28 Despatch from Spender to Casey

Washington, 24 December 1957

5/57. Top Secret Guard

United States Defence Policy

During the years I have been in Washington it has been my continuous endeavour to assess the fundamental motives and objectives of U.S. defence policies. I must confess however that even after nearly seven years of study a number of fundamental uncertainties remain in my mind. These uncertainties stem from two main factors-the divisions on basic policy questions which undoubtedly exist among U.S. defence leaders; and the fact that many official statements on defence policy are made for political purposes and sometimes indeed mask the real thinking of the American Government.

The 'Encirclement' Doctrine

2. The basic doctrine to which the U.S. Government is publicly committed is that of encircling the Communist bloc with a ring of bases situated to a large extent in the territories of its Treaty partners. This policy has been presented to the U.S. public as being essential to the security of the U.S. In practice however the attitude of the U.S. towards its allies has in the past suggested that the U.S. regarded its alliances as more vital to the Allies concerned than to itself. Aid has been proffered in terms that have in a political sense not always been easy for the recipients; and the U.S. has in effect maintained a status of special privilege within the alliances.

[matter omitted]

Australia - United States Relations in Defence

[matter omitted]

28. [matter omitted] The United States Government has proclaimed the policy of interdependence not only for the North Alliance but for the other strategically vital areas of the world. We should therefore lose no opportunity of impressing upon the United States Government the importance of making interdependence a reality among ANZUS powers. We should, I consider, raise our target in regard to what help we might ask from the United States, particularly in the field of tactical atomic weapons. In view of the huge disparity between the forces available to the Communist powers in Asia and those available to the free countries, I cannot believe that Australia would be wise to rely indefinitely on conventional weapons for her own security. Moreover Australia is peculiarly vulnerable, I think, to submarine-launched atomic missiles. The United States spends vast sums on military aid to allies demonstrably less reliable than Australia, and I consider that it would not be impossible, if sufficient and sustained pressure is exerted, to persuade the American government that it is in their interests to give us considerably larger measure of practical help than in the past.

P.S. It has been announced (reportedly by Admiral Stump)1 that Japan is to be given air-to-air guided missiles. Have we no need for these?

[NAA: A1838, TS852/10/4/2]