32 Cablegram From Makin to Spender

Cablegram, Washington, 15 January 1951

82. PRIORITY SECRET

My 66[1] - Pacific Pact.

During a visit to the State Department McNicol received an indication of questions which are being discussed at working level in Far Eastern Affairs Bureau in connection with our aide-memoire.[2] This indication came from two members of the Bureau concerned with policy planning to whom a copy of aide-memoire had been referred for comment.

While I realise that their comments can in no way be regarded as high level reactions I feel it may give a lead as to questions which may be raised when I am called down to the State Department to receive formal reply to aide-memoire.

Officials concerned were obviously giving some thought to delimitation of area to be covered by regional arrangement for the Pacific and were wondering in respect of which territories United Kingdom might be a party. They said it was their understanding that the Australian Government favoured a strictly off-shore regional arrangement in order to avoid complications arising from inclusion of Asiatic mainland countries and enquired whether Singapore, Malaya and Hong Kong should be included. They thought that the United Kingdom should play some part in any Pacific regional arrangement and expressed the view that non-participation by United Kingdom 'might offend the British'. However, they gave the impression that the United States might have doubts about undertaking commitments with regard to British Territories on the mainland of Asia.

2. In case the general question of a Pacific Pact is raised with me by other Commonwealth Ambassadors it would be helpful to know whether other Commonwealth Governments particularly the United Kingdom and New Zealand have been informed of our approach to United States Government.

1 Document 30.

2 Document 29.

[NAA : A1838, TS250/7/10]