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Tuesday, 19 March 1957


Mr MENZIES (Kooyong) (Prime Minister) . - Mr. Speaker, honorable members will, unhappily, be aware of the fact that, in the last few hours as it seems, certainly in the last few days, the President of the Philippines has lost his life under the most tragic circumstances. It was only the other day that we had here, in Canberra, attending the South-East Asia Treaty Organization Conference, as the distinguished representative of the Philippines, Senor Garcia, then Vice-President, and now, as the result of the death in office of Senor Magsaysay, President of that country.

I think, sir, that it would be agreeable to the feeling of the entire Parliament if I were to say that we should like you, on behalf of all of us, to convey to the new President of the Philippines the unfeigned sorrow that we feel about the death of the famous Ramon Magsaysay. He was a famous man. He had been a great soldier for his country. He became President of the Philippines in 1953. His difficulties were not small. He encountered movements of a difficult and subversive kind. He met them. He defeated them. His door was open to his people for almost 24 hours a day. He became perhaps the first great democratic statesman of his own country. All round the world, lovers of freedom felt that they owed a great deal to him. I know that so far as the Government is concerned, and I am sure that so far as the Opposition in this Parliament is concerned, we sympathize profoundly with the people of the Philippines, so recently come to self-government, so much desiring a man of this great character and quality, and losing him so untimely.

We place on record our thanks for his work. We would convey to all his people our profound sorrow, and to his successor, who could have wished it otherwise, we convey our deep good wishes for his continuance of a work so nobly begun.







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