Anniversary Celebrates 70 Years of Australia, New Zealand, US Treaty> US Department of Defense> Department of Defense News


The US military is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its alliance with America’s closest Pacific allies – Australia and New Zealand.

The Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States was signed in San Francisco on September 1, 1951. The pact officially required nations to work together to protect the security of the Pacific, but its roots go much deeper.

In 1907, US President Theodore Roosevelt sent the Great White Fleet of US warships around the world. The voyage of American battleships and other ships marked the rise of the US Navy to become a global force to be reckoned with. The fleet visited New Zealand and Australia as part of its panning across the Pacific. Ten percent of New Zealand’s population saw the ships arriving in Auckland in August 1908. In Sydney Harbor later that month, around 500,000 Australians cheered the fleet as it arrived. Sydney, Australia, had a population of 600,000 at the time.

Fast forward to July 4th 1918 and the muddy hell of the Western Front in France. Australian and American soldiers went side by side against the Germans in one of the first battles with Americans.

During World War II, American, Australian and New Zealand forces fought side by side around the world. From the coast of Java to the sands of North Africa, and from the jungles of New Guinea to the mountains of Italy, nations worked together. Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; the Coral Sea; Okinawa, Japan; Montecassino, Italy; Tunisia; the Po Valley, Italy; and more were places that were sanctified by the common sacrifices of the Kiwis, Australians and Americans.

The three nations signed the pact in 1951 while fighting side by side in Korea. Australians and Kiwis fought in Vietnam and operated together again during the Desert Storm.

When America was attacked on September 11, 2001, Australian Prime Minister John Howard invoked part of the mutual defense treaty in support of the United States. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria became places where the “comrades” stood together again.

The three nations share information, plan together, train together and operate together. It would be hard to find a peacekeeping or humanitarian operation that they don’t cooperate on.

Today, Australian and New Zealand officers work as integral members of the Joint Staff in the Pentagon and the US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii. American officers occupy positions in the Australian armed forces in the capital, Canberra.

And the partnership continues to grow. US Air Force personnel work closely with their Royal Australian Air Force counterparts. U.S. Marines – who rotate through the northern Australian city of Darwin – are constantly training with their colleagues. US Navy ships operate with New Zealand and Australian ships to ensure freedom of navigation throughout the Pacific. American, New Zealand and Australian special operators train together for a variety of missions.

The ANZUS Pact was important in 1951 when the world was facing the threat from the Soviet Union. It will remain important in 2021 as the international situation becomes increasingly complex.

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