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Wednesday, 27 February 1952

Mr FALKINDER (FRANKLIN, TASMANIA) - The Prime Minister has indicated that an amount o<' more than £700,000 will be paid from Australian-held Japanese assets to former Australian prisoners of war who were held by the Japanese. As I believe that there is some misunderstanding in the public mind on the point, will he make it clear that there is a further amount of this kind to come from Japanese assets outside Australia? Can he also inform the House of the amount involved in that additional sum, and when it may be avail- able for distribution?

Mr MENZIES - It is quite true, as the honorable member has said, that the amount of £705,000 is to be dis tributed to former prisoners of war out of the value of Japanese assets in Australia. We have every expectation that under the terms of the peace treaty with Japan certain Japanese assets in other countries will be made available to the International Red Cross and, among other governments, to the Government of Australia. We have indicated that that sum will be regarded by us as giving us a further opportunity of making some distribution to former prisoners of war. I cannot say what the amount involved may be. The only estimates that have been made are. in the nature of pure guesses, but it is hoped that the sum involved will be substantial.

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