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Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 573

Mr HOWARD —I ask the Prime Minister: Is he able to confirm the official American interpretation of recent satellite photographs of Cam Ranh Bay that this base constitutes the largest Soviet naval facility outside the Soviet Union-an interpretation which is clearly at odds with the claim by the Minister-Counsellor at the Soviet Embassy in Canberra that no such naval base exists at Cam Ranh Bay? Do these satellite photographs confirm the permanent deployment of one squadron of MiG 23 Flogger fighters, squadrons of Bear and Badger long range strike bombers, the presence of Soviet Echo and Foxtrot submarines and surface combatant ships? Will the Government's impending White Paper on defence take full account of the Soviet build-up at Cam Ranh Bay and the adverse impact that this build-up will have on regional security?

Mr HAWKE —I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. He will appreciate that I will not go into details of intelligence that we have. However, it is nonsense to say that there is not a build-up of Soviet military capacities at Cam Ranh Bay, and I will not engage in such a nonsense. I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that I believe that when he hears the statement of the Minister for Defence and sees the Government's White Paper, he should be satisfied that the considerations involved in his question will have been seen to have been taken into account in the White Paper.