Journal Entry #5

Published

5 years ago

Lone White Faces: Australian Foreign Policy & the Nixon Doctrine

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of B.A. (Hons.) in History, University of Sydney. October 2012

 

Acknowledgements:
First and foremost, I would like to thank my supervisor of this project, James Curran for your valuable guidance and advice. Your support and words of wisdom have been a great inspiration to me this year and I simply cannot thank you enough. Also, to my brother who provided much needed moral support, and finally to my parents, for putting up with me.

 

Abstract:
On 25 July 1969, President Richard Nixon would announce a new direction in American foreign policy towards Asia that would have far reaching implications for its ANZUS partner in Australia. This study aims to map out the affects the Nixon Doctrine would have on Australian policy reforms in an attempt to critically examine the forces within international politics that saw Australia comprehensively engage with its Asia neighbours. This Asian region, which had previously been looked at with fear, was gradually viewed in the light of Nixon’s new policies as the only path to Australia’s long-standing future in the region.  

 

PREFACE

The Chill Wind from Guam

On 25 July 1969 President Richard M. Nixon delivered an address at the Naval Officers Club at the Top o’ the Mar on the Pacific Island of Guam. It was an improbable setting for an announcement that would in fact be the first public enunciation of what would subsequently come to be seen as a major shift in American foreign policy. Nor did the timing seem any more suitable than the location – the Apollo XI astronauts had splashed down the day before, and the global media, gratefully concentrating on what was a diversion from the Vietnam quagmire, were eager to fill their front pages with the astronauts’ historic mission. There was in any case no general certainty as to what the President was going to say and what he did was, while catalytic, itself only a suggestion of a change in America’s attitude to the world as yet unsupported by any official policy reform. Added to the strangeness of the announcement’s timing and placement was the likelihood that the whole exercise had only been desig[i]ned to provide a cover for a secret meeting between National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger and the Chief of the North Vietnamese Delegation at the Paris Peace Talks, Xuan Thuy.[ii] Yet, at this unexpected time and on this unassuming Pacific island, President Nixon would give voice to a set of new American world attitudes that would prove to be an important and radical break from the directions taken by past American Presidents – directions on which America’s dependent allies had for long come to rely on. That almost inevitable Nixonian flavour of the clandestine now seems only too fitting for the manner and place in which these attitudes would first find their form – attitudes that would result in a set of policies that became known as the ‘Nixon Doctrine.’[iii]

Nixon began his address to the press by remarking that the Australian Prime Minister John G. Gorton had mentioned to him that “in conversations he had with a number of Asian leaders, they all wondered whether the United States, because of its frustrations over the war in Vietnam – whether the United States would continue to play a significant role in Asia or whether the United States, like the French before, and then the British and of course the Dutch – whether we would withdraw from the Pacific and play a minor role.”[iv] The prospect of a contraction of United States military power in the Pacific was certainly one possibility that Prime Minister Gorton was likely to have been most anxious to discuss with the President.[v] For, in a country who in the “face of a threat from a major power” looked to “America as the shield, as the friend and ally best able to respond,”[vi] any possible qualification or reduction in American military forces in the Asia-Pacific region would, for the ‘dependent’ Australia, be cause for significant anxiety and fear. But Nixon for his part, however, was emphatic that “down the long road – not just 4 years, 5 years, but 10, 15 or 20 – that if we are going to have peace in the world, that potentially the greatest threat to that peace will be in the Pacific […] for that reason the United States should continue to play a significant role.”[vii]

What was most important about his speech in Guam, however, was the enunciation by Nixon of an important qualification of American support that had wide ranging implications. The United States, Nixon continued, would unquestionably “keep our treaty commitments […] but […] as far as the problems of internal security are concerned, as far as the problems of military defence, except for the threat of a major power involving nuclear weapons […] the United States is going to encourage and has a right to expect, that this problem will be increasingly handled by, and the responsibility for it taken, by the Asian nations themselves.”[viii] In other words, the nature of any security relationship between the United States and its allies in the region was going to be determined by the readiness and capacity of those allies to defend themselves against anything short of nuclear intimidation from the Soviet Union.[ix]

This was an important qualification, and signaled the emergence of a new style of American foreign policy. President Richard M. Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry A. Kissinger had devised a foreign policy that was imaginative in concept and radical in some of its essential elements. Ever since Woodrow Wilson, Americans and their allies were accustomed to their leaders pursuing an idealistic and interventionist foreign policy in respect to the spread of an American styled democracy around the world.[x] President Kennedy’s vow to “pay any price, bear and burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty”[xi] had for long been the familiar cry of the American national myth and its Cold War world outlook. Americans and their allies had become accustomed to their Presidents pursuing American policies and liberties beyond the boundaries of America itself. But, under Nixon, realism became the guiding philosophy: America’s responsibility to defend its allies would be judged primarily from within its affect upon America’s own national interests.[xii] Nixon was inventing a new and radical language for a Cold War American President, breaking with the traditions of old to form a new set of foreign policy objectives that would account for the limits of U.S. power around the globe.[xiii]

The new administration and the American people were no longer prepared to sacrifice American sons to solve problems on other nation’s soils, and instead, Nixon set out to enact a “new approach to foreign policy to match a new era of international relations.”[xiv] Implementing his new policy through the idea of ‘Vietnamization’, by which means Nixon sought to withdraw American armed forces from Indochina while simultaneously defending South Vietnam, his Doctrine rested on the key principle of Asian self-reliance and defence: the United States would now call on its allies and friends to supply their own manpower to ‘defend’ themselves against Communist aggression, while America would provide only advice, aid, and arms.[xv] And despite any assurances as to otherwise, Nixon’s words on Guam were a sure sign that America was slowing but definitely moving out of Asia.

The British, Australia’s cultural ancestor, had already noted their plan to withdraw their residual military and air forces East of Suez (1968 – 1971) and, giving an indication of the future direction of Britain’s national destiny, had also joined the European Economic Community (EEC) early in the 1970s; an act that firmly erased the last ‘hope’ of restoring the world-wide British race patriot ideal that had fostered Australia’s early national and military development. Thus, following Nixon’s key qualification of American military aid, Australia was all but seemingly left alone and isolated in a region far away from the cultural and economic world of the ‘white’ West, a situation noted both politically and in mainstream media. “From now on, and to a much greater extent,” wrote Peter Howson, Minister for Air, “we shall be isolated and on our own […] there’ll be no white faces on the Asian mainland.”[xvi]  Having been ‘all the way’ and for so long with its great American partner, Australia felt itself somehow left behind by a once guaranteed ally. In the relics of ‘white’ colonization, Australia now seemingly stood as the ‘lone white face’, as an abandoned and ‘expendable’ asset in the dangerous and foreboding world of Asia. “Australia,” wrote the journalist Geoffrey Fairbairn, simply no longer has “great and powerful – and dependable – friends anywhere in the world.”[xvii] As the culmination of a long lineage of feeling ‘alone’ in Asia, the Nixon Doctrine firmly indicated to Australia that the nation would have to face their future alone, a future that was to be found in engaging with, rather than fearing the ‘yellow peril’ of Asia.

 

INTRODUCTION

Lone White Faces

Australian Foreign Policy & The Nixon Doctrine

Nixon’s words on Guam would mark the beginning of a new era in American foreign policy, a policy that was very much dictated by the failure of the Vietnam War. Overturning the ‘visionary’ practices of past Presidents in Asia, Nixon would seek to en-act policies that would support, rather than fight, Asian nationalist initiatives. Under Nixon’s leadership, the United States would rationally and systematically pursue a new world order, which included the first steps towards the control of strategic nuclear weapons, the end of American participation in the Vietnam War (although Nixon would notably escalate bombing in Vietnam during his Presidency), the establishment of diplomatic relations with Peking and détente with the Soviet Union. [xviii] As Nixon made these shifts in America’s posture towards allies and adversaries alike, his policies would send the United States on a new and revolutionary course of foreign policy that was to have far reaching implications for America’s Asian allies.

For the America-dependent and ever Asia-anxious Australia, Nixon’s new foreign policy pursuits would have profound and enduring repercussions for Australia’s Cold War defence and national objectives. In the face of Nixon’s new vision for world politics, a number of crucial pieces in the Australian world picture began to rapidly crumble. Having relied on America’s good will and Cold War interventionist military practices in Asia during the 1950s and 1960s, the assumptions which had secured Australia’s ‘white’ and Western protected position in the Asian world now quite suddenly began to loose their value. Finding herself with none of the securities and presumptions of American Western support she had traditionally and long relied on, Australia, in the aftermath of Nixon’s announcement on Guam would find herself facing a new and unfamiliar engagement with Asia and her once great Western ally in America.

Sitting ‘alone’ at the southern tip of the Asian world, the Nixon Doctrine would in fact prove to be the final catalyst that both inspired and necessitated Australian defence and foreign policy reform. It had traditionally been the promise of American and once British military power support against Communist and Asian aggression that had re-assured Australia’s status as a bastion for ‘white’ European supremacy in the South Pacific. But with America’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific region seemingly contracting, and with Nixon’s moves to establish long-lasting ‘peaceful’ relations with the world’s emerging super-powers, Australia was faced for the first real time with the need to drastically and quickly reconsider long held defence and foreign policy pre-conceptions.

The significance of these changes in the dynamics of the region was noted both socially and politically at the time. “We live at the beginning of a new era, which we do not yet fully comprehend,” stated Malcolm Fraser in 1971.[xix] “I believe there are formidable uncertainties ahead of us,” he announced to the House of Representatives, “uncertainties not so much because of the changes in attitude, objectives or outlook by Australia but because of the changes of attitude and policies of world powers […] Our great and powerful friends have told us that we are big enough to be on our own now.”[xx] Fraser would have no doubt seen Nixon’s words on Guam as a wholly fundamental ‘betrayal’ by America to their reliable ANZUS partner. Having proven to be America’s greatest Cold War warriors, and most reliable Vietnam supporter, Nixon’s intent to leave “Asia for the Asians”[xxi] was a betrayal far worse than any fall of Singapore could match.[xxii] The glue that had held the Australian-American Alliance together since its formation in 1951 on issues such as Asian Communist aggression and Western democratic virtues, issues that had crucially held the American Alliance apart and above Australia’s relationship to Britain after WWII,[xxiii] were all but seemingly disappearing in the new and ‘American-interested’ Nixon Doctrine. With Australia’s policies heavily reliant on American military support, and Australian national objectives hostile towards the Asian region at their doorstep, the new Nixon era in which American allies would have to take greater responsibility for their own internal problems would for an ANZUS dependent Australia mark the beginning of a turbulent and traumatic ‘coming of age’ period in her history.

This paper, ‘Lone White Faces’, seeks to map out and understand the effects the Nixon Doctrine would have on Australian policy reforms and emotional rhetoric, positioning the Doctrine as the event that both at once encapsulated Australia’s fear of the ‘Asian other’ whilst also being an important catalyst for change in the way Australians saw themselves within the ANZUS Alliance and the Asian region. This paper argues that the Nixon Doctrine was the single most responsible development in regional politics in the late 20th century that brought about Australia’s modern identity as a distinct people, culture and nation lying on the fringe of the Asian world. The Doctrine was a significant episode in the ‘new nationalism’ that Australia embraced in the mid-1970s, an external international episode which to this date has received no sustained attention in existing literature. During the 1970s and ‘80s, Australia underwent a radical and turbulent reforming of her national myths and identity, mostly compounded by and in re-action to the absence and failure of the British race patriot ideal to sustain Australian nationalism.[xxiv] This paper also considers the Nixon Doctrine as a key symbol that would usher in a period of Australian national soul searching that, while perhaps less dramatic than that of World War II and even Britain’s retreat East of Suez, may well prove to be more significant and profound to modern Australia’s national and political development.

The first section, ‘What Nixon Meant in Guam’, examines the intent and application of the Nixon Doctrine. Maintaining at the outset of his press conference on Guam that his remarks were “for attribution but not for direct quotation, and for background,”[xxv] Nixon’s Doctrine remained obscure in its meaning and value for some time after its first enunciation, an ambivalence that undoubtedly added to Australia’s initial uncertainty in policy reform and national understanding. This chapter aims to further track the development of the Doctrine and understand the significance of Nixon’s words on Guam, and his subsequent reports to Congress, in order to fully appreciate the gravity of the Nixon Doctrine’s affect on Australian defence and foreign policy.

The second chapter, ‘The Anxious ANZUS Partner’, will examine the geopolitical, social and historical milieu that had begun to provoke in Australians’ a discernible insecurity about their place in the world. These anxieties, embedded in Australia’s long relationships with both Britain and America, and the perceived abandonment by these ‘great and powerful friends’, provide a framework on which Australia’s concern in the face of an American military withdrawal can be accurately understood. It is argued, that this Alliance apprehension ushered in a period of profound soul-searching that forced Australians to actively think about their relations with the wider world and their image within it. This internal searching was compounded by the already evident emergence of economic power in a hitherto disregarded East, and Australia, a young nation who had previously failed to develop positive, productive relationships with its Asian neighbours would begin to feel isolated and alone from their cultural and military ancestors.

A Sign of Things to Come’, section three of the paper, studies Prime Minister John Gorton’s visit to Washington in May 1969, where upon meeting with President Nixon, Gorton set about securing America’s position vis-à-vis within the ANZUS alliance and within the Asia-Pacific area. Taking place only two months before Nixon’s announcement on Guam, both Gorton’s briefing notes for his visit and the later conversation memorandum of their meeting, clearly shows a ‘nervous’ Australia, who seeking American commitments to the Asian region, were highly un-prepared and initially ill-equipped to enact major policy reforms in response to Nixon’s words.

The final chapter of this paper, ‘The Turning Point’, examines and positions the Nixon Doctrine as the final catalyst that pushed an already anxiety-saturated society ‘over the edge’ into a serious and deep re-positioning of its place in the world and the Asian region. Coinciding with many other social shifts in the 70s (feminism for example, and the re-examination of Australia’s traditional mythologies in literature and historical fields) the Nixon Doctrine and the policies that it engendered directly contributed in Australian society to a en masse reconsideration of their identity as the ‘lone white faces’ in the Asian region.

Australia would find the post-Nixon world a place full of potential but also of danger. Australia’s engagement with Asia was by no means swift or immediate in the years following America’s new Asian policies; Australian regional co-operation was not merely a policy that was instantaneously pulled off the library shelf. Whilst the Gorton and McMahon Governments would try to find realistic ways of coming to grips with the new Alliance realities, it was probably not until the succession of Whitlam and then Fraser that any distinctive policy changes can be recognized. Even though the White Australia Policy would begin to lose its value under these Conservative Governments of Gorton and McMahon, Australia would still find it difficult to shed their long-held ‘Asian-ambivalence’. Rather, forced into assuming greater responsibility for its own defence and interests in the Asian region, Australia, as the Herald journalist Vincent Mathews so poignantly wrote of this time, would come into the world “like an unwilling child […] crying for help, uncertain [and] afraid of its future.”[xxvi] Drastically altering Australia’s perception and long-held ‘dependence’ on her great and powerful Western friends, the Nixon Doctrine would suddenly and turbulently awaken in Australia the need to engage ‘independently’, culturally and economically in the Asian region like never before.

 

What Nixon Meant in Guam

Part I: America Moves Out

On January 20, 1969, Richard Nixon became only the second Republican to serve as President since 1933. He had been elected with 43 percent of the popular vote and was the first new President since Zachary Taylor[xxvii] to face opposition-party control in both houses of Congress.[xxviii] Moreover, at the time of Nixon’s election the country seemed to be coming apart, with urban riots and campus unrest dramatically symbolizing the apparent failure of Lyndon Johnson’s simultaneous pursuit of the War on Poverty[xxix] and the war in Vietnam. For Henry Kissinger,

The new Nixon Administration was the first of the postwar generation that had to conduct foreign policy without the national consensus that had sustained its predecessors largely since 1947. And our task was if anything more complex. We faced not only the dislocations of a war but the need to articulate a new foreign policy for a new era.[xxx]

By the time Nixon came to power the rigid bi-polarity of the Cold War communist block that had sustained American world engagement since President Truman had slowly but surely broken down, and what was emerging in its place was a new and confronting multi-polar world where a continued American military presence around the globe was becoming increasingly unmaintainable. In this changing world, “the role of the United States as world policeman” wrote Nixon in an article for Foreign Affairs in 1967, “is likely to be limited in the future.”[xxxi] Seeking to reel-in America’s already over-committed military forces around the globe, Nixon’s words on Guam were the first official indication of a new line in American policies that would seek to change the future direction of America in Asia, and engender a new era of American co-operation with the great Asian powers.[xxxii]

This ‘new era’ of changed allied relationships that Nixon and Kissinger foresaw when constructed, would virtually constitute the condition of ‘peace’ according to the Nixon-Kissinger definition of that word. In fact, Nixon sought a particular definition of ‘peace’ on an international scale:

I have often reflected on the meaning of ‘peace’, and have reached one certain conclusion. Peace must be far more than the absence of war. Peace must provide a durable structure of international relationships which inhabits or removes the causes of war.[xxxiii]

That meant, in turn, that the universalization of American principles and values would no longer constitute a primary purpose of America’s foreign policy.[xxxiv] In Nixon’s 1971 message to Congress, he also made perfectly clear how he saw America’s international role in the world as changing significantly, suggesting that policies needed to be developed in order to achieve this kind of ‘durable’ peace: “two centuries ago our mission was to be a unique example of freedom”; “two decades ago it was to take up worldwide burdens of securing the common defense, economic recovery, and political stability”: “today we seek a new and stable framework of international relationships.”[xxxv]

This was an important evolution and a message of a new American foreign engagement that would guide Nixon’s actions in Indochina and elsewhere throughout his Presidency.[xxxvi] These actions would represent a significant and important shift in American foreign policy, ostensibly overturning the interventionist practices of previous presidents who had frequently sent American troops abroad to fight for ‘peace’ and ‘freedom’ – policies that Australia had also actively encouraged in South East Asia. In fact, this had been the theme of Nixon’s predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, who had always maintained that if the United States did not uphold its commitment in Vietnam it would “shake the confidence” of all the people around the globe, from Berlin to Thailand, in the “value of American commitment.”[xxxvii] ‘American commitment’ to confront Asian ‘Communist’ aggression had sustained American foreign policy for long, and by extension had secured Australia’s own self-image as the ‘white’ democratic partner of Britain and America in the Asian world.

But Vietnam fundamentally shattered this world-view, particularly for America. Far from strengthening America’s resolve to defend its allies beyond its own lands, the Vietnam War disaster resulted in Nixon’s determination to never again to get involved in such a conflict and in such a way.[xxxviii] In fact, there can be little doubt that the attitudes expressed in the Nixon Doctrine began with an examination of the growing consensus in America about the failure, both economically and militarily, of Vietnam.[xxxix] In this light the Nixon Doctrine actually reads quite plainly as a call for “no more Vietnams”[xl]. That is, Nixon sought to ensure there would be no more substantial United States military involvements on the Asian mainland. Thus following this new Asian policy, Nixon would seek to extricate American forces from Vietnam, but crucially extricate them “with honour”.[xli]

This was indeed an aggressive and revolutionary path for an American president to take, and would further mark a turning point in all future American military involvement in the Asian region. The subsequent administrations from Gerald R. Ford’s to William J. Clinton’s would all show the same reluctance to commit American troops in large numbers to Third or Second World hot spots in an attempt, as Nixon concluded, to avoid another quagmire such as Vietnam.[xlii] Although in the case of Clinton, the Gulf War showed a willingness by America to stretch the Nixon Doctrine in order to protect key American interests overseas.

In any event, the Doctrine was a reaction learnt from the interventionist mistakes of the past. Nixon’s disclaimer during the question-and-answer period at the Guam press conference about speaking “critically of how we got into Vietnam”[xliii] was an indirect reference to his public and private criticisms over the years of John F. Kennedy’s and Lyndon B. Johnson’s role in escalating the U.S. troop commitment in South Vietnam.[xliv] It was a realization that struck at the heart of past American foreign policy that had pursued American idealism and values to the edges of the world, regardless of the cost. But in the breakdown of the rigid bi-polarity that had marked the Cold War, and in the face of the Vietnam failure, President Nixon would finally have to acknowledge the limits of U.S. power.[xlv] It was increasingly clear that America could no longer be absorbed in the recurrent crises of world politics. With Nixon now seeking only to “help build the international relationships that will provide the framework of a durable peace,”[xlvi] Nixon went about establishing new policies towards Asia, policies that would inevitably lead to Nixon’s historic recognition of Communist China.

But, while Nixon’s words and his attitudes towards Asia were both revolutionary and extremely innovative in the annals of American foreign policy, for the President himself, the Nixon Doctrine would be a double-edged political sword. On the positive side, the press and the American public perceived the Vietnam War as ‘winding down’, and many took Nixon at his word that he would not involve the United States in future Vietnams. In addition, once the phrase ‘Nixon Doctrine’ was in vogue, it gave “his policy actions a colorful and systematic image.”[xlvii] And, along with his other catchy terms – Vietnamization, détente, triangular diplomacy, ‘opening to China’ and a ‘structure of peace’ – his Doctrine boosted both his and Kissinger’s foreign-policy stature throughout the remainder of his Presidency, and even after the Watergate revelations forced his resignation, Nixon would always be praised for his inroads in foreign policy.

On the other side of the sword however, critics would use the Nixon Doctrine against the President, particularly when he violated his policies with the bombing and invasion of Cambodia, the bombing of Laos and the sending of a carrier task force into the Indian Ocean during the India-Pakistan conflict in 1971. In the end, Nixon’s policies were complex and often ambiguous. His Doctrine in fact never constituted a foreign policy doctrine in the sense of having been a prepared grand strategy or a master set of principles and guidelines controlling all policy decisions.[xlviii] Having found its voice in remarks made by Nixon to reporters in which he clearly stated at the outset that his statements were “for attribution but not for direct quotation, and for background,”[xlix] his Doctrine, as such, would remain obscure in its intent and application long after its first enunciation on Guam. It was not until Nixon’s ‘State of the World Report’ to Congress in 1970, and his subsequent address in 1971 that his Doctrine would begin to take a more concrete and understandable form. In fact, as a journalist for the New York Times aptly put it, “President Nixon’s maxi-statement on American foreign policy is a little like the brilliant maxi-coats one sees swinging along the sidewalks of London these days: It is long, it covers a lot of territory, and it conceals the most interesting parts.”[l]

As Henry Kissinger would later note, Nixon’s comments on Guam were never meant to constitute the formation of a Doctrine itself, and thus, his comments while ground-breaking, would remain vague and ambiguous long after their first enunciation. In fact originally displeased with Nixon’s impromptu announcements on Guam, Kissinger would not even jump on the ‘Doctrine’ bandwagon until much later. Only when serious policy changes would begin to inspire the common usage of the ‘Nixon Doctrine’ in the press and overseas would Kissinger even seek to inspire change in the name and meaning of the Doctrine.[li]

Part II: ‘The Weather in Kurdistan’

Nixon had said very little on Guam that was not already conventional thinking at the time. His remarks were reminiscent of much of what he had already written in an article for the October 1967 issue of the Foreign Affairs magazine entitled ‘Asia After Viet Nam’. But even though his remarks had been in some form expressed before, both the press and America’s Asian allies were left feeling confused and anxious about what Nixon really meant on Guam.

The ambiguity of Nixon’s announcement was widely discussed in mainstream media at the time, indicating that even if was not yet official international policy, it was an issue of significant public concern. The practical application of Nixon’s new Asian theory seemed to remain uncertain if not implausible in connection with regional allied treaties, a contradiction poignantly noted by journalist James Reston in early 1970:

Accordingly, while the Nixon Doctrine of limited withdrawal, partnership, and more equal sharing of the military burdens is popular in the United States, the underlying assumption of greater efforts by the allies is not popular in this part of the world and not even accepted by the large majority of the allied governments. These are the really critical questions about the Nixon Doctrine, not alone whether it is a clear and fair proposal by the President, but whether it will be accepted by the allies and by the Soviet Union, on whose cooperation the doctrine of safe withdrawal rests.[lii]

James Reston’s comments concisely enunciate some of the key contradictions at the centre of the Nixon Doctrine: the difficulty of enacting a policy like Nixon’s in the complex and changing world of the 1970s was the belief that, as Reston continued, “there [wasn’t] a country in this part of the world that [could] be counted on to substitute for the limited American withdrawal.”[liii] With Britain already withdrawing their forces East of Suez, Reston’s comments spoke to the likelihood that there was seemingly no great Western power to replace what America was leaving behind – namely, there was no-one to protect Australian ‘white’ interests in the Asian region.

For many then, such as key public figures like Peter Howson, the Nixon Doctrine would prove to be the final mark of Western retreat from Asia. But for others, Nixon’s words would not appear nearly so alarming. For historians such as Humphrey McQueen, Geoffrey Serle and Stephen Alomes, who had always been critical of Australia’s ‘dependent mentality’, the period of ‘independent’ Australian Asian engagement heralded by the Nixon Doctrine was significantly overdue. Having famously written of Prime Minister Robert Menzies’s foreign policy pursuits as a man who had “switched from British sycophant to American lickspittle”,[liv] these ‘radical nationalists’ figures had always suggested that Australia’s subservience to Britain, and then America had impeded the realization of Australian nationhood and identity. For them, Australian nationalism was a “suppressed latent force, just waiting to be unleashed,”[lv] a force that in the wake of the Nixon Doctrine, could finally find its voice.

This thesis will show however, that in stark contradiction to the ‘radical’ nationalists’ hopes, Nixon’s new language would momentarily leave Australian officials groping for an independent policy of their own that did not rely on American Cold War intent against Communist and Asian aggression. While ‘independent’ policies towards nationhood were indeed ‘bubbling’ under the surface during the late 1960s and early ‘70s, the predominate feeling immediately feeling Nixon’s announcement was a palpable sense of abandonment, perhaps even more marked than those expressed after Britain’s retreat East of Suez. The Nixon Doctrine, which coming at the end of an era when many were already questioning the meaning of the Alliance, would prove that when it came to ANZUS, Australia’s interests were “as far from any American politician’s mind as the weather in Kurdistan.”[lvi]


The Anxious ANZUS Partner

American-Australian Relations 1951-1969

The ANZUS alliance has formed the cornerstone of Australian foreign policy since its creation in 1951. “Most Australians under the age of thirty-five” wrote Alan Watt, the former Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, in 1970, “have come to regard [ANZUS] for granted, at least in the sense that they do not remember the relevant international situation before ANZUS was born.”[lvii] In fact, ANZUS most notably found its voice and creation in the aftermath of 1941, where in the Battle of the Coral Sea, in which many Australians believed that the United States Navy had saved Australia from Japanese invasion, America was increasingly accorded an importance in Australian foreign policy that that had once only been reserved for Britain. [lviii]

Even as early as July 1946, Australia and America had raised their respective legations to embassy status as, according to the official American view, “the natural consequence of their increasingly close and cordial relations”, and the “added importance of the Pacific area in the eyes of both governments”[lix] made these two countries natural partners. However, while the United States was a Pacific military power, and an English speaking country that held many of the same democratic ‘white’ values as Australia, Australian Prime Ministers were always concerned that America was not a ‘British’ society. Without this cultural and historical link – although Australia’s view and reliance on Britain had significantly changed by the end of the 1950s – Australian officials believed they could never hope to entertain the same expectations for America as they had for the United Kingdom. These doubts would constantly plague Australian officials, even in the immediate years following ANZUS’ signing: Prime Minister Robert Menzies would turn to his Australian Ambassador in Washington, Keith Waller, in the mid-1960s and ask, “why is it that I should be so much more nervous when I see the President of the United States than when I see the Queen?”[lx]

Menzies’ apprehension regarding the new American alliance mirrored that of a broader Australian society increasingly concerned about their place in the Asia-Pacific region and about their place in the American Alliance. Even more than a decade after Menzies, when the ‘forward-moving’ Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam visited Washington to meet with President Nixon, he would describe a similar sentiment to Henry Kissinger, “afraid” that he “might freeze up with [Nixon].”[lxi] Australians always been wary of their great Western power protectors: Australia had also been very much concerned with Britain’s inability to defend Australian interests in the face of their pre-occupations in Europe.[lxii] But the US Alliance gave rise to a much more specific and particular concern that would ultimately find its most alarming realization in the wake of Nixon’s words: that Washington would not want to protect Australian interests.

Although the Australian-American kinship seemed strong enough to assume that America was a fitting substitute for Britain’s retreat as Australia’s great power protector, Australian leaders would live in a state of chronic uncertainty over the extent of US commitment to Australian security in the Asian world – the ANZUS Alliance would never in fact ensure American military support in the face of an external Asian threat to Australia.[lxiii] This chapter will examine these long held Australian fears that found its form during key Alliance disputes in West New Guinea Vietnam that would exacerbate Australian fears over the degree of U.S. assurance to Australia immediately prior to Nixon’s announcement on Guam.

Part I: An Asia Surrounded Australia

It has always been the caricatured concept of ‘Asia’ that has inspired Australian policy makers to find comfort in great Western power protection. Asia has for long remained a spectre haunting the Australian imagination, and has its roots in Australia’s most particular anxiety – that of a feeling of distance from its ancestral ‘home’ in England, a concern that would in the face of Nixon’s Doctrine again find voice in Australian’s belief to be the last and ‘lone white face’ in the Asian region. Separated from its ‘Mother Country’ by half a world, early 20th century Australian leaders sought a policy of racial isolation to preserve a perceived British racial purity. That is to say that early Australian national identity and foreign policy sought security in a homogeneous community of ‘White’ races, adopting culture and institutions that were familiar symbols of Britishness to create a barrier against all that was foreign.[lxiv] As historian David Walker has noted on this aspect of the Australian psyche, “the idea that Australia was a continent under threat seemed all too rational for those who saw the world as a place in which the strong preyed upon and eliminated the weak.”[lxv] Seen through the eyes of an insecure people, the Australian continent’s distance from Europe, its comparatively tiny population and its high levels of urbanisation simply seemed “unmistakable signs of a community at risk, either of takeover or of an accelerating exposure to Asian influences.”[lxvi]

Historically significant articles of Australian politics, like the so-called ‘White Australia’ immigration policy, were instigated in an attempt to exclude all ‘coloured’ peoples from mainstream Australian society, so as to keep Australia ‘White’ and predominately British.[lxvii] This policy and the anxiety on which it was based was, as one of Australia’s most eminent historians put it, “the indispensable condition of every other policy.”[lxviii] Australia’s insecurity about its place in the region was arguably the greatest driving political force in Australia in the early to mid 20th century, and it was not until the break up of the world and the realities Australia found itself faced with after WWII that the country seriously questioned this ‘white’ British Australia ideal.

This fear of an Asian attack both physically, and in Walker’s terms, as a sort of undesirable cultural influence was so ingrained in the Australian world outlook that even as early as 1893, Charles Henry Pearson predicted that the Chinese “will sooner or later overflow their borders and spread over new territory, and submerge weaker races.”[lxix] Australia’s proximity and susceptibility to China was also evident – “We will wake,” Pearson warned, “to find ourselves elbowed and hustled, and perhaps even thrust aside.”[lxx] Although many events in the 20th century brought the importance of Asia as a military region to the forefront of Australian minds, there was also the fear of a migratory, non-military, cultural impact of Asia upon Australia. Spurred on by these concerns about what was happening in Asia as the region itself emerged from years of colonial occupation, Australia ignored any possibility of developing meaningful cultural ties with Asia and continued to rely on Britain in a way that likely stunted early engagement with the region itself. Both militarily and culturally, Britain and the apparent Britishness of Australia were appropriated as barriers to defend against Asian influence.[lxxi]

It was an attitude so deep-seated in Australia that even when the British Government sought to water down their embarrassingly anti-Asian sentiment inherent in this Australian brand of British identity in the throws of WWI, Billy Hughes expressed outrage: “We want a white Australia, and are we to be denied it because we shall offend the Japanese or embarrass His Majesty’s Ministers? […] I do not desire […] separation from Great Britain, but while I do not wish it I do not fear it.”[lxxii] The idea that Australians were ‘better Britons’ than the British themselves also emerged as a response to the unease of Asia and in reaction to Britain itself distancing herself from this rhetoric. As Donald Horne noted in his now infamous text The Lucky Country, Australian nationalists at the time “saw their Australian-ness as lying in the fact that they were really ‘British’ unlike the English who were too English to be British.”[lxxiii] As Horne’s comment suggests, a xenophobic attitude permeated on all levels of society, not just political. One needs only to look to the masthead slogan of the influential Australian journal The Bulletin – ‘Australian for the White Man and China for the Chows’[lxxiv] – to understand how pervasive these racial fears were in mainstream Australian society and not reserved by marginalized, fringe elements but rather notable as a significant sentiment of the Australian public.

Prime Minister Alfred Deakin’s invitation to the United States’ ‘Great White Fleet’ in 1906, was made specifically as a public gesture to display the continual and powerful ‘White’ aggression in the Asian region.[lxxv] In a personal letter Deakin also put very directly his view of the contribution of the visit of the Great White Fleet in diminishing Australia’s vulnerability: “The visit of the United States fleet is universally popular here… because of our distrust of the Yellow Race in the North Pacific and our recognition of the ‘entente cordiale’ spreading among all white men who realize the Yellow Peril to Caucasian civilization, creeds and politics.”[lxxvi] While Deakin’s invitation to the U.S. Forces was in part a bid to ensure American support in the region for the future, at this time the country’s primary source of military support came from Britain, an extension of the British-ideal held by White Australia. In more ways than one, Australia’s emotional needs in order to soothe their anxiety were largely fulfilled by the British race patriot ideal and only later were supplemented by the development of a relationship with the Pacific’s other great white power, America. What all this is aimed to suggest, however, is that up until the end of WWII Australia saw its future in holding firm to its old, ‘white’ homeland while simultaneously sidling-up to the region’s other ‘white’ power.

Part II: Looking to America

However, pushed over the edge by Japan’s success in WWII, Australia’s geopolitical insecurity entered essentially a second phase that would be crucial to the formation of ANZUS. Rather than projecting its desire for a ‘big brother’ protector figure onto Britain, WWII saw Australia redirect this projection onto America, beginning to shift its strategic alliances towards ensuring American military defence, not British.[lxxvii] Although many soldiers were sent to Europe to fight as part of the major campaigns there, Australian policy and culture found itself quickly engaging with America, setting up the dependencies that would later allow the Nixon Doctrine to have such a marked affect. This shift of projection was made clear in the development of the ANZUS treaty. As David Mclean has noted, through the ANZUS pact, “Australians regarded the US as potentially, at least, their chief protector against a threatening region. It was a view, moreover, on which fundamental agreement existed within the Australian foreign policy community, including the leadership of the political parties.”[lxxviii]

ANZUS represented the realization of long-standing hopes by Australian political leaders to draw the US into Australia’s defence as it became increasingly clear that Britain could no longer assure Australia’s ‘survival’. This political exchange was also marked by the expansion of economic links between the two countries and the increased influence of American popular culture in Australia. [lxxix]  In fact, so great was the penetration of American influence on Australian society at this time, that the ‘radical’ nationalist historian Geoffrey Serle noted that “in the last decade American economic penetration has proceeded at such a rate, the Australian government has been so successful in identifying itself with American foreign policy and the Australian public has capitulated so whole-heartedly, that our future appears to be irrevocably linked.”[lxxx] Such shows of American reliance and cultural augmentation had replaced what had once been British, an exchange of “one neo-colonial situation for another”, continued Serle, a changed that shows only too well how “Australia has abandoned the prospect of independent nationhood; we are going to become just slightly different sorts of Americans.”[lxxxi]

The ‘radical’ nationalists, who had always been critical of Australia’s dependence on Britain, now also remained resentful towards the apparent infiltration of American culture into Australian society, through avenues such as American movies, advertising and music. Such augmentation heralded that “Australia (culture-wise) [was] sinking into the Pacific,” where a “new state [was] rising which we might call Austerica.”[lxxxii] But these shows of mass support did not necessarily mean that Australia was becoming anymore pro-American in sentiment. Rather, in all cases of Australian expression for American support continues McLean, “the fervour of the response expressed goodwill and gratitude towards a culturally-related great power to which Australians looked for protection against a threatening region.”[lxxxiii]

The ANZUS Treaty and what the American Alliance came to symbolize was not just simply a ‘dependent’ mentality minded Australia that sought to protect its desires from Britain onto America. Rather, the Australian-American Alliance has always been sought in the name of protection and security, and whilst many contemporary and past social figures have often been critical of Australia’s un-wavering support for America,[lxxxiv] it has always been done so in an attempt to secure American commitment to Australia’s position in the Asian region. Rather ironically, it is the very same reasons, which finds the ANZUS Alliance purely military and strategic in sense rather than cultural, reasons that would cause grave concerns for Australian officials over Washington’s willingness to come to Australia’s aid.

While it was an important piece of foreign policy, the ANZUS treaty was another part of the Australian anxiety about its place in the region, just with its object of fixation changed. Despite the apparent ‘growing up’ and moving away from Britain, the fear of Asia was ever present and more poignant with Japan’s ‘success’ in WWII, and remained a potent undercurrent of social and political relations. Werner Levi, when conducting studies of Australian foreign policy in the 1940s and 50s, wrote of the Australian fear of “the Asian peoples swooping down over Australia and appropriating the empty lands for their impoverished masses.”[lxxxv] “The assumed hostility of these ‘masses’”, Werner concluded, “was usually made more frightening by pointed emphasis to the ‘loneliness’ of Australia, a psychological factor dating back to colonial times, a haunting obsession which (in the Second World War) seemed to turn into reality.”[lxxxvi] For the average Australian and for the policy makers of the early 20th century, the anxiety over what loomed above Australia’s North clearly manifested itself in attitudes and decisions.

The ANZUS treaty and much of the political ingratiation towards America was, in fact also accompanied by an increased Australian resentment and suspicion of the US at a societal level. Australians were increasingly cautious about the intentions of America itself.[lxxxvii] As Percy Spender, a key player in the formulation of the ANZUS treaty, noted:

Australia’s prime interest lies of course, in securing a firm United States guarantee of our security. Our first objective should be to try to obtain this without emerging into unaccustomed and undesirable commitments throughout the Pacific. But the importance of obtaining a United States guarantee is so pre-eminent that we may have to consider whether, in order to obtain it, we may not be called upon to go at least part way towards meeting the United States desire for a wider multi-lateral security agreement.[lxxxviii]

How ANZUS could be made to serve Australian purposes was a fundamental problem and one to which Australia never found the answer they were looking for. Unlike the NATO agreement, which insists that an armed attack against one member “shall be considered an attack against them all,” and that the allies will act ‘forthwith’ by armed force if necessary,[lxxxix] the ANZUS Treaty merely states that in the event of armed aggression each party will “act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.” (A threat ‘other than by armed attack’ calls for immediate ‘consultation’). [xc] Thus, any major ANZUS decision by the United States requires the approval of Congress, which in the aftermath of the Vietnam failure would almost again never result in any land-based military support.

Therefore, although Australian leaders probably genuinely saw ANZUS as a concrete manifestation of a ‘special relationship’ with the US, for Washington it was merely one component in an alliance structure for the Asia-Pacific region, which was itself only one component in a global alliance structure in which the South Pacific was a relatively unimportant area.[xci] Furthermore, ANZUS had also been established by America, according to key ANZUS American diplomat Dean Acheson, as providing “an opportunity to obtain an increasing measure of co-operation from two countries which are basically friendly towards us and eager to share the burden of resisting aggression and building security in the Pacific.”[xcii] The State Department now regarded Australia as a vital link in the Pacific Island chain, noting that “this [American] government has done its best to encourage the development of the military potential of Australia and New Zealand for the common defence against the Communist threat.”[xciii] While America was now showing greater interest in harnessing Australia’s capacity for a common effort in Southeast Asia, this was far from what Australia wanted or even expected in the reasons for ANZUS formation.[xciv] As Spender noted, Australia wanted an American military ‘guarantee’ rather than an ‘equal’ Asian military sharing pact.

The Pentagon seemed reluctant however to enter into any commitments for collective security that could tie down US forces,[xcv] and as such Australia never fully obtained the Pacific security guarantee it desired. This non-resolute military protection pact would manifest itself in Prime Minsters’ obvious personal concerns about America’s ability to safeguard Australia willingly, apprehensions that as Dennis Phillips notes led to “successive Australian governments to embellish the American alliance with an elaborate mythology” to ensure its validity in the face of criticisms and supremacy in Australian defence reforms.[xcvi]

Such a clause as Article IV in the ANZUS Pact presents an important contradiction, and a contradiction that the Nixon Doctrine would later open wider. The prospects of America defending a threat to Australia, which did not also involve a threat to the United States was in no ways a guarantee. American assistance was ever far less certain in the event of Australian involvement in a war with a lesser Asian power, namely Indonesia. In other words, short of a war that also directly implicated American safety, the ANZUS commitments of America might very well remain in the ‘too hard’ basket.

Part III: Testing the Knots

The first major test of the ANZUS alliance came in Indonesia. The difference in interests and strategic assessments of the West New Guinea (WNG) question between Washington and Canberra, which became public in 1962 with the Kennedy Administration’s support of a negotiated settlement in favour of Indonesia, was the first significant event that forced Australians to question more deeply their place in the Alliance. Australia’s attempt to keep WNG out of Indonesian control was an attempt to conduct an “indigenous and independent policy on an issue that evoked strong feeling both within the Australian political elite and the broader community.”[xcvii] This independent stance was formulated and implemented within a foreign and defence policy framework built around close and dependent relations with the US (and the UK) who, on this issue, did not share Australia’s preoccupation or depth of feeling, bringing home the ‘flexible’ nature of the alliance.

Believing that Australia had a better claim over the WNG territory than Indonesia did in the wake of the Netherlands departure, there appeared to be an expectation in the Australian Government that its special relations with Washington would somehow override America’s Cold-War determined objectives in Indonesia. Percy Spender would write to the Kennedy Administration outlining Australia’s arguments to WNG and its inhabitants because “it is alongside Australian Territories which are in most respects similar, and because of overriding strategic interests, we [Australia] believe we have a direct interest in any negotiations which take place regarding the future administration of New Guinea.”[xcviii]

However, in recognizing President Sukarno’s Indonesian claim to WNG, America firmly and openly put Washington’s Asian interests far above Australia’s. In America’s unresponsiveness to Australian lobbying for WNG lay the belief that Indonesia, with a population of 75 million, was important “both as a source of raw materials and because its landing sites and safe anchorages control the approaches from Asia to Australia and from Pacific to the Indian Oceans.”[xcix] This American report continued that, “in recognition of Indonesia’s importance, the United States Government participated in the United Nation’s successful efforts to establish an independent Indonesia, as a means of enabling the strong revolutionary forces which sprang up in Indonesia after World War II to find outlet in genuine nationalism instead of Stalinism.”[c] It was clear that on this matter American and Australian views diverged.

However, more importantly, during this conflict, the Kennedy Administration would issue an important ANZUS memorandum that would further diminish and confine the conditions under which Australia could expect American military support in external Asian conflicts. So worried were American officials that Australia would be caught in a land war in either Borneo or Malaysia, under which the ANZUS pact would call for America’s assistance, the State Department argued to President Kennedy that they could not “put [themselves] in the position of being dragged into the military defense of Malaysia.”[ci] These attitudes of the State Department would prove to be deeply disappointing to the Australians in the face of their bids to cultivate Australia’s own ‘special relationship’ with the United States during this early period of ‘60s.[cii] “We should not”, continued the State Department, “set up any formal system of consultations which might imply to the Australians and New Zealanders that we are giving them an element of control over our actions: the power differential between the United States and out two allies is too great.”[ciii] Although Australia might have hoped or entertained otherwise, America clearly thought itself above and better than its ANZUS partner.

This was made fundamentally clear in Kennedy’s memorandum to Menzies in which it states:

[It is] confirmed that the United States would act under Articles IV and V of the Treaty in the event of an armed attack by Indonesian armed forces on the armed forces, public vessels or aircraft of Australia in Malaysia. In those conversations it was also understood that the Treaty relates only to overt attack and not to subversion, guerrilla warfare or indirect aggression. It was agreed that it was not feasible to define in advance when subversion, guerrilla warfare or indirect aggression becomes armed or overt attack, but that this matter would be decided jointly by the parties to the Treaty. [civ]

Although the United States conceded that ANZUS did cover Australian forces in Malaysia, it did so only with a long list of limitations that would prevent any future invention by US forces that was considered to be ‘guerrilla’ warfare. As the memorandum continues, any American assistance would be limited to air and sea forces, and even then it would be subject to Congressional approval. America had only further confined the manner and possibilities in which Australia could count on American support – Australia’s hopes for a definite security guarantee had again been crushed.

It seemed that the dilemma of giving Sukarno control over WNG was little understood, if not simply overlooked in Washington. In this instance, the ANZUS treaty and Australia’s relations with Washington would fail them, Washington clearly did not consider its relations with Australia to be dependent on the WNG decision, but those with Indonesia clearly were. America in this instance would simply play fast and loose with Australian concerns. Nonetheless, despite these tensions that arose out of the WNG crisis, Australia continued to search for ways to keep America attracted to defending their interests in the region. This ambition was clearly noted in the 1966 Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee review in which it stated that, “the vital thing for Australia was to have the United States remain in the area and everything else must be measured against this.”[cv] This was further compounded in the lead-up to the Australian election in November 1966, one that was largely occupied by Australia’s presence in Vietnam, where the Defence Minister, Allen Fairhall, declared that he had no faith “in promises made to Australia by Britain’s Prime Minister.”[cvi] In Britain, he argued, “a ‘Little England’ policy based on withdrawal to Europe and the Common Market would prevail”, and as a consequence “Australia’s future protection rested in its own hands and on the strength of the ANZUS alliance with the US.”[cvii]

With Britain’s forces retreating East of Suez in 1967, Australia made it clear that they now looked to America.[cviii] Much like Deakin’s call to America in 1908, so too Australian officials now rather blatantly stated their claim to America’s assistance. Such calls of American reliance in the face of British retreat would as the historian David Day claims, reflect Australia’s inability “to formulate policies based on a clear appreciation of national interest”.[cix]  “For too long Australia has looked at the world with British and then American eyes, ” he continues, hamstrung by a “dependent mentality [that has become the] barrier to the full exercise of her nationhood.”[cx]  In contrast however, this thesis suggests that in the changing world of the 1960s, Australia, a country who had once reveled in the British race patriot ideal, believed there was no where else to turn but to America in order to re-instate White supremacy in the region and protect Australia from the growing nationalistic tendencies of the Asia around them. [cxi]  While it might have stemmed from a so-called ‘dependent mentality’, it ultimately evolved from an frightened and concerned Australia alone in the Asian world.

In fact, Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War was to primarily maintain American interest in the Asian region, and to establish a feeling of reciprocity should Australia ever be invaded or require military assistance.[cxii] Australia’s initial willingness (at least on a political level) to engage with the American mission in Vietnam was directly linked to the US Alliance and Australian attempts to assert their own significance in the relationship. In a report from the Department of External Affairs this important motive becomes clear:

Our objective should be to achieve such an habitual closeness of relations with the United States and sense of mutual alliance that in our time of need (the possibility of crisis in relations with Indonesia) the United States would have little option but to respond as we would want.[cxiii]

Support from America was clearly vital in this new world where Britain and other colonial powers (the Dutch for example in Indonesia) had dismantled its colonial forces and had seemingly, in the eyes of Australia, left the gap open for leaders such as Sukarno to strive for further power.[cxiv] As the report continues:

The basic concept behind the Australian action was that of forward defence. This rested in turn on a belief in the fundamental strategic importance in Australia’s defence of the South East Asia area, and on the necessity to prevent the spread of communism and political instability in the area. Given Australia’s military weakness, this policy has to depend for success on membership in ANZUS and SEATO, and above all on the presence of the United States in the area. To this end it was Australia’s aim to ensure that the United States did not waver in its commitment to South East Asia, and to support the American presence politically, diplomatically and if necessary militarily.[cxv]

Harold Holt’s declaration of firm Australian support was the culmination of this line of thinking – “all the way with LBJ.”[cxvi] Indeed, Australian support for America at this time was at its highest, and the visit of President Lyndon Johnson, the only President to have visited Australia’s shores until the recent trip of Obama, could simply not have come at a better time for Australia’s hopes in the American alliance. Surrounded in this new Asian world and fearful of the red peril of communism, these high profile events were designed to soothe the Australian sentiment. Sending the largest allied forces to Vietnam, Holt continued:

Australia must have strong and reliable friends. That is why we played our part in the making of the SEATO and ANZUS treaties, which carry with them responsibilities, as well as benefits. Because of these responsibilities, Australian soldiers are fighting in Vietnam… the Communists will learn that free Asia, and friends of free Asia will not lose heart. And will not be worn down, but have the strength and staying power to defend the right of every people to choose their social and economic order.[cxvii]

The Vietnam campaign however would not have the desired effect for Australian policy makers on the alliance, and the importance of Australia as an ally to America. Instead, Vietnam as a whole had an affect on Australian attitudes to the alliance with the US roughly parallel to that of the early disasters of the Pacific War on Australian attitudes to the security relationship with Britain. As Coral Bell aptly put it, the Vietnam War would result in a “certain wariness and disenchantment” in the American alliance, a sentiment that was “seemingly likely to prove permanent.”[cxviii]

The experience of fighting unsuccessfully on the wrong battlefield in Vietnam wrought more destruction in the United States, and Australia, than any other war before it. But at the time, Canberra policy-makers were so fearful of the Asian peril that they rested all of Australia’s strategic dependence on the United States, a dependence that saw them engage in Vietnam to uphold and maintain American interest in Asia. But, the damage that this war wreaked on American foreign policy would have far reaching concerns for its greatest and most dependent ally, Australia. In fact, Donald Horne best summed up this attitude when he wrote of pre-Vietnam Australia:

They have lived in a state of such protected comfort and innocence for so long that one of their noticeable weaknesses is to have taken power of Britain and then of America so much for granted that they often ignore the realities of power and do not take it into their calculation.[cxix]

The Asian power vacuum opened by the failure in Vietnam left a new region in which Australia, both emotionally and physically, were not adequately suited and prepared for. After military reliance on Britain and then America, the Nixon Doctrine would drastically alter Australia’s understanding of its place in the region and its position in the Australian-American Alliance. Coming at the end in a long trail of policy shifts and concerns held by Australians about the significance of the American alliance, the Nixon Doctrine would prove to be the ‘feather’ that broke Australia’s back, so to speak: a catalyst that would initiate a tectonic shift in Australia’s modes of engagement with America and the Asian region.

 

A Sign of Things to Come

Gorton’s visit to Nixon, May 1969

“Government authorities are concerned about the treatment given the Prime Minister Mr. Gorton during this week’s visit to Washington,” published Inside Canberra, the privately circulated weekly review of Australian national affairs in April 1969.[cxx] “Despite White House protestations about the President’s schedule being thrown out of gear by the death of General Eisenhower, some Government authorities believe Mr. Gorton could have been given greater attention considering he had made special arrangements weeks ago to see the President for top level talks on a variety of issues,” the article entitled “Washington Cool to Gorton” [cxxi] continues. “Mr. Gorton was accorded less than an hour of private talks with Mr. Nixon,” the article concludes, displaying an American “coolness” to Australia that seemingly underlined “the depressed state of the Australian-American alliance which has been at the base of Australian foreign policy since Pearl Harbour.”[cxxii]

Gorton’s trip to Washington in May 1969 was one of the last face-to-face interactions between top Australian and American officials before Nixon’s announcement in Guam only two months later. In the context of a potential military downgrading by America in Vietnam and with the realization of the Soviet Union’s and China’s rise as nuclear and military threats, Gorton’s trip to Washington was not so much the mark of friendly diplomacy as it was of the nervous ANZUS partner seeking American reassurance in a rapidly changing world. In fact, a general uncertainty about the future relations with the U.S. had become evident in Australian government after Lyndon Johnson decided not to seek re-election and to reduce the bombing of North Vietnam,[cxxiii] a decision that the noted columnist Alan Ramsey termed as “a little short of stabbing [Australia] in the back”.[cxxiv] Gorton therefore undertook his visit to Washington eager to find in Nixon a new President that would not forget its most faithful ally – “Australia looks to Nixon”[cxxv] as one newspaper expressed. But as this section will show, although Nixon would re-affirm America’s commitment to ANZUS, Gorton would still not find the “hero”[cxxvi] in Nixon that he had hoped.

Indeed, in the political climate of the late 1960s, the task was never going to be easy. In a confidential briefing note, President Nixon was described to Gorton as “a good listener”, who “certainly gives the impression of being genuinely interested in the view of others and displays great skill in eliciting them.”[cxxvii] However, crucially for Gorton’s visit, included in these briefing notes, there was also the clear warning;

[Nixon does not] have his predecessor’s sentimental attachment to Australia, which is unlikely to extend to according Australian special treatment in the way we sometimes received it under the Johnson Administration: Australia has a place in his thinking, but there are many more urgent matters to which he would give higher priority, as, for example, relations with the Soviet Union, the future of NATO, a settlement in Vietnam, relations with Japan, the future of Latin America.[cxxviii]

Gorton was desperate to achieve the kind of close American-Australian relationship with Nixon that Holt and Lyndon Johnson had achieved before him.[cxxix] However, with the “coolness” towards Australia that officials foreshadowed, Gorton’s attempts would in hindsight only prove fruitless.

In fact, Lyndon Johnson’s speech on U.S. Foreign Policy in Asia, in July 1966, marked the beginnings of future American relations in the Asian region, a speech in which he proclaimed and upon which Nixon would further expand that the “peace we [America] seek in Asia is a peace of conciliation between Communist states and their non-Communist neighbors; between rich nations and poor; between small nations and large; between men whose skins are brown and black and yellow and white; between Hindus and Moslems and Buddhists and Christians.”[cxxx] This structure of peace, as Johnson saw it, could only be “sustained through the durable bonds of peace, and through international trade, and through the free flow of peoples and ideas, and through full participation by all nations in an international community under law, and through a common dedication to the great tasks of human progress and economic development.”[cxxxi] Johnson’s decision not to send more troops to Vietnam in late 1968, and the increasing unpopularity of the Vietnam War would surely have signaled to Australian officials that American policy in Asia was changing, Lyndon’s speech the first sign of America’s tentative attempt to grasp a policy for a post-Vietnam Asia.[cxxxii]

Australian officials were not oblivious to these changing American world attitudes, however, nor were they oblivious to the internal domestic pressures on the incoming Nixon administration. In Gorton’s briefing notes for his visit to Washington, these circumstances and their effect are made evident:

Any discussion with the United States Government on security in South East Asia is likely to be in the context of a United States attitude that the states of the region must themselves bear the primary responsibility for their security and that any U.S. efforts in support will be dependent on and geared to the local effort… This attitude, which is rooted in domestic criticism of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam conflict and in the feeling that urgent domestic problems must now receive prior attention, has not yet found full expression in defined policies.[cxxxiii]

Even at the highest levels of Australian government a definite understanding had already formed that America would be consciously stepping back its international military obligations.[cxxxiv] And although observed that these tendencies had ‘not yet found full expression in defined policies’, it is clear that the issue was firmly on the political radar. And as Gorton’s briefing notes continued:

Australia is anxious that any reduction in the direct United States military involvement should not be accompanied by a reduction of interest in an support for the stable development of the states of the region. We look to the United States to maintain a constructive political influence in the domestic situations and inter-state relations of the region and, in particular, to make positive efforts to stimulate and support effective counter-insurgency programmes and sound economic development. [...Therefore] we have emphasized to the United States (and it might be desirable to emphasize this again) that it should be at pains to avoid doubts emerging about the nature of its basis strategic commitment, such as might both erode confidence in the region about ultimate protection against the communist states and encourage the communist states themselves to risk greater pressure.[cxxxv]

Gorton’s briefing notes should thus be seen as an important artefact of the Australian anxiety, making clear how Australian politicians and public figures tried to re-affirm the old links in a way that both acknowledged the complexities of the new world political landscape but tried to settle those feelings of unease it inspired. That questioning played itself out in three modes visible in Gorton’s notes: Firstly, Gorton was urged to remind America of Asia’s strategic importance in the emerging world; Secondly, to make it clear to the Americans that to ignore Asia would be to facilitate a more aggressive Communist ideology in the region that could later threaten both the region’s stability but also that of the apparent world mission of American democracy and capitalism; and finally that Australia was instrumental to maintaining this stability in the region. With Gorton’s visit coming so soon before Nixon’s speech (the Doctrine) Gorton’s visit at once tried to settle frayed Australian nerves and simultaneously remind America of the importance of this alliance – to say ‘don’t forget us – you still need us’.

Australia’s concern over this matter was so apparent that even in Nixon’s own briefing notes for the visit it also appeared as an important point of discussion;

Gorton, like many Australians, is nervous about a possible U.S. withdrawal from Asia after Viet-Nam. You should reassure him.

 Gorton will:

-                 probe your intentions on maintaining a U.S. presence in the area:

-                 be interested in your thoughts on future trends, including Japan’s role in the area.

You Should:

-                 assure him that our interest in the security and economic development of Southeast Asia will continue after Viet-Nam;

-                 stress the importance we will continue to attach to ANZUS and SEATO;

-                 outline your thinking on post-Vietnam Asia, highlighting the leading we foresee Australia playing in Southeast Asia, and the increasing contribution we hope to see Japan make.[cxxxvi]

Perhaps the most interesting point in these notes is the clear indication that, rather than America seeing Australia as dependent on themselves, America began increasingly to turn to Australia as a mature ally in the region. Yet, instead of seeking new ways of improving Australian defence agreements or of finding new avenues for American-Australian military co-operation, Gorton sought only to impress upon the new Nixon administration the need and purpose of a continued American presence in the Asian region, and the significance of ANZUS and its ‘military’ protection for Australia.

From recorded conversation notes from the meeting, we can see this dialectic played out even further between Gorton and Nixon. In these notes, Gorton was clear in expressing the military concerns of Australia, and interestingly Nixon reciprocated and confirmed of ongoing military support of Australia by America;

Gorton observed that the Southeast Asian countries need the protection of an external military shield while they are developing. Australia is doing its part to help provide that protection, he said, but it is a country of only 12 million inhabitants and its military capacity is limited. He noted that the British are not prepared to commit themselves to do any more than consult if contingencies arise which are beyond Australia’s ability to handle. Gorton voiced concern at the conceivable prospect of Australian forces fully committed to Southeast Asia, still unable to do the job there, and leaving Australia itself unprotected.

The President said he could not conceive of the U.S. abandoning Southeast Asia. He said the U.S. hopes for a continuing British interest in the area. He said the U.S. does not wish to be the only power on the scene – “we would like some company.” Gorton replied, “so would we,” and the President responded “Well, you have us.”[cxxxvii]

It was seemingly a clear affirmation of American support for Australia in the Asian region. Nixon’s promise to Gorton of America’s continued presence in the Asian region would have surely calmed the anxieties of Australian officials. But only two months later, Nixon’s reassurances were to prove hollow.

“You have us,” but for how long?

In February 1970, Sir Keith Waller, the Australian Ambassador in Washington, prepared a report to the Australian Government about the effects of the developing United States foreign policy under Nixon. “Causing grave concern at the highest political and official levels”, Waller’s report forecast a “rapid and determined reorientation of United States foreign policy and major interests from the Pacific and Asian regions towards Europe, the Middle East and South America.”[cxxxviii] Such a reappraisal would throw considerable doubt on the future validity of both the SEATO and ANZUS pacts, the report concluded.

Nixon’s statement in Guam would test the commitment of his promise to Gorton – “well, you have us”, but for how long and to what extent? Having down-graded the threat of Communist-inspired expansion in Asia, and suggesting that the U.S. military and economic involvement in the region would also be sharply down-graded in the list of U.S. foreign policy priorities, the extent to which Nixon had re-affirmed America’s commitment to the ANZUS treaty only two months before was now firmly under significant questioning. “ANZUS” wrote Kenneth Randall in the Financial Times, “says clearly enough that American action, in the event of an attack on either of the other parties, must be subject to constitutional processes [...] In the wake of the Guam Doctrine,” Randall continues, “there is no certainty at all of the response that might be forthcoming from a future congress.”[cxxxix]

The hope embodied in the ANZUS Pact of America’s unyielding support, a support that had been considered the cornerstone to Australia’s foreign and defence policy, was fundamentally challenged by the clearly different attitude expressed by Nixon in Guam. In fact, as newspapers aptly put it, that “chill overseas wind”, blowing around the “ears of the Australian Government,”[cxl] has left giving them the impression of “not only being temporarily left flat-footed by American moves but also of not being at all sure what to do next.”[cxli]

The Australian political and foreign policy outlook changed substantially with Nixon’s announcement. At no time since World War II, except perhaps briefly during Indonesia’s confrontation against Malaysia, had such a crisis in Australia’s military and defence policy emerged. Previously comfortable in the protection of its Western big brothers, Australia had neglected its own distinct defence and foreign policy, and was now suddenly expected to develop one. As T.B. Millar, the Director of the Australian Institute of National Affairs noted, the “Nixon Doctrine’s gloss of ANZUS Treaty and American preoccupations” has left Australia “uncertain and groping for a policy of its own.”[cxlii]

The Nixon Doctrine would have substantial effects on all levels of Australian Government. To a country that had denied itself diplomatic and psychological recognition of the Asian world around them, the Nixon Doctrine, even in all its ambiguity, meant that Australia had to actively engage in its region more deeply than its previously distanced approach, and more importantly, engage in this region without all the presumptions of Western power it relied upon. “There is a widespread feeling that in Asia and the Pacific old patterns are breaking up and new ones emerging,” said Gordon Freeth, Minister for External Affairs in September 1969, “Australia’s own relationship with the region may be entering a period of change and readjustment.”[cxliii]

This readjustment was neither swift nor calm for a still emotionally dependent Australia. In fact for much of the next decade, even in the face of definite British and now American military withdrawal from the region, Australia still struggled to understand the need to develop key relationships of their own. The problem for Australia was that no-one seemed to know just “how different the near future [would] be from the recent past,” and more importantly, “what [was to] be done about it.”[cxliv] Australian officials were left with only two choices: they could psychologically and diplomatically engage in the Asian region or they could continue to turn their back on Asia and seek out a policy of complete racial isolation.

Malcolm Fraser, the then Minister for Defence, announced in March 1970 that “if a policy of isolating ourselves ever made any sense, which I deny, the Nixon Doctrine […] makes it complete nonsense [...] Considered from the narrowest military ground a policy with isolation as its central concept would pose one inescapable question, how long could we stand aloof in armed – or unarmed – detachment from our environment?”[cxlv] The question was crucial to the subsequent response to the Doctrine. The Nixon Doctrine, although still maintaining that the American administration would stand by their treaty commitments, also proclaimed that American military support would no longer be so easily forthcoming. As Fraser continued, “the region of South-East Asia and the surrounding Pacific and Indian Ocean waters compromise our environment: We are as well a part of the environment of the other nations in our region. If that environment is going to change we want to be able to play a meaningful part in the changes – not work out a relationship after the region had been transformed by processes with which we were not associated and of which we had accumulated little knowledge or experience.”[cxlvi]

Fraser’s poignant recognition of the situation is one of the more realistic views that were offered by any high-level government official publicly after the enunciation of the Nixon Doctrine. Understanding what it would mean for Australia and its defence policy, Fraser was well aware that Australia needed to engage with its region openly and move beyond the ‘white’ Australia mythologies that had hindered Australia’s early national development. But what would follow in the immediate years following Nixon’s announcement would prove to be neither that decisive or remarkable, displaying just how ‘angry’ and ‘betrayed’ Australian officials felt by this new American foreign policy. Confronted with a world where neither Britain nor America would offer them the comfort of protection, Australian officials would grope for a defence and foreign policy of their own with little initial success.

The problem for Australians was that they had no idea how precisely to begin this engagement, so stunted was this relationship’s development thanks to the cultural and military umbrella of America and Britain. As the Herald journalist Vincent Mathews wrote, Australia, in the wake of the Nixon Doctrine, was no longer “simply a land of koalas, kangaroos and wealthy, uncouth white people,” but was a country that was now faced with important “foreign affairs problems that had usually been solved [for them] by London, and more recently, Washington.”[cxlvii] The Nixon Doctrine showed Australia that they were “big enough to be on their own,”[cxlviii] forcing Australian officials to engage with their region, even if such a policy was not the desired outcome.

 

The Turning Point

Australian re-actions to the Nixon Doctrine

Part I: Adrift in International Waters 

The immediate backlash to the Nixon Doctrine was clearly evident in mainstream Australian media. Some reactions were vocal in their rejection of America; “What do the Americans know about Australia and its problems anyway?”[cxlix] read the Sydney Herald in August 1969, for example. “In the grim, uncertain days of 1941 Lord Casey, Australia’s first Ambassador in Washington” the article continues, “met President Roosevelt and asked him for a frank answer on how much help Australia could expect from the Americans.” Regrettably, Roosevelt told him that, “Australia came down very low on the list after Canada, Latin America and others. ‘American interest diminishes with distance’, he told Casey.” “American interest in Australia has waned and waned since then,” continues the Washington reporter, Sam Lipski, “the world picture has shattered many times in the succeeding years.” “Australia” he concludes, “is still far away and in the era of the Guam Doctrine, Roosevelt’s words have contemporary ring to them.”[cl] It seemed that little had changed within the dynamics of the Alliance.

This Alliance realization would usher in a period of significant re-evaluation for the way that Australia saw itself in its region, a maturation that centred on the perception that Australia was somehow emerging from its adolescence into adulthood. “Our great and powerful friends are going home,” was how Australian commentator Peter Hastings put it, suggesting further that, “our particular corner of South-East Asia has swung back into a state of instability unknown since the second world war.”[cli] Set off by the Nixon Doctrine as a catalyst, the decade of the ‘70s would prove to be one of the most turbulent eras for Australian policy makers as they came to terms with the realities of the new world order. After a period first marred by inactivity and uncertainty, over the next several decades in Australian politics, Australia would undergo a social and political maturation that would involve the opening up of their engagements with the Asian world they had previously neglected.

In fact, what was clear from the Nixon Doctrine was that Australia would not be afforded any special treatment in Nixon’s new foreign policy objectives. Although Nixon might have paid lip-service to the American commitment to ANZUS, for Australia, the military and cultural presumptions that had underlined the American alliance were seemingly no longer a solid foundation, and because of the significance of these presumptions in Australian policy making, it seemed that the basis of much of Australia’s foreign engagement was suddenly no longer reliable. The Nixon Doctrine was, as the culmination of this historical trajectory, the final piece in a long line of Australian grievances towards the alliance (previous issues had mounted over WNG and Vietnam) and would prove to be the final denouement, forcing officials to reconsider Australia’s defence and foreign policy objectives.

These changes were heralded by Dr. Gordon, an American official studying the impacts of the Nixon Doctrine on Australian politics and society. He wrote that Australia is “undergoing a totally unprecedented experience in the development of [her] foreign policies […] For the first time since 1945”, he continues, Australia is now required to “shape genuinely independent foreign and defense policies … [Australia is] in foreign policy terms ‘coming of age in the Pacific’.”[clii] However, such a ‘coming of age’ would prove to be neither swift nor decisive. The decade immediately following the Doctrine’s announcement would prove to be a watershed in Australia’s relations with the world, and with America.[cliii] Initially it was marked by a period of absolute uncertainty during which Australia would struggle to find policies of their own. A failure to implement these changes would result in catastrophic defeat in the polls for both the Gorton and McMahon governments, with significant change and understanding of Australia’s new situation not firmly enacted until the appointment of Gough Whitlam and then Malcolm Fraser to the Prime Ministership.

In a November 1969 editorial, The Australian highlighted both the importance of the Nixon Doctrine but also the inability of Canberra policy makers to come to terms with it. One of the key aspect of policy discussion during this period was how exactly the Nixon Doctrine should effect the country’s foreign policy objectives;

What this revolution means to us is that the new America will regard Australia as expendable, a concept so heretic that Canberra has so far been unable to come to grips with it.

Doing so requires a big psychological break. For the first time since John Curtin, Australians must appreciate that it is not only Malaysia and Singapore and Thailand and Laos whom the Americans will expect to stand on their own, but us too. For the first time since Robert Gordon Menzies, Australian must appreciate that ANZUS and SEATO are not the be-all and end-all of our protection, nor of our commitment.[cliv]

Australian officials feared that America would follow in Britain’s steps and leave Australia isolated and abandoned on the other side of the world. Despite this clear objective – to avoid isolation – policy makers remained apparently unable to adapt to the changing world scene for many years. Indeed, the Alliance’s place in Australian thinking after Nixon’s announcement possessed a very curious paradox. On the one hand, as the above articles suggest, there was a consistent and widespread deprecation of the actual value of the ANZUS pact for Australia. The treaty itself tended to be “written-down by Australians both inside and outside Parliament.”[clv] But on the other hand, no Australian politician or party of significance ever wished its abolition, not even the Australian Labor Party whose members would later become stark critics of the Nixon Administration’s bombing in South Vietnam. As Gough Whitlam, then ALP’s chief parliamentary spokesman put it: “The formal part of the American Alliance is our mutual obligation under ANZUS which, as the Labor platform says, is ‘crucial’ and must continue.”[clvi] This simultaneous awareness in Australia of dependence on the U.S. and of the uncertainty of the arrangement forged to meet that dependence undoubtedly sharpened the ‘confusion’ that surrounded the policy decisions made in the immediate wake of Nixon’s announcement.

The initial moves to shape a new policy not underwritten by U.S. involvement was characterized by much drift and incoherence, so noticeable that Dr. Gordon, the American foreign policy analysis, wrote scathingly of this very inability of Australian officials to create new foreign policy objectives:

It is clear that Australia’s policies in Southeast Asia have for more than two years been characterized by vacillation and uncertainty. Nothing in the recent election results appear likely to change that pattern; instead, a government as weakly in power as Gorton’s is hardly in a position to embark on bold new foreign policy initiatives. As a result it seems perfectly safe to project that Australian foreign and defence policy will continue to exhibit the quality of reactiveness that has been its characteristic for most of Australia’s history.[clvii]

But the ability to overturn this ‘vacillation’ and ‘uncertainty’ would prove to be highly problematic for the dependent Australia. Having formed its defence policies around American, and once British support, the capacity to overhaul these long existing defence formulations would prove to be not nearly so easy to achieve as one American analysis might think. In the 1968 Strategic Basis of Australian Defence Policy, Australia’s defence reliance and planning was specifically expressed only in terms of the ANZUS treaty:

The United States interest is embodied in the ANZUS Treaty of 1951, which with the growth of American power and presence in the Pacific, has progressively become the foundation of Australia’s security. It is of first importance to the direct defence of Australian against attack from any quarter and to the prior deterrence of any such attack. The provisions of the Treaty also ensure a close American interest in the policies applied by Australia for security in Asia, although the extent to which the United States provides guaranteed backing, except in relation to the SEATO area, is indeterminate. Its relevance to a situation in which we might be directly threatened is not seriously affected by the possibility of changes in the pattern of US involvement in Asia. It provides favorable opportunities for Australia to influence US thinking and attitudes.[clviii]

Even if Australian officials now recognized a need to change these policies, the implementation of such would initially prove to be either too hard or politically disastrous. In fact, the failed implementation of the ‘Freeth Experiment’, devised by Gordon Freeth, Gorton’s Minister for External Affairs, is a historically significant example of this initial inability of Australian policy makers to form meaningful and coherent responses to this sudden change in regional politics. The ‘Freeth Experiment’, which aimed to soften Australia’s long-standing grievances towards the Soviet Union in a possible bid to pit the Soviet forces against China,[clix] was a strategy that would ultimately contribute to the down-fall of both Prime Minister Gorton and its chief architect, Gordon Freeth.

Interpreted by the government’s critics, especially by the DLP (Democratic Labor Party), as instigating a radical and un-heard of reversal in Australian attitudes towards the Soviet Union, Freeth’s policy sought to offset the alarmism that had resulted from the appearance of Soviet warships in the Indian Ocean a few months earlier by seeking a path of new engagement with the Soviet Union. As Freeth said:

During the past year or so there has been increasing interest and activity by the Soviet Union in the Asian region. Examples are the movement of ships of the USSR navy in the Indian Ocean […] If co-operation can be maintained or strengthened among countries of the region – including Australia – we will have made important advances towards ensuring that Southeast Asia will not be a source of weakness in the total pattern of world security […]

A substantial withdrawal at present of American strength would leave in the region a weakness which might very well tempt Peking to press southward […] Such a situation would not be in the interests of anyone in the region nor, indeed, of the Soviet Union, nor of the world.[clx]

The DLP alleged that these remarks meant that the Australian Government, compensating for the withdrawal of American military forces, were now inclined to see the Soviet Union as a potential diplomatic co-belligerent against China, describing Freeth’s policy as a “radical shift to the left.”[clxi] The DLP continued to allege that Freeth’s objectives represented a new (and highly dangerous) policy, its spokes-men repeatedly proclaiming that Freeth had advocated an alliance or security pact with the Russians, and that he had ‘welcomed’ their presence in the Indian Ocean.[clxii]Although Andrew Farran, a chief instigator behind the ‘Freeth Experiment’, would later note on the reference to the Soviet Union in Freeth’s speech as an attempt to put it in perspective inter alia in relation “to the recently proclaimed Nixon Doctrine in the hope that serious public discussion of these matters and their implications for Australia would be fostered,”[clxiii] the ‘Freeth experiment’ would never fly the nest.

Rather, it became the ‘kiss of death’ for Freeth who realized too late that “the force and logic of the statement would [not] overcome backwoods resistance.”[clxiv] As pointed out by The Age:

If Mr Freeth made a mistake it was to be too candid; after years of complaint that our foreign policy is being made in the dark, he invited the public to take a glimpse at the realities of policy making and to join in a long range estimate of the possible dangers facing the nation. The departure from conventional sermonising about external affairs has been seized on by the DLP and the Right-wing elements of the Government backbench as evidence of a loss of moral fibre. In fact, it is precisely the opposite.[clxv]

In fact, had Freeth’s experiment succeeded Australian foreign policy would have clearly and quickly been distinguishable from the form it took in the ‘60s. But, because it failed, as Andrew Farran continued to note, “subsequent Australian Governments [will] be fearful of moving away from certain myths and images which [have] sustained policy in previous decades and which [have] served so well in national elections.”[clxvi] Freeth would in fact loose his West Australian seat in the November elections that year in 1969, and Gorton would be left in office with a very uneasy and uncertain electoral buffer. The November elections fell just short of a rejection of the LCP coalition and stood in marked contrast to the victory won by Harold Holt 3 years earlier, its majority reduced from 45 seats to seven.

Following the election, the Financial Review remarked: “The biggest and most catastrophic loss for Australia in the recent election has been the almost total destruction of a logical, credible framework for foreign and defence policies.”[clxvii] And Professor Fred Alexander noted in the West Australian: “It is not easy to estimate the damage which the election campaign has done. The hope nevertheless may be expressed, without too much cynicism or undue optimism, that it may still prove possible to turn the clock back towards the pre-election sanity.”[clxviii] Gorton would only stay in power for another.

In retrospect, the timing of the ‘experiment’ was probably misjudged, the Government probably did not expect the DLP to engage in so sustained a campaign of resistance – a sign that shows all too well the traumas and problems of Australian foreign policy change in the immediate wake of Nixon’s announcement. Even the ‘forward-moving’ DLP party was clearly suspicious of early change.

The issues that ultimately brought down Gorton’s administration were nominally defence and foreign policy. The ‘Freeth Experiment’ is significant in this as a clear display of the Gorton administration’s lack of a clear approach to the new political landscape.  It, as a piece of policy, was also marked by the dependency of international thinking that had been displayed in the pre-Nixon doctrine era. Rather than seeking out a ‘direct’ engagement with Asia, the ‘Freeth Experiment’ was a continuation of the thinking of Australian policy making that saw the need to retain some ‘filter’ or mitigating influence between Asia and Australia. Rather than engaging with the Asian countries themselves that Australia feared or saw as potentially problematic, the ‘Freeth Experiment’ tried once again to replace the loss of Britain and America as a protective barrier by pandering to the Soviet Union and not developing policies that directly engaged with the member-states of South East Asia itself, even if they still were reaching out to the U.S.S.R.

This still immature attitude was a hallmark of the then Prime Minister Gorton’s administration’s responses to the Nixon Doctrine. For the next two years or so, spokesmen for the Government never seemed to recover from the setback suffered in 1969. While vast changes were occurring within the Asian and Pacific region, with profound implications for Australia, the Government displayed obvious diffidence and lack of touch in explaining and interpreting these developments to the Australian public.[clxix] This was a key factor in Gorton’s downfall, which came ultimately as the result of a general ‘no confidence’ vote that would lead to his resignation. The leader of the cabal that overthrew him, Malcolm Fraser, was at the time Defence Minister. Fraser would later go on to become Prime Minister but this was not until 1975. The immediate successor was William McMahon.

Part II: McMahon, Nixon and China

Of the three Liberal Prime Ministers in the transition from Menzies to Whitlam, McMahon probably had the fewest critical decisions to make regarding Australian relations with Washington and London. The die had already been cast for both the US exit from Vietnam, and British exit from East of Suez and entrance into the EEC, but in his short term as Prime Minister, McMahon faced one crucial American-Australian relationship incident; Nixon’s recognition of Communist China. Having previously denied Peking’s claim and instead recognizing Taiwan, Nixon’s shock visit to and reappraisal of Communist China would prove to be a significant embarrassment for the McMahon Government, and a significant dislodgement of Australian foreign policy directions to those of America. Even after meeting Nixon in Washington to attend the United Nations General Assembly debate over China’s admission in September 1970, McMahon refused to relax Australia’s stand. At his press conference upon returning home, McMahon maintained that:

If continental China showed a willingness to live up to the principles of the United Nations Charter, to leave other countries to develop themselves, then of course we would have a different approach today, but always our approach would be on the basis that Taiwan China, that is the Republic of China, would not be excluded from the United Nations. As yet there is little or no evidence that either of these conditions would be fulfilled by the Chinese Communists, that is Continental China.[clxx]

Even Canada’s recognition of China had no effect on Australian attitudes.[clxxi] In the changing regional context and in the face of obvious American ‘neglect’, McMahon would maintain that “the view of the United States is exactly the same as ours”[clxxii] despite the emergence of clear articles of differences in international engagement between the two administrations.

These events also highlighted the increasing coolness developing between the McMahon and Nixon administrations after the Nixon Doctrine, and more broadly a divergence between Australian and American interests. As the impact of the Nixon Doctrine began to sink into the minds of Australian policy makers, this incident was another example of Australia’s increasing awareness of the need for an independent voice in the politics of the Pacific region. It also marked a significant lack of communication between the Australian and American administrations, particularly present in this case. Nixon wrote to McMahon in August 1971 in a way that highlighted the increasing disregard of America to Australian involvement in matters of regional importance;

I understand fully and regret most deeply the domestic problems in Australia which have resulted from our inability to consult with you beforehand. The decision that we would not be able to inform our close friends in advance of the China initiative was an extremely difficult one for me to make. I can assure you that I weighed most carefully the entire matter of who should be informed – both within our own Government and around the world. I finally concluded that if we were to discuss Dr. Kissinger’s trip outside the smallest possible circle of United States Government officials, it would be virtually impossible for him to carry out the mission successfully.[clxxiii]

For Australia, America’s recognition of China made it very clear that the country could no longer continue to develop policies that were contingent upon a reciprocal relationship with America. If McMahon had not realized it already, Nixon’s letter made it perfectly clear – America was not concerned with Australian interests or political attitudes and saw Australia’s political friendship as irrelevant to the equation in international relations.  Just as Nixon had failed to inform Australian officials of his announcement on Guam, Kissinger’s trip to China had been kept secret from America’s ANZUS partner, yet another blow to Australia’s faith in the American alliance. The Australian Government had “wholly failed to understand what forces [were] shaping American foreign policy,”[clxxiv] as Professor Hedley Bull of the Australian National University put it. In particular, he continued to say that Australia had failed to ascertain the “radical change in the United States’ attitude to Asia […] Australia’s relationship with the US is at most, one of convenience.”[clxxv]

This incident, both America’s recognition of China and their purposeful concealment of a very significant change in international dynamics, was a major embarrassment for the McMahon Government on two fronts; firstly it was a significant breakdown of foreign relations between the leaders of the two countries with McMahon and his administration caught unawares by the proclamation; but secondly it also marked yet another point in the disintegration of the ANZUS relationship and further evidence for a need for Australia to move away from its America-dependent foreign policy direction.[clxxvi]

Nixon’s recognition of China was a blow also to the credibility to the Australian Government abroad. Although Gough Whitlam had visited China as Opposition Leader, the Australian Government had refused to recognize Peking and China’s Communist regime, but increasingly after America’s recognition of the regime, it was a stance that would prove difficult to maintain. An editorial from The Age made this clear to its readers;

If our relations with the outside world are to move with the times, Mr. McMahon will have to do a lot of homework in a hurry and recognize that the Little Brother approach to America is now out of date and should be replaced by a more independent and forward-looking approach. The military alliance of the large and small is matter of convenience [...] if it becomes inconvenient to America it will be downgraded [...] It is no longer enough to frame our policies on Washington’s orders. Washington is seeking new directions which might leave us with no policy at all.[clxxvii]

Part III: Australian Concerns – Defence

McMahon’s uncertainty marked a period of similar ‘directionlessness’ throughout the years following the Nixon Doctrine. Australia was still unwilling to go out on a limb in Southeast Asia if unsupported by the United States, and instead continued with a period of reactionary, dependent policy making. Australia’s recognition of China was ultimately forced by Nixon’s hand and was not really the beginning of an independent set of choices made in Australia’s own time.

The American analysis, Dr. Gordon, also observed this, noting that without a mature attitude towards its region, Australia’s uncertainty and lack of action would in fact bring about that which concerned them most – their isolation. In his Guam implementation strategy, Gordon outlined this issue, making particular note of the fear of isolation in Australian policy makers:

Assuming, moreover, that Australian foreign policy continues to be characterized by its present uncertainty and tentativeness, Australia’s leaders are likely to find themselves increasingly isolated from the politics and security patterns of the Southeast Asia region. They are also likely to find that the region is one in which, at best, Japan is dominant and, at worst, that it is a zone of contest among Japan, China, and the Soviet Union. For a technologically advanced, very prosperous, but thinly populated nation like Australia this poses an awesome defense prospect. At minimum, it would tend to reinforce the arguments already being made to achieve significant improvements in Australia’s capacity to defend the homeland, largely through expanding and improving its air and naval forces.[clxxviii]

Reflecting these considerations, a number of key ministerial figures began to urge the nation to widen its strategic options. David Fairbairn, McMahon’s Minister for Defence, would speak to the House of Representatives in 1972, noting that “the first requirement is to make a reasoned definition of the Australian interests needing to be pursued by our defence policy, and of the strategic situations against which we should build our defence capabilities.”[clxxix] Fairbairn continued:

It is clear that great changes are occurring in Australia’s external environment which justify a careful and progressive re-evaluation of the situation. It is also clear, I suggest, that we should not found our defence policy, or our willingness to engage ourselves to assist others, on a simple faith in the success of diplomatic efforts of mighty powers or on the benign intentions of rivals for ideological supremacy among communist powers.

It is not enough for Australia’s force structure to be built to meet only needs or threats that are explicably definable. We owe it to the community, and to the future parliaments and governments representing them, to have in our 3 armed Services and in our industrial and scientific support an adequate readiness against contingent threats looking, in some types or equipment and works expenditure, as far ahead as the late 1980s. So far ahead – almost 20 years at the limit – it is not given to man to make predictions which can be stated as accurate; nor is it possible to suggest more than orders of probability or of intensity of threats against Australian interests.[clxxx]

As Fairbairn’s comments signal, much thought was being devoted in Australia to the problem of defending Australia itself and to the corollary problem of deterrence. And because Australia was a highly developed, technologically advanced state with a small population, located in a global region of intense instability that had begun to attract the attention of such giants as the USSR, China, and Japan, it was inevitable that much thought was being directed toward the nuclear option.

In his pre-election policy speech in October 1969, Gorton had announced that “Australia’s first nuclear power station” would be built at Jervis Bay (South of Sydney) and would be operational by 1978.[clxxxi] Gorton declared even more explicitly that, “we as a small nation, need to consider the future carefully [...] It is well not only to look at ANZUS but also at the fact that America is going to be less and less interested in this part of the world [...] We need to be able to defend ourselves.”[clxxxii] Hedley Bull, among others, also emphasized this possibility: “Australia should acquire nuclear reactors for purposes of producing electric power, so as to acquire the basis of military nuclear programme [...] it would put us on the road to being able to manufacture a plutonium bomb at short notice.”[clxxxiii]

The nuclear argument for Australia would have considerable leverage. In the absence of firm American support guarantees, the logic of Australia’s situation in a region that was surrounded by great nuclear powers, the nuclear question pointed to a highly probable conclusion, and was positioned by many of its advocates as part of a necessary move towards complete dependence from its neighbours. Nigel Bowen, McMahon’s Minster for Foreign Affairs, put the nuclear debate up to one of possible national security;

This decade will be one of change. It will be a time of challenge and of danger. The Soviet Union is significantly enlarging its great power role. It is now very active in the Middle East and also in two areas of proximity and special interest to us, namely, the Indian Ocean and sub-continent and South East Asia itself. The People’s Republic of China has taken the China seat in the United Nations and is beginning to play a part in the international community. It continues to devote a massive effort to the development of its nuclear capacity… Strong competitive tensions between the Soviet Union and China are evident at present in the Asian region. Because our resources, our stability and our potential role in the region we cannot rule out that both China and the Soviet Union may seek in the future to improve their relations with us in support of their respective positions in the region.[clxxxiv]

Concern over the defence of Australia became the primary anxiety of this period. The potential threat of both the Soviet Union and Communist China seemed suddenly heightened, and without the sustained support of America, Australia felt acutely isolated and alone in this highly volatile Asian region. Whereas once complacent in its apparent geographical isolation from the land-wars in Europe, the changing world of Australia’s neighbours presented a significant defence challenge for the sparsely populated Southern continent.

Indications of this increased awareness of Australia’s defence capacity and its relationship to geography were clear in the 1972 Defence Review. The review drew attention to this potential for geographic isolation as a previous cornerstone of Australia’s comfort in its region:

Geography has a compelling influence on Australian security [...] geographical remoteness from the scene of land wars, and oceanic insulation from attack by land have historically been thought to be a source of Australia’s security. This has been so, in part, because dominant sea and air power was possessed by friendly powers. In the present and future decades this assumption will require constant re-examination.[clxxxv]

However, as the Defence Review continues, with a rapidly modernizing and militarizing set of northern neighbours, this isolationism was no longer a viable response to the region;

Australia requires to have the military means to offset physical threats to its territory and to its maritime and other rights and interests in peacetime, and should there ever be an actual attack, to respond suitably and effectively, preferably in association with others, but, if need be, alone.[clxxxvi]

These realizations of an isolated independence became a key mobilizer in shifting Australia’s inertia towards making pro-active engagements with the region. Seemingly intune with these broader regional issues, Malcolm Fraser stated these matters to the House of Representatives:

There has been a feeling in the past that a treaty with the United States is sufficient to allow a country under the benefit of the treaty to stand back in the traces and perhaps not do as much as it should on its own account. The Nixon Doctrine alters that. The doctrine makes it plain that help will be forthcoming to countries and regions that do what they can and ought to do to help themselves.[clxxxvii]

This was a major re-assessment of Australian concerns and military capabilities. Recognizing the fact that Australia may have to defend their shores ‘alone’, this new and realistic view of Australia’s changing defence circumstances was a particularly pivotal evolution in Australian thinking and national reform. Progress had clearly been made since the 1968 Strategic Basis of Australian Defence Policy where Australia’s defence reliance and planning was specifically expressed only in terms of the ANZUS treaty, shifts that were in a clear response to the Nixon Doctrine.

Part IV: Whitlam and Moves Away from Dependency

In hindsight, Australia’s faith in the Australian-American alliance and the potential influence of Australian concerns on U.S. policy under the 1968 Strategic Basis of Australian Defence Policy seems misguided. As Roosevelt said to Lord Casey in 1941, Australia’s interests came down very low on the list of American concerns. The belief that Australian officials could influence American foreign policy seems un-realistic in thought and application in the face of the WNG Crisis and Vietnam withdrawals.

In the years following the Nixon Doctrine, Fraser was one politician who publicly and consistently noted the importance of the Nixon Doctrine in Australian policy making. As Fraser noted, the Doctrine was “full of meaning for Australia.”[clxxxviii] Fraser regularly and unequivocally made this known in addresses to the public and parliament;

[Australia must] play a more leading role in our own regional affairs. Australia has leaned in the past on allied co-operation in respect of transport, refueling, reconnaissance, artillery, air strike and sea control. Already some such support has become less readily available and, in any case, we must consider what substitution by Australian capabilities is desirable. Greater self-sufficiency will be needed if we are to ease the practical burden of military support falling on our allies. It would make new demands on our logistic and infrastructural capabilities, and the relevant manpower and equipment would need to be expanded. In relation to combat capabilities, moves towards greater self-reliance would also have important effects.[clxxxix]

Fraser continually hypothesized the Nixon Doctrine’s many foreign policy implications and how they had fundamentally changed the way Australia went about enacting and thinking about defence and military policies. Only five years before, America and the ANZUS Alliance had been the centre of Australia’s policies but now, as Fraser noted, Australia “would have to consider what substitution by Australian capabilities is desirable,”[cxc] and perhaps what substitution Australia was capable of achieving in international politics.

These shifts were also extolled in the public debate. “There is no longer any room to doubt that Australian priorities have changed,” Kenneth Randall wrote in the Financial Times in August 1972.[cxci] “By most reckonings, the electoral edge which has won the last seven Australian general elections for the Liberal-Country Party Coalition has been its standing on the issues of foreign policy and defence,” continued Randall, “but the mystique has disappeared completely under the combined pressures of the Nixon Doctrine for Asia and the American President’s overtures to both Moscow and Peking.”[cxcii] Randall concisely identified that Australian need to find a more clearly-defined regional role and new world-wide relationships that reflected the new political commercial realities, just as Fraser and Bowen had noted to the House of Representatives.

However, many proclaimed that “at a time when Australia’s strategic environment is by general consent calling for unprecedented self-reliance and flexibility, there are increasing signs that its defence planning is still trapped amid the myths and paradoxes of the past.”[cxciii] While McMahon’s task as Prime Minister was certainly not an easy one, he still sought assurances from the Americans that the ANZUS obligations still held. In fact, his efforts to pursue this American-derived context would contribute to his failure at the polls. As Neville Meaney wrote of the McMahon Government, “it was incapable of adapting the old loyalty and language to the new circumstances,”[cxciv] and as a result, while key ministers in the McMahon Government such as Fraser may have recognized the need for change, little progress was actually made in adapting to these new American policies and Asian realities.

This was also the view of the opposition leader Gough Whitlam who believed it was “clearer than ever that no initiatives, no new thinking, no new perspectives will ever come from this Government, no matter who is the PM, no matter who is the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The past and the policies of the past are riveted upon the Government.”[cxcv] For Whitlam and the ALP, America’s détente with Russia and new attitude towards China was in fact welcomed. “This Government’s foreign policy is in ruins because its very foundations were false. It is time to clear away the rubble. We need a fresh start,” Whitlam announced to Parliament. With the abandonment of the old shibboleths, “one of the great tasks for Australian statesmanship would be to channel the Australian-American alliance into more fruitful and more constructive directions.”[cxcvi] Indeed, this was by far Whitlam’s aim who always maintained that Australia would no longer be a “satellite of any country”[cxcvii] but would rather seek to project greater self-assertion in the Asian region. Upon his inauguration, Whitlam again indicated how his administration saw a new approach to Australia as necessary;

The change of government provides a new opportunity for us to reassess the whole range of Australian foreign policies and attitudes […] Our thinking is towards a more independent Australian stance in international affairs and towards an Australia which will be less militarily oriented and not open to suggestions of racism: an Australia which will enjoy a growing standing as a distinctive, tolerant, co-operative and well-regarded nation not only in the Asia and Pacific region but in the world at large.[cxcviii]

Commentators seized upon this speech as a marker on the ‘new nationalism’, a new assertiveness in the Whitlam Government that marked a break with the previous Government’s conservative policies.[cxcix] The Guardian viewed Australia’s place in the world as “greatly changed” and Whitlam’s policy as “about as different as he can make it from that of his predecessors.”[cc] Indeed, it was during Whitlam’s time as Prime Minister that the Australian-American relationship was perhaps the closest to a situation of any real danger.[cci] Believing that America would “little note, nor long remember, Australia’s part in the Vietnam intervention,” [ccii] Whitlam sought to enact a policy of parity with the United States, foregrounded in Whitlam’s stance on America’s bombing of Hanoi in the Christmas of 1972, in which he sought to actively arrange peace talks on behalf of the Nixon Administration. Writing a letter to Washington on this matter, Whitlam marked that;

The breakdown of the negotiations has been a bitter blow to me, to the Australian Government […] In these circumstances I believe that the best means open to me to convey to you the depth of my own feelings, and to assist you towards reaching the conclusion for which you have worked so hard and so long, is to approach the heads of government of some of our neighbours in the Asia/Pacific area to join me in addressing a public appeal to both the United States and to North Vietnam to return to serious negotiations.[cciii]

Henry Kissinger’s phone call to the US Embassy in Canberra after receiving this letter expressed a barely contained anger at a perceived impertinence: “If you could convey that we are not particularly amused by being put by an ally on the same level as our enemy and to have an appeal equally addressed to us and North Vietnam, I must tell you it’s not the way to start a relationship with us.”[cciv] From an administration whom only a few years earlier called for its allies greater self dependence, America was seemingly greatly troubled and indeed aggravated by a junior partner’s questioning of its military and diplomatic endeavors.

For many, Whitlam’s approach to foreign policy constituted a revival of ‘radical nationalist’ hopes and visions. Geoffrey Serle maintained that the “sense of national independence and self-reliance has perhaps increased in recent years after a long period when fear and the long habit of dependence on a great power held Australia back from full nationhood and inhibited development of an identity.”[ccv] Despite this call to radical nationalism, however, a constant theme of Whitlam’s speeches as Prime Minister was that Australia’s relationships with traditional friends and allies were the essential foundations of Australian foreign policy and should remain basically unaltered. While Australia may “seek new relationships,” Whitlam would not “seek them at the expense of old, firm ones.”[ccvi] In many ways, Whitlam’s ‘new nationalism’ failed to realize the hopes of the ‘radical nationalists’. As J. D. B. Miller wrote that “in spite of the sense of a new start which the coming of the Whitlam government provided”, this government, “like any other [is] faced by constraints as well as opportunities. In both respects domestic and foreign influences have been at work.”[ccvii]

But there is no doubt that in the case of the Nixon Doctrine and its implications of the Australian-American Alliance, Whitlam was the first Prime Minister who sought to enact a policy of change in Australia’s relationship with the Asian world and its ANZUS partner –under Whitlam the Department of External Affairs was re-labeled to Foreign Affairs and the Departments of Navy, Air and Army were unified into the Department of Defence. With certain members of the ALP calling the Nixon Administration “maniacs” over their bombing in Cambodia and Hanoi,[ccviii] Whitlam had clear ambitions to change the balance of the US-Australia alliance and seek new relationships in Asia. And despite the early apparent disregard of Australian opinions, these changes would be of great concern in Washington. Even in the face of the Watergate scandal, Nixon saw fit to issue a National Security Study Memorandum to the Departments of State and CIA in July 1974, writing on this matter that the “recent changes in the Labor Government” should warrant a study that “examines the impact of these changes on basic US objectives toward Australia, particularly in the political-security area.”[ccix] These waves of ‘new nationalism’ were disconcerting for Washington as the administration came to realize that Australia was effectively beginning to assert its presence as a sustainable middle-power in the Asia Pacific region in a way which could inhibit the future development of America’s key interest in Australia – satellite bases.

Whitlam’s movements away from America also garnered ongoing resistance as well as support in Australia. Shadow foreign affairs spokesman Andrew Peacock declared in parliament that Whitlam’s “new nationalism” was “not in Australia’s interest. It is not new nationalism but old-style aggressive nationalism, a petulant self-assertiveness”[ccx] which was harming Australia’s standing with Britain, the United States and neighboring Asia-Pacific countries. Similarly Fraser described the ‘new nationalism’ as “a perversity, and an archaic approach to domestic and world affairs.”[ccxi] In fact, during the Whitlam era, Fraser was a stark critic of the ‘new nationalism’, a ‘new nationalism’ that would in the end, not really have the time to find its feet. In contrast to Whitlam’s progressive realism, Fraser’s realism seemed more pessimistic about the possibilities of national survival in a world constantly menaced by Soviet aggression. As James Curran has noted on Fraser’s approach to foreign policy, “military force was the only language aggressors’ understood. In Fraser’s realist ‘world-view’ it was power politics which ultimately prevailed.”[ccxii]

This ‘pessimistic realism’ would be the prevailing attitude expressed in the 1976 Defence White Paper, Australia’s first ever-independent defence policy objective, representing the final culmination in response to Nixon’s words on Guam. Just as the 1972 Defence Review had found the need to implement new strategies in Australia’s relations with its region and America, the ’76 White Paper would herald a new Australia, a cornerstone of Australia’s continual development of independent defence capabilities. “The withdrawal of former imperial powers and the proliferation of sovereign nation-states in numbers unprecedented in history,” reads the paper, “have established a new world order. Australia’s external political environment has been radically transformed by these changes – changes we were able to support in Indonesia a generation ago, to help defend later in Malaysia, and to assist in Papua New Guinea.”[ccxiii]

Against this background of change, Australia would recognize the need to move from a situation in which they had supported commitments of major powers, to a position of partnership with the regional Asia they had held at bay. “In the earlier post-war period,” continues the White Paper:

Australian strategic policy was strongly influenced by anxiety about the ability of the nascent nation-states of South East Asia to withstand domestic dissidence and external pressures. 

The situation has changed in important respects. Our assessments, still necessarily short-term, depict a regional situation with reasonable prospects of stability, although with many imponderables and uncertainties.[ccxiv]

Although there were ‘uncertainties’ and ‘imponderables’ ahead, Australia’s ‘looking to Asia’ began to overhaul the policies of the pre-Nixon Australia, articles such as the White Australia Policy, representing an important and fundamental break in Australia’s foreign history past. Before the Nixon Doctrine, the capacity to even recognize the potential in and of Asia was implausible, but as the barriers of ‘White’ pride that had fortified Australia and had allowed it to grow and prosper during its formative years were slowly breaking down, Australia actively began to engage with Asia like never before. Although greater engagement with Asia would still continue to develop over the next few decades, Australia’s realization of its ‘geographical’ neighbours and their importance still remains a significant milestone in Australian history.

Part V: Worlds Apart

Fraser himself would also be unequivocal in his acceptance of this new Asian outlook and its compatibility with the ‘modern’ Australia. “Fortunately the days of Anglo-Saxon conformity are over,” he would say, “and I believe we are better off as a nation and as individuals because of this [...] Ethnic cultures have added a new dimension of diversity and richness to the traditions of those other migrants, the English, Scots and Irish. What is emerging from this,” concluded Fraser, “is a distinctive Australian culture.”[ccxv] Even after Whitlam’s ‘new nationalism’, Fraser’s recognition of the new Australian multicultural society was one of the first times an Australian Prime Minister had so fervently embraced the end of Australia’s once coveted ‘white’ homogeneity, and signaled a change in direction for future Australia-Asia engagement.

Not only did Australia begin culturally to address Asia but also Australia’s realization of the applicability and meaning of the American alliance to Australia’s defence prospects began to enter into mainstream political activity, and should be seen as an important mark of Australia’s steps towards ‘independence’. As the 1976 Defence Paper continues:

A primary requirement emerging from our findings is for increased self-reliance… Our alliance with the US gives substantial grounds for confidence that in the event of a fundamental threat to Australia’s security, US military support would be forthcoming. However, even though our security may be ultimately dependent upon US support, we owe it to ourselves to be able to mount a national defence effort that would maximize the risks and costs of any aggression.[ccxvi]

Although America would remain, and perhaps arguably still does, a significant cornerstone of Australia’s defence capabilities, the willingness and recognition to be able to command and maintain a strong national defence programme was revolutionary.  On both sides of the political coin there was emerging a new approach to the ANZUS alliance and a realistic appreciation of its limits. Even the Strategic Basis of Australia’s Defence Policy in 1975 argued that Australia’s alliance with the United States “does not mean that in all circumstances Australia must support the United States or can expect to be supported by it. Nor does it mean that there could not be circumstances modifying or supplementing the United States association when Australia could act in co-operation with USSR or China or Japan or India and other powers which had common interests at the time with Australia.”[ccxvii] While Prime Ministers might have disagreed about the best way to pursue these new policies, it was clear that in Australian politics there had developed, albeit slowly, a concerted realization that Australia must base policies on an independent analysis of the world that sought to protect Australia’s interests.

In fact, making his first major statement on foreign affairs in June 1976, Malcolm Fraser would continue this interpretation of an independent foreign policy reform. While adhering firmly to ANZUS and “the Western alliance”, he maintained “the interests of the United States and the interests of Australia are not necessarily identical. In our relations with other great powers, our first responsibility is to independently assess our own interests. The United States will unquestionably do the same.”[ccxviii] To mark this new direction in policy-making, Fraser departed from the practice of his conservative predecessors and made his first major overseas trip not to London or Washington, but to China and Japan, reflecting all to well the new meaning given to ANZUS and demonstrating the growing maturity of the Australian-American alliance.

While maybe still the ‘lone white face’ in the Asian region, officials began to embrace Australia’s unique position in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to enact independent defence and foreign policies that would dictate Australia’s involvement in this region for years to come. “There has been a feeling in the past that a treaty with the United States is sufficient to allow a country under the benefit of the treaty to stand back in the traces and perhaps not do as much it should on its own account,” spoke Fraser to the House of Representatives, but, he poignantly concluded, “the Nixon Doctrine alters that.”[ccxix] Whilst becoming the final symbol of Australia’s ‘racial’ and Western isolation, the Nixon Doctrine, as Fraser accurately defined, would unleash a decade of Australian regional and policy development that would for ever change the future direction of Australian Asian and American engagement.

 

CONCLUSION:

The Lone White Face No More?

Years later, President Nixon would comment to American Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield that his remarks on Guam had never meant to signal “a new policy that would lead to total American withdrawal from Asia and from other parts of the world as well.” The Nixon Doctrine he argued, “was not a formula for getting America out of Asia, but one that provided the only sound basis for America’s staying in and continuing to play a responsible role in helping the non-Communist nations and neutrals as well as our Asian allies to defend their independence.”[ccxx] In fact, it was not so unreasonable to expect nations to make the major initial effort in defence of their own independence.

Indeed, if Richard Nixon had been elected in 1960, instead of 1968, he probably would have pursued a policy of anticommunist global containment largely indistinguishable from that of Truman and Eisenhower. Furthermore, his efforts would have probably been sustained by a broad domestic consensus regarding the interest, goals, and instruments of this anti-communist, interventionist American foreign policy. But by 1968 deep, angry cleavages among elites and the wider public produced mostly, though not solely, by the Vietnam War, had shattered the consensus and threatened to paralyze U.S. foreign policy. Therefore what the Nixon Doctrine ultimately marks is the beginning of a lengthy period in American politics that sought to define new patterns with the world, and of a similarly lengthy process of building up new domestic bases for these relationships to thrive. What was involved in the Doctrine was a distinct shift away from the messianic traditions in American foreign policy that had been repeatedly articulated by the nation’s most representative statesmen, from the Founding Fathers to John F. Kennedy, reflecting a ‘swing’ back to caution where Nixon was forced to accept the limits of the world’s greatest super-power.

Rather ironically, this American ‘swing’ back to caution would propel its Australian ally into a period that would mark both radical and turbulent changes in its foreign and defence policies. As Nixon and Kissinger noted, “abrupt shifts in our policies – no matter how sound in concept – are un-settling, particularly for those who may have committed themselves to past practices at United States’ urging.”[ccxxi] And Australia, chief among America’s allies, had for long committed themselves ‘all the way’ with past American global interventionist attitudes in Asia. Thus in the wake of Nixon’s new foreign policy pursuits, it is little wonder that Australia was left questioning and confused about their place in this new world and their future within it.

But after years of searching, there arose within Australian politics a bi-partisan approach to foreign relations where the American Alliance began to take a back seat to comprehensive ‘independent’ engagement with Asia. Successive governments sought to enact policies that would place Australian interests above those of its great Western ally, even if this took many years, and many governments, to successfully implement. Australia’s post-1945 policies, particularly with respect to the Far East, were greatly shaped by her relationship with the United States. But since the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War over 30 years ago, Australia has set about developing a more self-reliant defence policy based on the capacity of Australia to operate independently in the Asian region.

In 1971 Richard Woolcott, a long-time Australian diplomat and Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, would claim that, “Australia is on the threshold of a bright future if it makes the right choices.” “We can stand still,” he continued, “and allow ourselves to come to be regarded as a bucolic, inwards-looking, materialistic, racist, self-satisfied, apathetic, pleasure-seeking member of the world community slumbering at the southern end of the globe – a sort of Anglo-American step-child which never really grew up.” On the other hand however, Woolcott suggested that Australia “can continue to work to become an accepted distinctive, tolerant and well-regarded nation in the Asia-Pacific region. The choice is ours.”[ccxxii] The problems and alternatives that Woolcott perceived would persist throughout the next decade: the decision to choose which path to go down, and how exactly to go down it, would occupy Australian concerns on both sides of the political coin. And while policy makers may have been initially fearful of Woolcott’s later choice, Australia slowly but categorically accepted the decision to involve itself within the Asia region like never before, a decision that has defined its place ever since.

Although the American Alliance still remains a cornerstone in Australian policy, the national examination that one President’s words unleashed within Australian politics is a hugely remarkable event in Australia’s history that has not received nearly enough attention in contemporary literature. In fact, while it might have been the final culmination in a long-line of Australian concerns directed towards the meaning of the American Alliance, the Nixon Doctrine would in fact historically prove be one grievance that would greatly benefit the Australian nation.

 

APPENDIX – ANZUS TREATY

SECURITY TREATY BETWEEN AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

THE PARTIES TO THIS TREATY,

REAFFIRMING their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all Governments, and desiring to strengthen the fabric of peace in the Pacific Area,

NOTING that the United States already has arrangements pursuant to which its armed forces are stationed in the Philippines, and has armed forces and administrative responsibilities in the Ryukyus, and upon the coming into force of the Japanese Peace Treaty may also station armed forces in and about Japan to assist in the preservation of peace and security in the Japan Area,

RECOGNIZING that Australia and New Zealand as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations have military obligations outside as well as within the Pacific Area,

DESIRING to declare publicly and formally their sense of unity, so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that any of them stand alone in the Pacific Area, and

DESIRING further to coordinate their efforts for collective defense for the preservation of peace and security pending the development of a more comprehensive system of regional security in the Pacific Area,

THEREFORE DECLARE AND AGREE as follows:

Article I

The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

Article II

In order more effectively to achieve the objective of this Treaty the Parties separately and jointly by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

Article III

The Parties will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened in the Pacific.

Article IV

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

Article V

For the purpose of Article IV, an armed attack on any of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of any of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.

Article VI

This Treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Charter of the United Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Article VII

The Parties hereby establish a Council, consisting of their Foreign Ministers or their Deputies, to consider matters concerning the implementation of this Treaty. The Council should be so organized as to be able to meet at any time.

Article VIII

Pending the development of a more comprehensive system of regional security in the Pacific Area and the development by the United Nations of more effective means to maintain international peace and security, the Council, established by Article VII, is authorized to maintain a consultative relationship with States, Regional Organizations, Associations of States or other authorities in the Pacific Area in a position to further the purposes of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of that Area.

Article IX

This Treaty shall be ratified by the Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional processes. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited as soon as possible with the Government of Australia, which will notify each of the other signatories of such deposit. The Treaty shall enter into force as soon as the ratifications of the signatories have been deposited. [1]

Article X

This Treaty shall remain in force indefinitely. Any Party may cease to be a member of the Council established by Article VII one year after notice has been given to the Government of Australia, which will inform the Governments of the other Parties of the deposit of such notice.

Article XI

This Treaty in the English language shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of Australia. Duly certified copies thereof will be transmitted by that Government to the Governments of each of the other signatories.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty.

DONE at the city of San Francisco this first day of September, 1951.

FOR AUSTRALIA:

[Signed:]

PERCY C SPENDER

FOR NEW ZEALAND:

[Signed:]

C A BERENDSEN

FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

[Signed:]

DEAN ACHESON

JOHN FOSTER DULLES

ALEXANDER WILEY

JOHN J SPARKMAN

[1] Instruments of ratification were deposited for Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America 29 April 1952, on which date the Treaty entered into force.

Australian Treaty Series 1952 No. 2 (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1997).

Select Bibliography

Primary Sources:

 

Archives:

(Details of specific items can be found in the Notes)

 

AUSTRALIA:

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Library (DPMCL), Canberra

Transcripts of speeches, statements, press releases and press conferences by Australian Prime Ministers, 1941-present.

 

National Archives of Australia (NAA), Canberra

A1209, Prime Minister’s Department, Central Office, 1957 – 1971

A7976, Prime Minister’s Department, Central Office, 1971 – 1973, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – International Division

 

HANSARD:

Speeches from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives

 

OVERSEAS:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington DC

Central Foreign Policy Files, 1967-74

RG 59, General Records of the Department of State

 

Nixon Presidential Materials

Henry A. Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts

NSC Files

NSC Institutional Files

Presidential Correspondence, 1969-74

 

Harry S. Truman Library

Private Papers of Dean G. Acheson

 

Australian Defence Reports:

1968 Strategic Basis of Australian Defence Policy, issued by the Department of Defence (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, August 1968).

1972 Australian Defence Review, issued by the Department of Defence (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, March 1972).

1975 Strategic Basis of Australia’s Defence Policy, issued by the Department of Defence (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, October 1975).

1976 Defence White Paper, issued by the Department of Defence (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, November 1976).

 

American Reports to Congress:

‘U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970s: February 18, 1970, Department of State’, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969 – 1976, Vol. I (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 2003).

‘U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970’s: Building for Peace, February 25, 1971, Department of State’, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969 – 1976, Vol. I (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 2003).

 

Newspapers and Journals

The Age

The Australian

Canberra Times

Chicago Sun-Times

The Bulletin

The Financial Review (England)

The Financial Review (America)

The New York Times

Washington Post

West Australian

Inside Canberra

 

Specific Newspaper Items:

Fairbairn, Geoffrey, ‘No Clear Line on U.S. Alliance’, Financial Times (London, England), 31 August 1971, p. 15.

Lipski, Sam, ‘What do the American’s know about Australia and its problems anyway?’, Herald (Sydney, Australia), 13 August, 1969.

Mathews, Vincent, ‘Grow Up, Australia’, Herald (Sydney, Australia), 25 June, 1968.

Millar, T. B., Director, The Australian Institute of National Affairs, ‘Turning Away from Britain’, Financial Times (London, England), 31 August 1971, p. 12.

Millar, T. B., Director, The Australian Institute of National Affairs, ‘The shifting foundations of defence policy’, Financial Times (London, England), 1 September, 1970, p. 16.

Randall, Kenneth, ‘Foreign Policy: loosening old ties’, Financial Times (London, England) 29 August, 1972, p. 14.

Reston, James, ‘London: The Nixon Doctrine and Assumptions’, New York Times, February 20, 1970, p. 40

Robinson, Peter, ‘Dilemma on defence’, Financial Times (London, England) 29 August, 1972, p. 14.

Van Der Kroef, Justus, M., ‘Australia Looks to Nixon’, National Review, 11 February 1969, pp. 119 – 121.

 

Diaries/Memoirs:

Howson, Peter, The Howson Diaries: The Life of Politics (Ringwood: Victoria, 1984).

Kissinger, Henry A., White House Years (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Michael Joseph).

Nixon, Richard, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978).

Nixon, Richard No More Vietnams (New York: Arbor House, 1985).

Whitlam, Gough, Beyond Vietnam: Australia’s Regional Responsibility (Melbourne: Victorian Fabian Society Pamphlet 17, 1968).

Whitlam, Gough, The Whitlam Government 1972 – 1975 (Victoria: Penguin, 1985).

 

Articles:

Nixon, Richard M., ‘Asia After Viet Nam’, Foreign Affairs, v. 46, October 1967, pp. 111 – 125.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary Sources:

 

Books

Aitchison, Ray (ed.), Looking at the Liberals, (Melbourne: Cheshire Publising, 1974).

Baker, John, and Paal, Douglas, H., ‘The US-Australian Alliance’, in Blackwill, Robert, D., and Dibb, Paul, (eds.), America’s Asian Alliances (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000), pp. 87 – 109.

Barclay, Glen St J., Friends in High Places (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1985).

Bell, Coral, Dependent Ally: A Study in Australian Foreign Policy (St. Leonards: Allen & Unwin in association with Dept. of International Relations, ANU, 1993).

Nash, Gary B., The American People: Casting a Nation and a Society (New York: Harper & Row, 2004).

Bell, Philip and Roger, Implicated: The United States in Australia (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1993).

Bundy, William, A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presidency (New York: Hill & Wang, 1998).

Boyd, Robin, The Australian Ugliness (Melbourne: Penguin Books, 1960).

Cotton and Ravenhill, (eds.), Seeking Asian Engagement (Sydney: OUP, 1997).

Curran, James, The Power of Speech: Australian Prime Ministers Defining the National Image (Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 2004).

Curran, James and Ward, Stuart, The Un-Known Nation: Australia After Empire (Melbourne University Press: Melbourne, 2010).

Day, David, The Great Betrayal: Britain, Australia & the onset of the Pacific War, 1939-42 (New York: Norton, 1989).

Day, David, Reluctant Nation: Australia and the Allied Defeat of Japan 1942-45 (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992).

Edwards, Peter, Crises and Commitments: The Politics and Diplomacy of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948 – 1965 (Sydney: Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial, 1992).

Greenwoord, Gordon & Harper, Norman, Australia in World Affairs 1960 – 1970 (Melbourne: Cheshire Publishing for the Australian Institute of International Affairs, 1974).

Hancock, W. K., Australia (London: E. Benn Limited, 1930).

Harper, Norman, A Great and Powerful Friend (Queensland: University of Queensland Press, 1986).

Herring, George C., From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

Horne, Donald, The Lucky Country: Australia in the Sixties (Penguin Books: Australia, 1964).

Hudson, W. J., (ed.), Australia in world affairs, 1971 – 1975 (Sydney: George Allen & Unwin for the Australian Institute of International Affairs, 1980).

Kimball, Jeffrey, Nixon’s Vietnam War (Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1998).

King, Peter, (ed.), Australia’s Vietnam: Australia in the Second Indo-China War (George Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1983).

Lee, David, and Waters, Christopher, (eds.), Evatt to Evans: The Labor Tradition in Australian Foreign Policy (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1997).

Levi, Werner, Australia’s Outlook on Asia, (Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1958).

Levi, Werner, American Australian Relations, (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1947).

London, H. I., Non-white Immigration and the White Australian Policy (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1970).

Markus, Andrew, Fear and Hatred: Purifying Australian and California, 1850 – 1907, (Sydney, Southwood Press, 1907).

McMahon, Robert J., ‘The Limits of Empire: The United States & Southeast Asia Since World War II (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).

McQueen, Humphrey, Gallipoli to Petrov: Arguing with Australian History (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1984).

Meaney, Neville, Australia and the World (Longman Cheshire: Melbourne, 1985).

Meaney, Neville, A History of Australian Defence and Foreign Policy, 1901-23: The Search for Security in the Pacific (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1976).

Meaney, Neville, Australia in world affairs, 1971 – 1975 (Sydney: George Allen & Unwin for the Australian Institute of International Affairs, 1980).

Melanson, Richard, A., American Foreign Policy Since the Vietnam War, (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2005).

Nash, Gary B., The American People: Casting a Nation and a Society (New York: Harper & Row, 2004).

Pearson, Charles Henry, National Life and Character, 2nd ed. (Elbrion Classics: Chesnut Hill, MA, 2005).

Pfeffer, Richard M., (ed.), No More Vietnams? The war and the future of American foreign policy, (New York: Harper & Row for the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs, 1968).

Price, Charles, The Great White Walls Are Built (Canberra: Australian Institute of International Affairs in association with Australian National University Press, 1974).

Schandler, Herbet Y.The Unmaking of a president: Lyndon Johnson & Vietnam, (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1977).

Scott, Keith, Gareth Evans (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1999).

Serle, Geoffrey, From Deserts the Prophets Come (Melbourne: Heinemann, 1973).

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Brzezinski, Zbigniew ‘Half Past Nixon’, Foreign Policy, no. 3, Summer 1971, pp. 3 – 21.

Bull, Hedley, ‘The Political and Strategic Background to Australian Defence’, Economic Papers, no. 29, The Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand, November 1968, pp. 1 – 16.

Chauvel, Richard, ‘Up the Creek Without a Paddle: Australia, West New Guinea and the Great and Powerful Friends’’, in Cain, Frank, (ed.), Menzies in War and Peace (St. Leonards: Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian Defence Studies Centre, Australian Defence Force Academy, 1997), pp. 55 – 71.

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Curran, James, ‘The Thin Dividing Line: Prime Ministers and the Problem of Australian Nationalism, 1972 – 1969’, The Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 48, no. 4, December 2002, pp. 469 – 487.

Dornan, James, E., ‘The Nixon Doctrine And the Primacy of Détente’, The Intercollegiate Review, Spring 1974, pp. 77 – 97.

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Girling, J. L. S., ‘The Guam Doctrine’, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs), vol. 46, no. 1, January 1970, pp. 48 – 62.

Haggis, Jane, and Schech, Susanne, ‘Postcolonialism, identity, and location: being white Australian in Asia?’, Environment & Planning D: Society & Space, vol. 16, no. 5, 1998, pp. 615 – 629.

Hoffman, Stanley, ‘Will the Balance, Balance at Home?’, Foreign Policy, no. 7, Summer 1972, pp. 60 – 86.

Howard, Bob and R. F., ‘Foreign Policy Review’, The Australian Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 3, September 1971, pp. 97 – 108.

Horne, Donald, ‘The New Nationalism’, Bulletin, 5 October 1968.

Hughes, Colin, ‘The Rational Voter and Australian Foreign Policy, 1961 – 69’, Australian Outlook, Vol. 24, no. 1.

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Kohl, Wilfred L., ‘The Nixon-Kissinger Foreign Policy System and U.S.-European Relations: Patterns of Policy Making’, World Politics, vol. 28, no. 1, October 1975, pp. 1 – 43.

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McLean, David, ‘ANZUS Origins: A Reassessment’, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 24, no. 94, April 1990, pp. 64 – 82.

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Megaw, Ruth, M., ‘Australia and the Great White Fleet 1908’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 56, 1970, pp. 212 – 231.

Miller, J. D. B., ‘An Empire that don’t care what you do…’, in A. F. Madden & W. H. Morris-Jones (eds.), Australia and Britain: Studies in a changing relationship (London: Frank Cass & Company Ltd., 1980), pp. 86 – 97.

Miller, J. D. B, ‘Australian Foreign Policy: Constraints & Opportunities’, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1944), vol. 50, no. 2, April 1974, pp. 425 – 438.

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Richardson, I. L., ‘Australian Strategic Perspectives’, International Journal (Canadian Institute of International Affairs), vol. 26, no. 4, Autumn, 1971, pp. 725-734.

Roberts, Chalmers M., ‘How Containment Worked’, Foreign Policy, no. 7, Summer 1972, pp. 41 – 53.

Stathis, Stephen W., ‘Nixon, Watergate and American Foreign Policy’, Presidential Studies Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 1, Winter 1983, pp. 129 – 147 .

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Van der Kroef, Justus M. ‘The Gorton Manner: Australia, Southeast Asia, and the U.S.’, Pacific Affairs, vol. 42, no. 3, Autumn1969, pp. 311 – 333.

Watt, Alan, ‘The ANZUS Treaty: Past, present and future’, Australian Outlook, vol. 24, no. 1, 1970, pp. 17 – 36.

Williams, Paul D., ‘Holt, Johnson and the 1966 Federal Election’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 47, no. 3, 2001, pp. 366 – 383.

 

 



[i]

[ii] Richard M. Nixon, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978), pp. 487-88.

[iii] See for e.g. Henry A. Kissinger, White House Years (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Michael Joseph), p. 224: also see for first usage of ‘Nixon Doctrine’ New York Times, July 31 and August 3, 1969, June 29 and July 2, 1970; Chicago Sun-Times, September 17, 1970.

[iv] ‘Informal Remarks in Guam with Newsmen. July 25, 1969’, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon: 1969 (Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1971), p. 546.

[v] See Gorton’s briefing notes for his visit to Washington in May 1969, ‘Prime Minister of Australia – Visit to United States of America and Canada, March-April 1969 – Briefing Papers’, Canberra, A1209, NAA.

[vi] ‘Washington: Speech Notes for the PM’, Canberra, 28 March, Prime Minister of Australia – Visit to United States of America and Canada, March-April 1969 – Briefing Papers’, ibid.

[vii] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Nixon: 1969, p. 546.

[viii] Ibid., p. 549.

[ix] For a sampling of popular definitions see Gary B. Nash et al., The American People: Casting a Nation and a Society (New York: Harper & Row, 2004), James E. Dornan, ‘The Nixon Doctrine And the Primacy of Détente’, The Intercollegiate Review, Spring 1974, pp. 77 – 97, and Jeffrey Kimball, ‘The Nixon Doctrine: A Saga of Misunderstanding’, Presidential Studies Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 1 (March), 2006, pp. 59 – 74.

[x] For more on the basic principles of American policy and idealism see Anatol Lieven, America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (London: Harper Perennial, 2004), pp. 48 – 239.

[xi] ‘Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961’, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy: 1961 (Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1962), pp. 1 – 3.

[xii] See George C. Herring, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 760 – 810.

[xiii] See Stanley Hoffman, ‘Will the Balance, Balance at Home?’, Foreign Policy, no. 7, Summer 1972, pp. 60 – 86.

[xiv] ‘U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970s’ February 18, 1970, Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969 – 1976, vol. 1. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2003), p. 196.

[xv] See J. L. S.  Girling, ‘The Guam Doctrine’, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs), vol. 46, no. 1, January 1970, pp. 48 – 62.

[xvi] Peter Howson, The Howson Diaries: The Life of Politics (Ringwood: Victoria, 1984), p. 415.

[xvii] Geoffrey Fairbairn, ‘No Clear Line on U.S. Alliance’, Financial Times (London, England), 31 August 1971, p. 15.

[xviii] See Stephen W. Stathis, ‘Nixon, Watergate and American Foreign Policy’, Presidential Studies Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 1, Winter 1983, pp. 129 – 147 and Wilfred L. Kohl, ‘The Nixon-Kissinger Foreign Policy System and U.S.-European Relations: Patterns of Policy Making’, World Politics, vol. 28, no. 1, October 1975, pp. 1 – 43.

[xix] Speech, Malcolm Fraser, The 1971 Alfred Deakin Lecture – ‘Towards 2000, Challenge to Australia’

[xx] The Minister for Defence, Malcolm Fraser, in CPD, H of R, 22 April 1971, p. 1929.

[xxi] Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Nixon: 1969, p. 548.

[xxii] ‘Radical nationalists’ always maintained that the fall the Singapore by the British in 1942 was the ‘great betrayal’ to their faithful Australian colony. Central to this belief was that while Britain was willing to use Australian forces for their own European battles, they had displayed little attention to Australia’s security needs in the Asian region. See for instance Paul Keating in CPD, H of R, 27 February 1992, p. 374. For a more general view see Neville Meaney, ‘Britishness and Australian Identity: The Problem of Nationalism in Australian History and Historiography’, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 116, April 2011 pp. 76 – 90.

[xxiii] For general background see John Baker and Douglas H. Paal, ‘The US-Australian Alliance’, in Robert D. Blackwill and Paul Dibb, (eds.), America’s Asian Alliances (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000), pp. 87 – 109, and Roger Bell, ‘Australia’s Relationship with the United States’, in Cotton and Ravenhill, (eds.), Seeking Asian Engagement (Sydney: OUP, 1997), pp. 207 – 229.

[xxiv] See James Curran, The Power of Speech: Australian Prime Ministers Defining the National Image (Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 2004). Curran tracks the development of Australian Prime Ministers’ rhetoric as the British race patriot ideal loses during the mid 1960s.

[xxv] ‘Informal Remarks in Guam with Newsmen. July 25, 1969’, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon: 1969, p. 563.

[xxvi] Vincent, Mathews, ‘Grow Up, Australia’, Herald (Sydney, Australia), 25 June, 1968.

 

[xxvii] Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States (1849-1850), Taylor ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass.

[xxviii] For a general account of Nixon’s election and Presidency see Richard A. Melanson, ‘The Nixon Administration’, in American Foreign Policy Since the Vietnam War, (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2005), pp. 45 – 87.

[xxix] See for example David Zarefsky, President Johnson’s War on Poverty: rhetoric and history (Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2005).

[xxx] Kissinger, White House Years, p. 230.

[xxxi] Richard M. Nixon, ‘Asia After Viet Nam’, Foreign Affairs, v. 46, October 1967, p. 114.

[xxxii] See James E. Dornan, ‘The Nixon Doctrine And the Primacy of Détente’, The Intercollegiate Review, Spring 1974, pp. 77 – 97.

[xxxiii] U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970’s: A New Strategy for Peace, February 18, 1970 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2003), p. 4.

[xxxiv] See Zbigniew Brzezinski, ‘Half Past Nixon’, Foreign Policy, no. 3, Summer 1971, pp. 3 – 21, and Chalmers M. Roberts, ‘How Containment Worked’, Foreign Policy, no. 7, Summer 1972, pp. 41 – 53.

[xxxv] U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970’s: Building for Peace, February 25, 1971, p. 6.

[xxxvi] See Louis J. Smith and David H. Herschler, (eds.), Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-76 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2003).

[xxxvii] From President Johnson’s Baltimore Speech, April 7, 1965. Also, if America’s enemies thought U.S. commitments in Vietnam were ‘just bluffs’, according to Dean Rusk on October 30, 1967, it would be a ‘slippery slope to general war.’ See ‘Address at Johns Hopkin University – Peace Without Conquest’, Public Papers of the Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965 (Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1967), pp. 394 – 399.

[xxxviii] Nixon would write in his ‘Asia After Viet Nam’ article that “one of the legacies of Viet Nam almost certainly will be a deep reluctance on the part of the United States to become involved once again in a similar intervention on a similar basis,” p. 113.

[xxxix] See for instance Richard M. Pfeffer (ed.), No More Vietnams? The war and the future of American foreign policy, (New York: Harper & Row for the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs, 1968).

[xl] Nixon quoted in New York Times, 28 March, 1985, also see Richard Nixon, No More Vietnams (New York: Arbor House, 1985).

[xli] “Peace with Honor” was a phrase Nixon used in a speech on January 23, 1973 to describe the Paris Peace Accord to end the Vietnam War. The phrase is a variation on a campaign promise Nixon made in 1968: “I pledge to you that we shall have an honorable end to the war in Vietnam.”

[xlii] See Robert J. McMahon, ‘Toward a New Regional Order, 1975 – 1998’ in The Limits of Empire: The United States & Southeast Asia Since World War II (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), pp. 182 – 218.

[xliii] ‘Informal Remarks in Guam with Newsmen. July 25, 1969’, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon: 1969, p. 552.

[xliv] For examples of Nixon’s criticisms, see Public Papers of the Presidents: Nixon 1969, p. 902: Richard Nixon, No More Vietnam (New York: Arbor House, 1985). And for Nixon’s worldview, his pre-1969 role in creeping involvement, and his criticisms of Johnson, see Kimball, Nixon’s Vietnam War (Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1998), chapters 2 and 3.

[xlv] See Nixon’s 1970 Report for the changes he perceived apparent in this context, also see Gordon Greenwoord & Norman Harper, Australia in World Affairs 1960 – 1970 (Melbourne: Cheshire Publishing for the Australian Institute of International Affairs, 1974), pp. 3 – 31.

[xlvi] 1970 Report, p. 4

[xlvii] Quote from William Bundy, A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presidency (New York: Hill & Wang, 1998), p. 518.

[xlviii] See Michael J. Brenner, ‘The Problem of Innovation and the Nixon-Kissinger Foreign Policy’, International Studies Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 3, September 1973, pp. 255 – 294.

[xlix] ‘Informal Remarks in Guam with Newsmen. July 25, 1969’, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon: 1969, p. 546. The conference was conducted as a background briefing, with no direct quotations permitted. See the Washington Post, July 26 and July 27, 1969. During the remainder of Nixon’s Asian tour, particularly in Thailand, Nixon appeared to repudiate much of the substance of his Guam statement, see Washington Post, July 29, 1969.

[l] James, Reston, ‘London: The Nixon Doctrine and Assumptions’, New York Times, February 20, 1970, p. 40

[li] It is interesting to note that in Kissinger’s memoirs he would both diminish its significance yet simultaneously claim partial credit for the policy’s origins. See Kissinger, White House Years, pp. 222-24.

[lii] James Reston, ‘London: The Nixon Doctrine and Assumptions’, p. 40.

[liii] James Reston, ibid, p. 40

[liv] Humphrey McQueen, Gallipoli to Petrov: Arguing with Australian History (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1984), p. 174.

[lv] Quote from Jeppe Kristensen, ‘In Essence Still a British Country: Britain’s withdrawal from East of Suez’, Australian Journal of Politics & History, vol. 51, no. 1 (2005), p. 41.

[lvi] Quote from Justus M. Van Der Kroef, ‘Australia Looks to Nixon’, National Review, 11 February 1969, p. 119.

[lvii] Alan Watt, ‘The ANZUS Treaty: Past, present and future’, Australian Outlook, vol. 24, no. 1, 1970, p. 17.

[lviii] See Gregory Pemberton, ‘All the Way’: Australia’s Road to Vietnam (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1987), pp. 1 – 35.

[lix] Draft, ‘Announcement Regarding raising Legations to Embassies,’ undated, probably 9 July 1946, Papers of Harry S. Truman, Official File-48-D, A, Harry S. Truman Library.

[lx] Quoted in David McLean, ‘From British Colony to American Satellite? Australia and the USA during the Cold War’, from Sir Keith Waller Oral History interview, 31 May 1977, NLA.

[lxi] ‘Memorandum of Conversation: Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Henry A. Kissinger’, Nixon Presidential Materials, VIP Visits, Box 910, NARA.

[lxii] See David Day, The Great Betrayal: Britain, Australia & the onset of the Pacific War, 1939-42 (New York: Norton, 1989), and J. D. B. Miller, ‘An Empire that don’t care what you do…’, in A. F. Madden & W. H. Morris-Jones (eds.), Australia and Britain: Studies in a changing relationship (London: Frank Cass & Company Ltd., 1980), pp. 86 – 97.

[lxiii] David McLean, ‘From British Colony to American Satellite? Australia and the USA during the Cold War’, pp. 64 – 79.

[lxiv] See Neville Meaney, ‘Australia’s Changing Perception of Asia – Paper presented by Neville Meaney at the Japan Cultural Centre, Sydney on Friday, 25 October 1996’, (Sydney: Published by Japan Cultural Centre, 1996), pp. 1 – 3.

[lxv] David Walker Anxious Australia: Australia and the Rise of Asia 1850 – 1939, (University of Queensland Press: St Lucia, 1999), p. 231.

[lxvi] David Walker, ibid, p. 231

[lxvii] See Charles Price, The Great White Walls are Built (Canberra: Australian Institute of International Affairs in association with Australian National University Press, 1974), Andrew Markus, Fear and Hatred: Purifying Australian and California, 1850 – 1907, (Sydney, Southwood Press, 1907).

[lxviii] W. K. Hancock, Australia (London: E. Benn Limited, 1930). p. 66.

[lxix] Charles Henry Pearson, National Life and Character, 2nd ed. (Elbrion Classics: Chesnut Hill, MA, 2005), p. 41.

[lxx] Charles Henry Pearson, ibid., p. 90.

[lxxi] For further information on the White Australia Policy see H. I. London, Non-white Immigration and the White Australian Policy (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1970), and Jane Haggis and Susanne Schech, ‘Postcolonialism, identity, and location: being white Australian in Asia?’, Environment & Planning D: Society & Space, vol. 16, no. 5, 1998, pp. 615 – 629.

[lxxii] Billy Hughes, cited in Neville Meaney, Australia and the World (Longman Cheshire: Melbourne, 1985), p. 124.

[lxxiii] Donald Horne, The Lucky Country: Australia in the Sixties (Sydney: Penguin Books, 1964), p. 448.

[lxxiv] Donald Horne, op. cit., p. 127, Horne records that the slogan had already been reduced to the first five words when he got rid of it altogether on becoming editor of the Bulletin in 1960.

[lxxv] See Neville Meaney, A History of Australian Defence and Foreign Policy, 1901-23: The Search for Security in the Pacific (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1976), pp. 163 – 175, and Ruth M. Megaw, ‘Australia and the Great White Fleet 1908’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 56, 1970, pp. 212 – 231.

[lxxvi] Meaney, Australia and the World. p. 173.

[lxxvii] Australian/British defence co-operation would still continue into the 1950s however, it was just accorded less significance.

[lxxviii] David McLean, ‘From British Colony to American Satellite? Australia and the USA during the Cold War’, p. 69.

[lxxix] For example more than over a quarter of Australia’s population turned out to greet the Great White Fleet in 1908 and six decades later the same show of Australian support would be shown to Lyndon Johnson on his visit to Australia in October 1966.

[lxxx] Geoffrey Serle, ‘Godzone: Austerica Unlimited?’, Meanjin, v. 26, no. 3, September 1967, p. 240. See also for criticisms of America’s cultural penetration into Australian society Philip and Roger Bell, ‘Entertaining America: Culture and Politics’, Implicated: The United States in Australia (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1993). p. 157.

[lxxxi] Geoffrey Serle, ibid., p. 240.

[lxxxii] Robin Boyd, The Australian Ugliness (Melbourne: Penguin Books, 1960), p. 172.

[lxxxiii] David McLean, ‘From British Colony to American Satellite? Australia and the USA during the Cold War’, p. 73.

[lxxxiv] Labor Leader Mark Latham attracted large publicity when he described John Howard as a Prime Minister “who has just come back from the United States with a brown nose [and] a lot of skin off his knees […] who has groveled and agreed so rigorously with the American administration that he has proved himself to be more American than Australian.” Latham in the House of Representatives, CPD, 20 June 2002, p. 4129.

[lxxxv] Werner Levi, Australia’s Outlook on Asia, (Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1958), p. 69, see also Levi American Australian Relations, (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1947).

[lxxxvi] Werner Levi, op. cite., p. 69.

[lxxxvii] See for instance David McLean, ‘ANZUS Origins: A Reassessment’, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 24, no. 94, April 1990, pp. 64 – 82.

[lxxxviii] Submission to Cabinet by Percy Spender, Canberra, 15 February, 1951, ‘Pacific Defence Pact: Forthcoming Exploratory Talks with Mr John F. Dulles’.

[lxxxix] Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, Washington, April 1949.

[xc] Article IV of the Australian, New Zealand United States Security Treaty, San Francisco, September 1951.

[xci] For assessments see Alan Watt, The Evolution of Australian Foreign Policy 1938 – 1965, (London: Cambridge University Press, 1967), pp. 117 – 42, and his ‘The ANZUS Treaty: Past, Present and Future’, Australian Outlook, vol. 24, no. 1, 1970, pp. 17 – 36, also Joseph G. Starke, The ANZUS Treaty Alliance (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1965).

[xcii] Memorandum, Acheson to Truman, c. 19 May 1952, Papers of Harry S. Truman, President’s Secretary’s Confidential File, Subject File, Box 171, Harry S. Truman Library

[xciii] Memorandum, Acheson to Truman, c. 19 May 1952, ibid.

[xciv] Brief, ‘The Military Role of Australia and New Zealand’, TCT, D-5/11c, Gilman, 29 December 1951, Papers of Harry S. Truman, President’s Secretary’s Confidential File, General File, Box 116, Harry S. Truman Library

[xcv] See Peter Edwards, Crises and Commitments: The Politics and Diplomacy of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948 – 1965 (Sydney: Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial, 1992).

[xcvi] Dennis Phillips, ‘The American Alliance: Myth and Reality’, Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, July 2004, p. 52.

[xcvii] See Richard Chauvel, ‘Up the Creek Without a Paddle: Australia, West New Guinea and the Great and Powerful Friends’’, in Frank Cain (ed.), Menzies in War and Peace (St. Leonards: Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian Defence Studies Centre, Australian Defence Force Academy, 1997), p. 67.

[xcviii] Letter, Spender to HE Pete Jarman, 3 May 1950, DEA file 3036/6/1 Pt 1, CRS A1838, AA.

[xcix] Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Philippine and Southeast Asian Affairs (Lacy) to the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Allison), 7 December 1951, FRUS 1951, VI, p. 745.

[c] Ibid., p. 745.

[ci] State Department to Kennedy, 14 October, 1963, memo in Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS): Southeast Asia, 1961-63 Vol. 23 (Washington: State Department, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian, 1994), p. 746.

[cii] See Glen St J. Barclay, Friends in High Places (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 125, and Norman Harper, A Great and Powerful Friend (Queensland: University of Queensland Press, 1986), p. 351.

[ciii] State Department, 2 August 1963, memo, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File 1963, DEF 4, Box 3696, USNA quoted in John Subritzky, Confronting Sukarno: British, American, Australian and New Zealand Diplomacy in the Malaysian-Indonesian Confrontation 1961-1965 (London: MacMillan Press, 2000), p. 83.

[civ] Barwick to Menzies, 22 October 1963, letter, AA, A1209/80, 63/6587, viewed online at U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian ‘Foreign Relations of the United States, Foreign Relations of the United States 1961 – 1963, Volume XXIII, Southeast Asia, Document 343’, <http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v23/d343>

[cv] Cabinet Minute – Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, 30 January 1966, A1945/37, 287/3/22, National Archives of Australia, Canberra, (NAA).

[cvi] The Australian, 17 November, 1966.

[cvii] Ibid.

[cviii] See Jeppe Kristensen ‘In Essence Still a British Country: Britain’s Withdrawal from East of Suez’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 51, no. 1, 2005, pp. 40 – 52. Kristensen looks at the emotional and policy traumas of Britain’s retreat on Australia.

[cix] David Day, Reluctant Nation: Australia and the Allied Defeat of Japan 1942-45 (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 20.

[cx] David Day, Ibid., p. 316.

[cxi] See James Curran and Stuart Ward, The Un-Known Nation: Australia After Empire (Melbourne University Press: Melbourne, 2010). Curran and Ward track the decline of the British identity in Australian rhetoric and emotion and the effects it had on Australian policy decisions and identity development.

[cxii] Coral Bell, Dependent Ally: A Study in Australian Foreign Policy., St. Leonards: Allen & Unwin in association with Dept. of International Relations, ANU, 1993), p. 97.

[cxiii] Report Cited in Coral Bell, op. cit., p. 98.

[cxiv] President Sukarno’s doctrine of the ‘new emerging forces’, which were allegedly predestined to sweep away the ‘old established forces’ (defined to include more or less all Western positions of power in Asia including the remaining British hold in Malaysia) looked extremely formidable for Australia at this time.

[cxv] Report Cited in Coral Bell, op. cit., pp. 100 – 101. These reports found from the Australia’s Military Commitment to Vietnam, Paper tabled in accordance with the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Representatives, 13 May 1975, Canberra, 1975. Other Vietnam documents were leaked later to form the basis of Michael Sexton’s War For the Asking: Australia’s Vietnam Secrets (Victoria: Penguin, 1981). Additional materials is to be found in Peter King (ed.), Australia’s Vietnam: Australia in the Second Indo-China War (Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1983).

[cxvi] Speech at state reception at the White House on 30 June, 1966, reported in The Australian 1 July, 1966.

[cxvii] For a general account of foreign policy election debates see Colin Hughes ‘The Rational Voter and Australian Foreign Policy, 1961 – 69’, Australian Outlook, Vol. 24, no. 1.

[cxviii] Coral Bell, Dependent Ally: A Study in Australian Foreign Policy, p. 96.

[cxix] Donald Horne, The Lucky Country, p. 102.

[cxx] Inside Canberra, April 3, 1969.

[cxxi] Ibid.

[cxxii] Inside Canberra, June 26, 1969.

[cxxiii] See Bruce E. Altschuler, ‘Lyndon Johnson and the Public Polls,’ The Public Opinion Quarterly, vol. 50, no. 3, Autumn 1968, pp. 285 – 299.

[cxxiv] Alan Ramsey, cited in Justus M. Van Der Kroef, ‘Australia Looks to Nixon’, National Review, 11 February, 1969, p. 119.

[cxxv] Justus M. Van Der Kroef, ‘Australian looks to Nixon’, ibid., p. 119.

[cxxvi] Justus M. Van Der Kroef, ‘Australian looks to Nixon’, ibid., p. 119.

[cxxvii] Gorton’s briefing notes for visit to Washington in May 1969, ‘Prime Minister of Australia – Visit to United States of America and Canada, March-April 1969 – Briefing Papers’, Canberra, A1209, NAA.

[cxxviii] Ibid.

[cxxix] For more on this see Paul D. Williams, ‘Holt, Johnson and the 1966 Federal Election’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 47, no. 3, 2001, pp. 366 – 383.

[cxxx] ‘Speech on U.S. Foreign Policy in Asia, July 1966’, Public Papers of the Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, pp. 563 – 568.

[cxxxi] Lyndon Johnson, ibid.

[cxxxii] For more on Johnson and the Vietnam War see Herbert Y. Schandler, The Unmaking of a president: Lyndon Johnson & Vietnam, (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1977).

[cxxxiii] Gorton’s briefing notes for his visit to Washington in May 1969, A1209, ‘Prime Minister of Australia – Visit to United States of America and Canada, March-April 1969 – Briefing Papers’, Canberra, NAA.

[cxxxiv] See also Justus M. Van der Kroef, ‘The Gorton Manner: Australia, Southeast Asia, and the U.S.’, Pacific Affairs, vol. 42, no. 3, Autumn1969, pp. 311 – 333.

[cxxxv] Ibid.

[cxxxvi] ‘Memorandum for the President: Your meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia’, Nixon Presidential Materials, Nixon Presidential Library, Yorba Linda (CA), VIP Visits, Box 910.

[cxxxvii] ‘Memorandum of Conversation: Prime Minister Gorton’s Meeting with the President’, Nixon Presidential Materials, Nixon Presidential Library, Yorba Linda (CA), VIP Visits, Box 910.

[cxxxviii] Waller’s report mentioned in Inside Canberra, February 26, 1970.

 

[cxxxix] Kenneth Randall ‘Foreign Policy: loosening old ties’, Financial Times (London, England) 29 August, 1972, p. 14.

[cxl] T. B. Millar, Director, The Australian Institute of National Affairs, ‘Turning Away from Britain’, Financial Times (London, England), 31 August 1971, p. 12.

[cxli] Geoffrey, Fairbairn, ‘No Clear Line on U.S. Alliance’, Financial Times, (London, England), 31 August 1971, p. 15.

[cxlii] T. B. Millar, Director, The Australian Institute of National Affairs, ‘The shifting foundations of defence policy’, Financial Times (London, England), 1 September, 1970, p. 16.

[cxliii] Speech, Minister for External Affairs Gordon Freeth, ‘In Asia and the Pacific old patterns are breaking up’, an address to the American-Australian Association in New York on 18 September 1969.

[cxliv] Quote from T. B. Millar, Director, The Australian Institute of National Affairs, ‘The shifting foundations of defence policy’, Financial Times (London, England), 1 September, 1970, p. 16.

[cxlv] Speech, Minister for Defence Malcolm Fraser, in CPD, H of R, 10 March 1970, p. 234.

[cxlvi] Minister for Defence Malcolm Fraser, ibid.

[cxlvii] Vincent Mathews, ‘Grow Up, Australia’, Herald (Sydney, Australia), 25 June, 1968.

[cxlviii] Vincent Mathews, ibid.

[cxlix] Sam Lipski, ‘What do the American’s know about Australia and its problems anyway?’, Herald (Sydney, Australia), 13 August, 1969.

[cl] Sam Lipski, ‘What do the American’s know about Australia and its problems anyway?’, ibid.

[cli] Peter Hastings, Editorial, The Australian, 5 June 1969.

[clii] Report by Dr. Gordon, ‘The Strategy Gap in Asia: Japan and Australia – Study III in the Guam Doctrine: Elements of Implementation’, RG 84, Records of the American Embassy, Canberra, Box 54, National Archives & Records Administration (NARA), Maryland, p. 1.

[cliii] See Neville Meaney, ‘The United States’ in W. J. Hudson (ed.), Australia in world affairs, 1971 – 1975 (Sydney: George Allen & Unwin for the Australian Institute of International Affairs, 1980), pp. 163 – 415. Meaney briefly maps Australia’s changing relationship with America during the 1970s.

[cliv] Editorial, The Australian, 21 November 1969.

[clv] Alan Watt, The Evolution of Australian Foreign Policy, 1938-1965 (Cambridge University Press, 1968), p. 124. Watt offers (pp. 124-42) a concise analysis and rebuttal of the most common criticisms made of the ANZUS Treaty.

[clvi] See Gough Whitlam, Beyond Vietnam: Australia’s Regional Responsibility (Melbourne: Victorian Fabian Society Pamphlet 17, 1968), p. 21.

[clvii] Report by Dr. Gordon, ‘The Strategy Gap in Asia: Japan and Australia – Study III in the Guam Doctrine: Elements of Implementation’, RG 84, Records of the American Embassy, Canberra, Box 54, National Archives & Records Administration (NARA), Maryland, p. 66.

[clviii] 1968 Strategic Basis of Australian Defence Policy, issued by the Department of Defence (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, August 1968), p. 343.

[clix] See Coral Bell, Dependent Ally: A Study in Australian Foreign Policy,  (St. Leonards: Allen & Unwin in association with Dept. of International Relations, ANU, 1993), pp. 141 – 145.

[clx] Minister for External Affairs Gordon Freeth, CPD, H of R, 14 August 1969.

[clxi] Quote from Senator V. Gair who was the DLP Parliamentary Leader, see The Age, 18 September, 1969.

[clxii] ‘Some of the constructions placed on the statement . . . are little short of fantastic. Russian interest in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean is a fact. It did not, and does not, depend on Australian approval. Australia’s choice was not to encourage, invite or endorse a Soviet course of action but to find a realistic attitude to something already happening.’ The Australian, 16 September, 1969.

[clxiii] See Andrew Farran, ‘The Freeth Experiment’, Australian Outlook, Vol. 26, No. 1, April 1972, pp. 47 – 49. Farran was the private secretary to the Minister at the time, on secondment from the Department of External Affairs.

[clxiv] Gordon Freeth, quoted in Coral Bell, Dependent Ally: A Study in Australian Foreign Policy, p. 144.

[clxv] Editorial, The Age, 16 September, 1969.

[clxvi] Andrew Farran, ‘The Freeth Experiment’, p. 46,

[clxvii] The Financial Review, 3 November 1969.

[clxviii] West Australian, 27 October 1969.

[clxix] For an interesting comment on post-Freeth policy dilemmas and issues, see I. L. Richardson, ‘Australian Strategic Perspectives’, International Journal (Canadian Institute of International Affairs), vol. 26, no. 4, Autumn, 1971, pp. 725-734.

[clxx] CNIA, September 1970, p. 496.

[clxxi] See The Age, 15 October 1970.

[clxxii] Prime Minister William McMahon, CPD, H of R, 20 April 1971, p. 1667.

[clxxiii] ‘Correspondence between Prime Minister McMahon and President Nixon, August 1971 – May 1972’, A7976, NAA.

[clxxiv] Extracts of Professor Hedley Bull’s speech are from an editorial in The Australian, 21 November 1969.

[clxxv] Professor Hedley Bull, ibid.

[clxxvi] See Roderic Pitty, ‘Way Behind in Following the USA over China: The Lack of any Liberal Tradition in Australian Foreign Policy, 1970-72’, Australian Journal of Politics & History, vol. 51, no. 3, September 2005, pp. 440 – 450. See also, Bob Howard and R. F. Howard, ‘Foreign Policy Review’, The Australian Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 3, September 1971, pp. 97 – 108, in which they proclaim that “the last six months must surely qualify as one of the most eventful periods ever in Australian foreign policy.”

[clxxvii] Editorial, The Age, 24 November 1969.

[clxxviii] Report by Dr. Gordon, ‘The Strategy Gap in Asia: Japan and Australia – Study III in the Guam Doctrine: Elements of Implementation’, RG 84, Records of the American Embassy, Canberra, Box 54, National Archives & Records Administration (NARA), Maryland, p. 67.

[clxxix] Minister for Defence David Fairbairn, CPD, H of R, 28 March 1972, p. 1247.

[clxxx] Minister for Defence David Fairbairn, ibid.

[clxxxi] Prime Minister Gorton quoted in Canberra Times, 10 October 1969.

[clxxxii] Prime Minister John Gorton, CPD, H of R, 9 November 1971, p. 3100.

[clxxxiii] Professor Hedley Bull, ‘The Political and Strategic Background to Australian Defence’, Economic Papers, no. 29, The Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand, November 1968, p. 13.

[clxxxiv] Minister for Foreign Affairs Nigel Bowen, CPD, H of R, 9 May 1972, p. 2213.

[clxxxv] 1972 Australian Defence Review, issued by the Department of Defence (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, March 1972), p. 3.

[clxxxvi] 1972 Australian Defence Review, ibid., p. 5.

[clxxxvii] The Minister for Defence, Malcolm Fraser, in CPD, H of R, 22 April 1971, p. 1929.

[clxxxviii] Minister for Defence Malcolm Fraser, in CPD, H of R, 10 March 1970, p. 232.

[clxxxix] Minister for Defence Malcolm Fraser, in CPD, H of R, 22 April 1971, p. 1930.

[cxc] Minister for Defence Malcolm Fraser, in CPD, H of R, 10 March 1970, p. 235.

[cxci] Kenneth Randall, ‘Foreign Policy: loosening old ties’, Financial Times (London, England) 29 August, 1972, p. 14.

[cxcii] Kenneth Randall, ‘Foreign Policy: loosening old ties’, ibid.

[cxciii] Peter Robinson, ‘Dilemma on defence’, Financial Times (London, England) 29 August, 1972, p. 14.

[cxciv] Neville Meaney, ‘The United States’ in W. J. Hudson (ed.), Australia in world affairs, 1971 – 1975 (Sydney: George Allen & Unwin for the Australian Institute of International Affairs, 1980), p 174.

[cxcv] Opposition Leader Gough Whitlam, in CPD, H of R, 22 April 1971, p. 1924.

[cxcvi] Opposition Leader Gough Whitlam, in CPD, H of R, 12 April 1971, p. 1928.

[cxcvii] See Whitlam’s address to the National Press Club in Washington, on July 30, 1973.

[cxcviii] Gough Whitlam cited from the Australia Foreign Affairs Record, v. 44, no. 1, January 1973, p. 34.

[cxcix] See Donald Horne, ‘The New Nationalism’, Bulletin, 5 October 1968, and H. Collins, ‘Australia and the United States: Assessing the Relationship, Australian Outlook, August 1978, pp. 153-68.

[cc] The Guardian, 27 July, 1973.

[cci] See Gregory Pemberton, ‘Whitlam and the Labor Tradition’ in David Lee and Christopher Waters (eds.), Evatt to Evans: The Labor Tradition in Australian Foreign Policy (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1997).

[ccii] Gough Whitlam, The Whitlam Government 1972 – 1975, pp. 41 – 42.

[cciii] Gough Whitlam, The Whitlam Government 1972 – 1975 (Victoria: Penguin, 1985), pp. 42 – 43.

[cciv] Kissinger to Charge d’Affaires, US Embassy, Australia, 3.25pm, 20 December 1972, Box 17, HAK Telecons, Nixon Presidential Archive in James Curran and Stuart Ward, The Unknown Nation.

[ccv] Geoffrey Serle, From Deserts the Prophets Come (Melbourne: Heinemann, 1973), p. 227.

[ccvi] See Whitlam’s address to the National Press Club in Washington, on July 30, 1973.

[ccvii] J. D. B. Miller, ‘Australian Foreign Policy: Constraints & Opportunities’, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1944), vol. 50, no. 2, April 1974, p. 230. Miller would note that Whitlam’s policy on Indonesia and Japan had changed very little from the Liberal Government’s before him.

[ccviii] See ‘Labor blasts U.S. bombing’, The Age, 30December, 1972. These claims were made by Minister for Overseas Trade Jim Cairns and the Minister for Labor Clide Cameron.

[ccix] NSSM 204, 1 July 1974, Box 205, NSC Institutional Files, Nixon Presidential Archive.

[ccx] Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Andrew Peacock, CPD, H of R, 20 November 1973, p. 3497.

[ccxi] Malcolm Fraser in ‘A National View’, in Ray Atchsion, (ed.), Looking at the Liberals, (Melbourne:, 1974), p. 137-8.

[ccxii] James Curran, ‘The Thin Dividing Line: Prime Ministers and the Problem of Australian Nationalism, 1972 – 1969’, The Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 48, no. 4, December 2002, p. 8.

[ccxiii] 1976 Defence White Paper, issued by the Department of Defence (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, November 1976), p. 1.

[ccxiv] 1976 Defence White Paper, ibid., p. 6.

[ccxv] Malcolm Fraser, Australia Day Fair speech, Adelaide, 31 January 1977, in AFAR, vol. 48, no. 2, February 1977, p. 105.

[ccxvi] 1976 Defence White Paper, p. 10.

[ccxvii] 1975 Strategic Basis of Australia’s Defence Policy, issued by the Department of Defence (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, October 1975), p. 521.

[ccxviii] See The Australian, 2 June 1976.

[ccxix] The Minister for Defence, Malcolm Fraser, in CPD, H of R, 22 April 1971, p. 1929.

[ccxx] Quoted in Richard P. Stebbins and Elaine P. Adam (eds.), Documents on American Foreign Policy, 1968-69 (New York: New York University Press, 1972), p. 488.

[ccxxi] Background Briefing (United States Foreign Policy), June 26, 1970, p. 47.

[ccxxii] Speech, Richard Woolcott, delivered to the Public Relations Institute of Australia, Canberra, 16 September 1971, quoted in Keith Scott, Gareth Evans (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1999), p. 236.

 

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