tend, in a large measure, to over-ride existing security restrictions which they obviously believe are necessary, and which they will want to be free to vary at will. However, the machinery suggested is completely flexible and informal, (so far as informality can apply to such problems), it does not in any way pre-commit them to the relaxation of their security safeguards, and it has been used successfully in rather similar conditions between U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.

1 See Document 105.

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