48 Minute From Watt to Spender
Minute, [Canberra], 15 February 1951
Comments on Dulles Talks - First Day
My interpretation of Dulles' remarks to-day is as follows.
2. I think that Dulles is showing great skill in handling this complicated problem. Before he left Washington, he allowed Allison to speak to Australia and New Zealand and to some extent to the United Kingdom about the possibility of an 'off-shore' arrangement. Dulles scarcely identified himself with this proposal - which in no sense could be regarded as an expression of considered United States opinion. By this means, Dulles was able to sound out the reactions of three countries to the proposal, which from the American point of view might have made it possible, if it had been accepted, to include Japan in a regional pact.
3. Dulles has discovered that the United Kingdom has violent objections to the off-shore plan. He now seems to have discarded it completely. In any event, it seems clear that Japan will not be included in any such pact - possibly because Dulles feels that not only the United Kingdom but also Australia and New Zealand would oppose such an arrangement. Perhaps this is one of the very reasons why Dulles has now gone 'cold' on an off-shore arrangement.
4. Dulles himself, and possibly Rusk and others in Washington, have apparently been prepared to give some consideration to the question of a tripartite arrangement which would include only the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Coming through the Philippines, however, he has run into trouble on this issue. The Philippines Government must have discovered by some means that a tripartite arrangement was being considered and has made it clear to Dulles that it would object to such an arrangement - indeed that the Philippines would object to any arrangement which appeared to give two so-called 'white' countries (Australia and New Zealand) a tighter guarantee than the Philippines itself now has. As a result, Dulles has mentioned the difficulty and, in effect, handed over the problem to Australia and New Zealand and asked them to find the answer.
5. By skilful factual account of conditions in Japan, he has left the impression that the danger of a resurgence of Japanese militarism is at least remote. One of the implications of this would be that a pact in the Pacific is less necessary. On the other hand, in one or two arguments he used, he has left himself open to the reply that apparently there is considerable doubt whether Japan will stay on the side of the Western powers - it might be to her advantage to associate herself with China and perhaps Russia. We could use this as an argument in favour of a security guarantee for Australia.
6. Without making any positive suggestions himself, Dulles has made it clear that guarantees by the United States -
(i) cannot be one hundred per cent effective; and
(ii) must not be one-sided.
A guarantee under the terms of the Vandenberg resolution would require 'continuous and effective self help and mutual aid' between the partners. Even the protection which the actual presence of American troops in Japan and the Philippines gives those countries is obtainable only if the country which benefits is ready to give bases to the United States or to permit American troops to be stationed within its territory.
7. In short, as the position stands at present, Dulles has made a case for reducing our fears of a resurgence of Japanese militarism, while at the same time he has given no real indication that a tripartite arrangement can be procured. In these circumstances, it is clear that the hardest of fighting is necessary if we are really to secure a guarantee from the United States. I suggest we have to play up the following arguments:-
(a) If no restrictions upon armaments are written into the Japanese Peace Settlement and no safeguards are included, the risk of a resurgent Japan is real - particularly if Japan goes over as a temporary ally to Communist China, if the Western world should be preoccupied in Europe and the Middle East.
(b) The plain fact is that, in the absence of a guarantee from the United States, the possibility of effective Australian aid in the Middle East in pursuance of admittedly sound global strategy is rather remote.
(c) Australia and New Zealand, which are not members of N.A.T.O., but have planned to support the objectives of N.A.T.O. by sending forces to the Middle East, for that very reason deserve a guarantee from the United States. The Philippines is in a different case. In any event, we do not suggest that the United States should refrain from giving a similar assurance to the Philippines if she so desires.
(d) Australia and New Zealand, as the last war showed, are essential support areas, with industrial capacity, for United States forces.
(e) If a regional pact is ever to be built up in the Pacific, it could grow from the nucleus which the United States, Australia and New Zealand - countries with common interests and background - represent.
[NAA : A6768, EATS 77, i]