U.S., Australian Officials To Discuss Pacific Defense Issues
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ For the first time in 35 years, representatives from the United States and Australia will meet for ANZUS Treaty talks without officials from New Zealand.
New Zealand was not invited to this year’s conference because the United States has stopped defense cooperation with that country over a policy preventing visits by U.S. warships.
A key issue at the talks, to be held today at the Presidio of San Francisco, was expected to be the United States’ decision to sell subsidized wheat to Soviet Union and China. The Australians say such sales undercut the price of Australian grain.
Secretary of State George Shultz and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger head the U.S. delegation at the ANZUS Treaty conference. Australia is represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Hayden and Defense Minister Ken Beazley,
Shultz greeted Hayden at his Palo Alto home on Sunday, and officials from both countries then attended a private party in nearby Menlo Park.
Shultz and Hayden agreed earlier this year to draw up a document confirming the military and political alliance between the two countries.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange said Sunday that Australia may be forced to choose between maintaining defense ties with the United States and his nation.
The United States could put conditions on its defense pact with Australia that could compromise its military cooperation with New Zealand, said Lange, attending a conference in Fiji.
Under Lange, New Zealand does not permit nuclear-powered ships or vessels carrying nuclear weapons to dock in its ports and harbors. Because the United States refuses to confirm or deny whether its ships carry nuclear weapons, no U.S. vessels may visit New Zealand.
The United States reciprocated by saying it was withdrawing from defense obligations to New Zealand.
U.S.-Australia relations have been strained by Australia’s anger over the Reagan administration’s grain sale announcement last week.
In an unusual action for a Cabinet member, Shultz has publicly criticized the grain sale. He has said that decision must have left the Soviets ″scratching their heads″ and that they ″must be chortling″ over it.
The U.S. decision followed a record Australian balance of payments deficit of $8.75 billion for the 1985-86 fiscal year.
The U.S. and Australia also are at odds over the Reagan administration’s refusal to impose economic sanctions on South Africa.