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SEATO

SEATO (est. 1954).On 8 September 1954, the United States, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and Pakistan signed the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty in Manila. Sometimes referred to as the Manila Pact, this agreement created the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). The Eisenhower administration and especially Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had worked to establish this loose alliance after the Geneva Agreement on Indochina ended the French war in Southeast Asia in 1954. Under the prevailing strategy of containment, Dulles envisioned SEATO as a “no trespassing” sign warning Beijing and Moscow not to threaten Southeast Asia. Also, congressional leaders had opposed unilateral U.S. military assistance to France during the siege of Dienbienphu in Vietnam in the spring of 1954. With SEATO, Dulles believed, Congress would support the use of U.S. military forces in any future crisis in Southeast Asia.

Unlike NATO in Europe, SEATO did not create its own military structure, nor did it obligate its members to respond if one was attacked. In the event of aggression or subversion in the treaty area, the signatories were to consult and to meet the common danger in accordance with their own constitutional processes. South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia could not be members because of prohibitions in the Geneva Agreements, but those Indochinese states could request SEATO protection under a separate protocol to the treaty. India, Burma, and Indonesia preferred to maintain a neutral stance toward China and the USSR and declined to join SEATO.

Despite the purposefully vague wording of the SEATO charter, the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson claimed in 1965 that SEATO allowed and even required the build‐up of U.S. forces in South Vietnam. However, only Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand among the SEATO nations joined the United States in sending combat troops to the Vietnam War. Pakistan withdrew from the alliance in 1972. After the Democratic Republic of Vietnam prevailed in the Vietnam War, SEATO dissolved completely in 1977.

Bibliography

David L. Anderson , Trapped by Success: The Eisenhower Administration and Vietnam, 1953–1961, 1991.

David L. Anderson

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SEATO

SEATO / ˈsētō/ • abbr. Southeast Asia Treaty Organization.

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SEATO

SEATO Acronym for Southeast Asia Treaty Organization

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SEATO

SEATO: see Southeast Asia Treaty Organization.

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SEATO

SEATO (ˈsiːtəʊ) Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (1954–77)

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