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Tuesday, 10 November 1959

Mr Cairns asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that Brigadier Spry of the Australian Security Service recently interviewed Professor Stout of the Sydney University?

2.   How was the arrangement for that interview made?

3.   May a similar arrangement be made in the future by any person who desires to receive information of the kind conveyed by Brigadier Spry?

4.   Is it possible for any private member of Parliament to arrange these interviews?

5.   If not, why were the arrangements made in this case?

6.   What information was made available by Brigadier Spry to Professor Stout?

7.   Can any further information be supplied about the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament; if so, what?

Sir Garfield Barwick - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The Director-General of Security did have a conversation with Professor Stout on 1st October, 1959. 2 to 6. I refer to the speech of the right honorable the Prime Minister and to my answers to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition in this House on 27th October last ("Hansard", pages 2279-2280). Professor Stout was given information as to the relationship between the forthcoming Melbourne Congress and the Stockholm Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament, held under the auspices of the World Peace Council. His attention was drawn to some of the information referred to in paragraphs 15, 16, 17, sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) and the last two clauses of sub-paragraph (c), and paragraph 19, of the next answer. No information and no documents were given, shown or read to the professor which had not been widely publicized by the press, by the congress itself or by the Communist Party of Australia or its front organizations. Whether or not information as to Communist activities should be given in like circumstances would be a matter for the appropriate Minister. 7. (1) To answer this question it is necessary to trace the formation and development of the World Peace Council and its offshoot in Australia - the Australian Peace Council.

(2)   The World Peace Council had its genesis in a World Peace Congress convened on the instructions of the Cominform in Poland in 1948 and steps were taken to set up national committees for the defence of peace in every country. The World Peace Council was thus formed on the initiative of the Soviet Union as an instrument of Soviet foreign policy, the aim being to so reduce the resistance and capacity for resistance of the Western countries that peace in the form of Communist domination can ensue. The council is the key Communist front organization to carry out this policy, and is generally accepted as such. The council first established its headquarters in Paris, but was expelled by the French Government for "fifth column" activities in 1951 and had to move to Prague. It held a meeting in Vienna in November, 1951. Australians who attended were the Reverend A. M. Dickie and the Reverend F. J. Hartley, now chairman and treasurer respectively of the Melbourne congress. In 1954 the council moved its head-quarters again, on this occasion to Vienna, where it established itself under Soviet protection in the Russian sector of that city.

In 1955 the Soviet occupation troops withdrew, and Austria regained her independence. In February, 1957, the Austrian Government announced that it had banned the World Peace Council and that its offices would be closed. In doing so the Austrian Government stated that the council had " interfered in the internal affairs of countries with which Austria has good and friendly relations ", The immediate past president of the World Peace Council was Professor Frederic Joliot Curie, who was also a member of the Central Committee of the French Communist Party.

(3)   The Official Report of Proceedings of the 19th Commonwealth Triennial Conference of the Australian Labour Party held at Canberra on 1st March, 1951, Federal Executive Report, clause 4, Korea, section (4), page 10, reports as follows: - " We further denounce so-called Peace Councils as instruments of Soviet imperialism, and we warn members of the Australian Labour Movement against being involved with appeals of organizations which exploit the desire for peace in the interests of Russian plans."

(4)   In 1955 the Hobart conference of the Australian Labour Party, as reported in the Official Report of Proceedings of the twenty-first Com monwealth Conference, adopted the following report of the federal executive (pp. 10-11): -

Eligibility of Members of the A.L.P. to Associate with Peace Conventions: -

Your Executive made the following determination on Peace Conventions: -

The Executive again draws attention to the resolutions of the 1951 Conference concerning so-called Peace Conventions organised openly or covertly by the Communist Party. In June, 1952, the strategy of these bodies in relation to Korea was exposed in a resolution of this Executive. The Executive now declares that it is Communist strategy to use these conventions to represent the West as aggressive and the exclusive centre of danger to World Peace; to conceal the aggressive actions of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and in Asia; and to bring about negotiations between Communistregimes and the West under circumstances when territorial concessions will be made by the West in return for concessions which have no substance. The Executive draws attention to Communist aggression in Korea, IndoChina, Tibet, Malaya, the Philippines, and to Communist activities in Burma. It is a characteristic of the Peace Convention propaganda to use legitimate national aspirations for independence to conceal the Communist use of these aspirations. Whether a nation has attained independence or is a colonial territory is ultimately irrelevant to Communist purposes, which are what all significant Communist writings reveal, namely, the penetration of every country with Communist ideology and the establishment of irremovable Communist dictatorships. The Labor Party defines from time to time the bodies which are Communist influenced, and does not intend to discourage organisations genuinely concerned for peace free from Communist influence. The best instrument for peace is the United Nations Organization and its agencies. The Labor Party warns against the " Peace Conference of Asian and Pacific Regions " to be held probably in Peking from March 1 to 15, 1954, under the sponsorship of the World Peace Council. The purpose of this conference is to advocate concessions to Communist regimes and further the spread of Communist ideology in Asia. This accords with the 1948 decision of the Cominform - " To absorb the East ideologically and militarily ".


(5)   The Australian Peace Council was formed in 1949. The foundation executive committee. as reported in the journal " Peace ", published by the Australian Peace Council, in April, 1950, included the Rev. A. M. Dickie as chairman and honorary treasurer, the Rev. F. J. Hartley as a joint honorary secretary, and Mr. J. Rodgers. The Australian Peace Council has continued in existence, and a recent letterhead showed the Rev. A. M. Dickie as chairman and the Rev. F. J. Hartley as a joint secretary.

(6)   The Official Report of the Proceedings of the Nineteenth Commonwealth Triennial Conference of the Australian Labour Party, held at Canberra on 1st March, 1951, Federal Executive Report, clause 9, Australian Peace Council, page 11, reports as follows: -

Your Executive gave consideration to the standing of the Australian Peace Council in relation to the Australian Labor Party and determined as follows: -

That this Federal Executive being of the opinion that the Australian Peace Council is a subsidiary organisation of the Communist Party, we therefore declare that it is not competent for any member of the A.L.P. to be associated therewith and remain a member of the A.L.P., and further, we refer to Labor support of U.N.O. as a worthy medium aiding the advancement of real world peace.

(7)   The Prime Minister, in a statement in this House on the 16th September, 1953, stressed the relationship between the World Peace Council, the Australian Peace Council and the Communist Party: a statement from which in this respect the Right Honorable the Leader of the Opposition did not dissent (Hansard, 16th September, 1953, pp. 257-260).

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