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68 Note For File by Harry

Note, Canberra, 20 March 1951


Pacific Security Treaty
By direction of the Minister I telephoned Mr. Watt in Wellington and asked him whether there was anything he could add by telephone to his telegram 79[1] of 19th March.

2. Mr. Watt said to tell the Minister that it was O.K. That afternoon he had been 'right up to the top'. He was not proposing to send a cable until the next day but the Minister would like to know that he had been participating in drafting a reply (to the U.K. message[2] of 13th March). The draft, with the exception of minor amendments, had been approved by the New Zealand Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs and he would bring it with him to Sydney tomorrow. Mr. Watt said the difficulties he had met had been largely at the adviser level and he did not find the same difficulties higher up.[3] The extra information which he had taken to New Zealand had proved most useful.

3. I asked Mr. Watt whether he had received the message[4] from Mr. Dulles which we had repeated to him by cable that morning. He had not received it and I gave him a brief outline of its contents. He thought the proposed statement in the explanatory memorandum did not sound too bad but he suggested that a reply might be deferred until his return to Sydney.

4. I told Mr. Watt of the further message[5] we had received from the American Embassy that Mr. Allison was flying to London that day for consultations with the American Embassy. I said the Minister had in mind to send a telegram to the Resident Minister which would answer the latest report from Mr. Harrison regarding U.K. views on Mr. Dulles, and which would also suggest that Waller might keep in touch with Allison in London. Mr. Watt agreed that this would be useful but stressed that Harrison should not at this time convey any views to the U.K. Government. I said that on this we proposed merely to say that we were in consultation with the New Zealand Government and hoped to be able to convey joint views to the U.K. shortly.

5. I then referred to telegram 389[6] from Washington reporting State Department reactions to the Canadians at the desk level. I said we had it in mind asking Mr. Makin, without approaching the U.S. authorities, to give us his assessment as to whether there was any substance in the Canadian report. Mr. Watt said he thought it would be inadvisable to seek a report from Mr. Makin. He had not passed the contents of telegram 389 to the New Zealanders and assumed we would not do so in Canberra.

1 19 March. Watt advised Spender that he had 'run into some difficulties, but am hopeful of returning tomorrow on my feet and not on my shield'.

2 Presumably a reference to the message from Gordon Walker to Holland received in New Zealand on 15 March. This message reflected the substance of Document 61. See also Robin Kay (ed.), The ANZUS Pact and the Treaty of Peace with Japan, Government Printer, Wellington, 1985, pp. 658-60.

against a rearmed Japan, against Communist imperialism in Asia, and against Asian expansionism generally. The third reason, which he agreed was the strongest, could not, however, be made public'. See p. 663. On the basis of the discussions with Watt, a reply to Gordon Walker's message was drafted and was dispatched on 22 March. The message stated that the New Zealand Government had 'come to the conclusion that while a tripartite pact remains our first objective, rather than jeopardise the prospect of obtaining a formal American guarantee for Australia and New Zealand, we would be willing to accept a quadripartite arrangement. In other words, if the inclusion of the Philippines is the condition which must be accepted in order to obtain the advantage to which we attach such value, and which might not recur in the foreseeable future, then we consider we must be prepared to accept it'. ibid., p. 676.

4 Cablegram 86 (19 March) from Washington conveyed a message dated 16 March from Dulles. The message advised that the United States Government expected to send by 24 March the 'tentative text of a possible Japanese peace treaty accompanied by an explanatory memorandum. We hope that by then we can be somewhat specific with regard to a possible security arrangement along Canberra lines and we are pressing the United Kingdom Government, point out that we must proceed with the treaty and that the two matters should go pari passu'. The message added that to 'meet the contingency that we shall not by then have a favourable reaction from London, we have in mind a commentary on the absence of any treaty provisions limiting rearmament' to the security arrangement. The suggested text is included in the cablegram.

5 Cablegram 85 (19 March) communicated to Watt a note dated 19 March that was handed to the Department of External Affairs by the US Embassy in Canberra to the effect that Allison was to visit London 'to acquaint the American Embassy at London with the full facts about the present status of the proposed Japanese peace treaty and related subjects. No discussions in London with the United Kingdom Government are contemplated'.

6 18 March. It reported a cablegram, shown confidentially to Australian Embassy officials, from the Canadian Embassy in Washington reporting discussions with officials in the Policy Guidance Section of the State Department. The US officials were reported as commenting that the State Department was 'somewhat disconcerted at the lengths to which Dulles has gone, in his discussions with Australian and New Zealand officials' and pointed to factors militating against a treaty, such as: public opposition to further military commitments in the Western Pacific in the aftermath of the Korean intervention; the 'limited value of the proposed tripartite pact to the United States, which is also vitally concerned with the security of Japan, the Philippines and the Pacific Island bases'; and the 'danger of political pressures being brought to bear upon the administration to include the Chiang Kai-shek and Syngman Rhee Regimes in any formal Pacific Defence Pact'.

[NAA : A6768, EATS 77, iii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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