United States and Australia in Vietnam, 1954-1968. Silent Partners

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This study explains American motives and the decision-making process as it worked with Australia in Southeast Asia. It goes beyond other attempts at understanding the Australian-American arrangements, using valuable material newly released, which describes the evolution of American thinking, specifically during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. It also incorporates the American view on other aspects of Australian foreign policy, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and West New Guinea.


“In this ambitious work, Ronald Frankum undertakes a study of the basis of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. More than that, though, Frankum examines the evolution of Australian foreign policy as a reflection of that nation’s need to form a defense relationship with a major power intimately interested in the Far East. . . . tells the story of the complex relationship that developed between the United States and Australia as the two nations sought to extract the maximum benefit from a relationship from which each nation sought different goals. Exhaustively researched and thoroughly documented, it will be essential reading not only for those interested in Australia and the Vietnam War, but also for those wishing to understand the dynamics of power relationships between medium-sized powers and the major powers in the modern world.” – James R. Rechner, Director, The Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University

“. . . a thoughtful reminder that America did not fight alone. Frankum. . . has conducted extensive research in American and Australian archives and, unlike previous studies, examines the diplomatic aspects of the war from both the Yankee and down under perspective. What emerges is the story of two nations, who found common ground while grappling with the changes that followed the Second World War. . . . Vietnam, Frankum persuasively argues, fit into Australia’s foreign policy strategy based on forward defense and an alliance with a strong protector. . . . America, Australian policy makers determined, was now the only nation with enough muscle to guarantee Australia’s security. . . . Both paid the price for error, Frankum reveals, and were forced to reassess their foreign policy.” – John Ernst

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Foreword; Introduction
1. A Strong and Dependable Ally
2. Peace Through Strength: United Action, 1954
3. Security for the Future: The Geneva Conference and SEATO
4. “Walking a Tightrope”: Indonesia and West New Guinea
5. Vietnam: To Build a Nation, 1966-61
6. Australia Takes a Stand
7. Forward Defense
8. Graduated Response
9. The Next Logical Step
10. “All the Way With LBJ”
Appendices: ANZUS Treaty; 1963 Australian National Budget; General Nguyen Khanh Appeal, July 4, 1964; Bibliography; Index

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