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81 Message[1] From Spender to Dulles

Canberra, 13 April 1951


I was pleased to receive your message[2] of 5th April and to know that you were concentrating on trying to clear the triangular arrangement. As you say, this is the solution we and New Zealand would prefer, particularly if it would involve, as seems likely, less delay than a quadripartite agreement. A three power arrangement would also receive the whole-hearted support of the United Kingdom.

I note from press reports that you have already been in touch with the Foreign Relations Committee and you may now be in a position to assess the practicability of a high level statement. Such a statement would of course be most important from our point of view and I should be glad if you could let me know, urgently, whether and when it can be made.

If circumstances make an authoritative statement out of the question, I should hope that the Secretary of State or you yourself might feel able to say something publicly, which would make it possible for us to make an announcement to the Australian people along the following lines:

(a) that following upon the talks in Canberra with Mr. John Foster Dulles considerable progress has been made in recent weeks in the development of a basis for arrangements in the Pacific, which would radically increase the security of Australia and New Zealand.

(b) that the arrangements under discussion are of a formal character, although a treaty identical with the North Atlantic pact, to which there would be a large number of signatories, is not envisaged.

(c) that the arrangements would of course be of a purely defensive character, constituting regional arrangements under the United Nations Charter. The objective would be to provide for action to meet the common danger in the event of an armed attack, pending effective action by the United Nations.

(d) that the arrangements would be based on the principles of self-help and mutual aid.

(e) that while no elaborate organisation is envisaged, the arrangements under discussion provide for consultative machinery through which the parties could concert their policies and planning.

(f) that no final decision has yet been reached as to the parties to be included in the arrangements.

1 Conveyed through emergency Cablegram 325 to the Australian Embassy in Washington. It instructed the Embassy to deliver the message before Dulles's departure, if possible, and to advise immediately if unable to do so.

2 Presumably a reference to Memorandum 236 dated 6 April conveyed by the US Embassy in Canberra to Watt on 8 April. It contained a message from Dulles for Spender. The message advised that the UK Government had orally communicated to the US Government its position that it strongly preferred a 'tripartite arrangement to be supplemented by United States bilaterals, but in the last analysis would accept quadripartite, including Philippines' if the US Government considered the membership of the Philippines indispensable. Dulles added that since further exploration of a quadripartite arrangement would involve the delay of further consultations with the UK and since the preference of both Australia and New Zealand was for a tripartite pact, 'we are concentrating upon trying to clear this within our own Government'.

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