Document: Memorandum by Robert A.
Fearey of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs, US Department of State:
Notes on conversation among Ambassador Dulles, Australian and New Zealand
Ministers for External Affairs, and staffs, Canberra, 14-18 February
Source [link within this page]:
US Department of State, Foreign Relations
of the United States, 1951, Volume 6, Part 1 (Washington, DC, US
Government Printing Office, 1977), pp. 161-63.
In this extract from the US minutes of the Dulles-Spender-Doidge
negotiations, Dulles refers to US advocacy of a lenient peace treaty
with Japan (“our proposals”). He explains how British opposition
to the idea of an “offshore island” pact had thrown US officials
“off balance” but indicates nonetheless an American willingness
“to consider all possible suggestions”. He states clearly
his intention to develop some kind of Pacific defence arrangement: “I
want to make clear that there is no hesitation or reluctance on our
part as regards the substance of what you want.”
As already stated, Ambassador Dulles continued,
we recognize that our proposals are not easily saleable to your people.
Much of what I have said cannot be explained publicly here and, if publicly
revealed, would tend to destroy what we are trying to do in Japan. It
is reason¬able-for you to want to have something to meet Australian
and New Zealand public opinion. Mr. Spender wondered if the idea of
a Pacific Pact, had evaporated. When I left Washington it was with broad
authority to make a security pact that would include Australia, New
Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, the U.S. and possibly Indonesia. I
outlined our general thinking on it to Ambassador Franks in Washington
but only when we got to Tokyo did we learn that the U.K. was strongly
opposed to such a pact. This threw us off balance. The matter has now
got to be reconsidered which will mean the reopening of a number of
pertinent factors. We do not feel that we can deal with these factors
here with finality since they were not fully considered by the Government
before we left. We are, however, prepared to con¬sider all possible
suggestions. The principal possibilities appear to be (1) a series of
bilateral arrangements between the U.S: and various Pacific island countries;
(2) a triangular Australian, New Zealand and U.S. arrangement coupled
with bilateral U.S. understandings with the U.S. and the Philippines
or independently thereof [sic] ; (3) a joint arrangement among Australia,
New Zealand, the Philippines and the U.S. plus a U.S.-Japan bilateral
arrangement; (4) a joint arrangement participated in by all five countries.
I want to make clear that there is no hesitation or reluctance on our
part as regards the substance of what you want. We thought we had a
generally satis¬factory formula but the British did not like it.
Mr. Spender commented that it seemed somewhat surprising to him that
the U.S. should have been so deterred by the British objections. Australia,
he said, regards itself as the principal in this area. After all, he
stated, the Australians live here.
Ambassador Dulles replied that he had not in any way indicated to the
U.K. that the U.S. accepted its objections as valid. We do attach importance
to them, however, and see difficulty in proceeding if the British continue
to feel as strongly as they have indicated. We were told that the matter
would be considered by the Cabinet last Monday.
Mr. Doidge said that he disliked the thought of an agreement of this
type without the U.K. being a part.
Mr. Spender commented that he believed that the British objections
would be met by a series of bilateral arrangements. He could not see
how anyone could object to an agreement by the U.S. and Australia or
agreements between the U.S. and other individual countries. He then
listed and commented on each of the British objections as follows:
1. That a pact would cut across New Zealand and Australian ar¬rangements
for the Middle East - Mr. Spender said that he did not see any conflict
at all here and believed that the pact would on the con¬trary fortify
2. That Indonesia's adherence was unlikely - Mr. Spender said that he
also considered that it was unlikely. The chairman of the Foreign Affairs
Committee of the Indonesian Parliament had just publicly stated that
Indonesia would have nothing to do with the pact.
3. That the effect on non-Communist mainland countries would he unfortunate.
Mr. Spender said that he agreed that this aspect of the matter presents
difficulties but that he did not consider them insuperable. Sir Esler
Dening had said that it was a drawback to the pact but not such as to
prevent its conclusion. He thought that it should be dealt with through
parallel understandings. Sir [Esler] had also said that a three power
pact would entirely avoid this objection.
Mr. Allison said that if Japan were included it would be a member of
the club and, if any program of rearmament, would have to obey the.
rules of the club, which rules Australia and New Zealand would help
to make. Mr. Spender replied that he had told the Cabinet that Aus¬tralia's
ultimate aim should be to attract Japan into our camp but that this
was impossible politically now. Australia, he had said, should move
to a state of peace with Japan, should work with Japan, and, if it finds
that it is responding, should then bring Japan in. Public opinion toward
Japan by that time would have become readjusted.
4. That we have to keep in mind a pact which will include the whole
of Asia - Mr. Spender said that he doubted that he would live this long
and that he was more interested in the immediate problem.
.5. That the U.K. would not be a principal - Mr. Spender said that Sir
[Esler] had told him that Britain did not want to be in the pact but
at the same time would be unhappy if it were left out.
Ambassador Dulles said that from the point of view of the military
defence of this area Japan is in a critical position. The attack may
come from the south through Indonesia but is more likely in the north
through Japan. Our military people feel that Japan is the anchor posi¬tion,
and that if it were lost it would make it difficult to hold the rest.