South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)


SEATO was founded by the United States and Britain in 1954 to provide a treaty framework for enforcing the Geneva Agreement ending the first Indochina War. It lacked the central military command of NATO, but was intended to allow military assistance to be given to three 'protocol' states - South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - judged to be at risk from communist aggression. Indonesia feared SEATO as an agent of the Western powers, but it never developed a coherent identity in its own right. It was dissolved in 1977.


Further reading

Buszynski, Leszek, SEATO: the failure of an alliance strategy. Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1983.

Dreisbach, Kai, 'Between SEATO and ASEAN: the United States and the regional organization of Southeast Asia', in Marc Frey, Ronald W. Pruessen and Tan Tai Yong, eds., The transformation of Southeast Asia: international perspectives on decolonization. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2003, pp. 241-256.

Gumnerdsiri, Bunpot, 'SEATO and the role of its European members', in Franz Knipping, Piyanart Bunnag and Vimolvan Phatharodom, eds., Europe and Southeast Asia in the contemporary world: mutual influences and comparisons. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 1999, vol. 2, pp. 55-66.

Hess, Gary, 'The American search for stability in Southeast Asia: the SEATO structure of containment', Warren I. Cohen and Akira Iriye, eds., The great powers in East Asia, 1953-1960. New York: Columbia UP, 1990, pp. 272-295.

Map number from Cribb, Historical Atlas of Indonesia (2000)


Year span

1954 - 1954