November 17, 2021
General News

ANZUS at 70: Menzies, Spender and the creation of ANZUS

Before, during and immediately after World War II, Percy Spender was a close observer of, and sometimes minor participant in, regional and global geopolitics, noting especially Britain’s declining power and influence and the emergence of a powerful US from its traditional isolationism. As his biographer, David Lowe, has demonstrated, Spender saw, much earlier than most Australians, that Australia’s future lay in the Pacific, based on a strong defence relationship with the US and close relations with the non-communist nations of postcolonial Asia. Despite Spender’s often fractious relationship with his party and his obvious leadership aspirations, Robert Menzies appointed him as foreign minister when the Liberals came to office in 1949.

Early in his short but highly significant term as Minister for External Affairs, Spender made it clear that his personal mission was to…

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