Sir Robert Menzies

Posted in 1950

  • Prime Minister Robert Menzies with his wife Pat and daughter HeatherAwarded the Legion of Merit (Chief Commander) by US President Truman for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services 1941-1944 and December 1949-July 1950. Signed 28th July 1950."
  • In six weeks Menzies had visits to Singapore, Ceylon, Pakistan, Egypt, Rome, London, Washington, Ottawa, Tokyo and Wellington.
    Waikato Times, 21 August 1950
  • Menzies "is possibly better versed in defence aspects than any other Commonwealth leader today."
    Northern Advocate, Whangarei, 21 August 1950
  • Prime Minister Menzies addresses US Congress on Korea:Legion of Merit

"We, as you know, in Australia are not rich in manpower. We feel that our people when they go to war are first class fighters.

But in my talks with your leaders here it has been completely agreed that the time factor is so important in Korea. That a comparatively small force speedily prepared and despatched is better than a larger force postponed for many months."

  • "Menzies accepted the widely held fear that Soviet rulers were co-ordinating plans to defeat the West. He came back from extensive travels ... convinced of the possibility that Australia might have only three years to prepare for a third world war."
    Allan Martin in Australian Prime Ministers, 2000 p 195.

Australian Events

Posted in 1950

  • Young Men's Christian Association members packing magazines for delivery to Australian troops in KoreaAustralian troops join UN forces in the Korean War. The following statement was made by the government on 26th July:

"In response to the appeal of the United Nations, the Australian Government has decided to provide ground troops for use in Korea. The nature and extent of such forces will be determined after the conclusion of discussions which the Prime Minister will have in the United States."

  • L-R: Lady Harrison, Robert Menzies, Dame Joan Sutherland, Joan Hammond, Pattie Menzies, Sir Eric Harrison (Aust High Commissioner to UK), c 1950sComment on Australia's involvement in Korea:

Robert O'Neill is one historian of Australian external relations who sees this [Australia's involvement in Korea] as an important turning point: "Few knew that on 26 July 1950 Australia passed through one of its rare significant crises of choice in the conduct of relations with its two major allies." Another, Coral Bell, has written: "It was the outbreak of the Korean War, when Menzies had been in power six months, that substantially decided the issue of Australian adhesion to US purposes in Asia for twenty two years'.
Quoted in A W Martin, Robert Menzies A Life Vol 2 1944-1978, 1999 p 158.

  • The Communist Party Dissolution Act is passed.
  • Soprano Joan Sutherland (later Dame Joan) wins the Mobil Quest enabling her to study overseas. She made her opera debut three years earlier and won the Sydney Sun Aria last year.

World Events

Posted in 1950

  • Korean War: UN troops in actionThe Korean War begins when Communist North Korea invades South Korea. South Korea appeals for help to the United Nations which responds with an army, mainly American but provided by 15 countries, to fight the North.
  • Russia and China conclude a treaty of friendship.
  • India becomes a republic.
  • US Congress passes severe anti-communist laws. McCarthy's Senate Permanent Investigation Subcommittee begins 'Red Scare' and witch hunt in the USA.

Korean War: UN troops in action