Southeast Asia Treaty Organization

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Related to SEATO: ANZUS, cento

Southeast Asia Treaty Organization

The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was an alliance organized pursuant to the Southeast Asia Defense Treaty to oppose the growing communist influence in Southeast Asia. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines, and Pakistan signed the treaty and accompanying Pacific Charter in Manila on September 8, 1954. The treaty became operative in February 1955 and bound the signatories to mutual aid to resist armed attack or subversion; an armed attack on one signatory was interpreted as a danger to all.

Headquartered in Bangkok, SEATO relied on the military forces of member nations rather than commanding its own standing forces, as did the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In its first few years of operation, SEATO's effectiveness was not tested, but at the beginning of the 1960s, conflicts in South Vietnam and Laos challenged the strength of the alliance and ultimately found it lacking. France withdrew from military cooperation in SEATO in 1967, and Great Britain refused active military cooperation in the Vietnam conflict. Moreover, a 1960s dispute between Pakistan and India further undermined the efficacy of the alliance: Pakistan drew closer to communist China, while the United States provided aid to India.

In 1972 Pakistan completely withdrew from the alliance; in 1974 France suspended its membership payments. In September 1975 the signatories decided to phase out the operations, and SEATO was formally dissolved on June 30, 1977. The collective defense treaty remains in effect, however.

Further readings

Buszynski, Leszek. 1983. SEATO, the Failure of an Alliance Strategy. Singapore: Singapore Univ. Press.

Grenville, J.A.S., and Bernard Wasserstein. 2000. The Major International Treaties of the Twentieth Century. New York: Routledge.

Schoenl, William, ed. 2002. New Perspectives on the Vietnam War: Our Allies' Views. Lanham, Md.: Univ. Press of America.

State Department. 1995. Treaties in Force. Publication 9433.

References in periodicals archive ?
Although it is never explicitly stated, To cage the red dragon is essentially a military history of SEATO; the civilian components of the organisation, such as its executive body the SEATO Council, are mentioned only in passing.
In terms of localization, the debate over Cold War military pacts like the SEATO constituted a cognitive prior for Asia, Africa, and the Middle East because it shaped the principles of the NAM and the security norms in Asian regionalism.
SEATO represented an effort at regional multilateralism, incomplete as it was, that the San Francisco Conference never contemplated.
Events such as the Quemoy and Matsu crisis and the creation of SEATO are woven into the dialogue, as are establishment of the Army's Special Forces Groups, the Air Force Academy, and the initial flights of various aircraft that participated in the war.
The Cold War was still raging and military blocks like SEATO and CENTO were arrayed against the Soviet Union.
In the 1950s, Arab countries like Egypt, Syria, Libya, etc, were unhappy with Pakistan because it had joined the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) and Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO), and entered into a bilateral agreement with the US.
Ever since the SEATO, CENTO days, Pak-US relations have survived a number of stumbling blocks.
Then, according to the practices then prevailing, he transferred into the Transportation Corps, only to be shifted to a 9-month detail to Task Force Air Cobra--a semisecret Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) operation in Thailand-to evaluate its potential to host a large U.S.
Obviously, neither Southeast Asia nor Japan succumbed to communism after the fall of Saigon in April 1975, and the documentary record does not support the notion that US allies agreed with the American assessment--indeed, if anything, most NATO and SEATO countries lobbied Washington to disengage from the conflict.
''Before, talking about cooperation in defense and security was not encouraged because of the SEATO experience,'' he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, host of the inaugural ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting.
n Australia became involved in the war via the SEATO agreement (South East Asian Treaty Organisation), created to oppose further Communist gains in Southeast Asia