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Tuesday, 8 March 1966

From our recognition of the fundamental significance of the struggle against Communist aggression in South Vietnam, and the special nature of the service which our armed forces are giving there, the Government has felt it appropriate that a special award should be made to Australian and, if the New Zealand Government agreed, to New Zealand servicemen posted to South Vietnam. I conveyed our view on this to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Right Honorable Keith Holyoake. As I have already mentioned, New Zealand takes precisely the same view of the issue in South Vietnam as we do. I am glad to say that Mr. Holyoake fully and immediately welcomed the proposal, and we are jointly recommending to Her Majesty that a special medal for service in Vietnam be struck. Her Majesty has told us that she will be pleased to make this award. The detailed conditions of eligibility are being worked out, and will be announced following Her Majesty's approval of them.

This new special medal for service in Vietnam will replace the General Service

Medal 1962 with clasp " South Vietnam ", which has hitherto been available for Australian servicemen in the area. The new medal will apply to Australian servicemen who have been in South Vietnam at any time since 29th May 1964, which is the date when the role of the Australian Army training team in Vietnam was extended to permit its employment in the field with South Vietnamese Army units in contact with the Vietcong.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand and I have seen the issuance of a special medal as another welcome link in the chain of the Anzac tradition. I am sure the medal will be worn with pride by all who participate in the South Vietnam campaign and it will carry with it to the wearer an expression of the gratitude of our two countries for service in the highest order of duty.

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