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Tuesday, 9 April 1957

Mr CASEY (Minister for External Affairs) - There is no immediate, or even any, proposal that Australia, either alone or with any other country, should take the lead in this matter of bringing the Middle East disputes before the Security Council of the United Nations. The position is that the Government of the United States of America, through its accredited representatives in Cairo, has been engaging in a series of talks with the Egyptian authorities during the last week or ten days. Those discussions have not yet reached any definitive point, although, as I think I said in answer to a question last week. I personally believe that they do not appear to show any very great prospect of what would be internationally regarded as success. I would think that the best policy is to allow those talks to continue to whatever end may be achieved. After that, as I said last week, I would expect that the matter would have to go back in some form or other to the United Nations, and probably, in the first place, to the Security Council. I give this opinion as a result of a consideration of what I believe is an almost inevitable prospect. To answer the right honorable gentleman's question precisely. Australia has not, either by itself or with any other country, made any positive move towards bringing the matter before the Security Council.

Dr Evatt - France was the nation mentioned.

Mr CASEY - I know that France has been mentioned, but there is no truth in that rumour. We are in constant discussion by telegram with our principal friends in this matter, putting forward suggestions that we believe to be useful. As I say, however, we are not making any positive move; nor would 1 expect that Australia would take the lead in this matter, even if it reaches the stage of a reference to the Security Council.

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