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Thursday, 15 September 1983
Page: 898


Mr HAYDEN (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —by leave-Just over 30 years ago a new word came into Australian popular usage. It was 'ANZUS'. Four days after ANZAC Day in 1952, the security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America-what came to be known more simply as the ANZUS Treaty- entered into force. It was no coincidence that this was precisely one day after another major treaty came into force. That was the Treaty of Peace with Japan, and each of the three ANZUS partners were also parties to it. The fact of the matter, of course, was that the ANZUS Treaty was part of the Japanese peace settlement arrangements and machinery. It was part of the attempt to guarantee, to the extent that any such thing can be guaranteed, that the desperate days of 1941-45 would not again be inflicted on the peoples of the Asian Pacific region, at least not from the same source.

The Government has completed its review of the ANZUS Treaty, first as a national act and then in association with Australia's alliance partners. The review has led us to a firm and unequivocal reaffirmation of the alliance as fundamental to Australia's national security and foreign and defence policies. In saying this, I do not say that the Treaty guarantees Australia's national safety and welfare, nor do I place us in that posture of happy dependence that has satisfied the foreign policy ambitions of many Australians in the past both within and without this Parliament. However, although the Treaty was drawn up a generation ago, and in very different circumstances, we have reached the conclusion that the commitments and obligations that were accepted then remain as valid and appropriate today. The Treaty has the full support of this Government; but we recognise that we must still pull our full weight in our own protection.

Let me now explain why, on attaining office earlier this year, the Government decided the time had come to put the ANZUS Treaty under the microscope-to subject it to a searching examination and to compare our findings with our partners. Our objective was not to revise the Treaty, nor was it to seek to weaken it. On the contrary, we were convinced that by stripping away the misconceptions, and the unrealistic expectations which surrounded the Treaty, we would strengthen it and bring it back to terms with reality. We started from an open-eyed acknowledgment that 1983 was not 1952. The war with Japan was long over. Japan had become our most important trading partner and had come to play a key role in world affairs. Other wars had been fought and, if not won, had been settled; or, as in the case of Korea, brought to an uneasy halt. The long and unfruitful period of so-called containment of China was over. China enjoyed friendly and co-operative links with most of her regional neighbours, including Australia.

Old problems had been settled; new difficulties had emerged. Old fears had been laid; new worries had arisen. The political nature of our region had undergone far-reaching change. Many former colonies, including our own, had been transformed into independent or self-governing states. Throughout the three decades which had elapsed since the word ANZUS joined our national language, Australia has not once been seriously threatened by armed attack. It seemed a reasonable question to ask whether the terms of Australia's basic security treaty, concluded over 30 years ago, continued to serve Australia effectively in the 1980s.

Pattern of the Review

The Government's own review of the Treaty was completed just before the visit of the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) to Washington, where he publicly confirmed the Government's intention to maintain and strengthen ANZUS. That visit and, shortly afterwards, Mr Muldoon's visit to Australia provided opportunities for the Prime Minister to brief partner governments on the broad conclusions of our review and to indicate the issues for more detailed discussion at the ANZUS Council meeting in July. My colleague the Minister for Defence (Mr Scholes) and I attended the ANZUS Council meeting in mid-July. There we offered a detailed presentation of the Australian perspective and discussed the American and New Zealand perceptions. I am pleased to report that at the Council meeting we obtained the clarifications we had been seeking and gained acceptance of the propositions which we advanced. At the joint press conference immediately after the Council meeting Secretary Shultz was asked his views on the review we had proposed. He replied that it was 'an excellent idea'. He described it as 'most worthwhile to go through the discussion that we did and to arrive at where we are . . . it's been a good exercise'. The statement I am now making, which has been agreed by my colleague the Minister for Defence, in a sense completes the review process by recording the essential features of the review.

Issues discussed and conclusions

In its own review the Government reached the following main conclusions:

It is in Australia's interests to maintain the ANZUS Treaty. Although concluded in very different circumstances the ANZUS Treaty was continuing relevance. It supports Australia's security in current and prospective strategic circumstances and reflects a coincidence of strategic interest between Australia, New Zealand and the United States;

this coincidence of interest provides the basis for co-operation which yields substantial benefits for Australia's defence effort and which affords substantial benefit to the United States also;

the provisions of the Treaty have been a significant factor in the development of consultation and co-operation with the United States and provide a firm basis on which United States military support could be sought in the event of major threat to the security of Australia, or New Zealand;

while the provisions of the Treaty do not define precisely the nature of the response which partners might provide according to their constitutional processes in the event of attack or major threat, the Treaty has significant deterrent value;

ANZUS has facilitated the development of available co-operation in defence matters with benefits much wider than the scope of the Treaty's provisions;

the Treaty provisions do not derogate from Australia's right of national decisions in foreign and defence policy matters.

The conclusions reached at the ANZUS Council meeting were entirely consistent with our own. The main points of agreement are recorded in the Council Communique, from which I now wish to quote the relevant paragraphs:

After the Secretary of State welcomed the ANZUS Delegations, the Council Members reviewed the ANZUS Alliance. It was the first such review since the ANZUS Treaty was signed in 1951. They noted that, although international political and strategic circumstances which prevailed at that time had changed, it is a sign of the resilience of the Treaty that it remains relevant and vitally important to the shared security concerns and strategic interests of the three partner governments

The Council Members affirmed that the Alliance is firmly based on the partners' common traditions and concern to protect democratic values. They value highly the co-operative defence arrangements, facilitated by the treaty since its conclusion, which have served their government's mutual security interests and promoted a strengthening of each other's defence capability. In the spirit of the ANZUS Alliance, they noted that, beyond the activities of defence co- operation, the various efforts, individual and collective, by the partners to promote both regional and global development and stability have also served the cause of mutual security.

The Council acknowledged that the ANZUS Treaty does not absolve each government from the primary responsibility to provide for its own security to the extent which its resources allow. It is for this reason that Article II of the Treaty provides that the parties will 'by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack'. The Council Members also noted that the ability of each country to defend itself is substantially enhanced by their common commitments under the Treaty. A range of responses is available to the Parties to act to meet a common danger in accordance with their constitutional processes.

The Council also reaffirmed that the ANZUS Treaty is an agreement between sovereign and equal states committed to the democratic tradition. In accordance with that tradition, the respective states would at times have varying views and perspectives on various international political and economic issues. Such diversity does not affect their solidarity under the ANZUS Treaty, the maintenance of which reflects the fundamental interests of the three partners.

In order to strengthen the Alliance further and recognising that national security cannot be assured by military strength alone, the Council Members considered a number of practical co-operative measures:

They agreed that ANZUS consultative processes could be strengthened through further periodic ANZUS Officials Talks. These talks, which were revived this year, would rotate between the three capitals and address issues or areas of common concern. Participants would include mid-level and senior officials expert on the issues or areas to be addressed.

They also agreed that the framework of ANZUS and bilateral defence co-operation requires a standardisation of privileges and immunities and of jurisdictional and other matters for military service personnel and their families serving in each other's countries. The members therefore agreed to give priority to early conclusion of a reciprocal ANZUS Status of Forces Agreement.

They expressed satisfaction with the continuing programs of exchanges, combined exercises and visits among the Treaty partners. They also reaffirmed the importance of these programs, of ongoing efforts to modernise and to assure supply of equipment, and of continuing to strengthen alliance defensive capabilities and thus deterrence of conflict''.

These conclusions are clear and unambiguous and I do not wish here to seek to reinterpret them. However, I do wish to draw attention to some of the communique points which reflect the issues which Australia raised at the meeting:

The erroneous notion that Australia is totally dependent on ANZUS, and thus the United States, for its national security implies an unquestioning, deferential relationship which would be unhealthy in itself and also a very poor basis for effective defence planning. The Treaty relationship is, of course, between sovereign, independent nations and should thus be the expression of each party's national interests; otherwise it would amount to surrender of national sovereignty and would impair each country's international standing. The communique shows that our partners fully supported this point and agreed that diversity of opinion or attitude does not affect the fundamental solidarity underlying the Treaty.

The communique quite rightly emphasises the Treaty article which requires each partner to provide for its own security to the extent which its resources allow. This issue of self-help we regard as fundamental. Australia cannot expect others to help Australia under ANZUS or any other arrangement if Australia does not help itself.

Support from Treaty partners can be expressed in a range of responses. The Treaty does not provide any automatic guarantee of military support in the event of attack or major threat. We were reassured by the Americans as to their understanding of the requirement for prompt and effective fulfilment of ANZUS obligations. As Secretary of State Shultz said at the joint press conference following the Council meeting: '. . . the hard kernel is the undertaking to respond in the event of attack on any of the countries involved'. In the United States view any armed attack on the ally would require, and would receive from the other allies, full and prompt fulfilment of the ANZUS security commitment- including, if necessary, military support. But, as I said at the same press conference, and as Mr Shultz acknowledged earlier at the ANZUS Council meeting, the obligation to respond and to assist would not automatically involve the provision of military forces in support of the country subjected to threat or attacks-because of the requirement to observe constitutional processes. These would allow each country opportunity to assess the requirements of the situation and to determine its national interests and obligations and the mode and extent of its response. A range of responses might be available, and it would be up to the other partners to judge which response would be appropriate in a given situation. It may be in certain circumstances that diplomatic action, or political or economic sanctions against the adversary, or the supply of equipment or military logistical support for the ally would be judged a more appropriate response than direct military involvement. In other circumstances direct military support may be appropriate.

Before leaving this question of whether an automatic military response might be expected in all circumstances under ANZUS, I should just like to quote some remarks made by former Prime Minister Fraser in a television interview in May last year. What he said indicates quite clearly the bipartisan nature of our understanding in this respect. Mr Fraser said:

You can never automatically anticipate assistance. Nations will always read treaties in terms of the circumstances of the time, in terms of the relationship between the countries at the time-in our case, between the United States and Australia and New Zealand.

I don't believe it has ever been the case that anyone-Britain or the United States-would automatically come to Australia's aid, no matter what the circumstances are.

I would also like to draw attention to the following statement from the 1976 White Paper on Australian Defence which reads:

It is not our policy, nor would it be prudent, to rely upon US combat help in all circumstances. Indeed it is possible to envisage a range of situations in which the threshold of direct US combat involvement could be quite high.

Underlying any consideration of what form of support might be appropriate will of course be the assumption, to which I have already referred, that each country will have developed a prudent level of self-defence capability commensurate with the resources which it has available. The so-called Guam Doctrine represents a significant expression of that view by a recent United States Administration and a similar approach was adopted even more recently by Judge Clark, President Reagan's National Security Adviser, in a major public address just over a year ago. That expectation of a reasonable effort of self-help, of self-defence, is not only eminently sensible in itself but is, of course, entirely consistent with and in accord with the general principles, explicit and implicit, underlying the ANZUS arrangements.

There are a number of references to constitutional processes, to the range of responses and options that might be available and to the element of discretion and judgment involved in deciding what kind of response might or might not be necessary. It may be asked whether all these conditions and qualifications reduce the real effectiveness of the Treaty; do they mean that the Treaty has in fact no real practical value? The answer to that question is resoundingly no. What those qualifications do mean, however, is that we cannot assume military support from our Treaty partners in every contingency; and that we should therefore develop a self-defence capability in case in a particular contingency we need to rely on our own resources. By definition, therefore, it would not be prudent to base the development of our Defence Force structure on the assumption that our forces will necessarily be part of a super-power deployment in the event of any form of hostilities in which we are involved. It is more prudent and proper to elaborate these force structures on the basis of a self-defence capability within our regional context. I hasten to add for clarity of record that our threat assessment is as it was for the previous Government, that is, that in the foreseeable future we are not confronted by any likely regional threat.

Indeed, agreement was explicitly reached as to Australia's prime defence role, namely, as one of building our self-defence capability within our regional context, rather than as a presumed global role as some sort of appendix of a super-power. That clarification will allow a much more explicit and precise formulation of our defence thinking and will govern the defence structure that we establish for our Defence Force.

From that last point it follows that not everything which Australia does in the defence field with the United States and New Zealand should be seen as part of the ANZUS relationship. All too often in the past Australians have had a tendency to believe, or have been encouraged to believe, that ANZUS covers every conceivable association with the US and every conceivable military action that we might take together. ANZUS does not provide such limitless coverage and clearly is not the only determinant of our relationships with New Zealand and the United States. We may well undertake various activities in co-operation with the United States and New Zealand, not because such activities or actions are required ANZUS obligations-rather because of our mutual interests and perceptions and the deeper association that ANZUS represents.

That last point is of course relevant to the Australian Government's attitude towards the joint defence facilities in Australia, such as North West Cape, Pine Gap and Nurrungar. None of these activities involves a specific ANZUS obligation , and they are in any case bilateral arrangements as New Zealand is not involved . While the agreements establishing the joint defence facilities do refer to ANZUS in their preambular paragraphs, they are not a necessary consequence of ANZUS itself. However, the facilities clearly represent an important reflection and instance of the shared interests which the Treaty embodies, and the Government regards this form of co-operation with the United States as of unique value.

As the Prime Minister and I have indicated on several occasions recently, the contribution made by the joint defence facilities to deterrence of nuclear war fully justifies any risks that might be seen as arising from our having those facilities in Australia. In addition, the operation of the joint defence facilities gives us some moral standing in the position we intend to take more actively in the United Nations and other international fora in support of arms control and arms reduction.

It is our considered view that we cannot expect to be influential in the crucial issues of arms control, arms reduction and disarmament initiatives both at relevant international fora and through appropriate bilateral contact if we ' cop-out' completely on such an important matter as nuclear deterrence. Therein, as things stand now, rests the only viable option of effective restraint to nuclear conflict. It is important that we fulfil our moral obligations in affecting that restraint if we are genuinely concerned about minimising to the greatest extent possible, in prevailing circumstances, the possibility of such conflict. From that credible and morally committed position, we are in a sound and influential position to argue beyond the present less than steady circumstances for a better arrangement based on armaments negotiations- conventional as well as nuclear-leading to effective controls, hopefully arms reduction and ideally, but perhaps not plausibly given the nature of the world we know, to disarmament.

I think it important to reiterate for the record that this Labor Government in matters of international relations presumes to be neither neutral nor non- aligned. We clearly have our commitments, and our alignment is frequently and convincingly demonstrated. Our independence and national interest are served greatly by these associations but within them we exercise independence of judgment, are prepared to disagree with allies where it is in the best interests of the alliance, and certainly where it is in the best interests of this nation. The fact that these things can be done and the alliance remain intact is an indication of the maturity of the relationship. In this regard I repeat from the communique the endorsement of these values I have just referred to and which I put quite directly at the ANZUS Council meeting:

. . . the respective States would at times have varying views and perspectives on various international political and economic issues. Such diversity does not affect their solidarity under the ANZUS Treaty . . .

Concluding Remarks

I should like to say that the Government has been much assisted in its review of the Treaty by two useful reports of the parliamentary Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. The first was the Committee's report on 'Threats to Australia's Security-their Nature and Probability' and the second on the 'ANZUS Alliance'. The threat report noted that in the event of an attack on Australia, the possibility was open for the United States to decide to respond by military force or means other than the application of military force-for example, by supply of military equipment, by diplomatic or economic pressure on the attacker , and so on. The deterrent value of the potential diplomatic, military or economic measures which the United States would employ in support of Australia if attacked was also acknowledged.

The second report, on the ANZUS Alliance, concluded that the mutual security provisions of the ANZUS Treaty, taken together, represent a stronger assurance of military assistance in the event of an attack on Australia than a commitment merely to consult. The Committee believed that if Australia was under an attack which proved beyond its capacity to handle alone, US support in one form or another would be forthcoming.

The Government's own review and the outcome of our discussions in Washington with our ANZUS partners endorse these findings of the Joint Committee. ANZUS is not a paper tiger but it is up to Australia first and foremost to look after itself. That is a sobering thought of which we should not lose sight. ANZUS is not an elaborate document authorising us to get our self-defence on the cheap. It is a commitment of national and mutual responsibility. It is our duty to discharge those responsibilities prudently if we are to sustain the Treaty. I believe that various parties in Government have sought to do this. They have continued to do so recently and currently in spite of the most difficult economic circumstances. That goes to the bipartisan credit of the parties who have served this country in government in recent years and it is an achievement which we should not seek to sully or undermine for the purpose of brief political opportunity. The national security of this country should be beyond such cheap motives and borne with commitment from all the parties.

In conclusion I would like to say again what I said in the course of a recent visit in South East Asia. Much more important to the future peace and security of Australia than any treaty, as I see it, must be the achievement of a stable, harmonious and economically viable environment in the area of the world in which we live, that is, the Asian-Pacific region. While none of us would want to throw away a military shield which helps to protect us from possible threats, we must at the same time make every possible effort to create conditions which make the invoking of that military shield unnecessary. I do not for one moment believe that we shall succeed quickly. We can expect setbacks and failures. But try we must. While that effort is being made, we will do all we can to maintain the undoubted vitality and strength of the ANZUS Treaty. That strength has been much enhanced by our seeing it as it really is-now in 1983-fundamental to, but not an exclusive guarantee of, our national defence and security.

I present the following paper:

Review of ANZUS-Ministerial statement, 15 September 1983.