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Thursday, 2 May 1957

Mr CASEY (Minister for External Affairs) - I did read of the statement with some astonishment. I think it was just before Easter that the Leader of the Opposition not only appeared to advocate, but did in fact advocate, unilateral abandonment of nuclear weapons tests. The simple fact is that we cannot have nuclear defence without testing nuclear weapons, just as we cannot develop new tanks or aircraft without testing them. This Government's policy is that nuclear defence must be maintained by all countries that are in a position to maintain it, unless and until there is an internationally agreed scheme for the limitation of both nuclear and orthodox armaments, accompanied by a rigid and water-tight system of inspection so that, once the scheme has been agreed upon, neither side can depart from it and, in popular parlance, do the dirty on the rest of the world. The most strenuous possible efforts to achieve disarmament have been made, in particular by Great Britain anr1 the United States of America, for a number of years now. I commend those efforts and the many proposals that have been advanced for the attainment of this end to the attention of not only the Leader of the Opposition but also of Opposition members generally.

It is always possible, of course, to have what is called peace if you are prepared to give in to the other side. I do not believe that the democratic side, as exemplified in particular by our Mother Country, Great Britain, and the United States is willing to give in to the other side. The inference of the Leader of the Opposition's statement just before Easter was that if our side were to make a high moral gesture and give up nuclear tests, this would be followed by a moral gesture from the Soviet Union. Well, I know of no evidence whatsoever to give one the slightest hint that Russia would follow a moral lead of that nature. I do not believe that Russia is motivated by moral considerations at all. Anyone who is in any measure of doubt on that subject might consider what went on in Hungary in October and November.

Mr Calwell - I rise to order. The Minister is making a statement on the question of control of nuclear weapons. Under the Standing Orders he may do that, but he should not abuse the hospitality of the House by inspiring questions so that he can make long-winded speeches.

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