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21 Memorandum From Tange to Watt

Memorandum, New York, 19 October 1950

NO. 1312. SECRET

Pacific Pact
You will recall from our Telegram No. 523,[1] of the 22nd September, that the Minister, in his discussion with Mr. Dulles on the Japanese Peace settlement, took the position that Australia could not subscribe to any treaty with Japan unless there were adequate assurances of Australia's security against possible future Japanese aggression. At that time, he also informed Mr. Dulles that a formal commitment by the United States guaranteeing Australia's security might go some way to allay our fears. The Minister's latter comment referred to the possibility of a Pacific Pact, of which, as you are aware, Mr. Allison has spoken to Embassy officials in the context of a Japanese Peace settlement, (see Ministerial despatch No. 1/50 from Washington). You will also recall that Mr. Dulles said he was aware of Australia's difficulties with regard to security, and that some compromise solution would have to be found.

2. In the absence of any approach by the United States with suggestions as to how Australia's security requirements might be met, the Minister, in the past week, instructed members of the Delegation to approach State Department officials in an attempt to secure a definite answer as to United States thinking on a Pacific Pact. The United States response was to enquire what the Minister's views were with regard to membership of the Pact, and the type of obligations to be assumed under the Pact. To this question the reply was given that membership by the following countries was envisaged: Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the United States and the United Kingdom, or any larger or smaller number of countries, provided that Australia and the United States were parties to the Pact, and Article 5 of the Atlantic Pact were reproduced. As a result of these conversations, we were informed that Mr. Dean Rusk, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, wished to discuss the question of a Pacific Pact with the Minister after his return from Wake Island. In the meantime, the Minister has had a conversation with Mr. J. Hickerson, Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs, at Hickerson's request. (A note on the conversation with Mr. Hickerson is attached.)
3. The subject of a Pacific Pact was also raised by Mr. Doidge, when Mr. Dulles presented him with the United States statement of principles which the United States would wish to see reflected in a Japanese Peace Treaty. Mr. Doidge stressed the need for some guarantee against future Japanese aggression, particularly in view of the type of treaty envisaged by the United States, and suggested that a Pacific Pact might be an appropriate method of guaranteeing New Zealand's security. Dulles gave the stock reply about the United States, without any formal commitment, coming to New Zealand's assistance if she were attacked, and about the political difficulties involved in omitting certain Asian countries, who might then regard themselves as abandoned to Communism. Dulles added, however, that the State Department was examining other possibilities with regard to the security of countries who were apprehensive about future Japanese aggression.

4. With regard to Australia's fear of a Japanese resurgence and desire for a formal guarantee by the United States of our security, State Department officials argue along the following lines:

(a) United States troops will be retained in Japan, and able to act as a curb on Japan.

(b) The United States will be in the Ryukyus, Bonins and Philippines, and thus between Australia and Japan.

(c) There is no need for a formal guarantee by the United States, since it is a foregone conclusion that they would come to our assistance if we were attacked.

5. The Minister has directed that in any conversations we should not give the impression that Australia would accept the re-armament of Japan in return for a Pacific Pact. He is maintaining the line that, as a very minimum, long range controls, to prevent the stockpiling by Japan of strategic materials, should be exercised from outside Japan, and that Australia would view with the utmost concern, any suggestion in the treaty that a re-armed Japan is either desirable or necessary. Nevertheless, the Minister recognises that we may be placed in the position of either accepting or rejecting the sort of Treaty which the United States has in mind, and wants to have some assurance from the United States, in the shape of a formal guarantee, which may make it more possible, in the last resort, for Australia to go further towards meeting the United States position on the nature of a treaty with Japan.

1 Document 18.

[NAA : A1838, 250/7/10, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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