From Academic Kids

The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS or ANZUS Treaty) is the military alliance which binds Australia and the United States, and separately Australia and New Zealand to cooperate on defence matters in the Pacific Ocean area, though today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks in any area.


Treaty structure

The treaty was previously a full three-way defence pact, but following a dispute between New Zealand and the United States in 1985 over visiting rights for nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships of the U.S. Navy in New Zealand ports, the treaty no longer applies between the United States and New Zealand but is still in force between Australia and New Zealand.

The US-Australia alliance under the ANZUS Treaty remains in full force. Heads of defence of one or both nations often have joined the annual ministerial meetings, which are supplemented by consultations between the U.S. Commander in Chief Pacific and the Australian Chief of Defence Force. There also are regular civilian and military consultations between the two governments at lower levels. Annual meetings to discuss ANZUS defence matters take place between the United States Secretary of State and the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (AUSMIN), the 16th AUSMIN meeting took place in Washington, D.C. in July 2004.

Unlike NATO, ANZUS has no integrated defence structure or dedicated forces. However, in fulfillment of ANZUS obligations, Australia and the United States conduct a variety of joint activities. These include military exercises ranging from naval and landing exercises at the task-group level to battalion-level special forces training, assigning officers to each other's armed services, and standardizing equipment and operational doctrine. The two countries also operate several joint defence facilities in Australia, mainly ground stations for early warning sattelites, and signals intelligence gathering in South-East Asia and East Asia as part of the ECHELON network.

History of ANZUS

The genesis of the treaty came about following the close cooperation of the United States, Australia and New Zealand during World War II, during which time Australia had come perilously close to invasion by Japan. Following the end of World War II, the United States was eager to normalize relations with Japan, particularly as the Korean War was still raging a short distance from Japan. With the involvement of China and possibly the Soviet Union in Korea, the Cold War was threatening to become a full-scale war. However, Australia and New Zealand in particular were extremely reluctant to finalize a peace treaty with Japan which would allow for Japanese rearmament. Both countries relented only when an Australian and New Zealand proposal for a three-way security treaty was accepted by the United States.

The resulting treaty was concluded at San Francisco on September 1, 1951, and entered into force on April 29, 1952. The treaty bound the signatories to recognize that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of them would endanger the peace and safety of the others. It committed them to consult in the event of a threat and, in the event of attack, to meet the common danger in accordance with their respective constitutional processes. The three nations also pledged to maintain and develop individual and collective capabilities to resist attack.

Crisis of 1985

In 1985, the nature of the ANZUS alliance changed significantly. Tensions had long been present between Australia, New Zealand and the declared nuclear powers the United States and France which were conducting extensive nuclear tests on South Pacific islands. Following the electoral victory of the New Zealand Labour Party in elections in 1984, Prime Minister David Lange enacted laws which barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from using New Zealand ports, citing the dangers of nuclear weapons, continued nuclear testing in the South Pacific, and opposition to US President Ronald Reagan's policy of confronting the Soviet Union. Given that the United States Navy refused to confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons aboard ships, these laws in effect refused access to New Zealand ports for all ships of the United States Navy. In February 1985, a port-visit request by the United States for the USS Buchanan was refused by New Zealand, as the Buchanan was capable of launching nuclear depth charges.

Previously in 1983, the United States had approached Australia with proposals for testing the new generation of American intercontinental ballistic missiles, the MX missile. American test ranges in the Pacific were insufficient for testing the new long-range missiles and the United States military wished to use the Tasman Sea as a target area. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser of the Liberal Party had agreed to provide monitoring sites near Sydney for this purpose. However in 1985 the new Prime Minister Bob Hawke of the Labor Party withdrew the offer of assistance after protests from within the Left faction of of ther Labor Party.

The United States suspends obligations to New Zealand

After consultations with Australia and after negotations with New Zealand broke down, the United States announced that it was suspending its treaty obligations to New Zealand until United States Navy ships were re-admitted to New Zealand ports, citing that New Zealand was "a friend, but not an ally". The crisis made front-page headlines for weeks in many American newspapers, while many American cabinet members were quoted as expressing a deep sense of "betrayal".

While the crisis with navy visits was prominent, the United States proved to be more forgiving of Australia's refusal to assist with the Peacekeeper missile. Fearing the total collapse of the ANZUS treaty, the US government decided to accomodate Australian domestic politics, particularly after NATO countries and other allies such as Japan showed little interest in taking a similar stance against nuclear weapons such as the Pershing missile.

The alliance today

Annual bilateral meetings between the U.S. Secretary of State and the Australian Foreign Minister replaced annual meetings of the ANZUS Council of Foreign Ministers. The first bilateral meeting was held in Canberra in 1985. At the second, in San Francisco in 1986, the United States and Australia announced that the United States was suspending its treaty security obligations to New Zealand pending the restoration of port access. Subsequent bilateral Australia-U.S. Ministerial (AUSMIN) meetings have alternated between Australia and the United States. The 16th AUSMIN meeting took place in Washington, D.C. in July 2004.

Whilst Australia has fought alongside the United States since the treaty signing including the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and elsewhere, the ANZUS treaty's provisions for assistance when a member nation comes under threat were officially invoked for the first time by Australia after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Australia is also a contributor to the National Missile Defense system. [1] ( [2] (

New Zealand also fought alongside the United States in the Korea and Vietnam, and supplied logistical support for the Gulf War, peace-keeping forces in Afghanistan and engineers in Iraq. However, an opinion poll in New Zealand in 2001 [3] ( showed 54% of those sampled preferred to let the treaty lapse rather than accept visits again by nuclear-armed/powered vessels.

The alliance engenders some political controversy in Australia. Particularly after Australian involvement in the 2003 war on Iraq, some quarters of Australian society have called for a re-evaluation of the relationship between the two nations. Nonetheless the alliance enjoyed broad support during the Cold War [4] ( and continues to enjoy broad support in Australia. [5] ( [6] ( One commentator in Australia has argued that the treaty should be re-negotiated in the context of terrorism, the modern role of the United Nations and as a purely US-Australian alliance. [7] (

ANZUS and the Republic of China (Taiwan)

One topic that became prominent in the early 2000's are its implications in the case of a hypothetical attack by the People's Republic of China against Republic of China (Taiwan) with the ROC receiving American support. While Australia has strong cultural and economic ties with the United States, it also has an increasingly important trade relationship with mainland China.

In August 2004, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer implied in Beijing that the treaty would likely not apply to that situation, but he was quickly corrected by Prime Minister John Howard. In March 2005, after an official of the People's Republic of China stated that it may be necessary for Australia to reassess the treaty and after the PRC passed an Anti-Secession Law regarding the ROC, Downer stated that in case of a PRC attack on the ROC, the treaty would come into force, but that the treaty would require only consultations with the United States and not necessarily commit Australia to war.

See also

External links

hu:ANZUS pl:Pakt Bezpieczeństwa Pacyfiku


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