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Tuesday, 10 November 1959

Mr Cairns asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -

1.   Is there any documentary or other evidence concerning the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament, including that relating to the interview between Brigadier Spry and Professor Stout?

2.   Did he state recently that this evidence would be made available upon request by a member?

3.   Is it a fact that questions seeking this evidence have been asked, but so far no reply has been made?

4.   Is it possible to obtain this evidence only by private arrangement?

5.   Was this method employed in the case of Professor Stout?

6.   Will he table in the House without delay all the documentary or other evidence related to the congress?

Sir Garfield Barwick - This question is sufficiently answered by the answer to the earlier question on this subject to-day.

Mr Cairns asked the acting Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

1.   Was a letter, dated 20th August, 1959, written by the acting Secretary of the Department of External Affairs to Professor Sir Marcus Oliphant regarding the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament? 2. (a) Was the letter written at the direction of the Minister for External Affairs? (b) What are the names of any other persons to whom a similar letter was written? (c) Was the information in the letter supplied to the persons to whom it was written to assist them to deal with any influences in the congress which might defeat its objectives? (d) If so, was it considered desirable that persons who would safeguard the objectives of the congress should be encouraged to attend? 3. (a) Was the letter based upon, or derived from information supplied by the Security Service?

(b)   Does he intend to continue to supply similar information to private individuals? (c) Did the notes which were referred to in the letter consist of no more than aims or objectives of some person or persons which may or may not be achieved? .(d) Will these objectives pc aims succeed to the extent that those opposed to them are discouraged from attending the congress?

(e)   Has Government action in relation to the congress tended to discourage the attendance of these people? (f) Can he say whether this was the case in respect of Professor Stout and Sir Marcus Oliphant? (g) Is it possible that the Government's action will further the objective or aims set out in the letter?

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

1.   Yes. 2. (a) Yes. (b) Letters were written to some other persons who, it was thought, might find this information useful. It would not be proper to make public their names without their permission.

(c)   and (d) The purpose of the letters was to inform the recipients on an important aspect of the congress. 3. (a) Yes: The information was based on detailed statements made in Communist publications.

(b)   Whether or not established information as to Communist Party activities should be given in like circumstances to those under which the letter was written would be a matter for the Minister.

(c)   No: they referred to definite plans, (d), (e),

(f)   and (g) These questions do not seek information.

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