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Thursday, 10 March 1966

What I have said hitherto applies to the whole of our foreign policy. I want now to trace the application of this policy in

Asia. We do not imagine for a moment that we or any other power can turn back history or cancel the changes taking place in Asia. We have carried out for many years past, both under my distinguished predecessors and in my own term of office, a policy that respects the neutrality of those who choose to be neutral and respects the sovereignty and independence of all Asian powers. 1 believe that this side of our policy has shown some considerable success. We value today the regard and respect of our Asian neighbours and their co-operation in various common enterprises.

We want to see an Asia free from fear and insecurity in which the independent nations will be able to develop for themselves the kind of society and the forms of government that they believe are best suited to themselves, where human welfare can be advanced more rapidly, and where economic progress will strengthen the me :ns by which each country will be able to support its own independence. We want to see the conditions in which such free and prosperous nations will be able by their own decision to co-operate more fully in measures for common welfare and security. This means that it must be an Asia free from the domination of any single great power and safe from the persistent subversion of a communism which is being used deliberately as an instrument of imperialist power.

It is plain that a foreign policy of this kind requires Australia to know as much as it is humanly possible to know about the facts of Asia, to enter as closely as it is humanly possible to enter into friendly contact with the peoples of Asia and to study with a clear vision all the facts we gather and to maintain in friendliness all the associations we form.

Our whole interest as Australians is in the advance of all the peoples of this region to a new and brighter future of freedom, independence and opportunity. What threatens this freedom and independence and what dims their hope for the future is the dread of domination by the new imperialism of China and the throttling grip of Communist aggressors, lt is the Communists who have themselves announced their plans. Are these so-called liberation fronts - the National Liberation Front of

Vietnam, the Malaysian Liberation Front or the Thailand Liberation Front, all of whom have lodging and blessing in Peking - created to ensure that the peoples of Asia will be free to choose for themselves? Of course not. They have been formed and dedicated to the purpose of bringing these countries, without free choice, under Communist rule. Marshal Ky, Prime Minister of South Vietnam, spoke the plain truth when he spoke of the National Enslavement Front.

The story favoured by the Communists gives a false picture of Asia today. We are not engaged in the rearguard struggle of a doomed colonialism. We are taking part in the establishment of conditions which allow independent nations to exist and prosper in Asia. Free Asia needs the reinforcement of the free world. It was essentially Western power, allied with the growth of South Korean strength, that successfully repelled Communist aggression in Korea - so successfully in fact that the Government of the Republic of Korea is today able to contribute substantial forces for the defence of South Vietnam. It was the British military presence in the Malaysia-Singapore area, with help from Australia and New Zealand, that helped Malaya to overcome the challenge of the Communist terrorists. It is this same military strength which is helping Malaysia to resist Indonesian confrontation, despite all the psychological and political devices used in the confrontation campaign to undermine the will of the Malaysian people. Britain's presence in the MalaysiaSingapore area continues to exercise its historic role in stabilising the area, and it is sanctioned by the consent and goodwill of the people of Malaysia and Singapore. Japan and the Philippines have freely negotiated defence treaties with the United States which recognize that their national security is linked to' the power of the United States. The central issue, common to all these situations, is that the freedom and independence that the nations of Asia have won with the end of the colonial era can be preserved and that they can choose their own future.

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