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88 Extract From Dispatch 26/51 From Moodie to Department of External Affairs

Extract, [Washington], 14 May 1951


Press reaction to the [P]resident's statement[1] of 18th April concerning Security in the Pacific
On 18th April at 1525 hours the White House press officer released the text of a statement by the President that the United States was moving 'steadily forward, in company of other countries in the Pacific, in its determination to make even stronger the position of the free world in the Pacific Ocean area'. The announcement referred to three security arrangements in the Pacific area. Firstly a post-Treaty security arrangement whereby U.S. armed forces would remain in and about Japan; secondly, the existing Military Bases Agreement between the United States and the Philippines and thirdly a projected security arrangement between the Governments of the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

2. The text of the President's announcement concerning Australia and New Zealand and the concluding paragraph of his announcement are as follows:

The Government of Australia and New Zealand, in connection with the re-establishment of peace with Japan, have suggested an arrangement between them and the United States, pursuant to Articles 51 and 52 of the United Nations Charter, which would make clear that in the event of an armed attack upon any one of them in the Pacific, each of the three would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes; and which would establish consultations to strengthen security on the basis of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid.

The possibilities of such an arrangement were fully explored by Mr. Dulles at Canberra, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand, and have since been informally discussed with the appropriate sub-committees of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House.

I have now asked the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and Mr. Dulles, as my special representative in relation to the Japanese Peace Settlement and related matters, to pursue this matter further concurrently with the prosecution of the other negotiations necessary to bring the Japanese peace settlement to an early and satisfactory conclusion.

The series of arrangements and dispositions outlined above, will strengthen the fabric of peace in the whole Pacific Ocean area, where security is strongly influenced by sea and air power. They constitute natural initial steps in the consolidation of peace in that area and also will contribute to the building of universal peace as sought by the United Nations and under which great goal the efforts of our nation are now being largely dedicated.

3. It had originally been intended that the Presidential announcement would be made on or about 20th April, however, on 17th April the President decided that the text of the announcement should be released at his weekly press conference at 1630 hours on 18th April. The reasons for advancing the date of release were to endeavour to get more press publicity for the announcement in view of General MacArthur's speech to Congress on 19th April, and to forestall criticism that the statement had been issued to counteract arguments which might be raised by the General in his speech to Congress. As it turned out the Presidential announcement was made an hour in advance of the scheduled time because the fact that the President was going to make a statement on this subject had been so widely leaked to the press that there was little point in holding it back for the President to announce personally.

4. At his press conference on 18th April, the President in replying to questions, went somewhat further than the text of the official announcement. In particular, he was asked whether his announcement meant that an attack upon one of the parties would be considered an attack upon all. The President replied that the proposed arrangements would be similar to the guarantee contained in the North Atlantic Pact, on which it was modelled, and that the intention of the arrangements was to consider an attack on one to be an attack on all.

5. In a speech[2] before the Women's National Press Club on the evening of 18th April the Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Acheson, referred to the President's announcement as 'an important step forward in the great strategic task of building security in the Pacific'. The Secretary of State recalled 'with regard and affection our association (with Australia and New Zealand) in World War II', noted that without formal arrangements the 'fates of Australia, New Zealand and the United States had been joined' and stated that 'discussions of a Japanese Peace settlement raised the desirability of saying more formally what had become an accepted fact'. The Secretary of State went on to emphasise that the defence arrangements referred to by the President were 'initial' and in no way final, and that they would not interfere with any broader arrangements such as nations of the area might wish to develop. The Secretary of State's remarks were made during a speech on United States Foreign Policy in the Far East.

1 See editorial note - The Presidential Statement.

2 See note 2 to Document 86.

[NAA : A5460, 901, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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