restricted access The ANZUS Treaty during the Cold War: A Reinterpretation of U.S. Diplomacy in the Southwest Pacific

This article explains the origins of the Australia–New Zealand–United States (ANZUS) Treaty by highlighting U.S. ambitions in the Pacific region after World War II. Three clarifications to the historiography merit attention. First, an alliance with Australia and New Zealand reflected the pursuit of U.S. interests rather than the skill of antipodean diplomacy. Despite initial reservations in Washington, geostrategic anxiety and economic ambition ultimately spurred cooperation. The U.S. government’s eventual recourse to coercive diplomacy against the other ANZUS members, and the exclusion of Britain from the alliance, substantiate claims of self-interest. Second, the historiography neglects the economic rationale underlying the U.S. commitment to Pacific security. Regional cooperation ensured the revival of Japan, the avoidance of discriminatory trade policies, and the stability of the Bretton Woods monetary system. Third, scholars have unduly played down and misunderstood the concept of race. U.S. foreign policy elites invoked ideas about a “White Man’s Club” in Asia to obscure the pursuit of U.S. interests in the region and to ensure British exclusion from the treaty.