England Cites U.S., Australia, New Zealand Security Partnership
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 6, 2008 The deputy defense secretary praised the nations of Australia and New Zealand for their long-time friendship and security partnership with the United States during a Pentagon ceremony here today.
Deputy Defense Secretary of Gordon England, right, addresses an international audience during the May 6, 2008, dedication ceremony for the Pentagon's newly redesigned ANZUS Corridor. The displays lining the walls of the corridor celebrate the shared defense commitments of Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Although the formal treaty among the nations was signed in 1951, military cooperation between the three partners extends back to well before World War I. Defense Department photo by R.D. Ward
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England, accompanied by Australian Ambassador to the United States Dennis Richardson and New Zealand Ambassador to the United States Roy Ferguson, hosted the opening of the refurbished Australia, New Zealand and United States, or ANZUS, corridor exhibit that’s located in the Pentagon’s “A” ring hallway between the eighth and ninth corridors.
The exhibit features artwork, statuary, weaponry, uniforms and other items that signify the three countries’ security partnership throughout the decades.
The display “does reflect the historic bonds of friendship and respect between Australia, New Zealand and the United States,” England said. The exhibit includes the contributions of American, Australian and New Zealand artisans and craftspeople, the deputy defense secretary observed.
The alliance among the United States, Australia and New Zealand predates the war on terrorism, England said. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 dispatched a squadron of U.S. Navy vessels to circumnavigate the world as a display of U.S. maritime flexibility, he noted. The white-painted flotilla, later nicknamed the Great White Fleet, paid nearly a dozen friendly ports-of-call visits to nations worldwide, including visits to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand, in 1908.
“Behind me is a panorama of the Great White Fleet when it visited in Auckland and Sydney harbors,” England said, indicating one of the displays. “But, while the harbors look different today, Australia, New Zealand and the United States still share close bonds of friendship and that is because we share common values -- freedom, liberty, justice and human dignity.”
Those values are preserved today in all three nations, thanks to the efforts and selfless service of their military members, England said.
“We thank all who serve today and all those who have served for this great gift of freedom,” he said.
On Sept. 1, 1951, Australia, New Zealand and the United States signed the ANZUS mutual security agreement. That treaty was invoked for the first time following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
The refurbished exhibit “is testimony to the enduring bonds between our two countries and people, especially those bonds forged in battle,” Australian Ambassador Richardson remarked, noting U.S. and Australian troops fought together for the first time on July 4, 1918, during the Battle of Hamel Wood in France during World War I.
“This corridor tells the story of that battle; it tells the story of the other conflicts in which we have been joined,” Richardson said.
The Pentagon display commemorates the friendship and security partnership among New Zealand, Australia and the United States during times of war and peace over the past century, New Zealand Ambassador Ferguson remarked.
“This is an occasion to reflect on our history, celebrate our successes and, above all, to remember the service and sacrifice of our respective armed forces,” Ferguson said.
The militaries of New Zealand, Australia and the United States, Ferguson observed, have fought “steadfastly, together” as friends and allies for decades during conflicts to preserve freedom and the rule of law.
“New Zealand places great value on the important role the United States continues to play in supporting security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, and we are very grateful for that role,” Ferguson said.