The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS or ANZUS Treaty) is the military alliance which binds Australia and New Zealand and, separately, Australia and the United States to cooperate on defense matters in the Pacific Ocean area, though today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks in any area.
The US–Australia alliance under the ANZUS Treaty remains in full force. Heads of defense of one or both nations often have joined the annual ministerial meetings, which are supplemented by consultations between the U.S. Combatant Commander Pacific and the Australian Chief of Defence Force. There are also regular civilian and military consultations between the two governments at lower levels. Annual meetings to discuss ANZUS defense matters take place between the United States Secretary of State and the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (AUSMIN). The 17th AUSMIN meeting took place in Adelaide in November 2005.
Unlike NATO, ANZUS has no integrated defense structure or dedicated forces. Nevertheless, in fulfillment of, Australia and the United States conduct a variety of joint activities. These include military exercises ranging from naval and landing exercises at the task-group level to battalion-level special forces training, assigning officers to each other's armed services, and standardizing equipment and operational doctrine. The two countries also operate several joint defense facilities in Australia, mainly ground stations for early warning satellites, and signals intelligence gathering in South-East Asia and East Asia as part of the ECHELON network.
The resulting treaty was concluded at San Francisco on September 1, 1951, and entered into force on April 29, 1952. The treaty bound the signatories to recognize that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of them would endanger the peace and safety of the others. It stated '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'. The three nations also pledged to maintain and develop individual and collective capabilities to resist attack.
As part of the United Nations deployment, New Zealand and Australia had earlier fought alongside the United States in the Korean War. Later New Zealand sent transport aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft and frigates to the Gulf, as well as a very small number of soldiers, SAS soldiers, medical and assorted and peace-keeping forces in Afghanistan — and despite Prime Minister Helen Clark being openly critical of American justifications for the war, New Zealand did send engineers and troops to protect them to Iraq.
An opinion poll in New Zealand in 1991 showed 54% of those sampled preferred to let the treaty lapse rather than accept visits again by nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered vessels. The policy did not become law until June 8, 1987 with the passing of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987, more than two years after the Buchanan was refused entry after the USA refused to declare the presence or absence of nuclear weapons, and a year after the USA suspended its treaty obligations to New Zealand.
On July 10, 1985, the French DGSE bombed the Greenpeace protest vessel Rainbow Warrior in Auckland. This event strengthened opposition in New Zealand of the military application of nuclear technology in any form. The failure of Western leaders to condemn what could be considered an act of war on New Zealand by France caused a great deal of change in foreign and defense policy. New Zealand distanced itself from its traditional ally, the United States, and built relationships with small South Pacific nations, while retaining its good relations with Australia, and, to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom.
Australia and New Zealand both provided military units, including special forces and naval ships in support of the US led "Operation Enduring Freedom" (support for anti-Taliban forces in the Afghan civil war in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks).
The ANZUS treaty's provisions for assistance when a member nation comes under threat were officially invoked for the first time by Australia, to justify the Australian commitment in Afghanistan. (Australia and New Zealand have fought alongside the United States before the treaty signing, including in the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and elsewhere without needing to invoke the alliance.)
In August 2004, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer implied in Beijing that the treaty would likely not apply to that situation, but he was quickly corrected by then Prime Minister John Howard. In March 2005, after an official of the People's Republic of China stated that it may be necessary for Australia to reassess the treaty and after the PRC passed an Anti-Secession Law regarding the ROC, Downer stated that in case of a PRC attack on the ROC, the treaty would come into force, but that the treaty would require only consultations with the United States and not necessarily commit Australia to war.
The alliance engenders some political controversy in Australia. Particularly after Australian involvement in the 2003 Iraq war, some quarters of Australian society have called for a re-evaluation of the relationship between the two nations. Nonetheless the alliance enjoyed broad support during the Cold War and continues to enjoy broad support in Australia. One commentator in Australia has argued that the treaty should be re-negotiated in the context of terrorism, the modern role of the United Nations and as a purely US-Australian alliance.
Australia is also a contributor to the National Missile Defense system.
The value of the alliance was again questioned when a new US Ambassador, Bill McCormick, arrived to take up his post in Wellington, New Zealand, in 2005. In his first speech on the topic of NZ–US relations the Ambassador referred to the ANZUS treaty repeatedly as "Anzoo" . Some commentators questioned how the Ambassador might know much about the alliance if he couldn't name it properly.
In May 2006, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Christopher Hill, described the New Zealand anti-nuclear issue as "a relic", and signalled that the US wanted a closer defense relationship with New Zealand. He also praised New Zealand’s involvement in Afghanistan and reconstruction in Iraq. "Rather than trying to change each other's minds on the nuclear issue, which is a bit of a relic, I think we should focus on things we can make work" he told an Australian newspaper.
While there have been signs of the nuclear dispute between the US and NZ thawing out, pressure from the United States increased in 2006 with U.S. trade officials linking the repeal of the ban of American nuclear ships from New Zealand's ports to a potential free trade agreement between the two countries.
On February 4, 2008, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab announced that the United States will join negotiations with four Asia–Pacific countries: Brunei, Chile, New Zealand & Singapore to be known as the "P-4". These nations already have an FTA called the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership and the United States will be looking to become involved in the "vitally important emerging Asia-Pacific region" A number of U.S. organizations support the negotiations including, but not limited to: the United States Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Foreign Trade Council, Emergency Committee for American Trade and Coalition of Service Industries.