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Monday, 10 September 1984
Page: 690


Senator CHIPP —I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs a question on the same subject as that raised by Senator Tate. I refer to the outrageous and shameful statement, allegedly emanating from Mr Cox in Washington over the weekend, that the President of the United States of America can and would if he judged necessary launch a nuclear first strike without reference to Congress. In the lengthy and informative answer which the Attorney gave, I could not pick up whether he stated that the Australian Government has reacted to this report by specifically asking the United States Government to state categorically to the Australian Government that under no circumstances would the United States or its President use a pre-emptive option without consulting Congress and, in particular, any pre-emptive option in response to an overwhelming conventional superiority of the Soviet Union. Will he ask the Prime Minister, in view of the cloud over this issue upon which the survival of the world could depend, to have a categorical, unequivocal view from the President of the United States that under no circumstances would the United States use that option?


Senator GARETH EVANS —My reply to Senator Tate did not address the particular matter to which Senator Chipp has now referred. I will raise the matter with the Minister for Foreign Affairs or, in his absence, the Prime Minister, as Senator Chipp indicated, and seek such response as he may be prepared to make.