Skip to main content

Historical documents

39 Minute From Pyman to Watt

Minute, [Canberra], 30 January 1951

Visit to Australia by Dulles
I attach a copy of a cable received this morning from the New Zealand High Commissioner's Office. It refers to the projected conversations with Dulles, mentioning incidentally that the New Zealand Embassy in Washington has reported Dulles' suggestion that there might be advantages 'in holding combined discussions with both Australia and New Zealand and has asked whether New Zealand would find it convenient to take part in talks in Australia if time did not allow him to visit both countries'. The New Zealand authorities are considering this proposal. The cable also includes details of the message from the New Zealand Embassy in Washington reporting the tentative ideas of the U.S. authorities in regard to the Pacific Pact proposal.[1] (Most but not all of this information had been obtained from our own Embassy e.g. para 2(3) of NZ cable is an updated addition to our information). (Latest cable from Austemb Washington (I. 1205)[2] is also attached).

2. Regarding the procedure for the talks with Dulles it may be that the presence of New Zealand representatives throughout the talks with Dulles could prevent us from putting our point of view with as much force as we might do if we were talking to Dulles without them present. On the other hand the New Zealanders did not show at the London talks[3] the same determination as Australia did in regard to the issue of Japanese re-armament nor for that matter is interest in the Japanese settlement as deep as it is in Australia, partially at least because of the fact that New Zealand troops were engaged not against the Japanese but in Europe. Joint talks with Dulles, especially if preceded by a preliminary interchange of views with the New Zealand representatives (as has been suggested by the Department of External Affairs, Wellington, in cable 27[4] from the Australian High Commissioner, Wellington) might give us an opportunity to draw up an agreed approach closer to our point of view. Also, if the New Zealanders actively seek combined talks it may, in view of the continued close relationship between both Governments, be difficult to resist such an arrangement without creating misunderstanding. To sum up, I would say that if Dulles himself presses for combined talks to meet his own personal wishes, it would be difficult to resist them. On the other hand, if he shows clearly that he is willing to visit Australia as well as New Zealand then, unless either we are convinced of the advantages of combined talks or New Zealand presses very strongly for them, the New Zealanders could be informed that we would welcome a preliminary exchange of views prior to Dulles' arrival, but would not propose to interfere with an arrangement whereby Dulles has separate talks with them.

3. Regarding the points of substance raised in the attached New Zealand cable, a preliminary note on the Pacific Pact was submitted to the Acting Secretary last week in an effort to assist in the process of defining exactly what we might obtain from such an arrangement. He is passing this on to you immediately.

4. Copy of a draft cable[5] to Tokyo re Dulles discussions is attached for your consideration.

1 In Cablegram 22 (25 January), the High Commission in New Zealand had reported Foss Shanahan's personal view that 'it would be advantageous for New Zealand to send representative to Canberra to enable joint Australia/New Zealand talks with Foster Dulles on Japanese Peace Treaty, particularly question of rearmament and consequent security of Pacific'.

2 Document 37.

3 The British Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference (see note 1 to Document 31).

4 29 January. It reported Doidge's comments to Cutler that, if joint Australian-New Zealand talks with Dulles were to take place, 'then departmental representatives should go to Canberra 3 or 4 days beforehand'.

5 Cablegram 32 (2 February). It informed the Australian Mission in Tokyo of Dulles's acceptance on 26 January of the invitation to him to visit Australia and requested information on the discussions he was having in Japan.

[NAA : A1838, 532/11, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top