Skip to main content

Historical documents

37 Cablegram From Makin to Spender

Cablegram, Washington, 21 January 1951


Pacific Pact.

Allison has given McNicol on confidential basis, some background information on Dulles and his own thoughts concerning a security arrangement for the Pacific Area. Allison emphasised that his comments were tentative and should not be taken as an indication that a firm position on this matter had been reached within the United States Government. The following is summary of Allison's remarks:

(a) The President has given Dulles approval to conduct exploratory talks about a Pacific Pact. The possibility of a pact has also been discussed with the Department of Defence and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Department of Defence favoured a pact; some of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were very keen, others had no strong feelings one way or the other. Dulles had also discussed the idea with the Far Eastern sub-committees of the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees. Both Committees had approved the idea, the House Committee being more enthusiastic than the Senate Committee.

(b) Dulles had talked in very general terms with the British Ambassador about a possible pact. The Defence Department did not wish at this time to accept commitments in respect of the mainland of Asia and it was thought that the inclusion of Singapore, Malaya and Hong Kong might lead to requests for participation by Thailand, Indo-China and Portugal. It was therefore considered that the United Kingdom might be asked to participate in the pact in some sort of consultative capacity at least for the time being. (New Zealand Embassy has gained the impression from Allison that the United Kingdom should participate on a limited basis in respect of their Pacific Island territories).

(c) Because the Philippines was commonly regarded as a stooge of the United States, consideration was being given to the desirability of including Indonesia as well since she was more truly representative of Asia. Allison said, however, that he had strong doubts whether Indonesia would wish to be included and stressed that no decision had been reached concerning an approach to Indonesia.

(d) As for the type of security arrangement, what they had in mind was an arrangement which was not quite as formal as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and yet not simply the reason of a pious hope. Dulles was thinking of a declaration which would be signed by the Foreign Ministers of the countries concerned. The declaration would provide for the establishment of a Pacific Defence Council whose composition would be at Ministerial level. Provision would also be made for meetings of Deputies and for Military staff consultations. It was envisaged that the declaration would be simultaneous with the conclusion of the Peace Treaty with Japan and that Japan would be an original signatory of the Declaration. However, if the conclusion of the Peace Treaty were unduly delayed it might be possible to go ahead with the Declaration and admit Japan after the Peace Treaty had been signed.

(e) In reply to a question whether the declaration would be ratified by the United States Senate, Allison said this might or might not be the case. In reply to a question whether attack upon one, attack upon all provision would be included in declaration, Allison said Dulles favoured the use of the language of the Monroe Doctrine, e.g. the phrase 'dangerous to our peace and safety'. In reply to a further question about the organic link between the Pacific Defence Council and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Allison said this had not been decided.

(f) Allison indicated that Dulles might possibly discuss with the Japanese the idea of a Pacific Pact but said that such discussions would only be in general terms.

2. It will be seen from Allison's comments that present United States thinking does not necessarily contemplate:

(a) Attack upon one, attack upon all provision.

(b) Organic link with North Atlantic Treaty Organization and,
(c) Ratification by United States Senate.

3. New Zealand Embassy has had very general and informal talk with the British Embassy in order to ascertain how far Dulles went in his conversation about the Pacific Pact with the British Ambassador. The New Zealand Embassy gathered that Dulles told Franks very little. We may receive enquiries from the British Embassy and it would be helpful to have further advice along the lines of the Department's telegram No. 37[1] of 18th January.

1 Document 34.

[NAA : A1838, TS250/7/10]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top