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Tuesday, 8 March 1966

Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) - Has the Minister for External Affairs noted a statement by Senator Fulbright, Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, made in February 1966, that the large majority of the Vietcong are South Vietnamese? Has he also noted the report of Senator Mansfield and five other Senators made on 3rd January 1966;. on page 3 of which it is stated that of 230,000 men operating with the Vietcong no more than 14,000 from North Vietnam are named. I ask the Minister: Are these United States Senators in possession of the facts? If so, does the Minister agree with them?

Mr HASLUCK - The information available to the Australian Government does not agree with the information recited by the honorable member. The information available to us is that the percentage of people from the North now fighting in South Vietnam is very much greater than the figure the honorable member quoted, and that the participation in and direction by North Vietnam of the activities of the Vietcong are very considerable.

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