The Acting Secretary of Defense (Anderson) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Murphy)


Dear Mr. Murphy: I refer to your letter of 16 August 19541 in which you requested an early indication of the views of the Department of Defense in regard to military machinery under the proposed Southeast Asia Pact.

As expressed in a letter of 17 August 1954 from Secretary Wilson to the Secretary of State, the Department of Defense considers that military machinery necessary to make the Treaty effective should be similar to the ANZUS arrangements. As you know, one Military Representative from each of the signatory Governments is accredited to the ANZUS Council. These Representatives advise the Council on problems of military cooperation that may arise in connection with the application of the Treaty, consider and make recommendations to their respective Chiefs of Staff, and furnish to the Council those recommendations which have received approval of their respective Chiefs of Staff. They meet periodically, as required, and rotate the site of their meetings among the countries concerned. CINCPAC is accredited to the Council as the U.S. Military Representative, and there are liaison officers assigned by each Government to the offices of the Military Representatives of the others to provide for continuity of effort among the Representatives.

Among the military considerations underlying establishment of the ANZUS military machinery was concern lest an organization should be created for the development of combined regional military plans along the NATO pattern. Such an organization under the ANZUS agreement was felt to be inimical to U.S. interests in [Page 768] that it could provide a means by which pressure could be exerted to commit the United States to a military effort disproportionate to its over-all responsibilities and commitments; it could tend to reduce, without compensating military advantage, United States military freedom of action; and it could give other countries of the Pact power of veto over the type and scope of plans evolved.

The Department of Defense, while recognizing that the proposed Southeast Asia Pact does not reflect a situation identical to that of the ANZUS Treaty, nevertheless believes that the above considerations remain generally applicable, and that the Military Representatives of the signatory Parties to a Southeast Asia Pact should function in a consultative arrangement which could lead to the development of national plans so coordinated as to increase the mutual effectiveness of the defensive effort of the countries concerned. In this connection an exchange of planning information among the Military Representatives would be feasible and useful. Mechanical arrangements, such as the site of the meetings, would be of secondary importance. Due to the large number of signatories to a Southeast Asia Pact, it might be most feasible to establish the seat of the meetings in one of the capitals.

With respect to interim military machinery that might be set up until the Treaty is ratified and comes into effect, this matter would seem necessarily to depend on the character of the interim political machinery established during the period. Assuming that an interim Council would be formed along lines mentioned in your informal memorandum of 22 July 1954,2 it would appear reasonable and consistent with the above views regarding military machinery that each of the signatory Parties should designate a military liaison officer of field grade who could act as an adviser to the diplomatic representative. These liaison officers could form the basis of the military machinery after the Treaty comes into effect.

Rather than establishing a separate headquarters, diplomatic and military personnel accredited to the Council could be associated with the Embassies of the signatory Parties in the host capital, and in this way avoid the creation of a permanent staff.

As expressed in the above mentioned letter of Secretary Wilson, this Department continues to believe that it would be premature to discuss military machinery, other than in general terms such as those set forth above, during the negotiations at the conference of Foreign Ministers in Manila. In subsequent consultations, possibly by the interim Council, details could be worked out in response to specific requirements rather than formulated in advance.

[Page 769]

The above views, although not definitive, reflect the thinking of this Department at this time.

Sincerely yours,

R. B. Anderson
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not found in Department of State files.