The United States and British Southeast Asian Security Policy 1950 – 1955

Sah Hadiyatan Ismail


The fall of China to Communism in 1949 and the subsequent Sino-Soviet Treaty of Alliance, Aid, and Mutual Assistance signed in Moscow in 1950 brought great impacts to the US and British policy in Asia. This article analyses the growing tension involving the Western powers with the Communist and the intensifying of the Cold War in the Asian region. The Anglo-American relations faced its trying times during this period as differences of approaches arise between the US and Britain in the issue of the containment of Communism in Southeast Asia. This article aims to discuss actions and policies taken by the United States and British towards Southeast Asia in response to the advancement of communist in Asia. The methodology of this works utilizes documents analysis, predominantly through published governments records and secondary sources. This article revealed that the Americans were more into military approach whereas the British were more interested in the economic aspect. By September 1950, American officials began planning about the formation of a defence pact for Southeast Asia. This defence pact came to materialise in 1954 with the formation of Southeast Asia Treaty Organization or SEATO. SEATO was signed at a time when international Communism was making great inroads into Indochina and anti-colonialism was rampant. British supported the formation of SEATO and achieved its objective to commit the United States to defend Southeast Asia which previously was the responsibilities of Britain and France. The period of 1950 – 1955 also mark the starting point for the American to be involved actively in the security affairs of Southeast Asia.

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JEBAT : Malaysian Journal of History, Politics & Strategic Studies, 
Centre For Policy and Global Governance (GAP), 
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, 
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM, Bangi Selangor, Malaysia.

eISSN: 2180-02551

ISSN: 012-5644