67 Extract From Memorandum by Watt
Extract, Wellington, 18 March 1951
This attitude of the Australian Government is based, largely, upon the following considerations.
It is felt that the apparent readiness of the United States to enter into a formal arrangement, whether tripartite or quadripartite, guaranteeing Australia and New Zealand is due to very special circumstances, which operate at present, and may well not operate in the future, namely, the Korean incident, and the notable and quick contribution made by Australia and New Zealand in regard to Korea, and also the necessity to complete a Japanese Peace Treaty. The Australian and New Zealand attitude towards Korea has had a most favourable effect in the United States, and make it much more possible for United States opinion to accept an American guarantee of these two countries. The American desire for an early Peace Treaty with Japan of a kind which Australia and New Zealand will not readily accept makes the United States more ready, at present, to secure Australian and New Zealand acquiescence in the kind of Japanese Peace Treaty which America wants by relieving Australian and New Zealand fears of a resurgence of Japanese militarism, by means of a security arrangement in the Pacific. Once the Japanese Peace Treaty is concluded, America can, and probably will, ignore Australian and New Zealand susceptibility regarding such a Treaty. Moreover, when hostilities cease in Korea, American public opinion is capable of forgetting quite quickly the contributions which Australia and New Zealand have made, particularly if new difficulties have arisen in the meantime, and Australia and [New] Zealand have not necessarily acted along the same lines as the United States.
It is felt in Canberra, therefore, that the present moment may be unique in providing a favourable opportunity for securing an American guarantee. If such a guarantee is not quickly arranged, the moment may pass. Australia has in mind dangers in the Pacific, not only from a resurgent Japan, but also from imperialistic Communism in the Far East, and also from the pressure of Asian countries which are not necessarily Communistic. The last mentioned argument is not one which can be used publicly. An American guarantee would be a guarantee against all three dangers, but it could be secured at the present time primarily against the background of the dangers of a resurgent Japan. It is felt in Canberra that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to secure an American guarantee against a background merely of the risk of pressure from Asia. A guarantee considered by the United States in these circumstances might well complicate the whole of America's relationships with Asia, including India.
[NAA : A6768, EATS 77, iii]