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Thursday, 4 April 1957


Mr MORGAN (Reid) .- The fate of Australia will be determined more by events in Asia than by events in the Middle East. Many people, instead of facing the problem that confronts us in the north, prefer to steer away from it or to adopt an ostrich-like attitude to it because of its frightening magnitude and apparently insoluble nature. We are in the Asian sphere, whether we like it or not, and we must reconcile ourselves to that fact. We must play our part in forming relations with the peoples of Asian countries and learn to get along with them. In the past, we looked from afar at those countries. We knew little of the true character, customs and traditions of their peoples. Our isolation was our salvation, and we could afford to take little, if any, interest in these people and their welfare. But that holds good no longer. Fast means of communication in peace or war have brought to us a new awareness of the existence of these people and their importance in the scheme of things. Civil aircraft can take one from Sydney to Tokyo within 24 hours and bring one back within another 24 hours. The distance from Sydney to Tokyo is more than 4,000 miles. Jet war planes can travel much faster than that. Then we have the threat of guided missiles and other frightening weapons of destruction. Submarines could stand 300 or 400 miles off our shores and drop such weapons on our cities.

Our past attitude to the people of Asia has been conditioned by the fear of being swamped by them, either as a result of peaceful penetration or as a result of more forceful methods, or even by having our standards of living broken down by the unfair competition of coolie standards, which obtain in those countries. That is why we have raised trade and immigration barriers for our own protection and selfpreservation. That is understandable, and our viewpoint is acknowledged by all fair-minded Asian leaders. But there is another side to the picture, and one that is being exploited to the full by ambitious and powerseeking individuals in Asia. To explain that statement it is necessary only to direct attention to the map of this part of the world, in which Australia looms large, with an area of about 3,000,000 square miles and a population of under 10,000,000 people, as against the area of South-East Asia of about 3,750,000 square miles and nearly 800,000,000 people, or roughly 80 times Australia's population. Communist China covers also about 3,750,000 square miles, and has a population of about 600,000,000. So approximately two-thirds of the world's population lives in an area only two and a half times the size of Australia.

It is understandable, therefore, that, some people in Asia look with envious eyes on Australia, and regard it as a great unpopulated continent suitable for use in draining off their surplus millions of people. And their leaders have no great interest - and no great reason to care - in explaining some of the facts regarding Australia; for instance, that Australia is the driest and flattest of the continents, with no high mountains and wide, flowing rivers such as have fertilized great areas of South-East Asia. Those countries are immersed in their own problems and in what to do about their living standards and where to place their teeming millions. Communist China, with its population increasing at the rate of 15,000,000 a year, and Japan and India whose populations increase in a similar proportion, have had to consider the adoption of birth control as a means of limiting population. But that is not the full answer to the problem; nor is the help being given under the Colombo plan, or by the United

Nations, or directly by the United States, sufficient to cope with the problem, appreciated as it may be by the recipients.

A great proportion of the economic strength of the South-East Asian countries is expended on defence. In some cases the proportion is as high as 70 per cent, or 80 per cent, of a country's total budget. That will continue to be so while the present state of world tension exists. That tension can be broken only by a better understanding between East and West and by our helping the Asian people to stand on their own feet and be more self-reliant, and to industrialize their countries. Some very constructive suggestions and resolutions in this regard resulted from the recent InterParliamentary Union conference at Bangkok, which I had the honour of attending, with other honorable members, as an Australian delegate. I commend those suggestions and resolutions to honorable members for their consideration, but I have not time to canvass them now.

If we do not help the Asian people in this way, and maintain their goodwill, another, and, for us, more unpalatable solution will be found for them. The sleeping giant of Asia is at last rousing, and there are ambitious men at the helm in some parts of that vast continent. That was well illustrated at Bandung when 27 Afro-Asian nations, half of which gained their independence only in the last ten years and are still politically immature, were welded into one solid group to speak and act with one voice on matters of mutual interest. One decision made at that conference, which vitally affects Australia, was to support the Indonesian claims to sovereignty over West New Guinea. That support was reiterated in Peking last October, at the celebrations of the October revolution, and supplemented by a similar number of nations, including the Soviet bloc, at the United Nations in December, when those nations actually succeeded in getting a majority of members of that body to support the Indonesian claim.

It was probably that gathering at Bandung which gave Colonel Nasser his inspiration, let him feel his strength as an Afro-Asian leader with visions of becoming another Genghiz Khan, and led him to take his stand over Suez. Also, Dr. Soekarno and Chou En-lai, who were prominent at that conference, pledged their mutual support.

It is what is in the hearts and minds of these leaders that deeply concerns us, and it is significant that Australia was deliberately excluded from participation in that conference, although some of the Commonwealth nations had suggested that we should be invited. We should not, therefore, be gulled because of the undoubtedly peaceloving, gentle and devout nature of the people ruled by those leaders, because the more sheep-like and peaceful people are the more prone they are to come under the heel of dictators, as happened in Germany, Russia, Italy and Japan under Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Tojo. They are also liable to become conditioned by propaganda, and have generated in them fear and hate of the peoples of other countries till the whole mass of peoples becomes demoniacal. Such a process is now taking place in Asia. I should like to quote, in that regard, from an article which appeared in the Hobart " Mercury ", on Tuesday, 2nd April. The article was written by Mr. Francis James, the editor of the " Anglican " newspaper, who was recently a member of that muchpublicized delegation to Communist China led by Dr. Mowll. The heading of the report is, " Only a handful of people in red China know what is happening in world ". The article reads, in part -

In short, the Chinese Government is very well informed, but it keeps the information very much to itself. My experience is that the Chinese people - including newspaper editors, let alone lesser journalistic lights - just don't know what is happening overseas. *

Just how it is possible for any one to express an opinion, particularly about international relations, without free and continuous access to all the facts, I do not know.

If you are a journalist, you're trapped. You must agree with the " line " or you just stop being a journalist.

And what is the line?

In the broadest terms, the line is by suppression, distortion, and careful regulation so to conduct a newspaper that its readers are given only such facts and views as will ensure their continued support of the Communist Government.

The Chinese press functions solely as an instrument of propaganda, in morally the most disreputable sense.

Then he goes on to tell how the news concerning Hungary was suppressed in China. He writes -

As for Hungary itself, I know this. Just over 200 people in the heart of the Chinese administration knew all the facts. And they were plenty worried.

Accordingly, the Australian people must have a greater awareness of, and take a more intelligent interest in, Asian affairs and the problems of the people of Asia, as was advocated at recent conferences of the Labour party in Hobart and Brisbane. Our own newspapers could give a lead in that direction by giving more coverage to hems on international affairs, and also by publishing more positive items of news instead of trie sloppy sensationalism that we have now in many of our Australian newspapers, which treat the great bulk of the Australian people as morons. 1 was surprised to find during my recent tour through South-East Asia the volume of coverage that is given in the papers of those countries to positive items of news and particularly matters of an international nature. 1 refer, of course, to the free countries that I went to. I did not have an opportunity to go behind the iron curtain or the bamboo curtain. I would suggest, as the Labour conference advocated, that frequent goodwill visits should be made by people of all sections of the community. In the past our ambassadors have been mostly our soldiers - they were sent away to fight, and no doubt acquitted themselves well as fighting men - traders, and V.I.P's. Let us have trade unionists and young people and people from all sections of the community exchanging goodwill missions with the peoples of Asia. That is the only way that we can get the real facts on the situation that exists there.

My own visits have given me a much clearer picture than I held previously and have caused me considerable concern. I had an opportunity to go right along the bamboo curtain. As I said before, I was unable to get to the mainland, although I endeavoured to get there, as I was anxious to see both sides of the picture. However, I did glean something from many people who had come from behind the bamboo curtain, including some who had escaped from the mainland to Formosa. In one instance we met a number of the Chinese Communist volunteers, who had gone into Korea to fight the United Nations forces and had been made prisoners of war there. At the conclusion of the armistice between the United Nations forces and the Communists, they were given an opportunity to go back to the mainland of China, or to Formosa, and 80 per cent, of them chose to go to free China in Formosa. Many of them are among the commandos who are now there awaiting the opportunity to rein.vade the mainland. In Hong Kong there are 2,000,000 refugees from the mainland. In Viet Nam there are 1,000,000 refugees from North Viet Nam, which is under the control of Communist forces.

The Chinese are an inscrutable race. It is said that they talk mostly with their feet and that one can only tell what is in their minds by the direction in which they walk. Perhaps that is a clear indication of what the Chinese people really think of what is going on behind the bamboo curtain. They have no misconceptions whatever as to the nature of the terror that exists there.

Many of the countries of South-East Asia act as bastions to stem the red tide from sweeping further south. That is something that we, in Australia, must keep in mind when we criticize the regimes in these particular countries, whether or not they are backed by the United States. Not very long ago we were very glad to be backed by the United States ourselves and to see United States warships off our coast. Perhaps the time will come when we will be pleased to see them there again. To the Opposition the overriding factor in that area is that Communist China and Nationalist China are virtually at war and our fate will depend on the outcome of the struggle. I would like to quote the remarks of Professor Fitzgerald, Professor of Far Eastern History at the Canberra National University, in an address at Canberra University College, reported in the press of 27th March, 1957. The professor said that hostilities between Nationalist China, located on Formosa, and Communist China were in fact civil war. In its seven years of actual diplomatic relations with China, Australia had gained remarkable prestige with Chinese of both political factions, but the Australian people did not wish to become a party, even indirectly, to the civil war that still divided the Chinese of the mainland from Formosa. I quite agree. The Australian people do not want to be involved in that conflict in any way if it can possibly be avoided, but we may have no say in the matter. If Australia, by its good offices, could bring about in any way at all a better understanding between the peoples of the two Chinas, then we should make every endeavour to do so. Perhaps that could be brought about through the United

Nations. For instance, as I suggested when I was up there, a committee of the United Nations could be set up to survey the situation that exists in China and explore the possibilities of a reconciliation. But my own impression was that it was just wishful thinking, and that there seemed to be little hope of reconciliation at the present time. I wish it were otherwise, because the Chinese are a fine industrious race, but the situation as I gathered it is so tense and bitter that it will ultimately be decided by a showdown of arms. This could be triggered off at any time, just as World War I. was triggered off by the shooting of an archduke in Serbia, and just as the Mukden incident in Manchuria really started World War II. Australia could be drawn into such a conflict sooner or later. It is a situation that could develop overnight. Hong Kong could go in a matter of hours, just as Singapore went in the last war. That would no doubt automatically bring Great Britain into it and Australia ultimately would join her, as we have done on previous occasions.

Therefore, I submit that whilst strengthening our diplomacy to avert such a dire situation, we also should strengthen our defence to minimize the consequences, and that we should, while trusting in the Lord, keep our powder dry. We should always remember that the Communist leaders are dedicated Marxists. The present-day leaders in Communist China were trained in Moscow 25 years ago. They set themselves to conquer China in the space of 25 years, and they achieved just that. We should have no illusions about their aim; it is a completely Sovietized Asia, including Australia. A definite target date has been set for that. Ten years is the time mentioned, and already a couple of years of that has gone by. They plan to take over or dominate all Asia. With a Soviet Europe, the history of the days of Genghiz Khan, 600 years ago, will repeat itself, but on a much more stupendous scale. We should have no illusions about what is ahead in that regard, and if we do not sit up and take notice we deserve all that is coming to us.

Mention has been made of the recognition of red China, but that does not involve acceptance or agreement with that regime. There could be no more vital misunderstanding than to confuse these two things - recognition of red China and the acceptance of the regime there as being a proper form of government. I can personally find no virtue in or generate any admiration for a regime that has liquidated large numbers of its own people, variously estimated at 20,000,000 to 25,000,000, and which still has a similar number in slave-labour concentration camps. 1 agree with the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) that any recognition for diplomatic and trade purposes would have to be accompanied by adequate safeguards, not only for the free Chinese people in South-East Asia and Formosa, but for the Australian people themselves. That must be the paramount consideration, as recognition for trade and diplomacy automatically opens up the channels of subversion which is the principal weapon of communism and red China.







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