Skip to main content

Historical documents

95 Minute From Harry to Watt

Minute, Canberra, 19 June 1951

Pacific Pact
Assuming that New Zealand agrees with the suggested amendments to article 8 of the draft Treaty[1] and that these are acceptable also to the United States, I feel we might at this stage press the Americans for signature of the agreement, even a little ahead of signature of the Japanese Peace Treaty. It is true that the Americans have always stressed the link with the Japanese Treaty and the President's statement[2] implies that negotiations for the tripartite agreement are a part of the Japanese Treaty negotiations.

The United States concern is, however, probably only that Australia should agree with the main provisions of the Japanese Peace Treaty before they give us the Pact. There seems little in the joint United States - United Kingdom draft[3] of the Japanese Treaty which is not in accordance with Australian policy as laid down by Cabinet. I cannot conceive that, in the absence of support from the United Kingdom, Cabinet will wish to do anything more than protest for the record at the absence of direct restrictions, or that they will insist on pursuing the bullion (particularly now that the claims of prisoners-of-war will to some extent be met).

Mr. Spender might point out to Dulles that from our point of view we will now have to explain to the Australian people why there are no restrictions on Japanese rearmament. This cannot be done completely unless we are in a position to publish the text of the Australian-New Zealand-United States Agreement.[4] The agreement does not relate purely, or in our view essentially, to the Japanese settlement, but it would be fully justified quite apart from the restoration of sovereignty to Japan. We gather from Allison that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are 'very keen' on the draft Treaty and that no difficulty in ratification by the Senate is anticipated.[5]

It may be argued that an approach on the above lines cannot be made until we are in a position to inform the United States that we are prepared to accept the joint United States-United Kingdom draft of the Japanese Treaty. I feel, however, that it would do no harm to sound out Dulles, or at least Allison, as to the possibility of early signature of the Pact on the assumption we are ready to accept the Japanese Treaty.

1 See Document 93. Harry presumably was unaware of Cablegram 110 (19 June) from Wellington when writing this minute.

2 See editorial note - The Presidential Statement and Document 88.

3 The text of the draft is given in Current Notes, vol. 22, 1951, pp. 385-98.

4 For the Canberra draft see Document 50.

5 See note 1 to Document 90.

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