1975 Australian coup

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Event.png 1975 Australian coup (coup,  US Sponsored Regime-change effort since 1945) Rdf-icon.png
1975 Australian coup.png
Sir John Kerr, who on the CIA's orders invoked "reserve powers" and dismissed the democratically elected Prime minister.
Date 15 October 1975 - 11 November 1975
Location Canberra,  Australian Capital Territory
Perpetrators CIA,  MI6,  Le Cercle?,  Marshall Green
Exposed by Christopher Boyce
Description A CIA/MI6-backed covert "constitutional coup" to remove Gough Whitlam whom they saw as a loose cannon.

The 1975 Australian coup was successfully concluded on 11 November when Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was to inform Australian Parliament about the secret CIA presence in the country. He was summoned by Sir John Kerr, who invoked archaic vice-regal "reserve powers" and summarily dismissed him.[1] William Blum has written that Sir John Kerr acted on behalf of the CIA in procuring Whitlam's dismissal.[2]


In 1966 Kerr had joined the Association for Cultural Freedom, a conservative group that was later revealed to have received CIA funding. Christopher Boyce claimed that the CIA wanted Whitlam removed from office because he threatened to close US military bases in Australia, including Pine Gap. Boyce said that Kerr was described by the CIA as "our man Kerr".[3] Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal noted that the CIA "paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige... Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money".

CIA, Marshall Green

In 1974, the White House sent as ambassador to Australia Marshall Green, who was known as “the coupmaster” for his central role in the 1965 coup against Indonesian President Sukarno – which cost up to a million lives.[4]

Whitlam said that in 1977 Warren Christopher, the United States Deputy Secretary of State , made a special trip to Sydney to meet with him and told him, on behalf of US President Jimmy Carter, of his willingness to work with whatever government Australians elected, and that the US would never again interfere with Australia's democratic processes.[citation needed]

In interviews in the 1980s with the US investigative journalist Joseph Trento, CIA agents disclosed that the "Whitlam problem" had been discussed "with urgency" by CIA director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield, and that "arrangements" were made.[1]


In 1975, Whitlam discovered that MI6 had long been operating against his government. He said later: “The Brits were actually decoding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office." One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told John Pilger “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans."[1]


  1. a b c https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/us-dominance-and-australias-secret-coup,6300
  2. Blum, William (1998), Killing Hope – U.S. Military and CIA interventions since World War II, Black Rose Books, ISBN 978-1-55164-096-9, retrieved 2010-06-06 
  3. Martin, Ray (23 May 1982), A Spy's Story: USA Traitor Gaoled for 40 Years After Selling Codes of Rylite and Argus Projects. (60 Minutes transcript), williambowles.info, archived from the original on 17 June 2009, retrieved 2006-09-24 
  4. Cited in Pilger, John The British-American coup that ended Australian independence The Guardian 22 October 2014 (in which it is further alleged that Britain's MI6 participated with the CIA in endeavours to destabilise the Whitlam government).