Skip to main content

Historical documents

83 Cablegram From Spender to Doidge

Cablegram, Canberra, 16 April 1951


1. I understand you have received through Berendsen, the text[1] of the statement on Pacific Security Agreement which it is proposed that the President of the United States should make within a few days.

2. I have just received from Dulles a message which he sent before leaving for Tokyo and which contains the following additional information -
'We reserve our position with respect to detailed drafting of treaty, but principal point raised here is that final sentence article 8 Canberra draft seems too broad in that it seems to imply active participation in military planning under the Rio pact and North Atlantic treaties which would be impractical and which, in any event, is beyond the power of the U.S. alone to assure. However, since obstacles to tripartite arrangements are now overcome here, we feel confident that you will find acceptable such language revisions not affecting fundamentals as we shall want to take up with you'.

3. I am sure you will agree with me that it is a matter for profound satisfaction that the United States now appears to be willing to become party to a treaty along the lines of the Canberra draft[2] limited to the United States, New Zealand and Australia. This will also give great satisfaction in London, and will make it possible for the United Kingdom as well as the United States, New Zealand and Australia to welcome the arrangement wholeheartedly.

4. For domestic reasons which you will understand, it is most important to us that the presidential statement should be made as soon as possible and I am suggesting to Washington, subject to your concurrence that it should be made on the 20th April, Washington time. This would enable me to comment before leaving Melbourne by ship at noon on 21st April, Australian time.

5. With regard to the substance of the security arrangement, I propose to inform Dulles again subject to your assent, that Australia has not regarded the point raised by him with regard to article 8 as vital, and that I anticipate no difficulty in the three of us agreeing upon drafting amendments, provided these do not affect the basic substance of the treaty.

6. Recent advice which we received from London was to the effect that Gordon Walker has said that if the U.S. agreed to a three-power arrangement, he and Morrison would be prepared, without going back to the U.K. cabinet, to take the responsibility of indicating the approval of the United Kingdom. I propose to remind London of this statement and if you agree to the timing, to inform London it is essential that complementary statements should be issued in London, Canberra and Wellington at an agreed time on 20th April, London and Washington time.

7. We will, of course, keep in touch with you as to the lines to be taken in any such statement.

8. I should appreciate your most urgent advice on the abovementioned points which I have raised. I understand that Watt spoke to McIntosh somewhat along the above lines this afternoon, and that he gained the impression that the only doubt which has arisen in Wellington is on the point whether the proposed presidential statement would or would not be followed by an actual treaty along the lines of the Canberra draft. I think it is clear from my message from Dulles that such a treaty is contemplated.

1 See Document 82.

2 Document 50.

[NAA : A1838, TS686/1, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top