History Timeline 1950's

Photo above: A race to the moon. Right: Allegheny Ludlum Steel Company, Pennsylania, 1940-1946, U.S. Office of War Information. Courtesy Library of Congress.

United States Steel Mills

U.S. Timeline - The 1950s

Two Cars in Every Garage

Sponsor this page for $75 per year. Your banner or text ad can fill the space above.
Click here to Sponsor the page and how to reserve your ad.

  • Timeline

  • Detail - 1951

    September 1, 1951 - The United States, Australia, and New Zealand sign a mutual security pact, the ANZUS Treaty.

    Secretary of State Dean Acheson and President Harry Truman

    With the battles of World War II one half decade past, the nations of the world began development of mutual defense pacts to forestall invasion of one or it would trigger the defense of the attacked by all. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had been negotiated between the United States and its European Allies in 1949 to protect their interests in the North Atlantic Ocean. Two years later, a similar pact between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States was negotiated to enact a similar arrangement in the South Pacific.

    Tensions in the Pacific Rim had not been fully diminished since the last year of World War, and the memories of Japanese air raids on Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia during 1942 and 1943 were fresh. There was concern that Great Britain, so far away, would have problems defending its far flung British Empire states of Australia and New Zealand. A mutual defense pact, whether with other regional nations or with the United States, that could ensure that a repeat of tensions from an aggressor Asian country was desired.

    Despite the words from Secretary of State Dean Acheson that a formal treaty would not really be necessary; that an attack on Australia or New Zealand would be considered an aggressive step that the United States would defense against with or without a treaty, those nations still desired a pact. There were problems, however, with a regional defense arrangement, beyond what was considered necessary. Many other Pacific nations were either still under colonial rule, with marginal ability to sign such treaties, or so new as independent nations, that making a security commitment seemed somewhere between moot and improbable.

    Facts on the ground, however, began to change the mind of U.S. officials. The Chinese Revolution ended in 1949 with the Communists in power. The Korean War had begun in 1950 with Australian and New Zealand troops participating in the war under the banner of the United Nations. A Peace Treaty was sought with Japan between the U.S. and the defeated nation which the United States was now attempting to rebuild; this was more controversial with regional nations suspicious of Japan's eventual intent of peace. President Truman agreed to negotiations over a Pacific Defense Pact with Australia and New Zealand in early 1951, with original goals to include those three nations, as well as Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Great Britain, even though not taking part, opposed the inclusion of additional island chains. Five months later, on September 1, 1951, the three part ANZUS Treaty was signed during a session in San Francisco after an initialed draft had been agreed upon on July 12, 1951 in Washington.

    ANZUS Treaty, Full Text

    Security Treaty Between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America, The Parties to the 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 Austrlaia and New Zealand as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations have military obligations outside as well as with 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,


    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 purposes 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 thereby establish a Council, consisting of their Foreign Minister 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 a 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.

    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.




    Teepossible.com T-Shirts and Gifts

    Application of the Treaty

    After approvals in the various governments of each nation, the Treaty went into effect on April 29, 1952. The Council of the ANZUS nations met annually. By 1954, additional treaties in the region were signed. The Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) included the three parties to ANZUS as well as France, Great Britain, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand.

    Over the centuries since its passage, the United States received support from both Australia and New Zealand in the Vietnam War, although it was done without invoking the treaty, and the Malayan Emergency. Tensions concerning the treaty began to arise when New Zealand, in 1984, declared its nation a nuclear free zone, thus disallowing United States warships entry. The U.S. responded by suspending its treaty obligation toward New Zealand on September 17, 1986, thus ANZUS became a Treaty between just the United States and Australia. In 2012, tensions thawed, as the United States lifted its ban on New Zealand ships and New Zealand participated in the biennial Rim of the Pacific military exercises. In 2016, during the 75th Birthday of New Zealand's Navy, the U.S. Destroyer, USS Sampson, became the first U.S. warship to enter New Zealand waters in thirty-three years.

    Image above: Montage of Dean Acheson, Secretary of State (left) and President Harry Truman (right). Acheson photo by Harris and Ewing, date unknown. Truman photo by Edmonston Studio, 1945. Courtesy Library of Congress. Image below: Australian, New Zealand, and United States aircraft during Sandgroper '82 exercise at Base Pearce, Perth, Australia, 1982, U.S. Defense Visual Information Center. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Source Info: U.S. State Department Office of the Historian; Australianpolitics.com; Truman Library, Acheson Papers; Wikipedia Commons.

    Joint Exercises 1982

    History Photo Bomb