811.24500/4–2546: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Harriman)

top secret

3577. Reurtel 4474, Apr. 25, 6 p.m. The following is summary of memorandum39 of regional defense arrangements for Southwest Pacific approved by State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee.

Begin Summary

UN Charter was not intended to promote artificial development of regional arrangements for security purposes.
Present consideration of over-all regional arrangement for SW Pacific, with or without US participation, would be premature and inadvisable.
Australian proposal might encourage USSR to advocate other regional arrangements not to advantage of UN.
Regarding the question of base rights as independent of a regional arrangement, the US prefers to proceed with discussions based on proposals already before Australian Govt and is prepared to insure that rights accorded are integrated into mutual obligations under UNO.
If Evatt raises question of joint Australian-New Zealand participation in base rights given to US, or in US bases, it is suggested that he be told this point should be dealt with in negotiations for rights. (We have made detailed proposals to Australia regarding Manus and have told Australia we are ready to discuss them at any time convenient to Australia.)
If Evatt claims negotiations for base rights should await preparation of detailed defense plans for SW Pacific by Security Council or Military Staff Committee, it is suggested he be told US position is that these bodies will develop specific defense plans only to meet an existing or imminent threat to the peace; no such threat at present envisaged in SW Pacific.

End Summary

The above document was prepared for possible use of Secretary at Paris but in as much as Evatt has raised this question with you it is suggested that you talk to him along the above lines at the earliest appropriate opportunity. Repeated to Paris.40

  1. Memorandum summarized is enclosure to SWNCC 292/1, dated April 20, 1946 (811.34590/4–2246).
  2. Repeated to Paris as telegram 1935 for Secretary Byrnes and Assistant Secretary Dunn.