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The exchange of intelligence was an important part of US-UK efforts during the second world war. This co-operation continued after the war, resulting in the UKUSA agreement of 1946. As a British dominion at the time, Australia was not party to the agreement in its own right, but all British dominions occupied a special status that elevated them above other “third-party” countries.
By 1955 the role of the other 5-Eyes nations was formalised when the agreement was updated: “At this time only Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be regarded as UKUSA-collaborating Commonwealth countries,” an annexure in the new agreement reads.
The Defence Signals Branch – now known as the Australian Signals Directorate – was to “collaborate directly”, with tasks as determined by the US National Security Agency, and “will exchange raw material, technical material and end product of these tasks”.
Fairdinkum Radio Show 26.06.14