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Thursday, 7 May 1970

Mr MORRISON (St George) - Since coming to this House I have been subjected to a conscious and co-ordinated attack by both the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) and the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser). I have been appalled by the immaturity of the attack - by the petticoat pettiness of the Minister for External Affairs and by the fourth form prefect posturing by the Minister for Defence. I find it reprehensible that senior Ministers should devote so much of their time and that of certain officers to such pettiness instead of revamping foreign and defence policies which have become demonstrably bankrupt. I could, perhaps, regard this as flattering but it is, in fact, pathetic.

The Government is desperate. Its policies are based on myths and are perpetuated by lies and deceptions. The facade is crumbling and all it seems that the Ministers can do is to pick up a few fallen bricks and throw them indiscriminately. Yesterday we heard the Minister for External Affairs attacking a commentator who, as the Minister well knows, has not been a friend of the Labor Party and whose only sin is that he is stating facts that the Liberal Party cannot face up to. In a speech in this House on the Vietnam Moratorium I quoted from the Fina] Declaration of the Geneva Conference the section relating to the agreement to the holding of elections in Vietnam. I said that this was an agreement that the United States of America signed. The Minister, in reply to an arranged question, denied that the United States had done so. The United States attached itself to certain aspects of the Geneva Agreements, as the Minister for once correctly pointed out, by issuing a declaration. The Minister has apparently relied for that reference on a publication by his Department entitled Vietnam Since 1954 Geneva Agreements'. On page 17 of that publication there is what purports to be the United States declaration issued in July 1954. The declaration was, in fact, made by the United States Under-Secretary of State, Walter B. Smith, in Geneva on 21st July 1954. For a very curious reason the text of the actual statement is not as reproduced in the publication of the Department of External Affairs.

To set the record straight I should like to add from the real text the very next paragraph that follows the truncated version that appears in this Government's publication. I quote from the Department of State Bulletin, Volume 31, No. 788, dated 2nd August 1954, page 162, as follows:

In connection with the statement in the declaration concerning free elections in Vietnam my Government wishes to make clear its position which it has expressed in a declaration made in Washington on 29th June 1954 as follows:

In the case of nations now divided against their will, we shall continue to seek to achieve unity through free elections supervised by the United Nations to ensure that they are conducted fairly.

The United States, by that declaration, agreed to the holding of elections. The 1954 Agreement laid down that the elections would be supervised by the International Control Commission, that they would be free elections and that they would be by secret ballot. The Minister for External Affairs persists with the lie that the North Vietnamese alone were responsible for violating the Geneva Agreement. Now, under pressure, he is adopting the rather curious stance that the United States by not signing all of the Agreement and adhering to all of the Agreement could not possibly violate it, but the United States participated in the conference and pledged itself under its declaration to refrain from the threat of force or the use of force.

In previous speeches in this House I have already quoted from the International Control Commission reports proving that the United States was guilty of violating the Agreement. I want now to quote from the 1962 report of the ICC which proves that South Vietnam and the United States hindered the operations of the Commission. I quote from age 41 as follows:

Since December 1961, the Commission's teams in South Vietnam have been persistently denied the right to control and inspect, which are part of their mandatory tasks. Thus these teams, though they were able to observe the steady and continuous arrival of war material, including aircraft carriers with helicopters on board, were unable, in view of the denial of controls, to determine precisely the quantum and nature of war material unloaded and introduced into South Vietnam.

Mr Holten - How important!

Mr MORRISON - It is very important for one simple reason: It makes a lie of everything the Australian Government has been saying in the last 3 weeks. We have circumstances when publications that carry the imprint of this Government fail to give the full text of those sorts of agreements that it finds itself not happy with; and I have pointed out on previous occasions where in official publications of the Department of External Affairs, approved by the Minister for External Affairs, 1 side of the case has been given and the other side completely omitted. This is the sort of Government we have - a government that can only thrive if it falls back on the lies and deceptions that it has perpetrated.

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