The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Marshall)


My Dear Mr. Secretary: I enclose herewith a draft of a suggested memorandum to the President which the Secretaries of State and Defense might sign jointly if it meets with your approval. The Memorandum is, I think, largely self-explanatory and a copy was provided informally to your Department on April 3. Mr. Dulles or I shall be glad to supply supplementary background, if you desire.

I hope that this can be considered by the Department of Defense as a matter of urgency. The political situation, particularly in Australia where the Japanese peace settlement has been made an issue in pending general elections (the vote to take place on April 28) makes it important that we should be able promptly to indicate a willingness, at least in principle, to make a security arrangement with Australia and New Zealand along the lines approved by the President’s letter of January 10, 1951.1 Also this willingness has a close bearing on currently active negotiations with the United Kingdom regarding a Japanese Peace Treaty which will not exclude rearmament by Japan.

I understand that the documents brought back by Mr. Dulles2 from his Presidential Mission to the Western Pacific and the State Department’s tentative and suggestive draft of a Japanese Peace Treaty3 are under consideration by your Department. I hope, however, that it may be practical to get the enclosed memorandum to the President without awaiting the complete views of the Department of Defense with reference to the detailed language of the other documents referred to.4

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson

Draft Memorandum for the President


In your letter of January 10, 1951 designating Mr. John Foster Dulles as your special representative for the purpose of conducting [Page 184] negotiations incident upon bringing about a Japanese Peace Treaty you stated inter alia that the United States:

“Desires that Japan should increasingly acquire the ability to defend itself, and that, in order further to implement this policy, the United States Government is willing to make a mutual assistance arrangement among the Pacific Island nations (Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, the United States and perhaps Indonesia) which would have the dual purpose of assuring combined action as between the members to resist aggression from without and also to resist attack by one of the members, e.g. Japan, if Japan should again become aggressive.”

Consideration of this matter, particularly during the course of Ambassador Dulles’ visit to Japan, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand, made apparent that the desired results can be better achieved by a series of arrangements rather than by a single arrangement.

Japan is not legally, economically or politically in a position now to undertake what the Vandenberg Resolution speaks of as “continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid”. Therefore, it would not be practical at this time to make more than a provisional arrangement with Japan which, as contemplated by the memorandum which you approved on September 7, 1950, would give the United States the right to garrison forces in Japan while avoiding any prohibition of Japan’s inalienable right to self-defense and to possess the means to exercise that right. Accordingly, the Dulles Mission drafted in Japan the tentative text of a bi-lateral treaty along these lines which would in essence give the United States the right to maintain armed forces in and about Japan until the United States was of the opinion some other arrangement would satisfactorily provide for security in the Japan area. In this connection the Japanese Prime Minister stated in his communiqué issued concurrently with Mr. Dulles’ final communiqué in Japan that “when we recover our independence and join the council of free nations as an equal member, the substance and scope of the Japanese contribution will be determined according to the extent of our economic and industrial recovery.”5
In the case of the Philippines, Ambassador Dulles found interest in a mutual assistance arrangement with the United States which would not, however, put the Philippines in the position of being in effect an “ally” of Japan. This latter is a step for which their public opinion was not yet prepared.
In the case of Australia and New Zealand it was found that their public opinion also would not accept an “alliance” with Japan but that there was much interest in a mutual assistance arrangement, initially limited to Australia, New Zealand and the United States. This would provide for consultation and coordination of planning with other states in a position to contribute to the security of the Pacific area. The [Page 185] tentative text6 of such an arrangement was drafted, in Canberra, by Ambassador Dulles and the Foreign Ministers of Australia and New Zealand.
The United Kingdom has strongly objected to a single arrangement between the United States, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and possibly Indonesia, on the theory that to identify in this way the island chain would increase the mainland danger, particularly to the U.K. positions in Hongkong and Malaya. However, the United Kingdom does not object to a series of arrangements between the United States and Japan, the United States and the Philippines, and the United States, Australia and New Zealand, which would provide for consultation and coordinated planning with as common denominator the influence and participation of the United States.
With respect to Indonesia there is evidence that it wishes to be invited to participate in some form of mutual security arrangement, but that it would not accept such an invitation. Politically it may be important to have it publicly known that Indonesia would be welcome in a mutual security arrangement and this matter is now being given further study.

With your approval, a tentative and suggestive draft of a Japanese peace treaty has now been circulated which, in accordance with the memorandum you approved on September 7, 1950, will not restrict Japan’s right to rearm. It is thus important that the United States promptly be in a position to announce publicly its intention to supplement this treaty proposal by arrangements for “assuring combined action … if Japan should again become aggressive.” (Your letter of January 10, 1951.)

It is accordingly recommended that Mr. Dulles’ terms of reference as contained in your letter of January 10, 1951, be amended to authorize “mutual security arrangements” (plural) instead of “a mutual security arrangement” (singular).

It is believed that the three arrangements contemplated, one with Japan, one with the Philippines, one with Australia and New Zealand, and possibly one with Indonesia, will in fact achieve what your letter of January 10, 1951 described as “the dual purpose of assuring combined action as between the members to resist aggression from without and also to resist attack by one of the members, e.g., Japan, if Japan should again become aggressive.”7

  1. For text, see enclosure 2 (as annotated) to Mr. Acheson’s letter of January 9 to Secretary Marshall, p. 788.
  2. See Mr. Dulles’ letter (with enclosure and annexes) of February 10 to Secretary Acheson, p. 874.
  3. See the draft of March 23, p. 944.
  4. In a covering memorandum of April 5 to the Secretary, Mr. Dulles stated in part: “It is my intention, as soon as the letter is signed, to take it personally to Secretary Marshall and deliver it to him, together with a general explanation of its background.” Record of such a conversation with Secretary Marshall has not been found in Department of State files.
  5. Full texts of the two communiqués issued February 11 are included in telegram 1548 from Tokyo, February 12, not printed. (694.001/2–1251)
  6. Reference is to the draft of February 17, p. 172.
  7. In a memorandum to Mr. Dulles of April 3, George W. Perkins, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, had stated: “My only comment on the draft memorandum to the President on the Pacific security arrangement is that it is excellent. From our point of view the proposed change from one pact to three is an improvement.” (Lot 54D423)