1. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson1


  • Call on You by the Prime Minister of Australia2

Why He is Here

The Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, is to call on you at 12:00 noon, Wednesday, June 24. Mr. William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, will attend. A stag, working luncheon will follow the meeting.

Prime Minister Menzies is making an informal visit to the United States expressly to see you. Although there are no “crisis” matters that demand urgent consultation, he wants to establish with you the same degree of personal contact that existed between him and President Kennedy. He will proceed from Washington to London for the conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers, July 8–15.

Topics You May Wish to Raise

1. Express pleasure on his recovery from illness. He had to cancel a projected visit to Israel prior to coming here because of a bout of influenza, followed by an abdominal complaint.

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2. Thank him for Australiaʼs prompt response to our request for aid to South Viet-Nam. Australia is sending 30 more Army training instructors to South Viet-Nam, raising the total to 60, and will allow them to be used in the field at battalion and lower levels as adviser teams. Australia will also provide 6 Caribou transport aircraft and will send a team to Saigon to consult on ways in which Australian non-military aid might be increased.

3. Express gratification at the May 27 statement by the Australian Treasurer, Mr. Harold Holt, that Australia will increase its defense spending by at least $67 million in the 1964–65 financial year, making total defense expenditure more than $649.9 million.

4. Thank him for Australiaʼs excellent cooperation in providing a forecast of significantly reduced meat exports to the United States this year. This forecast was the key to Secretary Freemanʼs recent announcement of an estimated reduction in overall imports to about the 1959–63 average, the level called for in most of the proposed meat-import bills. Australiaʼs exports will likely be reduced to about the average for this period.

Domestic prices, however, are very low and there is still heavy pressure for import quotas. It is very possible that the Senate will pass a bill to restrict meat imports, but the chances of action by the House are less likely.

The following table shows the trend in meat exports to the United States this year (in million pounds):

1963 1964 projection
Australia (incl. mutton) 580 358 (-38%)
All others 581 481 (-17%)
Total 1161 839 (-28%)

5. Let him know that, while we recognize Australiaʼs right to trade with whatever nation it pleases, we are uneasy about Australiaʼs increasing dependence on Communist China as a market. Australiaʼs exports of wheat to Red China have risen from zero in 1959–60 to 1.1 million tons, 1.9 million tons and 2.0 million tons in succeeding years. In 1962–63 more than 42 percent of Australiaʼs wheat exports went to Communist China. Moreover, Communist China is Australiaʼs eighth best customer for wool. You may wish to express our concern at the potential domestic (i.e. within Australia) political problems that might arise should the livelihood of too many Australians come to depend on sales to Communist China.

Topics the Prime Minister May Raise

He will probably wish to discuss the situation in Southeast Asia, and especially in Malaysia, South Viet-Nam and Laos. While we do not think he will wish to urge any change in our present course of action, he will probably appreciate having from you an assessment of the progress that has been made and the difficulties still to be overcome.
He is likely to raise the matter of Australian relations with Indonesia. He will probably review Australian efforts to establish and maintain friendly relations with Indonesia but point out that Indonesian “confrontation” of Malaysia has strained these ties. Positioning of Australian non-combat forces in Malaysian Borneo has, not surprisingly, attracted adverse comment in Indonesia. Finally, he is likely to raise the fact that on May 14 Indonesian Foreign Minister Subandrio admitted to the Australian Ambassador that it was possible that Indonesia in a few years might seek to unite East New Guinea with West Irian under the Indonesian flag. He will probably express Australian concern over the foregoing train of events.
We have no indication of specific interests, but it is not unlikely he may also inquire about other points of world tension—Cuba, Berlin, Cyprus, for example. Australia has sent 40 police to Cyprus in response to a request from U.N. Secretary General U Thant.
He may ask for an estimate of possible further advances toward a total ban of nuclear testing or toward disarmament.
When Prime Minister Menzies called on President Kennedy last July he raised the question of the U.S. commitment under the ANZUS treaty in the event that Australian forces in Borneo should be attacked by Indonesian forces. For your information, we have enclosed a copy of a paper handed by Mr. McGeorge Bundy to the Australian Minister of External Affairs on October 17, 1963, which summarizes our mutual positions.3
Dean Rusk 4
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 AUSTL. Secret. Drafted by Thrasher, Paul M. Miller of SPA, and Conlon. Cleared by Cuthell, William Bundy, George Roberts of S/VN. Topic 5 cleared in draft by Lieutenant General Fred M. Dean, Assistant Director for Weapons Evaluation and Control, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and topic 4 in draft by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Jerome Jacobson.
  2. According to telegram 110 to Canberra, June 24, Menzies requested that he meet alone with the President, Rusk, and McNamara and no notes be taken. This request was assertedly not made for a desire for secrecy, but from Menziesʼ desire to “put feet up” and have uninhibited talks. Accordingly, no memoranda of conversation were made. (Ibid.) Johnson met Menzies privately from 12:12 to 1 p.m. on June 24 after reading this briefing paper. (Johnson Library, Presidentʼs Daily Diary)
  3. Reference is to a “Paper on the ANZUS Commitment,” October 16, which is printed in Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XXIII, Document 343. Also attached was a schedule of Menziesʼ appointments in Washington, a biographic sketch, and a suggested toast for the luncheon, none printed.
  4. Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.