35. Letter From Prime Minister Menzies to Secretary of State Dulles1

My Dear Secretary: I enclose a rough draft of a suggested statement which I would hope to able to use at an appropriate time in Australia. All improvements will be gladly accepted.

With very kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Robert Menzies
[Page 69]


During my visit to Washington I had a valuable conversation with the President of the United States about the defence of South-East Asia and, in particular, the defence of Malaya to which Australia attaches the highest possible significance.

Our discussions made it abundantly clear that in the general task of preventing further Communist aggression, the United States considered the defence of Malaya to be of very great importance.

I raised the question whether in the event of Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand undertaking to engage substantial forces for the defence of Malaya, we could be assured that the U.S. would, ((?) in the air and on the sea) be prepared to give us effective co-operation.

To this the President replied that though the tactical employment of forces was a matter which would have to be worked out in detail on the Services level, we could be assured of effective co-operation by the United States.

I enquired further whether the deficiencies in military equipment which have inevitably arisen from the very great pressure which exists upon our own resources of money, men and materials, we might hope to be able to look to the United States for military supply on some basis to be arranged.

The President replied that having regard to what he knew so well about Australia’s attitude and fighting capacity he would be happy to authorize his own Supply people to take this matter up with Australia’s corresponding officials upon the basis of an accurate assessment of our deficiencies and a consideration of the ways and means by which the equipment positon may be improved.

In brief, I am in a position to say by the authority of the President that Australia can feel assured of complete co-operation between our two nations in the defence of our common security and in resistance to any further acts of Communist aggression.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 439. Top Secret