52. Editorial Note

Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam visited Washington on October 4, 1974. In anticipation of that visit, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sent briefing material to President Gerald Ford, which stated that Whitlam’s defiance of U.S. foreign policy reflected emerging Australian nationalism and a sense of security that détente had amplified. It further described how U.S.-Australian relations had suffered in the last six months due to Whitlam’s public challenge to the future of U.S. defense bases in Australia, followed soon thereafter by the election of Jim Cairns to the position of Deputy Prime Minister. The briefing memorandum added that relations had recently improved, and that Whitlam now indicated he would not press for the early removal of U.S. bases. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for East Asia and the Pacific, Box 1, Australia [2])

On October 5, 1974 at 11 a.m., Whitlam visited the White House and met with Ford. The two leaders did not discuss serious problems. Ford said, “We are grateful for all the good relations we have with you. I want you to know the United States Government’s position on foreign policy will be the same as it has been. I always believed in the policy because it is good. We are on the right track on relations with the Soviets and Chinese. We will remain strong in NATO and we want a presence, in a constructive way, in your part of the world. Our relations with Australia are part of that worldwide policy.” Neither side raised the issue of American defense facilities in Australia. (Memorandum of Conversation, October 5, 1974; ibid., Memoranda of Conversation, Box 6)