US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pictured) says the US won't hesitate to tell its allies when it believes the deployment of certain military systems would be in their best interests (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)
The federal government's National Security Committee could meet on Tuesday to consider a US request for Australian Navy ships to help protect commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.
Britain announced on Monday it was joining the US mission after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker two weeks ago in apparent retaliation for the UK detaining an Iranian vessel it said violated EU sanctions on its ally Syria.
It is the only country so far to join the US in its Gulf operation.
More than 60 nations have been asked to assist secure commercial passage through the Strait.
"It's important that we make the Straits of Hormuz safer than they currently are," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.
"The purpose here is to de-escalate tensions, not to escalate them and that has very much been the focus of the conversations we've had with our American partners."
The Strait is considered the world's most important waterway for oil shipments, with Australia reliant on it for some of its oil supply.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States won't hesitate to tell its allies when it believes the deployment of certain military systems - including missiles - would be in their best interests.
That comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison scotched the prospect of US ground-based missiles being stationed in Darwin.
Mr Pompeo says the US is constantly evaluating the best way to keep itself and its allies safe and will continue to after scrapping a nuclear arms pact with Russia on Friday.
The countries blame each other for violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty that has stood since 1988.
"We'll now do the things we need to do to create stability and peace, and as we do that we will evaluate whether there are certain systems, certain missile systems that make sense to put in certain countries," Mr Pompeo told Sky News during a trip to Sydney for ministerial meetings.
"These will be long, consultative processes as we work our way through them."
Mr Pompeo says the US would not be afraid to make recommendations to allies if they were in their mutual best interests.
"We'll never hesitate to talk to them about it share why we think this is important for that country to protect its own people and then do our best to partner with them to deliver on the things we jointly agree make sense."
Mr Morrison on Monday hosed down reports the US is aiming is to put ground-based missiles in Darwin, after Defence Minister Linda Reynolds poured cold water on the idea
"It's not been asked of us, not being considered, not been put to us. I think I can rule a line under that," Mr Morrison told reporters in Brisbane.
At a ministerial meeting on Sunday, Senator Reynolds quizzed-newly appointed US Defence Secretary Mark Esper about the prospect.
"You would expect the US secretary of defence to canvass all of these issues in light of what's happening in the Indo-Pacific," she told ABC Radio National on Monday.
"But I can confirm that he made no request and he wasn't anticipating any request."
© AAP 2019