Adopting an analytically eclectic approach that draws on theories of realist bargaining, identity, and socialization, this article investigates the early Cold War origins of the Five Eyes intelligence grouping (the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand). An understanding of identity grounded in culture suggests a natural process of international intelligence community building, but this was not the case with the Five Eyes. The formation of the grouping was not preordained. Although Anglo-Saxonism was a necessary condition, it was not sufficient. In addition to being able to provide valuable sites for signals intelligence collection, aspiring members had to be seen as staunchly anti-Communist (and therefore politically trustworthy) by the United States in order to become full members of this exclusive community. Early postwar concerns over the political loyalties and secrecy protection regime of the Australian government prompted the British to initiate a process of socialization aimed at bolstering its affiliate's security institutions and practices and guaranteeing its own access to U.S. secrets.

Described variously as “the most exclusive intelligence sharing club in the world,” “the world's leading intelligence-sharing network,” “the world's oldest intelligence partnership,” and “the world's deepest and most comprehensive collaboration among spy services,” the “Five Eyes” multilateral intelligence-sharing arrangement comprising the major intelligence services of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States was formed in 1946 as the Cold War was emerging.1 The appellation of the group was shorthand for the security classification of intelligence documents shared between these countries: “SECRET—AUS/CAN/NZ/UK/US EYES ONLY.” The partnership originated out of the successful wartime intelligence relationship between the United States and Great Britain and expanded over the next decade through a series of further agreements to include Canada in 1948 and Australia and New Zealand in 1956.

Member governments’ recent, well-publicized discussions of global issues such as the push for transparency on COVID-19 and China's imposition of a new national security law on Hong Kong and their coordinated pooling of strategic reserves of critical minerals may have created the impression of an emerging economic and political union. This is not the case. The Five Eyes is an intelligence grouping. Although members also cooperate formally in diverse areas of intelligence, such as human intelligence (HUMINT), covert action, counterintelligence security provisions for data handling, and the preparation of joint estimates, the core of these multilateral arrangements is signals intelligence (SIGINT), a broad series of operations that target electromagnetic emissions.2 Quintuple cooperation covering exchanges of special liaison officers and technical intelligence on weapons research and development, the use of shared communications systems, and the joint operation of important facilities have contributed to the development of close personal ties among senior officials in the Five Eyes’ constituent intelligence agencies.3

The Five Eyes has long been shrouded in secrecy. The founding postwar document, concluded on 5 March 1946 and formally titled the “British-U.S. Communication Intelligence Agreement,” has been depicted as “quite likely the most secret agreement ever entered into by the English-speaking world.”4 Indeed, the agreement was so secret that Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam reportedly was not informed of its existence until 1973. No government officially acknowledged the arrangement by name until 1999, when the director of Australia's Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) disclosed his country's cooperation “with counterpart signals intelligence organizations overseas under the UKUSA relationship” in a television interview.5 The contents of the UKUSA agreement were officially disclosed to the public for the first time in June 2010.

For such a secretive grouping, the Five Eyes has often been embroiled in public controversy, usually in relation to disclosures of mass surveillance programs such as the ECHELON network and more recently the Edward Snowden leaks, the latter revealing that members intentionally spied on one another's citizens and shared the collected information with one another to circumvent restrictive domestic surveillance laws.6 The Five Eyes has been in the international spotlight recently because of internal political differences over the role of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in constructing fifth-generation (5G) broadband cellular networks.

The political nature of the Five Eyes, with its origins in the Anglo-American “special relationship” and the imposition of intelligence bans on non-compliant states, reflects a binary that has shaped the Five Eyes since its earliest days: identity and power. Focusing on the first decade of the Cold War, this article examines the identity-realpolitik dynamic to answer what ostensibly seems to be a simple question: Why does the Five Eyes comprise these particular states? This is a study of political science rather than history. To investigate the origins of the Five Eyes’ composition, the article therefore relies largely on important secondary historical literature about wartime and early postwar Anglo-U.S. intelligence cooperation, relations between these two countries and their three smaller allies, and the development of their respective spy organizations. Multiple studies that have addressed this topic are implicitly informed by realist thinking.7 The aim here is to make explicit what is theoretically implicit. Initially drawing on realist bargaining theory, the article builds on these earlier studies by specifying the realpolitik mechanisms that facilitate alliance formation, with a particular focus on the material provision of territory for the establishment and operation of SIGINT facilities. The article also sheds light on Britain's attempted use of multilateralism to enhance its influence over its key wartime ally, the United States, in the incipient postwar SIGINT architecture.

Nevertheless, realism, despite its explanatory strength, leaves key issues unanswered, especially those relating to the character and optimal number of states for alliance formation. A study of the origins of the Five Eyes, therefore, needs to be supplemented by an alternative approach. Liberalism is one obvious candidate. A liberal (or Kantian) perspective that seeks an explanation for the causes of cooperation by focusing on international regimes or institutions would seem to have merit. The late John Ruggie defined regimes as “a set of mutual expectations, rules and regulations, plans, organizational energies and financial commitments [that] have been accepted by a group of states.”8 One scholar even describes the Five Eyes as the “paramount example” of an international intelligence regime.9 Ruggie's definition neatly captures many contemporary traits of the Five Eyes. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that reciprocity, the core concept in the liberal perspective—manifested as the barter or exchange of information—has at times guided the actions of senior intelligence officials within this grouping.10 However, an approach that highlights the role of regimes and reciprocity does not adequately explain why membership is limited to these five states, which constitute the inner circle of Western intelligence-sharing arrangements. For instance, if regimes mitigate the impact of anarchy and enhance long-term cooperation, why not expand the membership circle of intelligence sharing and further maximize the prospects for sustained collaboration? Moreover, why did reciprocity result in a minilateral, five-state configuration and not exclusive bilateral arrangements?

The article adopts an analytically eclectic approach by supplementing a realist account of the origins of the Five Eyes with an identity perspective. The rationale for adopting this approach is that the formation of the intelligence grouping was also shaped by powerful ideas that defined the identity of its members. The Five Eyes is also frequently described today using these identity markers. Many of these ideas centered on an “Anglophone” or “Anglo-Saxon” identity that was based on a hierarchical understanding of civilization, culture, and race. The article's central contention is that if an understanding of identity grounded in culture suggests a natural process of international intelligence community building, this was not the case. The formation of the Five Eyes was not preordained. Although Anglo-Saxonism—a racialized identity discourse emphasizing the kinship among white, English-speaking countries that share common customs, interests, and values—was a necessary condition, it was insufficient.11 In addition to being able to provide valuable sites for SIGINT collection, aspiring members also had to be identified politically as staunchly anti-Communist, and therefore acceptably trustworthy, by the United States in order to participate in substantive intelligence-sharing arrangements and become full members of the exclusive Five Eyes community. Early postwar concerns over the political loyalties and secrecy protection regime of the Australian government—a perceived weak link in the anti-Soviet alliance—prompted Britain to initiate a process of socialization aimed at bolstering its affiliate's security institutions and practices, which would also serve to guarantee its own access to valuable intelligence from Washington.

As a perspective on international relations, realism would appear well suited to explain the origins of the Five Eyes. As Don Munton notes, “Realism permeates intelligence theory and practice, informing the … literature.”12 This influence is evident in the aphorism in intelligence studies that knowledge is power, the primary goal of political action for realists. Intelligence can help shed light on the intentions of decision-makers, an extremely difficult undertaking that speaks to one of the five basic assumptions structural realists embrace regarding the nature of the international system: states can never be certain about others’ intentions.13 A robust intelligence capability can also serve as an instrument of power—a force multiplier—for states either individually or through international cooperation.14 Anglo-American wartime intelligence cooperation offered the potential to contribute to defeating the fascist threat but had to overcome considerable distrust.

Forging a Wartime SIGINT Alliance: Power and Distrust in the “Two Eyes”

The genesis of the Five Eyes lies in the wartime collaboration between Britain and the United States to balance against the expansionist military operations launched by the Nazi German and Imperial Japanese regimes in Europe and Asia. During the early phase of the war in Europe, as German forces swept across much of the continent, Britain and the United States explored intelligence cooperation. Both allies had become aware of the other's initial success in breaking German and Japanese codes and, following bilateral discussions, signed a highly secretive agreement in November 1940, providing for a comprehensive exchange of technical communications systems and information relating to the Axis powers’ diplomatic and military services.15 A small U.S. mission traveled to Bletchley Park, the top-secret home of Britain's code-breaking apparatus, in early 1941 to promote bilateral technical cooperation.16 Both allies appeared willing to cooperate through a generous exchange of information about their wartime enemies. For instance, U.S. officials provided their British counterparts with an encryption machine for breaking Japanese codes, while Britain reciprocated with advanced cryptographic and radio monitoring systems, work on Japanese military codes, and a variety of diplomatic material, including ciphers from several countries.17

However, bilateral intelligence cooperation was considerably more circumspect during this early phase of the war than might have been expected between allies fighting a powerful enemy undertaking hostile acts of expansion. The British jealously guarded key information pertaining to the advanced German Enigma encryption machine. Although the British informed U.S. intelligence officials about their successes against Enigma, provided information about the device, and showed them bombes (electromechanical devices used for recovery of daily settings), they were unwilling to hand over a machine, as the United States had earlier done, and withheld its product, Ultra—the codename given to the highly classified Enigma output—as well as precise details relating to processing and actual intelligence operations.18

There are three reasons for Britain's unwillingness to engage in full reciprocity with the United States. First, the British were dismayed at the U.S. government's lack of security, which partly derived from naïveté.19 Second, because the U.S. Army was not fighting in Europe at this early stage, it made little sense for the British to entrust their leaky ally with high-level intelligence such as Ultra.20 The third, and arguably the most important, factor was based on power considerations. The relatively weak and vulnerable British saw Ultra as a trump card and source of leverage in their intelligence relationship with the United States.21 Britain therefore wished to maintain its monopoly over this crucial intelligence source and only begrudgingly loosened control in the wake of German technical advances that rendered the British unable to read Atlantic U-boat traffic in early 1942.22 Although he British compromised to enable collaboration in attacking the German naval Enigma, they still sought to dominate the breaking and distribution of Enigma traffic for joint military operations and relented only when U.S. interests alone were at stake, such as preventing U-boat attacks off the U.S. east coast.23

The United States, for its part, was also cautious regarding certain aspects of intelligence cooperation. The United States was not eager to reveal all its cryptographic secrets, especially those relating to its SIGABA cipher machine, because of suspicions that the British were trying to read U.S. codes.24 These suspicions were legitimate. The British were, in fact, seeking to break U.S. diplomatic codes up until the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941 and thereafter were believed to be working on U.S. commercial codes.25

The beginning of joint military operations near Europe, such as Operation Torch (the U.S. and British invasion of French North Africa in November 1942), and the persistent threat from German U-boat activity along the U.S. east coast provided the impetus for further cooperation, which ultimately led to the signing of the BRUSA Agreement in May 1943. Subsequently lauded as a milestone in the development of the Anglo-American SIGINT relationship, the agreement, as Bradley Smith contends, was not inevitable. Significant tensions characterized the negotiations, with both parties described menacingly as “walking around and eyeing each other like two mongrels who had just met.”26 It is therefore unsurprising that the agreement did not fully ameliorate the mistrust between the “two eyes.” This is evident in both sides’ continued adherence to the classic balance-of-power resolution of dividing territory into spheres of influence and agreeing not to interfere in the other's territory so they could preserve the relative power equilibrium. Britain was suspicious of U.S. interest in the UK's sphere of influence in parts of the Middle East such as Iraq, and the United States withheld information regarding the countries of Latin America.27 Both countries also concealed from each other their work on the diplomatic codes of their putative ally, the Soviet Union.28

With the war turning against Germany and its allies after their capitulation in North Africa, the Allies’ invasion of Sicily, the surrender of Italy in 1943, and the start of massive Soviet counteroffensives, U.S. intelligence officials began to look ahead to the end of hostilities, when cooperation with the British would inevitably wane, making the establishment of a fully self-sufficient intelligence capability crucial ahead of the likely dissolution of the alliance.29 With D-Day, the liberation of Paris, and the Allied assault on Japan well underway, postwar settlements loomed—and were likely to be adversarial.30 War had brought the Allies together, but this exogenous pressure was no guarantee of future beneficial intelligence cooperation.31 Intelligence liaison would prove to be equally troublesome in the face of another emerging conflict.

Material Resources for an Expanded SIGINT Alliance against the Soviet Threat

The demise of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in 1945 did not result in a sudden shift of the Allies’ intelligence efforts to focus on the threat from the USSR. The main SIGINT targets were understandably Germany and Japan, but Britain and the United States never ceased collecting intelligence on their Soviet ally. As Richard Aldrich notes, until Adolf Hitler's ill-fated decision to launch Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, the Soviet Union was a key intelligence target for Britain.32 The initial British concern was the threat from subversion instigated by the Soviet State Security Committee (KGB), concerns that were subsequently compounded by anxieties arising from Soviet aggressiveness in Eastern Europe during the final phase of the war.33 U.S. officials shared British concerns but targeted Soviet diplomatic communications for a different reason. The U.S. government began to intercept Soviet diplomatic communications in early 1943 based on fears within senior Army intelligence circles that the Soviet Union might again unexpectedly seek a separate peace with Berlin, thereby allowing Nazi Germany to focus its military forces against Great Britain and the United States. The United States wanted to ascertain whether secret German-Soviet peace negotiations were taking place.34 The messages—finally decoded in 1946—did not show such evidence but, in what later became known as the Venona Project, the code-breaking effort did reveal that the Soviet Union had directed an extensive espionage campaign against the United States and other countries. The USSR was now seen as the major threat to U.S. and British interests, and in this initial period of the Cold War both countries explored the prospects for continuing their wartime SIGINT cooperation against this foe.

Postwar Anglo-American intelligence cooperation was a complex undertaking that also involved negotiations with select wartime allies. This section explores these processes through the lens of realist bargaining theory. As Thomas Risse-Kappen explains, the theory examines how states employ power in negotiations and is “applied to specify the conditions under which small allies are likely to exert significant influence on their leader in situations of conflicting preferences.”35 In the early Cold War years, the Western intelligence camp had two leaders: the United States and Britain. The United States had emerged from the Second World War as the preeminent global power, whereas Britain was subordinate within the bilateral “special relationship” but still enjoyed a measure of cultural, legal, linguistic, and political influence globally, especially over its former colonies and protectorates. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand looked to Britain and the United States for leadership, although as the Cold War intensified they turned mainly to the United States. The influence that Britain and the three smaller allies possessed derived largely from fulfilling a certain material condition that made them attractive SIGINT partners in an anti-Soviet alliance. Realist bargaining theory thus offers interesting insights into the process of SIGINT alliance-building.

Risse-Kappen identifies five conditions under which small allies can increase their bargaining leverage over larger partners:

(1) Hold more intense preferences than the alliance leader;

(2) Threaten to defect or remain neutral in disputes between the superpowers;

(3) The superpower perceives a high level of threat;

(4) Control irreplaceable material resources that the superpower needs;

(5) Pool resources and confront the alliance leader with a unified position.36

The first two conditions do not seem to be directly relevant to this case. Although the United States (and Britain) placed a high value on establishing and maintaining the nascent postwar SIGINT alliance, there is little evidence that Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (although Canada is a possible exception) drove a hard bargain during accession negotiations to the UKUSA Agreement, making it difficult to assert they held more intense preferences. These countries also proved to be loyal U.S. allies in the intelligence Cold War against the Soviet Union. Regarding the third condition, the United States clearly felt threatened by the Soviet Union and, to a lesser degree, Communist China under Mao Zedong and established a series of bilateral and multilateral alliances to help balance against this menace. The fourth and fifth conditions are the most pertinent to early postwar efforts to create a multilateral SIGINT alliance.

Territory for Basing

Controlling issue-specific resources required by the alliance leader can enable client states to enhance their bargaining power.37 As Hans Morgenthau argued,

A weak nation may well possess an asset which is of such great value for its strong ally as to be irreplaceable. Here the unique benefit the former is able to grant or withhold may give it within the alliance a status completely out of keeping with the actual distribution of material power.38

Not only did the United States emerge from the war with a strong economy and military, but its SIGINT apparatus “stood at the zenith of its power and prestige.”39 In quantifying this strength, Matthew Aid notes that the main U.S. SIGINT agencies, the U.S. Army's Signal Security Agency and the Naval Communications Intelligence Organization, comprised over 37,000 military and civilian personnel, operating 37 listening posts “and dozens of tactical radio intelligence units around the world.”40 However, postwar demobilization led to the dismantling and downsizing of U.S. SIGINT capabilities, with the Army and Navy units losing 80 percent of their personnel.41 This diminishing capability compelled the United States to seek assistance from its key wartime intelligence ally.

Although Britain was one of the victorious allies, the economic costs of the war took a heavy toll. The British economy lost considerable wealth and struggled to stay solvent, forcing the government to adopt harsh austerity measures. Compared to other areas of Britain's defense establishment, intelligence agencies were less adversely affected by postwar austerity. Nonetheless, the increasingly expensive nature of the technology underpinning the SIGINT work of the UK military and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, known prior to 1946 as the Government Code and Cypher School, GC&CS) resulted in rising costs that could not be sufficiently covered by the budget.42 This left Britain also looking for international partners to help share the intelligence burden.

Britain still possessed a vastly experienced and impressive SIGINT apparatus rivaled only by that of the United States. In the early postwar years the United States lagged behind Britain in many cryptanalytic areas, held GC&CS and general British COMINT (communications intelligence) organizational capabilities in extremely high regard, and readily accepted tutelage from its wartime ally.43 However, among the resources Britain could provide to the United States following the latter's significant improvements to its quantitative and qualitative SIGINT in the early 1950s, one of the more valuable was territory—not only its own but also the array of colonies, dominions, protectorates, mandates, and other lands that constituted a “residual empire” upon which could be established military bases and other appropriate sites for the technical collection of intelligence.44 Comprising about one-quarter of the earth's land surface by the outbreak of war, the British Empire soon began a process of contraction through decolonization. However, a policy of peaceful disengagement allowed the British to maintain healthy relationships with most former colonies and protectorates, which reorganized into a voluntary association known as the Commonwealth of Nations. The territory constituting this global empire was especially important in the absence of space and advanced airborne collection systems in the first years of the Cold War, which required the United States to build a network of global partners to aid in the interception of Soviet communications.45 The development of satellites and long-range reconnaissance aircraft did not obviate the necessity of ground-based installations, which were still superior “for certain types of SIGINT collection.”46 Pooling resources bolstered the expanding alliance's capacity to see through the Iron Curtain.

From BRUSA to UKUSA: Balancing and Bilateralism

The need to join forces facilitated by fiscal austerity and the threat posed by the Soviet Union led to a flurry of diplomatic activity to establish the modalities of collaboration. It is unclear which side made the initial offer to extend the wartime alliance.47 Nevertheless, during the closing stages of the Pacific War, both sides agreed on nearly complete cooperation in SIGINT production. The agreement and the overall power imbalance did not mean, however, that Britain would easily accept a subordinate position within the emerging anti-Soviet SIGINT architecture. Britain looked to key constituents of its “residual empire” in a bid to diminish any subservience ahead of difficult negotiations with the United States, calling these affiliates to a Commonwealth SIGINT conference in London from 22 February to 8 March 1946. As Aldrich explains, the aim of the forum was to pool resources and “create a critical mass” that could equalize or offset the imbalance in capabilities favoring the United States.48

Britain's objective was achieved somewhat when the participants agreed at the London conference to establish a Commonwealth SIGINT Organisation (CSO) that comprised the constituent specialist intelligence agencies from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Britain. The British envisioned that this arrangement might be supplemented by the establishment of a Commonwealth-wide architecture composed of Joint Intelligence Bureaus (JIB) in which London would serve as a “hub” connecting JIB “spokes” in each member state.49 The geographic division of labor was based on “potential for maximum intercept coverage,” with the British zone of responsibility covering Africa and Europe east of the Ural Mountains.50 Australia's agreed contribution to the CSO's global intercept network included “65 operating teams, totalling 417 personnel,” which “would be shared equally between the services.”51 Australia would have operational responsibilities for intercept activities over “Ceylon, Malaya, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia and all areas within this perimeter.”52 Canada would assist the CSO through the provision of 100 intercept stations, with 35 on its east coast and 65 on the west.53 These stations would target communications from the Soviet Union's polar regions, northern Europe, East Asia, and parts of Latin America.54 New Zealand's early contribution was the establishment of an intercept and direction-finding (D/F) station under Australian authority, which would focus on the South Pacific and Southeast Asia.55 The D/F function was also part of an agreed Commonwealth global network that would connect stations in Britain, Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, India, Ceylon, the Coco Islands, Hong Kong, Fiji, Canada, Bermuda, and Sierra Leone.56

British intelligence officials were pursuing international negotiations along two tracks. While negotiating multilaterally at the Commonwealth SIGINT conference, the British were also engaged in bilateral talks with the United States that would result in a landmark accord. Signed on 5 March 1946 by Colonel Patrick Marr-Johnson of the British Army General Staff on behalf of the London Signals Intelligence Board (LSIB) and Lieutenant General Hoyt Vandenberg for the U.S. State-Army-Navy Communication Intelligence Board (STANCIB) after six months of tense negotiations, the British-U.S. Communication Intelligence Agreement (BRUSA) formalized the postwar SIGINT alliance between the two countries.57 The seven-page document consists of twelve articles, calling inter alia for the “unrestricted” exchange of intelligence products in six areas: (1) collection of traffic; (2) acquisition of communication documents and equipment; (3) traffic analysis; (4) cryptanalysis; (5) decryption and translation; and (6) acquisition of information regarding communication organizations, practices, procedures, and equipment.58 The absence of restrictions is conditional upon the exchanges not being prejudicial to the “national interest” and the withholding of information when “special interests so require.”59 By specifying these qualifications in otherwise unconditional intelligence exchanges, the 1946 BRUSA Agreement is in line with realist predictions.

The agreement is also notable for its anomalous treatment of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. These states were not signatories to what was a bilateral Anglo-American accord. Referenced as “Dominions” that enjoyed greater autonomy, they were therefore not parties to the agreement but were also not regarded as third parties. Canada, whose participation in the nascent SIGINT grouping was deemed especially crucial, was also treated differently from the other dominions.60 According to Article Six, any arrangements STANCIB made with the other dominions required LSIB approval, but proposed collaboration between Canada and STANCIB required the United States to obtain only “the views” of its British counterpart. This provision reflected U.S. recognition of Canada's relatively greater strategic position in relation to the main Soviet threat and was seen by Ottawa as evidence that it might be possible to reshape its wartime intelligence links with the aim of “assert[ing] an independent … role and avoid[ing] being subsumed into a Commonwealth apparatus led from London” like its dominion counterparts.61 In a reflection of Canada's distinctive position compared to the other dominions, the Canadian government concluded a bilateral signals intelligence sharing agreement with the United States in 1949 called CANUSA, which bolstered Ottawa's independent SIGINT status.62

The 1946 BRUSA Agreement did not represent the endpoint of early postwar SIGINT alliance formation among the wartime partners. British and U.S. officials engaged in further negotiations over the next two years to finalize technical details and offer clarifications for cryptologic cooperation, adding these “as appendices to the core BRUSA Agreement.”63 The agreement was extended and amended in the following years to include first Canada in 1948 and then Australia and New Zealand in 1956 in a process entailing a “package of agreements, letters and memoranda of understanding” that would collectively become known as the UKUSA Agreement.64 This protracted process represented the alliance's transition from the “two eyes” to the “five eyes.”

Realism and the Five Eyes: Explanatory Strengths and Limitations

Realism is consistent with many aspects of early Five Eyes SIGINT cooperation. The alliance grew out of Anglo-American wartime collaboration that was a response to the threat of German and Japanese aggression in Europe and Asia. Significant as this threat was in bringing Britain and the United States together, it was insufficient to eradicate the distrust between the two countries. They were keenly sensitive to intrusions into their respective spheres of influence and, in the case of the British, reluctant to share prized intelligence secrets, which were perceived to be a valuable source of leverage over a powerful ally. If Britain began the war as the dominant intelligence power, the United States rose to preeminence by bringing to bear its substantially greater technoeconomic resources. The British initially sought to offset this power imbalance by pooling resources with leading affiliates as part of a Commonwealth-wide endeavor. An especially important resource Britain possessed was an (albeit contracting) empire comprising strategically located territories that were sites for facilities to intercept Soviet-bloc communications. However, the United States had clearly emerged as the hegemonic anti-Soviet force during the early Cold War years, and this global resource was subsumed into a Washington-dominated multilateral SIGINT alliance in which London was increasingly forced to accept junior-partner status.

Britain's subordination to the United States from the early 1950s was evident in its formal designation within the UKUSA framework. The Five Eyes is an asymmetrical alliance in which the United States was and remains primus inter pares. The United States was formally designated the sole “first party,” whereas Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand were “second parties” to the agreement. The dominant U.S. status was underpinned by increasingly superior SIGINT collection and military capabilities.65 The SIGINT gap between the United States and its allies grew continually during the Cold War—to the extent that, by the 1980s U.S. security and intelligence agencies were estimated to account for “90 percent of the total budgets and personnel of all the UKUSA agencies.”66 Given the resource dominance of the United States, U.S. intelligence agencies were responsible for the largest SIGINT collection zone, which covered the Caribbean, China, the Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Africa.

The United States has used its vast intelligence power to shape its alliance partners’ security standards, screening criteria, and counterintelligence requirements in a manner more consistent with its own prerogatives.67 Failure to adhere to the dominant power's standards resulted in the loss of access to Washington's vast intelligence resources. The U.S. government has not been hesitant to use this access as a stick to punish its Five Eyes allies when they adopt policies perceived to be inimical to U.S. interests. The United States has occasionally employed such intelligence “cutoffs” to protest against, for instance, the British government's pro-European polices in the early 1970s, New Zealand's refusal to allow nuclear-capable warships to dock in its ports since the mid-1980s, and Canada's reluctance to send naval vessels to the Gulf in 1990.68

Britain, with its long pedigree and pretensions, was not an equal of the other “second parties” and exerted considerable influence over the dominions during the early Cold War years. British intelligence agencies are believed to have accounted for 8 percent, whereas the three smaller powers together contributed only about 2 percent of the Five Eyes’ material resources by the 1980s.69 Below the Five Eyes’ first and second tiers are the “third parties” that are connected to the UKUSA Agreement through formal, bilateral arrangements negotiated between the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and their national SIGINT agencies in the 1950s and 1960s. The “third parties” cooperate with the Five Eyes in two main groups: (1) the Nine Eyes, which comprises the Five Eyes plus Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway; and (2) the Fourteen Eyes, formally known as the SIGINT Seniors Europe and consisting of the Nine Eyes plus the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.70

The “second parties” possess greater rights than their third-tier counterparts. U.S., UK, Australian, and New Zealand citizens are generally exempt from intelligence targeting, unless approved by the host country government. No such restriction exists for the Four Eyes’ “third party” peers. Moreover, although the “second parties” are able to engage in “essentially unqualified” intelligence exchanges with the “first party,” the “third parties” have a “looser, more limited association.”71 The asymmetry between the United States and the “third parties” is especially sharp. A former NSA analyst noted in the early 1970s: “The Third Party Countries receive absolutely no material from us, while we get anything they have, although generally it's of pretty low quality… . As it works out, the treaty is a one-way street.”72

In sum, realism helps explain key features of Five Eyes SIGINT cooperation. However, it also leaves important questions related to alliance formation unanswered. For instance, Britain was eager to use its Commonwealth affiliates to balance against the United States. However, why did it choose to cooperate with Australia, Canada, and New Zealand when enlisting the support of other Commonwealth members, some of whom also occupied geostrategically important locations for the interception of Soviet-bloc communications, would have enhanced Britain's bargaining power against its main wartime ally? Wartime familiarity is sometimes offered, at least implicitly, as an explanation for the composition of the Five Eyes.73 The common experience of fighting an enemy that waged wars of aggression and perpetrated widespread atrocities in occupied territories, undertaking mass murder and genocide, undeniably helped to galvanize and unite the Allied powers and provided a shared platform for future military and intelligence cooperation. However, Five Eyes members were not the only countries to rally together against the expansionist threat in Europe and Asia and the newer menace of Soviet Communism. An extension of the “wartime familiarity” argument is that Australia, Canada, and New Zealand proved themselves to be dependable allies during World War II and were therefore included in a SIGINT grouping that was essentially a continuation of the wartime alliance.74 Although this argument has merit, perceptions of dependability are not immutable. Significant security concerns in one membership aspirant during the early postwar years substantially tarnished its reliability in the eyes of the larger powers, and yet this issue did not prevent the country from ultimately joining the inner circle of the UKUSA Agreement. The following discussion looks to an identity perspective in international relations as a supplement to help explain why the Five Eyes comprises its current membership.

In contrast to realism, a constructivist perspective emphasizing identity might ostensibly seem to offer fewer insights into the origins of the Five Eyes. Indeed, one scholar boldly declares that constructivism, an influential approach that argues identities are shared and can be constructed only through repetitive social interactions, “has hitherto been unable to present anything that would benefit Intelligence Studies.”75 This criticism is misdirected in this particular instance. Commentary on the Five Eyes frequently highlights the member-states’ shared culture, history, and values.76 These ideational variables help bind the members together into a community of actors engaged in the repetition of culture, discourse, language, and ritual through which identities are socially constructed.77 In the early postwar years, the milieu against which states interacted was defined by a hierarchy of ideas about civilization, culture, and race.78 The community in which the Five Eyes member-states was situated was the Anglosphere.

Inside the Anglosphere: The “Special Relationship,” “Old Dominions,” and “New Commonwealth”

On 5 March 1946, the same day Anglo-American intelligence officials signed the BRUSA Agreement, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered one of the most significant speeches of the Cold War in Fulton, Missouri. Churchill's address, formally titled “Sinews of Peace” but later dubbed the “Iron Curtain” speech, was replete with realist-inspired language.79 The British elder statesman began by praising his U.S. hosts for standing “at the pinnacle of world power.” He warned against the Soviet Union's expansionist policies, which were creating an “iron curtain” across Central and Eastern Europe, and also spoke of “communist fifth columns” operating throughout the southern and western parts of the continent. Churchill emphasized the Soviet Union's obsession with power and denigration of military weakness. Despite noting the importance of the recently established United Nations (UN) in preventing war—a nod to liberalism—Churchill recommended a realist prescription, an international armed force of “sheriffs and constables,” to bolster the UN's capabilities. In addition to preventing war and organizing and policing the postwar order, Churchill declared that the UN also required “the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples” manifested as “a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States.”80

Churchill's speech tapped into a body of thought that had risen in prominence since the mid-nineteenth century and was known as Anglo-Saxonism, a “racialized identity discourse that held Britain and the United States were ‘kinsmen’ with common interests, customs and values.”81 As Churchill hinted, Anglo-Saxonism extended beyond the United States and Britain to incorporate the Anglophone peoples and societies of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. These five countries together constituted an Anglosphere, understood as

an extensive but ill-defined Anglophonic community bounded by a shared language and associated forms of literature, culture, sport, media and familial ties, as well as the mutual commemoration of past and present military conflicts, and ascription to a “civilisational” heritage founded on the values, beliefs and practices of free-market economics and liberal democracy.82

In what clearly contradicted common understandings of liberal politics that emphasize equality, the identity discourse underpinning this Anglophonic “lifeworld,” to borrow from Risse, was an “implied natural unity and moral superiority of” its constituent members, who sat atop a racial hierarchy consisting of a predominately core, “white Self” and a “peripheral and overwhelmingly non-white Other.”83

Anglo-Saxonism is argued to have contributed to the improvement in Anglo-American diplomatic relations into the early twentieth century, helping to overcome negative U.S. perceptions of Britain after the American Revolution and subsequently paving the way for cooperation that would lead to the establishment of a bilateral “special relationship” proclaimed by its supporters to be uniquely deep and close.84 However, common values and the exceptional relationship they were purported to underpin did not translate into fully unrestricted intelligence exchanges, especially during the early war years when Britain sought to preserve its SIGINT advantages. As Britain struggled enormously amid harsh postwar austerity, the overall power imbalance between the two tilted more strongly in favor of the United States, which led to divergent understandings of the importance of the special relationship. Prime Minister Clement Attlee of the Labour Party was not as inclined as Churchill to make overt appeals to English-speaking solidarity, but Atlee and his successors recognized the importance of the Anglo-American “special relationship” for achieving key foreign and security policy objectives, including deterring Soviet aggression and maintaining a pretense of preeminence in the face of declining global status.85 The U.S. government was cognizant of Britain's desire to use the United States as a fulcrum to enhance its international fortunes. Although U.S. officials perceived the UK to be a valuable Cold War ally, they gave less weight than the British to the bilateral relationship.86 This is not to say that mutual bonhomie was lacking. Indeed, a significant feature of the early Cold War intelligence alliance was the cultural bonding between socially and ethnically conscious Oxbridge and Ivy League elites.87 However, Britain, in particular, also found instrumental value in the “special relationship” identity.

Anglo-Saxonism was a more prominent ideational variable shaping Britain's relationships with its imperial subjects. Not all the territories constituting the British Empire were equal. Although all were British dominions, only six had become “Dominions” by the early twentieth century: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, and the Irish Free State. These select polities enjoyed more than the grammatical distinction of being referred to with an uppercase “D”; the 1926 Balfour Declaration recognized these “Dominions” as “autonomous communities within the British Empire,” giving them political equality with Great Britain, a status that became a legal reality with the passage of the 1931 Statute of Westminster. This community of Dominions was united in allegiance to the Crown, with the entities officially constituting the British Commonwealth of Nations. Amid the gradual postwar dismantling of the empire, several former colonies also became members of this community, which after the 1949 London Declaration was formally called the “Commonwealth,” omitting the word “British.”

The British government continued to distinguish between its former colonies during this transition. The reformed and retitled Commonwealth was perceived to comprise, on the one hand, the older “kith and kin,” former “large D” Dominions that were “real,” “original,” and “white”; and, on the other hand, the newer Asian members that were specified by oppositional adjectives.88 British leaders enjoyed especially amiable relations with their counterparts from the “old” Commonwealth who were loyal subjects.89

This racialized distinction was evident in the UK's intelligence relations with its Commonwealth partners. For instance, even though India and Pakistan technically qualified to receive sensitive “Category A” classified intelligence as British Commonwealth Dominions (after independence and partition in 1947), they were treated as “Category B” non-Commonwealth members.90 Both remained at the bottom of the security classification hierarchy as “Category C” states, even after MI5’s revision of the grading system for intelligence in 1949.91 London's variable treatment of its Commonwealth partners was also evidenced in its provision of cypher equipment, vital for securing communications. Australia was provided with a new cypher machine, whereas India received only an older, less secure model.92 The formal justification for this inequitable treatment was the “practically non-existent” security standards in India and Pakistan.93 In a clear reflection of the discriminatory attitudes of the time, these poor standards were attributed to the “oriental mind,” which acted as a barrier to these “new” Commonwealth members ever reaching the levels of security consciousness of their British counterparts.94

Not only the subcontinent suffered from lax security during the early Cold War years; insecurity was a problem faced by many democracies, including the incipient Five Eyes, as Soviet-bloc spies undertook extensive efforts to infiltrate key state and social institutions. Initial concerns centered on Canada when a cipher clerk at the Soviet embassy, Igor Gouzenko, defected to Ottawa in September 1945, just days after the end of the Second World War, with a trove of documents on the Soviet Union's espionage activities in the West. The Canadian government hurriedly convened a Royal Commission early the following year and, after establishing an internal panel and making arrests of those named in the Gouzenko affair, appeared to restore U.S. and British confidence in Canada's security arrangements.95 Ottawa's decisiveness in dealing with the crisis helped reaffirm its anti-Communist credentials.

Laborite Australia: The Perceived Pro-Kremlin Security Weak Link

Australia was a different story. The U.S. Army's Signal Intelligence Service, the precursor to the NSA, began a top-secret program targeting the USSR, its wartime ally, in February 1943. Later codenamed Venona, U.S. SIGINT agencies collected and decoded Soviet diplomatic cables passing between Moscow and its various embassies in the 1940s. The United States, with the assistance of Britain, began to decrypt some of these messages in 1946, and the program continued until it was formally terminated in 1980. The Venona messages pertaining to Australia were unique in that some were decrypted in “near real-time.”96 The decrypts revealed that Soviet spies had penetrated the upper echelons of the Australian government, including the Department of External Affairs, which extended to the offices of Minister Herbert Evatt and Secretary John Burton.97 Soviet intelligence had used its assets in Australia, considered an Achilles’ heel in the wartime allies’ intelligence sharing network, to obtain copies of classified British defense documents.98 The U.S. government—its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Navy, in particular—had expressed reservations about Australian security since early 1947, and these concerns continued to mount. As a result, the United States gradually tightened its release of classified information to Canberra before deciding in mid-1948 to cease cooperation until further notice.99

The U.S. intelligence embargo was the direct result of poor security in Australia. However, Washington's perceptions of Australian security were also shaped by political identification. Australia and the United States shared many commonalities across the three constitutive elements of identity: culture, economics, and politics. Culturally, they had a common racial origin and shared linguistic, religious, and cultural values. Despite exhibiting slightly different preferences regarding the role of the state in the market and the nature of the social contract, they were capitalist economies. Politically, they were democracies underpinned by liberal norms. Institutionally, the United States differed by having a presidential system in contrast to the parliamentary systems found in Australia, Canada, Britain, and New Zealand. However, a far more significant political issue for the United States was its perception of the Australian government's ideological leanings in the mid-to-late 1940s, which resulted in an assessment of Australia as a poor security risk. This divergence in political norms prevented Australia from being fully welcomed into the incipient postwar allied intelligence community.

Australia was under Labor Party rule and had been since the advent of the John Curtin government in late 1941. Curtin had forged close military ties with the United States since the early months of the Pacific War, and he enjoyed a strong working relationship with the Allied Supreme Commander in the Southwest Pacific Area, General Douglas MacArthur. After defeating a caretaker leader in a leadership ballot following Curtin's death in office in 1945, Ben Chifley became prime minister, serving until December 1949. According to a study of his foreign policy achievements, Chifley was anti-Communist but diverged from prevailing political attitudes in London and Washington about the proximate cause for the early postwar push for independence in Asia, believing these movements were driven more by nationalist aspirations than by Communism.100 The United States, nevertheless, saw the Chifley administration as “a leftist government greatly influenced by communistic infiltrated labor organizations” that was the product of “political immaturity” and made Australia “a poor security risk.”101 Chifley himself believed U.S. officials were biased against Australian security to the point that they had “psychological problems” that were “extremely difficult to overcome.”102 U.S. officials, who believed Australia's security problems were unresolvable as long as the “pro-communist” Labor Party was in power, hoped the party would be replaced at the next elections.103

Similar fears in Washington and London also influenced policies toward France and India, two countries whose material power resources ostensibly might have earned them passage to the inner circle of Anglo-American-led intelligence cooperation. In the early postwar years both governments were believed to have been penetrated by Communists and were considered poor security risks. In the case of India, Western perceptions that the Nehru government, at the very least, had a benign view of Communism compounded the orientalist thinking of Anglo-American security practices.104 There is no evidence to suggest that France and India were ever invited to participate in the emerging postwar SIGINT architecture. France's and India's autonomous foreign policy orientations might have prevented their acceptance of such an invitation, had it been forthcoming. This autonomy drive, however, did not preclude the establishment of SIGINT relationships, as both countries, as well as Pakistan, engaged in more focused, bilateral intelligence cooperation with the United States.105

U.S. concerns about these matters can be understood only by looking at the historical context. The late 1940s was the beginning of a period in the United States of deep anxiety about Communist subversion. Lasting through the 1950s, this period of extreme paranoia was characterized by intensified political repression and a campaign, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, with whom it became synonymous, that escalated fears of Soviet espionage and Communist influence on U.S. institutions. The high-profile case of Alger Hiss, a senior State Department official who was accused of spying for the Soviet Union and was ultimately convicted of perjury, had a far-reaching impact on public and elite opinion. Hiss was widely, and controversially, considered the tip of the Communist espionage iceberg, with the Venona decrypts later revealing that 349 Americans maintained clandestine relations with Soviet intelligence.106 The Soviet Union's installation of puppet regimes in areas it occupied across Central and Eastern Europe, its nuclear bomb test in August 1949, which took many observers by surprise, and the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War—dubbed “the loss of China”—were international developments that combined with threats of espionage and government penetration to heighten U.S. fears that Communism was in the ascendency. At the heart of these fears was the understanding that Communism was the antithesis of the core ideological pillars of the United States: capitalism, democracy, and Christianity. The U.S. government thus had to be cautious about sharing secrets with a government with perceived pro-Kremlin proclivities, even a purported ally.

The ramifications of the U.S. decision to stop sharing classified intelligence with Australia were felt beyond this bilateral relationship. As Aldrich notes, Australian intelligence leaks also served to undermine U.S. confidence in Great Britain. U.S. officials feared that material they shared with London would subsequently find its way to the Kremlin by way of Canberra. Britain was concerned that this could result in the curtailment of U.S. intelligence and technical cooperation.107 Britain's response was to undertake an effort to socialize political leaders in Australia in order to encourage Canberra to pursue more stringent security policies.

Examining broadly how hegemonic states assert control over smaller polities in the international system, John Ikenberry and Charles Kupchan focus attention on non-material processes of socialization by which secondary state elites accept and internalize norms the hegemon articulates, which facilitate their adoption of policies consistent with the dominant power's beliefs about the international order.108 With the UK's national power sapped by two world wars and the contraction of the British empire, London's hegemonic days were a distant memory. However, Britain, despite its declining power, still had the world's third-largest economy in the early postwar years, possessed impressive military and, especially, intelligence resources, and was firmly allied with the world's newest hegemon in the global struggle against Communism. Moreover, Britain continued to hold substantial ideational sway over many of its dominions, old and new. Socialization, therefore, captures important aspects of the intelligence relationship between London and Canberra in the late 1940s.

Ikenberry and Kupchan identify three mechanisms through which socialization occurs: (1) norm persuasion; (2) external inducement; and (3) internal reconstruction. Normative persuasion occurs when the hegemon relies on ideological persuasion and transactional learning to secure the compliance of secondary states. External inducement is a coercive approach that entails offers of economic and military incentives to persuade smaller states to change their policies. Internal reconstruction occurs when the hegemon intervenes directly in the secondary state and transforms its political institutions.109 With some minor variations, the British used these mechanisms in an effort to socialize Australia into enhancing its secrecy protection regime.

Concerns about Australian security were the primary motivation for the British to undertake an exercise in multilateral norm persuasion in the form of a Commonwealth Security Conference that was held in London in October 1948.110 British officials hoped the development of uniform counterintelligence practices would help thwart the threat of Communist subversion and expansion.111 Representatives from the security agencies of Australia, Canada—which, despite its drive for SIGINT independence, continued to maintain an “anglophilic” orientation—New Zealand, South Africa, and Southern Rhodesia were invited to attend.112 The newly independent governments of India, Pakistan, and Ceylon were snubbed.113 The early exclusion of the three South Asian governments facilitated the reproduction of a socially constructed identity for the CSO as an exclusive Anglo-Saxon intelligence-sharing arrangement. The three “new Commonwealth” members were invited to the conference that followed in 1951, by which time the British believed they had to inculcate a common intelligence culture across their former empire.114

Recognizing that intelligence community reform would greatly assist in Australia's internalization of more robust security norms, the British government had begun pressuring Canberra to establish a new counterespionage organization in early 1948. The existing body responsible for this function, the Commonwealth Investigation Service (CIS), which was created in November 1945 out of a merger of the Commonwealth Investigations Branch and the wartime security service, was deemed incapable of being reformed.115 A team of senior MI5 officials led by Director-General Sir Percy Sillitoe and including the head of the counterintelligence section focusing on the Soviet Union, Roger Hollis (a future director-general), traveled to Australia in February to investigate the leaks and make the case for a new security organization. After a month, Sillitoe returned to Britain, from where he continued to monitor developments in Australia. The visit was the first of three Hollis made to Australia over the following twelve months in an effort to convince a somewhat reluctant Chifley of the necessity of establishing an MI5-type organization. After being briefed on Venona and recognizing the damage inflicted on Australia by the U.S. intelligence embargo, Chifley agreed to a new counterintelligence organization in September 1948.116 The unnamed organization was inaugurated in March the following year with a staff of fifteen under the leadership of a respected judge, Sir Geoffrey Reed, and five months later was formally named the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Beyond extensive lobbying—an activity in which the United States also engaged—the British contribution to Australia's counterintelligence institution-building was multifaceted. Hollis and the MI5 liaison officer to CIS, Robert Hemblys-Scales, provided advice on the new organization's charter, responsibilities, structure, and appointments.117 ASIO's charter mirrored MI5’s own directive, and its structure, also similar to that of its British counterpart, was based on three core activities: B1 (Counter-Subversion), B2 (Counter-Espionage), and C (Protective Security).118 The British also helped interview potential staff whom Australian officials had identified as suitable and even provided input into the location of the new organization's headquarters away from Canberra, where ASIO would have been too conspicuous.119 ASIO's planners ultimately decided the headquarters should be based in Sydney, where the organization's main target, the Australian Communist Party, was concentrated and also where the CIS's relevant files were located.120 In a departure from the British model, owing to Australia's larger geographic area, ASIO was organized on a regional basis, with three directors, one each based in Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney.121

Britain played a similar role in the establishment of Australia's key SIGINT and foreign HUMINT organizations, the Defence Signals Bureau (DSB) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service respectively. When the DSB was established in April 1947, it exhibited an unusual characteristic for a sovereign state: it was headed by a British officer, Lt. Commander Teddy Poulden. Although four Australian candidates stood for the position, Australian leaders agreed, despite some local misgivings, to the UK's demands that a British officer lead the new organization. This was a precondition for Britain to share the product of its intercepts with Australia.122 Australian authorities accepted Poulden's appointment in the belief not only that it would ensure the best possible access to British intelligence but also that an Australian would ultimately assume the directorship.123 Poulden, who brought with him a twenty-person team of British SIGINT officers to work in the DSB, had received his own personal ciphers from GCHQ to communicate with its director-general, Sir Edward Travis.124 The DSB's unusual leadership arrangement was discontinued in April 1950 when Ralph Thompson succeeded Poulden as director, a post he held for nearly three decades. By this time, the DSB had been renamed the Defence Signals Branch (in 1949), the first of four name changes for the country's premier signals intelligence agency.125

Ikenberry and Kupchan argue that socialization occurs primarily after wars and political crises.126 The British campaign to socialize Australia, as well as other members of the Commonwealth, into upgrading their security practices began in the aftermath of the Second World War and intensified as a new conflict, the Cold War, was taking shape. Australia, in particular, faced a political and security crisis as it was slowly excluded from the nascent Anglo-Saxon intelligence-sharing network—a form of external inducement—as a result of leaks arising from Soviet espionage. In addition to taking place in a post-conflict milieu, internal reconstruction occurs only when the hegemon occupies a defeated secondary state and assumes responsibility for its reconstruction or when the imperial power colonizes a peripheral state.127 Australia was neither a defeated state under occupation nor a formal colony. However, in this case of internal “reconstruction light,” an otherwise loyal former colony ultimately agreed in the face of persistent lobbying to subvert its own sovereignty and accept the symbolic imperial center's tutelage and oversight in the reorganization of its intelligence apparatus to ameliorate material and identity-based concerns about poor security, enabling Australia to take its place in the nascent postwar Anglo-Saxon SIGINT community.

Although the formation of ASIO was a positive step in bolstering Australia's counterintelligence capabilities, the United States remained skeptical of the security risk in Canberra.128 A political development in Australia at the end of 1949 helped alleviate U.S. concerns. After eight years of Labor rule, a conservative Liberal–Country Party coalition won the federal election in December 1949 and returned its leader, Robert Menzies, as prime minister. Menzies was fiercely anti-Communist and in his previous government (1939–1941) had banned the Communist Party and imprisoned its officials only to see Attorney General Evatt of the new Labor government reverse this policy.129 Upon reelection, Menzies again sought to ban the Communist Party, but this was overturned by the High Court. Undeterred, Menzies conducted a national referendum on the party's legality, but this was also defeated. Despite these setbacks, his second period as prime minister lasted for a record sixteen years, and Menzies earned a reputation as a populist, anti-Communist Cold War leader.130 He responded to the Communist threat abroad by sending troops to the Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation, and Vietnam War. Australian military involvement in these conflicts was coordinated closely with traditional allies Britain and the United States, with whom Menzies sought to maintain strong ties. With the significant diminishment of British power, Menzies began increasingly to look to the United States for security, concluding the trilateral Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) Treaty in San Francisco in September 1951. The ANZUS Treaty was one of several regional defense pacts the United States signed in the early Cold War years to combat the Communist threat. The decline of British power, however, did not curb Menzies's admiration for Britain. He readily declared himself to be “British to the bootstraps.”

With improved security measures and a new conservative government in power, by early 1950 the United States began easing its restrictions on the sharing of classified information with Australia.131 Colonel Charles Spry was appointed as ASIO director-general in July and emerged as a key figure in the Menzies government's anti-Communist campaign.132 Among the early changes Spry implemented was a reorganization of ASIO, the transfer of the organization's headquarters to Melbourne, and, more important, improvements to its professionalism and operational practices.133 However, ASIO's crowning glory was its role in the defection of Soviet diplomat and spy Vladimir Petrov in April 1954. The defection of Petrov, the most senior Soviet intelligence officer to abscond to the West in over fifteen years, and the subsequent royal commission “brought ASIO worldwide respect and status, especially within the international Allied counter-intelligence community.”134 In a sign of ASIO's heightened international standing, Spry briefed participants on the Petrov affair at the July 1955 Commonwealth Security Conference in London and met with senior U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and CIA officials in the United States as part of his overseas tour.135 CIA Director Allen Dulles came to hold Spry in high personal regard as a result of their meeting, which thereafter facilitated the development of substantive relations between the two spy organizations.136

Both countries’ SIGINT organizations also sought to develop closer relations after the lifting of the U.S. intelligence embargo in 1952. In March 1953, Australia was included as a COMINT “collaborating nation” in wartime planning, joining the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and New Zealand. Among the agreement's provisions in the event of hostilities, the United States would coordinate Pacific-area activities with Australia to avoid interception and processing duplication and also dispatch a working party to participate “in the operations of the Center in Australia” that would “serve as the cadre for any further augmentation” of the DSB's activities.137 NSA officials met with their DSB counterparts under the auspices of a COMINT conference in Melbourne in September 1953 to consider a second party exchange program. A U.S. liaison officer was assigned to the DSB in 1954, which was reciprocated the following year.138 The gradual thaw in relations between the Australian and U.S. intelligence communities paved the way for Australia to join what by now was called the UKUSA Agreement in May 1956 when Minister for Defence Philip McBride formally endorsed the relevant revisions of the appendices, as agreed upon at the Melbourne COMINT meeting.139

Australia's formal admission into the UKUSA Agreement solidified its place within the postwar anti-Communist camp following the conclusion of the ANZUS Treaty. In addition to securing protection from the United States against the possibility of a resurgent Japan and the spread of Communism regionally to compensate for Britain's inability to meet its defense obligations, the Australian government also believed the ANZUS Treaty would help it gain access to information on U.S. global strategic planning.140 The Australians must have hoped that UKUSA membership would further contribute to achieving this latter objective in particular. If ANZUS provided Australia with a means “to rebalance its traditional ties with Britain by fostering a closer strategic relationship with the United States,” UKUSA membership would require no significant reorientation for the simple reason that both major intelligence allies were the driving forces behind this SIGINT grouping.141 Indeed, the September 1953 conference that established the foundations for Australia's full participation in this SIGINT partnership was a tripartite gathering where British and U.S. authorities gave approval for the revised appendices to which Canberra subscribed.142

Like Australia, New Zealand sought protection under the U.S. security umbrella but was far more cautious than its otherwise pro-British, trans-Tasman neighbor about committing to the “republican cousins” for fear of jeopardizing traditional ties with the “imperial mother.”143 The New Zealand government in the early postwar years did not consider a separate SIGINT organization to be necessary, believing the country should be incorporated into the Australian structures.144 New Zealand did establish a small SIGINT intercept facility known as NR1 (Navy Receiver 1) in 1948, but it served under the DSB's direction, with a contingent of SIGINT officers regularly posted to the Australian organization.145 New Zealand was essentially “a SIGINT adjunct to Australia.”146 Having undertaken a vigorous purge of suspected Communist sympathizers in the public service and begun moving toward the creation of a specialized counterespionage agency, also under British tutelage, New Zealand joined the UKUSA at the same time that Australia did.147 Thus was born the quintuple Anglophone intelligence-sharing grouping that came to be known globally as the Five Eyes and whose inner-circle membership has remained constant to this day.

With a temporal focus on the first decade of the Cold War, this article has examined the origins of the Five Eyes, addressing in particular why its membership is limited to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Drawing initially on realist bargaining theory, it has explored how these five countries pooled important material resources, primarily in the form of territory for the deployment of a global network of SIGINT facilities, to counter the Cold War Soviet threat. This was a contentious process of alliance-building as Britain, suffering under economic austerity, sought to bind key constituents of its crumbling empire into a grouping that would both help to offset the imbalance in capabilities that favored the United States and enhance UK influence and prestige in the emerging anti-Soviet SIGINT architecture. Although realism is able to explain other important features of the Five Eyes, it leaves key issues unanswered, especially those relating to the character and optimal number of partners for alliance formation.

The article adopted an analytically eclectic approach by supplementing a realist account of the origins of the Five Eyes with a constructivist identity perspective. Focusing on Anglo-Saxonism, which entailed a hierarchical understanding of civilization, culture, and race, the article showed that, if an understanding of identity grounded in culture suggests a natural process of international intelligence community building, it was not the case that the formation of the Five Eyes was preordained. Anglo-Saxonism was a necessary condition, but it was insufficient. Aspiring Anglophone members not only had to provide geostrategically valuable sites for SIGINT collection activities but also had to be identified politically as anti-Communist, and therefore acceptably trustworthy, by the United States to participate in substantive intelligence-sharing arrangements and become full members of the exclusive Five Eyes community. The British government, fearful of the negative implications for its own continued access to U.S. secrets, upgraded security practices and institutions by socializing a loyal former colony perceived to be politically suspect.

Since the inclusion of Australia and New Zealand in 1956, the membership of this Anglophone intelligence community has remained remarkably stable. This is not to say that a generally common Anglo-Saxon culture, adherence to liberal-democratic values, and often- compatible national interests have precluded tensions among the Five Eyes. The dominant United States has periodically used intelligence “cutoffs” as a stick to pressure its allies into adopting policies that are more aligned with U.S. interests. The U.S. government's veiled threat to Britain during the Huawei controversy is the most recent example of this dynamic. Arguably the greatest challenge to the Five Eyes’ cohesion was New Zealand's refusal in the mid-1980s to allow nuclear-capable warships to dock in its ports. An indignant United States responded by effectively suspending New Zealand from the trilateral ANZUS alliance. However, intelligence cooperation with New Zealand continued unscathed, and the issue of expelling the country from the Five Eyes was never seriously considered during this tense period in bilateral relations.

Factors shaping the power-identity binary that underpinned the Five Eyes, so prominent during the intelligence grouping's formative years, have diminished over the decades. The development of satellites and long-range reconnaissance aircraft curbed the value of allies’ contributions of territory for the siting of SIGINT infrastructure, although not comprehensively given the continued importance of ground-based installations for certain collection activities. Demographic changes among the Five Eyes members have been more significant. During the first decade of the Cold War, when the Five Eyes was established and consolidated, the demographic profile of the member states was overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon. The share of Caucasian, native English speakers who identified closely with Britain among the political and military elites was even more pronounced. However, waves of immigration from outside the Anglosphere since the 1960s have altered member-states’ demographic composition, with the subsequent gradual embrace of multiculturalism helping to diminish the hitherto shared sentiment that citizens are exclusively English kin, the recent efforts of conservative political actors notwithstanding.148 This period also witnessed a considerable weakening of Britain's ties with the Commonwealth, with the former's accession to the European Communities in 1973 and subsequent evolution as a European Union member-state signifying a further decline of British influence, in particular over its former Dominions. Brexit certainly did not help restore these connections or enhance British sway.

The diminution of the cultural element of shared identity, combined with the realpolitik-driven desire to meet new security challenges, has raised the prospect of expanding the inner circle of this exclusive intelligence-sharing arrangement. France and Germany, Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes members, respectively, have been put forward as possible candidates.149 However, discussions have broken down over a reluctance to extend to these two countries the same terms the Anglophone allies enjoy—specifically, an agreement not to spy on each other. A more recent development involving these two countries and the Anglophone allies has been dubbed “Five Eyes plus.” Also including Asian democratic partners such as Japan and South Korea, this intelligence-sharing arrangement is aimed at countering an assortment of threats from China, North Korea, and Russia.150 At the time of writing, the “Five Eyes plus” remains an informal coalition that will only undertake partial intelligence sharing to counter specific threats. Whether this framework is envisaged as a stepping-stone to full membership sometime in the future for these seemingly like-minded countries is unclear. Should some or all of these countries be fully welcomed as members of a reconstituted arrangement, it would concomitantly signify a confirmation of the political component of their shared identity and the demise of the cultural normative basis of this preeminent Anglophone intelligence grouping.


James Cox, “Canada and the Five Eyes Intelligence Community,” Strategic Studies Working Group Papers, Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute and Canadian International Council, December 2012, p. 4; Noah Barkin, “Exclusive: Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance Builds Coalition to Counter China,” Reuters, 12 October 2018; Alasdair Nicholson, “Suspicion Creeps into the Five Eyes,” The Interpreter (Sydney), 30 August 2019, available online at; and Emma Vickers, “The 70-Year Spy Alliance the U.S. Says It May Cut Off,” Bloomberg Businessweek (New York), 30 June 2019, available online at


Data-handling matters include secrecy agreements and standardized code words. See Jeffrey T. Richelson and Desmond Ball, The Ties That Bind: Intelligence Cooperation between the UKUSA Countries—The United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (London: Allen & Unwin, 1985), pp. 5–6. Richard Aldrich notes that acute bureaucratic competition and security concerns are among the contributing factors to highly compartmentalized Five Eyes’ cooperation across the various intelligence disciplines and activities. Richard J. Aldrich, “British Intelligence and the Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’ during the Cold War,” Review of International Studies, Vol. 24, No. 3 (1998), p. 336.


Richelson and Ball, The Ties That Bind, pp. 160–162.


James Bamford, The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency (New York: Penguin Books, 1982), p. 309. Bamford is among several observers who claimed the agreement was concluded in 1947 before an official disclosure in 2010 revealed the correct year to be 1946.


Duncan Campbell and Mark Honigsbaum, “Britain and US Spy on the World,” The Guardian (London), 23 May 1999, p. 1.


James Ball, “US and UK Struck Secret Deal to Allow NSA to ‘Unmask’ Britons’ Personal Data,” The Guardian, 20 November 2013, p. 1. Echelon is an automated system for the interception and relay of electronic communications that features computer searches of collected SIGINT through the input of keywords, enabling vast amounts of material to be processed and exploited.


See, for instance, Richard J. Aldrich, “Secret Intelligence for a Post-war World: Reshaping the British Intelligence Community, 1945–51,” in Richard J. Aldrich, ed., British Intelligence, Strategy and the Cold War, 1945–51 (London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 15–49; Richard J. Aldrich, “The Value of ‘Residual Empire’: Anglo-American Intelligence Cooperation in Asia after 1945,” in Richard J. Aldrich and Michael F. Hopkins, eds., Intelligence, Defence and Diplomacy: British Policy in the Post-war World (Ilford, UK: Frank Cass, 1994), pp. 226–258; Aldrich, “British Intelligence,” pp. 331–351; Stephen Budiansky, “The Difficult Beginnings of US-British Codebreaking Cooperation,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 15, No. 2 (2000), pp. 49–73; Bradley S. Smith, The Ultra-Magic Deals and the Most Secret Special Relationship, 1940–1946 (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1993); and Wesley Wark, “The Road to CANUSA: How Canadian Signals Intelligence Won Its Independence and Helped Create the Five Eyes,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 35, No.1 (2020), pp. 20–34.


John Gerard Ruggie, “International Response to Technology: Concepts and Trends,” International Organization, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Summer 1975), p. 570.


Don Munton, “Intelligence Cooperation Meets International Studies Theory: Explaining Canadian Operations in Castro's Cuba,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 24, No. 1 (2009), p. 133. Munton correctly notes that the Five Eyes is not a singular regime.


See, for instance, Wark, “The Road to CANUSA.”


Bentley B. Allan, Srdjan Vucetic, and Ted Hopf, “The Distribution of Identity and the Future of International Order: China's Hegemonic Prospects,” International Organization, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Fall 2018), p. 852. These authors highlight Anglo-American kinship, but the bonds also extended to Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.


Munton, “Intelligence Cooperation Meets International Studies Theory,” p. 126.


See John Mearsheimer, “Structural Realism,” in Timothy Dunne, Milja Kurki, and Steve Smith, eds., International Relations Theory: Discipline and Diversity (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 73.


Munton, “International Cooperation,” p. 127.


Richelson and Ball, The Ties That Bind, p. 137.




Ibid.; Richard J. Aldrich, GCHQ: The Uncensored History of Britain's Most Secret Intelligence Agency (New York: Harper Collins, 2010), p. 44; and John Ferris, Behind the Enigma: The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020), p. 349.


Aldrich, GCHQ, pp. 39, 42; Budiansky, “The Difficult Beginnings,” pp. 56–57; and Ferris, Behind the Enigma, p. 350.


Budiansky, “The Difficult Beginnings,” p. 50; and Smith, The Ultra-Magic Deals, p. 90.


British-U.S. naval cooperation was more advanced. Smith, The Ultra-Magic Deals, pp. 115–117.


Ibid., p. 90; and Budiansky, “The Difficult Beginnings,” p. 58.


Budiansky, “The Difficult Beginnings,” pp. 58–60.


Ibid., p. 64. Although the British provided the United States with diplomatic ciphers from a collection of countries, this cooperation did not extend to client states such as Egypt. See Aldrich, GCHQ, p. 44.


Budiansky, “The Difficult Beginnings,” p. 52.


Aldrich, GCHQ, pp. 40–41. The British were also concerned that U.S. codebreakers would attack and break a cypher system for joint operations and developed a new machine to alleviate this threat. See Ferris, Behind the Enigma, pp. 356–357.


For the significance of the BRUSA Agreement, see Aldrich, GCHQ, p. 43; and Smith, The Ultra-Magic Deals, p. 152.


Budiansky, “The Difficult Beginnings,” p. 66.


Ibid., p. 67.


Ibid., p. 62; and Ferris, Behind the Enigma, p. 356.


Aldrich, GCHQ, p. 45.


Eunan O'Halpin, “Small States and Big Secrets: Understanding SIGINT Cooperation between Unequal Powers during the Second World War,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 17, No. 3 (2002), p. 3.


Aldrich, GCHQ, pp. 30–31.


Ibid., pp. 36, 46.


John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), p. 8.


Thomas Risse-Kappen, Cooperation among Democracies: The European Influence on U.S. Foreign Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), p. 20.


For the purpose of narrative flow, the fourth and fifth conditions have been reversed from the order given in Risse-Kappen, ibid., pp. 23–24.


Ibid., p. 22. For the particular importance of military installations as a small power resource, see also Robert O. Keohane, “The Big Influence of Small Allies,” Foreign Policy, No. 2 (Spring 1971), p. 165.


Hans Morgenthau, Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993), p. 201.


Matthew Aid, The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2009), p. 8.




Ibid., p. 9.


Aldrich, “Secret Intelligence for a Post-war World,” pp. 16, 28–29. British signals intelligence began in 1914 after the outbreak of World War One in the form of separate naval and military organizations. These organizations merged in 1919 to become the GC&CS.


Thomas R. Johnson, American Cryptology during the Cold War, 1945–1989, Book 1: The Struggle for Centralization, 1945–1960 (Fort Meade, MD: Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 1995), p. 16. Many thanks to an anonymous reviewer for alerting me to this source. For the point about British tutelage, see Ferris, Behind the Enigma, p. 374.


Aldrich, “British Intelligence,” p. 349. Ferris, in Behind the Enigma, p. 383, argues that “until 1952, British Sigint was bigger and better than American” and by early the next decade was “smaller but still better.”


Richelson and Ball, The Ties That Bind, p. 174.




Johnson suggests the U.S. side proposed extensive cooperation with Britain against the Soviet Union in June 1945. Johnson, American Cryptology, p. 159. Andrews mentions a British mission to the United States at the end of April 1945 that sought to continue bilateral wartime SIGINT cooperation. Christopher Andrews, For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush (New York: Harper Collins, 1995), p. 152. Ferris indicates that, as the war in Europe ended, the British made an informal proposal for continued cooperation against the Soviet Union and the United States informally recommended that such collaboration be complete and comprehensive. He does not clarify which side made the initial offer but states that this “cooperation began just before Japan surrendered.” See Ferris, Behind the Enigma, pp. 360–361.


Richard J. Aldrich, “Signals Intelligence and GCHQ, 1945–70,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 16, No. 1 (2001), p. 78; Aldrich, GCHQ, p. 92; and Aldrich cited in Richard Norton-Taylor, “Not So Secret: Deal at the Heart of UK-US Intelligence,” The Guardian, 25 June 2010, p. 3.


Owen L. Sirrs, “The Perils of Multinational Intelligence Coalitions: Britain, America and the Origins of Pakistan's ISI,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 33, No. 1 (2018), p. 39.


Desmond Ball and David Horner, Breaking the Codes: Australia's KGB Spy Network, 1944–1950 (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1998), p. 186; and Duncan Campbell, “Inside Echelon,” Global Policy Forum, 25 July 2000, available online at


Ball and Horner, Breaking the Codes, p. 166.


Ibid., pp. 185–186.


Lt. Col. E. M. Drake, Memorandum to Chairman, CJIC, “Canadian Post-war Intercept Facilities,” 16 January 1946, in Library and Archives Canada, RG24, Vol. 8088, File 1274-10, pt. 1, cited in Jensen, Cautious Beginnings, pp. 165–166.


Jensen, Cautious Beginnings, p. 166; and Matthew Aid, “All Glory Is Fleeting,” p. 12, cited in Jensen, Cautious Beginnings, p. 169.


Nicky Hager, Secret Power: New Zealand's Role in the International Spy Network (Nelson, New Zealand: Craig Potton Publishing, 1996), p. 60.


Drake, Memorandum to Chairman, cited in Jensen, Cautious Beginnings, p. 166.


The Army-Navy Communication Intelligence Board (ANCIB), consisting of the heads of intelligence and communications for the two services, was established in March 1945. ANCIB became STANCIB with the addition of the State Department in December 1945. The board changed its name again to the United States Communications Intelligence Board in 1946. See Johnson, American Cryptology during the Cold War, pp. 5–7.


The outline of the 1946 BRUSA Agreement and some of the declassified appendices and their annexures have been accessible via the UK National Archives and U.S. National Security Agency websites since 2010.


Some U.S. officials were concerned that Britain might take advantage of comprehensive bilateral COMINT exchanges to further its own commercial interests. U.S. concerns were ameliorated somewhat with suggestions of a British commitment not to engage in such activities, which they were confident would be adhered to as long as Ernest Bevin remained foreign secretary. See U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), “Communications Intelligence—8 Feb. 1946,” UKUSA Agreement Release, available online at


The head of GC&CS, Sir Edward Travis, remarked at an Anglo-American SIGINT meeting in October 1945 that the “exclusion of Canada from the proposed Agreement would be embarrassing for all concerned.” Therefore, “Canada … must of necessity be included … [while] … Australia should probably be included.” New Zealand was not mentioned in this document. See NSA, “Joint Meeting of ANCIB and ANCICC—15 Oct. 1945,” UKUSA Agreement Release; emphasis added.


Wark, “The Road to CANUSA,” p. 23.


Ibid., pp. 20–34.


Jensen, Cautious Beginnings, p. 168.


Aldrich, “Signals Intelligence and GCHQ,” p. 76.


Richelson and Ball, The Ties That Bind, pp. 7–8.


Ibid., p. 303. Even though the United States possesses superior resources, the NSA highly values its Five Eyes partners’ specific SIGINT contributions, such as GCHQ's technical capabilities and the bulk data collection and geographical coverage of the other members. Many thanks to an anonymous reviewer for drawing my attention to this point.


Reg Whitaker, “Cold War Alchemy: How America, Britain and Canada Transformed Espionage into Subversion,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 15, No. 2 (2000), p. 180. This standardization of security practices is not unique to the Five Eyes but is applicable to other arrangements such as U.S.-UK nuclear cooperation and also facilitates intelligence sharing beyond simply reflecting U.S. interests. For more on common code words in Anglo-American SIGINT relations, see David Easter, “Code Words, Euphemisms and What They Can Tell Us about Cold War Anglo-American Communications Intelligence,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 27, No. 6 (2012), pp. 875–895. Many thanks to an anonymous reviewer for highlighting this point and drawing my attention to Easter's article.


For the concept of the “cutoff” and the British and Canadian examples, see Richard Aldrich, “Allied Code-Breakers Co-operate—But Not Always,” The Guardian (London), 24 June 2010, p. 10. Aldrich notes in the same op-ed article that the Heath government retaliated with its own “cutoff” during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Nicky Hager claims that New Zealand's 1984 declaration of a nuclear-free zone affected only the supply of U.S. military intelligence and that other intelligence flows “continued uninterrupted.” See Hager, Secret Power, pp. 23–24.


Richelson and Ball, The Ties That Bind, p. 303. During the Cold War, the Dominions were believed to contribute about 30 percent of GCHQ's intercept and analytical capacity. See Ferris, Behind the Enigma, p. 390.


Though not formally part of these two groups, Israel, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are also believed to be “third parties.”


Richelson and Ball, The Ties That Bind, p. 142; and Martin Rudner, “Britain Betwixt and Between: UK SIGINT Alliance Strategy's Transatlantic and European Connections,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 16, No. 1 (2004), p. 574. According to one observer, the “third parties” are able to trade raw data with the NSA but have less access to its database. Richie Koch, “What Countries Are in the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes Agreements?,” ProtonVPN, 30 August 2018, available online at


Winslow Peck, “U.S. Electronic Espionage: A Memoir,” Ramparts Magazine, Vol. 11, No. 2 (August 1972), p. 50.


Aldrich suggests this commonly held view is unsatisfactory. See Aldrich, “British Intelligence,” p. 343.


I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer for highlighting the significance of wartime SIGINT liaison. David Horner, in a 14 July 2020 communication with the author, noted the continuity aspect of the Five Eyes.


Ralf G. V. Lillbacka, “Realism, Constructivism, and Intelligence Analysis,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Vol. 26, No. 2 (2013), p. 305.


See, for instance, Cox, Canada and the Five Eyes Intelligence Community, p. 5; Norton-Taylor, “Not So Secret”; and Martin Rudner, “Canada's Communications Security Establishment, Signals Intelligence and Counterterrorism,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 22, No. 4 (2007), p. 481.


Ted Hopf, “Russian Identity and Foreign Policy in Estonia and Uzbekistan,” in Celeste A. Wallander, ed., The Sources of Russian Foreign Policy after the Cold War (Boulder, CO: Westview Press 1996), p. 151.


David Capie, “Power, Identity and Multilateralism: The United States and Regional Institutionalization in the Asia-Pacific,” Ph.D. Diss., York University, Toronto, 2002, p. 64. Capie's thesis and another excellent study by Hemmer and Katzenstein examine in detail the relationship between identity and security institution-building in the Asia-Pacific region. Christopher Hemmer and Peter J. Katzenstein, “Why Is There No NATO in Asia? Collective Identity, Regionalism, and the Origins of Multilateralism,” International Organization, Vol. 56, No. 3 (Summer 2002), pp. 575–607.


Winston Churchill, “Sinews of Peace, 1946,” National Churchill Museum, available online at




Allan, Vucetic and Hopf, “The Distribution of Identity and the Future of International Order,” p. 852.


Andrew Mycock and Ben Wellings, “The Anglosphere: Past, Present and Future,” British Academy Review, No. 31 (Autumn 2017), pp. 42–45.


Thomas Risse, “Let's Argue! Communicative Action in World Politics,” International Organization, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Winter 2000), pp. 1–39; and Srdjan Vucetic, Anglosphere: A Genealogy of Racialized Identity in International Relations (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011), pp. 3, 6.


Allan, Vucetic, and Hopf, “The Distribution of Identity,” p. 852.


Richard A. Best, Jr., “Co-operation with Like-Minded Peoples”: British Influences on American Security Policy, 1945–1949 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986), p. 22; and Daniel W. B. Lomas, Intelligence Security and the Atlee Governments, 1945–1951: An Uneasy Relationship? (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2017), p. 149.


Aldrich, “The Value of ‘Residual Empire,’” pp. 226–227; and Christopher Thorne, Border Crossings: Studies in International History (London: Blackwell, 1988), p. 76.


Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, In Spies We Trust: The Story of Western Intelligence (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 94, 117.


Vucetic, Anglosphere, p. 57.


Ritchie Ovendale, The English-Speaking Alliance: Britain, the United States, the Dominions and the Cold War, 1945–51 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1985), p. 283.


Sirrs, “The Perils of Multinational Intelligence Coalitions,” p. 39. India's dominion status was temporary until its new republican constitution was promulgated in 1950, and Pakistan remained a dominion until it became an Islamic republic under its 1956 constitution.


Calder Walton, Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire (London: HarperPress, 2013), p. 146.


David Easter, “Protecting Secrets: British Diplomatic Cipher Machines in the Early Cold War, 1945–1970,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 34, No. 2 (2019), p. 161.


Sirrs, “The Perils of Multinational Intelligence Coalitions,” p. 39.


Ibid. British thinking about the Soviet Union by the end of the war was also underpinned by cultural and racial stereotypes. Intelligence reports asserted that Russians in the USSR “are peasants and should be regarded as such” and that “it would be unreasonable to expect Anglo-Saxon standards of behaviour from a primitive and largely Asiatic race.” Cited in Aldrich, “British Intelligence,” p. 332.


Aldrich, “Secret Intelligence for a Post-war World,” p. 37.


Robert L. Benson, The Venona Story (Fort Meade, MD: Center for Cryptologic History, NSA, 2012), available online at Documents from the Venona program were declassified in 1995-1996.


Established upon federation in 1901, the Australian Department of External Affairs became the Department of Foreign Affairs in November 1970 and since July 1987 has been the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


Dominique Clément, “Canada's Integration into Global Intelligence-Sharing Networks: From Gouzenko to the Montreal Olympics,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 33, No. 7 (2018), p. 1057.


Ball and Horner, Breaking the Codes, pp. 174–176. Frank Cain contends that the U.S. naval attaché, Commander Stephen Jurika, and the ambassador, Myron M. Cowen, shared unfavorable views of the Labor government and the domestic Communist threat, which influenced security decision-making in Washington. See Frank Cain, “Venona in Australia and Its Long-Term Ramifications,” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 35, No. 2 (April 2000), pp. 235–236.


Julie Suares, JB Chifley: An Ardent Internationalist (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2019).


“Report to meeting of SANACC-MIC, 18 May 1948,” in File 206/57, RG353, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, cited in Cain, “Venona in Australia and Its Long-Term Ramifications,” pp. 235–236; emphasis in original.


Exchange of Information with the United States, Minutes of a Meeting Held at 10 Downing Street, 27 April 1949, in CAB 130/46, Public Record Office, London, cited in Cain, “Venona in Australia and Its Long-Term Ramifications,” p. 237.


Private Reports from Washington and London on Secretary's visit to Washington, n.d., in A5954, National Archives of Australia, cited in Cain, “Venona in Australia and Its Long-Term Ramifications.”


For a declassified CIA report on Jawaharlal Nehru's view of Communism, see CIA, “Nehru on Communism: An Awakening,” in U.S. National Archive and Records Administration (NARA), CIA Records Search Tool (CREST), Doc. No. CIA-RDP78-02771R000400010002-2. The British and Americans also believed the French to be a poor security risk because of their perceived national character. See Thomas K. Robb and Michael Seibold, “Spying on Friends: British Assessment of French Security,” The International History Review, Vol. 36, No. 1 (2014), pp. 117–118; and Jones, In Spies We Trust, p. 29.


Desmond Ball notes that Indian SIGINT operations had “an extraordinary purview for a … non-aligned country” and included cooperation chiefly with the United States and the USSR and to a lesser extent Great Britain, West Germany, and Italy. See Desmond Ball, “Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) in South Asia: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka (Ceylon),” Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 117, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, 1996, pp. 13, 28. Like India, Pakistan also moved away from Great Britain and gave priority to a close intelligence relationship with the United States, which became its most important international partner. See Ball, Signals Intelligence, pp. 49–53; and Sirrs, “The Perils of Multinational Intelligence Coalitions,” p. 43.


Haynes and Klehr provide another list of individuals who had secret relations with Soviet intelligence: 139 Americans not sourced in Venona, 33 foreigners who were resident in the United States, and an additional 24 Americans the Soviets targeted for recruitment. Haynes and Klehr, Venona, pp. 339–390. Hiss maintained his innocence until his death in 1996, but the Venona papers and the subsequent release of Alexander Vassiliev's notebooks of transcribed Soviet intelligence documents belie Hiss's denials.


Aldrich, “The Value of ‘Residual Empire,’” p. 243. The U.S. Congress passed the McMahon Act in 1946; it forbade the transfer of classified nuclear weapons information to any foreign country, including Great Britain. Revelations that the British physicist Alan Nunn May had passed information about the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union contributed to the bill's passage.


G. John Ikenberry and Charles A. Kupchan, “Socialization and Hegemonic Power,” International Organization, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Summer 1990), pp. 282–315.


Ibid., pp. 290–292.


Christopher Andrew, Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), p. 371; and Horner, The Spy Catchers, p. 99.


Philip Murphy, “Creating a Commonwealth Intelligence Culture: The View from Central Africa,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 17, No. 3 (2002) p. 142.


On Canada's orientation, see Wark, “The Road to CANUSA,” p. 29.


Murphy, “Creating a Commonwealth Intelligence Culture,” p. 142.




Horner, The Spy Catchers, p. 99.


Horner also includes Hollis's identification of the individuals who passed intelligence to the Soviet embassy and John Burton's efforts to persuade Chifley of the importance of Australia's security contribution to the British Commonwealth as contributing factors. Ibid., pp. 103–104.


Ibid., p. 116.


Christopher Andrew, “The Growth of the Australian Intelligence Community and the Anglo-American Connection,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 4, No. 2 (1989), p. 228; and Horner, The Spy Catchers, p. 130.


Ibid., p. 112.


Ibid., p. 130.




Ball and Horner, Breaking the Codes, p. 167.




Andrew, “The Growth of the Australian Intelligence Community,” p. 223.


The DSB retained this title until 1964, when it became the Defence Signals Division. Following the 1977 Hope Royal Commission into Intelligence and Security, the organization was renamed the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). In May 2013, the DSD was renamed the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), a reflection of its whole-of-government role in national security. See Australian Signals Directorate, “History,” available online at


Ikenberry and Kupchan, “Socialization and Hegemonic Power,” p. 284.


Ibid., p. 292.


Aldrich, “Secret Intelligence for a Post-war World,” p. 38.


Evatt concurrently held the posts of attorney general and minister for external affairs from 1941 to 1949.


Cain, “Venona in Australia and Its Long-Term Ramifications,” p. 239.


Horner, The Spy Catchers, p. 160.


Ibid., p. 170.


Ibid., p. 200.


For the statement regarding Petrov's seniority, see Robert Manne, The Petrov Affair: Politics and Espionage (Sydney: Pergamon, 1987), p. 219; and Nigel West, “ASIO Opens Its Books,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Vol. 28, No. 3 (2015), p. 626.


Manne, The Petrov Affair, p. 220; and Horner, The Spy Catchers, p. 396.


Manne, The Petrov Affair, p. 220.


Dated 19 March 1953, appendix Q of the agreement, titled “Principles of Wartime Collaboration among COMINT Centers of the U.S., U.K., and Other British Commonwealth Countries,” also stipulates that Britain would increase its personnel contributions to the Australian center. National Security Agency, “UKUSA COMINT Agreement and Appendices Thereto,” UKUSA Agreement Release,


NSA, “Six Decades of Second Party Relations,” Cryptologic Almanac 50th Anniversary Series, available online at


Personal communication with an ASD official, 13 May 2020; and NSA, Central Security Service, “Declassified UKUSA Signals Intelligence Agreement Documents Available,” press release, 24 June 2010, available online at The name BRUSA was changed to UKUSA at British request in 1954, according to Johnson, American Cryptology during the Cold War, p. 19.


Andrew Kelly, ANZUS and the Early Cold War: Strategy and Diplomacy Between Australia, New Zealand and the United States, 1945–1956 (Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2018), p. 179.


Ibid., p. 2.


NSA, “COMINT Collaboration with Australia,” 17 August 1954, Friedman-Documents: Panel, Committee, and Board Records, available online at


Travis Hardy employs this familial description when discussing Australian Minister for External Affairs Richard Casey's views of relations with Britain and the United States in the late 1940s. Travis J. Hardy, “The Consanguinity of Ideas: Race and Anti-communism in the U.S.-Australia Relationship, 1933–1953,” Ph.D. Diss., University of Tennessee, 2010, p. 154. In contrast to Australia's ambivalent approach, New Zealand also differed by fully supporting Britain's membership in ANZUS. Kelly, ANZUS and the Early Cold War, pp. 93, 179.


Hager, Secret Power, p. 61.


Ibid.; and David Filer, “Signals Intelligence in New Zealand during the Cold War,” Security and Surveillance History Series, January 2019, available online at The New Zealand government established a Combined Signals Organisation in 1955, which was transformed into the Government Communications Security Bureau in 1977. Until the bureau's establishment, New Zealand relied almost entirely on the DSB for the provision of SIGINT material. See Richelson and Ball, The Ties That Bind, p. 77.


Rudner, “Britain Betwixt and Between,” p. 603 n. 11.


The New Zealand Security Service, later renamed the Security Intelligence Service, was established in November 1956. For an interesting analysis of New Zealand's anti-Communist purge, see Aaron Fox, “The Price of Collective Security: State-Sponsored Anti-Communism in New Zealand during the Cold War,” in Ian McGibbon and John Crawford, eds., Seeing Red: New Zealand, the Commonwealth and the Cold War, 1945–91 (Wellington: New Zealand Military History Committee, 2012), pp. 1–29. Three New Zealand citizens were suspected of spying for the Soviet Union during the Cold War: Desmond (Paddy) Costello, William Sutch, and Ian Milner.


Mycock and Wellings, “The Anglosphere,” pp. 43–44.


Daniel W. Drezner, “Why Can't Germany and France Be Invited to Join the Five Eyes?” Foreign Policy, 29 October 2013, available online at; and Corey Pfluke, “A History of the Five Eyes Alliance: Possibility for Reform and Additions,” Comparative Strategy, Vol. 38, No. 4 (2019), pp. 302–315.


See Barkin, “Exclusive”; Kenji Wada and Shinichi Akiyama, “Five Eyes Intel Group Ties Up with Japan, Germany, France to Counter China in Cyberspace,” The Mainichi (Tokyo), 4 February 2019, available online at; and Ankit Panda, “‘Five Eyes’ Countries Eye Expanded Cooperation amid North Korea Challenges,” The Diplomat (Washington, DC), 28 January 2020, available online at