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Wednesday, 8 May 1957


Mr CASEY (Minister for External Affairs) - A general, broad answer to the numerous questions asked by the honorable gentleman is: Yes, those things are broadly true. The United Nations General Assembly established a special committee consisting of representatives of five countries - Australia, Ceylon, Denmark, Uruguay and Tunisia - to investigate the spontaneous uprising in Hungary in October and November of last year and to report back to the Assembly. Australia appointed its Ambassador to the Philippines, Mr. Shann, as its representative on that committee, and Mr. Shann became the rapporteur of the committee. The committee has had hearings in New York, London, Geneva, Vienna and Rome - I think that is the full list of the capitals in Europe in which it had its hearings - and its report is now in course of compilation.

It is expected that the report will be available towards the end of this month. As soon as it is received it will, of course, be transmitted to the governments concerned, including the Australian Government. It will be examined rapidly and then the governments, or the Secretary-General of the United Nations, plus the general committee, together with the president of the present 11th session of the General Assembly, will decide whether or not the present Assembly should be reconvened - because the assembly is still technically and formally in existence and can be reconvened at relatively short notice. I think that reconvening of the Assembly takes only a matter of a few days, which are necessary for the despatch of the requisite telegrams to the various governments and the obtaining of agreement to reconvene. Not only will the report of the special committee have been received by then, and be taken into account by the reconvened Assembly, but also the reports received from Australia and other countries that have accepted Hungarian refugees will also be taken into account. Australia, of course, had an investigation on this matter, at its end, and I have already laid on the table the relevant report which, 1 expect, has been read by a number of honorable members, lt is an extremely interesting report. Such report: will have been taken into account by this special committee and, I expect, will find some space in the report eventually submitted by it to the General Assembly. I cannot say more than that.


Dr Evatt - Is the Secretary-General of the United Nations now in Hungary?


Mr CASEY - I do not believe so. 1 believe that the Secretary-General, Mr. Hammarskjoeld, is in New York at the moment, but I am not absolutely certain of that. However, I will undertake that the representation made by the honorable member is taken into serious account by the Government when the time comes to consider the reconvening of the present Assembly. That means that this report will not then have to wait until next September, when the next Assembly convenes.







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