58 Cablegram From Spender to Harrison
Cablegram, Canberra, 9 March 1951
441. IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET
Pacific Security Pact
I am somewhat disturbed that we have still had no official reaction from London regarding the security pact which was drafted in Canberra during the Dulles visit. From your messages I gather that the United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff have considered the matter but that the United Kingdom Cabinet has still not dealt with it.
2. It seems to me most probable that the United Kingdom is in close consultation with the United States on this subject. Thus, telegram 331 from Washington repeated to London No. 25 states that Dulles talked to the British Ambassador at Washington on the subject on 1st March. Your telegram 1311 refers to the fact that the views of the United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff on post-treaty security in the Pacific have also been transmitted to Washington. These facts lead me to fear that the United Kingdom is deliberately delaying its reply to Australia based upon a consideration on its merits of the agreement drafted in Canberra until such time as it has 'lined up' the United States on the subject. When the United Kingdom knows how far it can influence the United States, it will then, and only then, determine the reply which it will send to Australia. If these assumptions are correct, I can only say that the position is most unsatisfactory and that we should press for an immediate answer.
3. In today's Australian press, there is a long A.A.P. report from New York which states categorically that certain alternatives are being considered by the United States Government. One of these is 'a declaration by the United States that an attack on Australia and New Zealand from any quarter would be regarded by the United States as dangerous to her own peace and security'. During the Dulles talks, the emphasis from the American side was throughout on the need for self-help and mutual aid, and provision was made in the draft agreement for the establishment of machinery which would keep us in constant contact with the United States. The latest official advice we have received from London on the question of Pacific security is to the effect that the United Kingdom supports a policy of securing from the United States 'appropriate assurances' regarding Australian security. We have never had the slightest indication from London that London was prepared to consider any mutual obligations or that London would favour the establishment of definite machinery in the Pacific which would keep Australians, Americans and New Zealanders in close and regular contact.
4. I should be glad if you would take up the matter again in London at the highest level and try to ascertain the precise position. You can point out that at London's specific request we were asked to consult on the subject of the Dulles talks. We have done so and supplied the fullest possible information. There has already been substantial delay in receiving a reply in Canberra and we are not prepared to hold up conclusion of a matter of this importance to Australia while the United Kingdom, if this be the fact, does its utmost to bring the United States to its own point of view before sending a frank answer to Australia based upon the merits of the proposition which is under consideration.
5. In this connection, reference is made to your telegram 1311. Please advise by telegram whether the views of the United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff on post-treaty security and Japanese re-armament referred to in your paragraph 2 deal with the matters discussed by us with Dulles. If so, we would like an immediate summary by telegram of the more important arguments used and conclusions reached by the Chiefs of Staff.
[NAA : A6768, EATS 77 Annex A]