Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 348

The Australian Embassy to the Department of State1

top secret

SEATOAustralian Views

1. Scope and Nature of Military Planning

Canberra has requested information on U.S. thinking on the following questions:

What is to be the scope and nature of military planning under SEATO?
Will planning go to such an extent that we will know that specified forces, including U.S. forces, will be available at specified places for specified purposes under specified circumstances?
When and where will this planning be done?
What are the contingencies that may be expected to arise?
With what resources are such contingencies to be met?
What commitments may be expected from SEATO members?

Canberra feels that unless SEATO members are prepared to join in the planning with the definite understanding that certain forces will be available in certain contingencies, SEATO will be of only limited help in planning for the defence of South East Asia. Moreover, SEATO would fall short of what the Australian public expects. In addition it would run the risk of being a treaty that would bind all of us to support military action without any prior planning or understandings as to the form or availability of forces. It is important for us to know this. The Prime Minister has presented SEATO to Parliament as an arrangement which will define our task, give clarified direction to our defence organisation, mark out our zone of possible operations, and show us the nature and size of the forces we need.

2. U.S. Military Representation

Has any decision been taken on U.S. military representation at the Conference? If so, at what level?

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3. Non-Interference

It is suggested that the Article on non-interference in internal affairs might run along the following lines:

“Nothing in this treaty should be taken as authorising any action on the part of the Council or its subsidiary bodies which constitutes any infringement of sovereignty of any party or intervention in its internal affairs.”

We should like, however, to see this Article in the context of the completed drafted text, as we feel we should satisfy ourselves that our freedom of activity in countering subversion will not be limited.

  1. This undated paper is included in the Conference series as SEAP D–2/6. It is attached to the following covering note (dated Aug. 20) by Trulock:

    “Attached is a memorandum given us by the Australian Embassy requesting information for Canberra on US thinking on a number of questions and outlining certain Australian views.”