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85 Cablegram From Department of External Affairs to High Commission in London and Embassy in Washington

Cablegram, Canberra, 18 April 1951


Following draft statement has been approved by Minister for issue to the press at 9.15 a.m. Thursday 19th April Australian time.[1]

Pacific Security Arrangements
The Minister for External Affairs, the Honourable P. C. Spender referred this morning to the significance, for Australia, of the statement made at 4.30 p.m. Washington time by the President of the United States.[2]

'This is a 'green light'on the road to Pacific Security,' said Mr. Spender. 'Though the actual terms of any formal agreement have yet to be negotiated, the President's announcement reflects the most important single development in our Foreign relations since the war.

This is an historic occasion. I cannot refrain from expressing the profound satisfaction of the Australian Government and of myself for the terms of the President's statement. The President has asked his Secretaries of State and Defence, as well as his special representative, Mr. Dulles, to pursue the question of a regional arrangement, pursuant to articles 51 and 52 of the United Nations Charter, with Australia and New Zealand. That is a clear indication of the progress which has been made towards our goal.

To accomplish an arrangement of the kind envisaged in the President's statement,' said Mr. Spender, 'has been the Government's constant objective for more than a year. There does not appear to be any reason why the negotiations to which the President has referred should not be brought to a speedy and successful conclusion, resulting in an arrangement under which the three Governments would mutually recognise that, in the event of an armed attack in the Pacific upon any of the three parties, each of the three would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Australians will, I know, welcome the announcement,' said Mr. Spender. 'We have a lively remembrance of the great comradeship of arms which existed between the forces of our three countries during the perilous days of 1941-1945. The close association of Australia and New Zealand with the United States under an arrangement based on the principles of self help and mutual aid, and containing adequate provision for consultation, would constitute a solid guarantee to peace in the Pacific and to the security of Australia.

We have at all times made it clear that we, in common with other peace-loving nations, desire to take our share of responsibility in maintaining world peace. The President's statement accordingly gives immense satisfaction to all who have at heart the security, the well being and the happiness of Australia, and the cause of peace in the Pacific.

The successful negotiation of such an agreement has another positive aspect,' added Mr. Spender. 'With enhanced safety at home, Australia would be enabled to play an even more effective part in collective security arrangements within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations. An arrangement with the United States of America and New Zealand and would strengthen our capacity to take our due share in wider tasks of global security.

What is contemplated would, of course, in no way affect, except to enhance, those special, warm and intimate relationships which we enjoy with other members of the Commonwealth, and especially with the United Kingdom.

I am delighted, for this reason, to know that the announcement by the President has the warm approval and support of Mr. Morrison as Acting Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Throughout the negotiations on this subject we have, of course, been in closest consultation with the United Kingdom Government.

I have a special pleasure,' said Mr. Spender, 'in expressing our gratitude for the wise, sympathetic and resourceful help which we have enjoyed during the negotiations from Mr. Dulles, the Special Assistant to the President. He has rendered great service in the cause of international peace and security'.

Mr. Spender said that Australia will respond at once to the President's request to the United States Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and Mr. Dulles to pursue the matter, with a view to reaching early conclusion of negotiations.

'It should be at all time remembered,' concluded Mr. Spender, 'that in the last resort it has been the splendid reputation of our fighting men in two world wars and in Korea which has contributed so much to the creation of those relationships between ourselves and the United States of America without which the progress already made would not have been possible.'

1 See editorial note - The Presidential Statement, Spender's statement was issued on 19 April. The text is given in Current Notes, vol. 22, 1951, pp. 236-7.

2 The actual statement delivered on 19 April reads 'made at 3.25 p.m. Washington time'.

[NAA : A5460, 217/6, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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