2. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • General Discussion


  • The President
  • Mr. William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs
  • The Honorable Paul Hasluck, Minister of External Affairs of Australia
  • Sir Arthur Tange, Secretary of the Dept. of External Affairs of Australia
  • Mr. Alan Renouf, Charge dʼAffaires of Australia
The President, after expressing his warm personal feelings for Australia, opened by asking how the Commonwealth Prime Ministers conference had gone. Mr. Hasluck mentioned the following points:
Mr. Butler had given them an excellent summary of the world situation, indicating that, with the reduced tensions with the USSR, China had assumed greater importance and become perhaps the central problem. In the ensuing discussion, the Australians and others had stressed the need to contain Chinese expansionism, but they had found in connection with the communiqué that several of the Commonwealth members, notably from Africa, were reluctant to condemn Communist China or even to speak of its being aggressive. (The Pakistani were reported to have been fairly silent on this issue.)
Several of the African members had expressed concern nonetheless about the degree of Chinese Communist activity in their area and the effectiveness of the Communist Chinese claim that, unlike the USSR and the major western nations, they the Chinese were a “have not” nation and thus akin to the Africans.
In response to the Presidentʼs question Mr. Hasluck indicated that President Ayub of Pakistan had been somewhat less active than in the past in the sessions.
The President expressed his appreciation of Mr. Hasluckʼs own statements about Southeast Asia and also about Australiaʼs increased [Page 5] contribution in South Viet-Nam. Mr. Hasluck responded that their contribution was still not really major but that it certainly demonstrated their belief in the importance of the conflict. He went so far as to say that “if South Viet-Nam goes, that is the end in Southeast Asia.”
The President mentioned our problem with the fall in beef prices and our hope that Australia would be sending less during the year. The ensuing discussion was in a rather joking tone, with the President asking a number of questions about cattle raising in Australia and specifically about the activities of the King Ranch in northern Australia. It was clear, however, that the Australian delegation was taking no exception to the well understood request to limit their shipments.
Following the Presidentʼs presentation to Mr. Hasluck of a picture of himself, Mr. Hasluck said there was one final subject relating to the ANZUS Treaty. He said that Prime Minister Menzies had recently made a statement on this subject in Parliament, and that the US had indicated that this fairly stated the case. The Australians well understood that, in the light of the understood application of the Treaty in the event of attacks on Australian forces in the Pacific area (he did not go into the “overt” distinction but this seemed to be implied), Australia well recognized that it had an obligation to consult carefully with the US before its forces went into exposed positions where attack was possible. He said that they certainly intended to carry out this obligation of consultation, and the President expressed his appreciation for this viewpoint and indicated that we would do the same with respect to our own forces.2
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL AUSTL–US. Secret. Drafted by William Bundy on July 16 and approved by the White House July 17. According to the Presidentʼs Daily Diary, the meeting lasted from 12:44 to 1:01 p.m. (Johnson Library) A note on the White House copy of this memorandum indicates that it had “not been cleared personally by the President.” (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Australia, Vol. I, 11/63–12/65) The Department of State sent the White House a briefing paper for this meeting with Hasluck, who was in Washington for the ANZUS Council meetings, July 17–18. The primary purpose of the meeting, according to the briefing paper, was for Hasluck to make the Presidentʼs acquaintance. (Memorandum from Read to McGeorge Bundy, July 14; Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 AUSTL)
  2. Hasluck met with Rusk later in the day from 4:33 to 5:45 p.m. (Johnson Library, Rusk Appointment Book) A summary of their discussion can be found in circular telegram 127, July 21. (Department of State, S/S-Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2423) Prime Minister Holyoake of New Zealand met privately with President Johnson on July 20, but there were no other U.S. officials present and therefore no U.S. notetakers. (Memorandum of conversation by Thrasher, July 20; ibid.)