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Historical documents

4 Memorandum From Kuskie to Burton

Memorandum, Wellington, 25 July 1949

NO. 269.

Pacific Pact: Philippines-Chinese Proposals
Further to my cable No. 114[1] of 23rd July, 1949 and your cable No. 141[2] of 23rd July, 1949, I am enclosing a copy of a document left by the Chinese Consul-General in Wellington, Mr. Wang Feng, on the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, Mr. McIntosh, on 20th July.

2. The document was represented by Mr. Wang as giving the text of the agreement recently arrived at by Quirino and Chiang Kai-shek at their recent meeting. Mr. Wang stated that he was instructed by his government to ascertain whether New Zealand would be interested in participating in a conference for the setting up of a Pacific Pact, and implied that the issue of formal invitations would probably depend on the response of Pacific countries to this preliminary approach. He stressed that the proposed union was cultural and economic and not military.

3. Mr. McIntosh in reply agreed that the New Zealand Prime Minister[3] had expressed interest in a Pacific Pact, and that New Zealand was concerned over the successes that the Communists were achieving in Asia, but said that the New Zealand Government would wish to ascertain the views of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States before expressing a reaction to the proposal. He added that New Zealand was not only a Pacific country but had its closest ties with the Western democracies and particularly with the United Kingdom. It was, in fact, balanced between two important regions and would have to weigh carefully the merits of any course which might involve it in military commitments.

4. Mr. McIntosh further pointed out that though the proposals were for a cultural and economic union it seemed that, just as the Western Union approach had led to the Atlantic Pact, so in the Pacific any form of mutual assistance that would be of real value would necessarily include provision for military aid in case of aggression, and that New Zealand would have to take this possibility into consideration when determining its attitude to the proposal.

5. A further reply will be sent to the Consul-General for transmission to his Government. I will advise you of its terms as soon as possible.[4]

1. The formation of a Union of freedom-loving nations in the Pacific for mutual assistance against communist menace.

2. Closer economic and cultural co-operation among the members of the proposed Union for the building up of a more vigorous front against communist menace.

3. As a preliminary step, China, the Philippines and Korea should take the initiative in the formation of the proposed Union and should invite all the other freedom-loving nations in the Pacific to join.

4. For the discussion of concrete plans for such Union, representatives of China, the Philippines and Korea will be in conference in the near future.

1 It reported that the New Zealand Government had been approached by the Chinese Consul-General in Wellington to participate in a conference to draft a Pacific Pact.

2 It communicated to Wellington that Australia had been invited by the Philippines to a conference to draft a Pacific Pact.

3 Peter Fraser.

4 In a memorandum dated 12 August 1949, McIntosh instructed Kuskie to inform the Australian Government that Fraser had confirmed these views in a letter to Wang dated 9 August.

[NAA : A1838, 383/1/2/8, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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