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Tuesday, 16 October 1956

Mr CASEY - Yes, I am, of course, aware of the facts contained in the question that the honorable gentleman has been good enough to ask me. The Australian position in respect of this matter has, I think, never been in doubt. Since the matter arose in 1954, Australia has strongly supported the existence and the maintenance of Dutch sovereignty over West New Guinea. The Government deplores this matter again being brought into the United Nations. It has already been twice before that body and, presumably, it will now come up for a third time. Our attitude does not necessitate, I think, any further repetition in the Parliament. It has been clear in the past, and I think it is clear to-day. It is precisely what it has been ever since this matter, we believe quite wrongly, and without international advantage, was first brought before the United Nations. We do not believe that any solution can be found in the United Nations, and we greatly deplore the fact that it has been brought up again for inter national discussion, which we believe on this occasion, as on all previous occasions, can lead only to an increase in bitterness between the principal participants. We deplore anything that makes for increased bitterness between Holland and Indonesia and, at one short remove, between Indonesia and Australia. We have tried to show, by the most practical means at our disposal, that Australia wishes to have the best possible relations with Indonesia. This is the only matter out of a very great many matters in which Indonesia and ourselves are in any way at odds. The Australian delegation at the United Nations will do everything possible to avoid a recrudescence of bitterness in this matter. Nothing good can come out of extreme statements on the matter by Indonesia. We will, of course, do everything we can to maintain our past stand, and everything we can to maintain our support of Holland's sovereignty, but equally, we will do everything possible to avoid bitterness in this matter.

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