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Thursday, 27 April 1961


Mr HAYLEN (Parkes) . - The matter being discussed to-night is the meeting between the Prime Minister of Australia (Mr. Menzies) and General Nasution of Indonesia. The subject of their talks was the trigger spot of West New Guinea, how to avoid conflict there, and how to bring about peace in that area. We could make a great deal of trouble amongst ourselves here as Australians by raking over the ugly history of colonialism and making allegations as to who supported colonialism. But it is too late for that kind of talk. The winds of change have blown all those old orders away. What we must think of now is the position of Indonesia, Holland and their dependent peoples. The basic problem that faces us to-day is not who is to make war but who is to make peace. This meeting of two men to discuss the relative values of their causes reminds me of the preamble to the constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - words which rank with the Gettysburg Address or any other of the magnificent statements of policy and human achievement that have ever been uttered in the world. That preamble states - . . that since wars begin in the minds of men it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed; the ignorance of each other's ways and lives has been a common cause throughout the history of mankind of that suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war; that the great and terrible war which has now ended-

This was shortly after the end of the last war - was a war made possible by the denial of the democratic principles of the dignity, equality and mutual respects of men . . . that the wide diffusion of culture and the education of humanity for justice and liberty and peace are indispensable to the dignity of man . ._ . that a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world . . .

That is what we seek to-day - to preserve the peace by human understanding. To that end nothing could be better than that the minds of men should meet. It was a very good thing that General Nasution came to this country. It was a very good thing that the Prime Minister met him and that we extended Australian courtesy to him. It was a very good thing that we stated our position as bluntly and as rigidly as he did his.

The meeting between the Prime Minister and General Nasution was a meeting of the minds of men. I would have been happier if more honorable members could have met the general in, say, the King's Hall where we could have tested his mettle and had an opportunity to understand his point of view. That opportunity was reserved to the top levels of government - perforce I know - but it would have been a good thing if more of us could have met him so that we could have gauged, through our own feelings and sensitivity, what he was thinking. I hope that this will be done when we next have such an important visitor.

The meeting of men together is the salvation of the world. If we believe in the United Nations we must agree that international problems cannot be solved by the clash of arms and the horror of bloody conflict, or by empty rhetoric as to who is right - Holland or Indonesia - in this present situation. Any honorable member who believes in such a solution will not have my support. We must shed some of our nationalism, some of our superficialities and some of our fears and look at this problem in the light of the circumstances existing in the world to-day. The meeting between the Prime Minister and General Nasution was a memorable one. It was a useful meeting and of considerable value to us as well as to the rest of the world. What did Australia gain from this meeting? Some clearcut statements were made by our distinguished visitor and we on our part also made some definite assertions. In his speech to-night the Prime Minister said that so far as General Nasution was concerned there was no retreat whatever by Indonesia from its claim to West Irian. The Prime Minister said that General Nasution felt that Indonesia had a claim to West New Guinea on historical and political grounds - that the area had1 been part of Indonesia before the Dutch colonizers came to the Spice Islands. General Nasution admitted - this is at least a point of information if not of understanding - that there had been infiltration of West New Guinea by Indonesian forces, but said that those forces were not under the direct control of Djakarta. General Nasution claimed that the Dutch had landed a foraying party in a remote part of Indonesia. He said that that party had landed on the outer eastern islands of Indonesia, where the central Government still does not have full control.

General Nasution said that Indonesia would not accept a United Nations trusteeship over West New Guinea unless it was a bridge to the eventual handing over of the area to the Indonesians. He also said that Indonesia would not have recourse to the International Court on this matter. He claimed that Australia should remain neutral in discussions with the Dutch over West New Guinea and he implied or charged that we were making military preparations in New Guinea. At least these matters were brought into the open and they are matters that the minds of men can answer immediately. We were able to deny emphatically that we were making military preparations in New Guinea and I believe that General Nasution accepted our denial without reservation. He was re-assured on that point. This is another step forward in the mutual understanding between men towards the preservation of peace.

The Australian viewpoints were put forward with emphasis. The Prime Minister said that in any attempt to resolve the problem there must be no use of armed force. He said also that there must be free negotiations between the parties. He said that there must be a respect for existing agreements - I hope without leaning over backwards to one side or the other. The Prime Minister said that there must be an adherence to the decisions of the United Nations and that a policy of development leading to self-determination must be pursued in the trusteeship territories. A policy of development in the trust territories, leading to self-determination, which is not covered by appropriate aid, would be merely a political term. Where do we stand in relation to these two opposing propositions? For us in the Labour Party this presents no problem. We have a policy on West New Guinea, newly formulated in Canberra in the first week in April, which is clear-cut and decisive and binding on us all. I beg leave to read sentences which my leader has already quoted in relation to New Guinea -

The Labour Party will support and co-operate in the efforts of the United Nations to resolve the present dispute over West New Guinea so as to avoid armed conflict.

Back and back we come to that phrase - " so as to avoid armed conflict ", so that this half of the western hemisphere - the South-East Asian portion of the world - can be saved from bloodshed and so that the new and emergent forces can discuss their aspirations with each other, rather than have an armed camp looking at another armed camp over a fence of aggression, as it were.

Before I return to our task and obligations as Labour men on this clear-cut statement, I should like to refer to the two voices of Australia. What is the good of telling the Indonesians that we respect their aspirations? What is the good of saying to the Dutch that we will not do anything to worsen their position and telling them " You have a sovereignty which must be respected " - those are the words of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) - when we speak in the United Nations in a different voice altogether. There has not been anything so cowardly. If we believe that we ought to fight for peace, it does not matter who comes to dislike us as the result of it and what friends we lose temporarily, because we believe that the only prize in the world to-day is peace perpetual - peace everlasting. Let us recognize that we cannot speak with two voices. I think it is a good voice in Canberra, where the Opposition can keep the Government in line - that is so in a democracy - but in the United Nations, to our eternal discredit, we abstained from voting.

I have heard the words " selfdetermination " bandied here like a new slogan, but what happens when we put it to the United Nations? Russia said, " Let us give all these countries freedom immediately". What did the Afro-Asians say? People denounce them, but I believe they are a moderating force in the United Nations. I understand from my very good friend and comrade, the honorable member for Banks (Mr. Costa) that he holds that opinion, too. He has brought some very fine information back to the Labour movement from his recent visit to the United Nations. As I said, 1 believe that the Afro-Asians are a moderating force. When some people talked glibly about handing the territory over, the Afro-Asians said: " No. Selfdetermination! " That was clear-cut enough, but what happened to us? Despite the phrases we heard mouthed in this House, we abstained from voting. I ask the Government: Do we believe in selfdetermination or is it just a pious platitude? Do we believe in it here and not believe in it in the United Nations? The eyes of the world are on the attitude of Australia. Australia makes a pretty powerful show of strength concerning these things and if the Government is to be respected for showing a democratic attitude, we must have a level line on this matter.

As I said before, the Afro-Asian bloc in the United Nations is not hostile to Australia. It is a moderating force and its strength has increased the deliberative and humanitarian forces of the Assembly. Sierra Leone and other new nations will become members. When the Commonwealth Prime Ministers visit the Queen each year, or whenever their conferences are held, and when matters are discussed in the United Nations, the coloured man is in increasing numbers and he shows a great disposition to be very human and understanding and not to be led by the nose by anybody. But when we arouse in him the fear of being the under-dog he reacts, and we have to be with him and understand him. How dare we talk about self-determination and colonialism when we look at our aborigines! How dare we talk about selfdetermination when it has a pious meaning - some social programme where we build a school but have no teachers or where we build a hospital and have nobody to man it! What the under-developed nations want is economic aid and hard cash as well as good brains and an honest heart to help them lift themselves. up by. the boots strings.. As I said before, the self-determination programme has to be real. It must have an economic basis and for that reason, when we say anything about this situation, we have to be prepared to stand up to our own history in this matter.

Now what I have to say in regard to New Guinea is complimentary in regard to the devoted work done there - and when I say " New Guinea " I mean the trust Territory. Anybody who has visited New Guinea not just recently but over a number of years will have seen that there is one marvellous corps at least in New Guinea. I refer to the men in the fields, the district magistrates, the patrol officers and the servants who in the bush and the uplands and highlands work with the natives and understand what their problem is. As a corps of workers in an under-privileged and under-developed and dependent Territory this body of men stands second to none in the world.

If we want to put a proposition to our friends the Indonesians; if we want to put a proposition to out friends the Dutch; or if we want to put a proposition in the chancellery of the world, the United Nations, we have to say what we have done with our trust territory. If West New Guinea is to become a trust territory, the decision of the Labour Party is that it must be as the result of the determination of the United Nations, and we can point the way with aid and help. It was not until recent years that the Dutch took any real interest in West New Guinea. They had Java, the spice island, whose perfume on the breeze, the poet said, could be smelt in the far Moluccas. It was the island of diamonds, oil, rubber and lush tropical growth. Not to be compared with it were the arid caverns and ravines and abysses of West New Guinea. The last-named was worthless until it became politically interesting. That statement may be true of the attitude of both sides in this matter, but if we are to resolve the proposition we must have a proper human understanding. We want to create, not war, but peace in the hearts of men. We have to understand two viewpoints.

What is the first proposition? I submit, in the same tenor as the speech was made by my leader, that we can give great help in developing the native population - the people who live off the soil and have been there for goodness knows how many centuries - and giving them the know-how. Let us not fall into the trap of making a liberal statement and then supporting ancient regimes. They are gone. Mr. Macmillan has said the winds of change are blowing throughout Africa. They are blowing not only throughout Africa but through the East and West Indies also. It is my belief - it has nothing to do with my political convictions or decisions - that the Dutch will go from West New Guinea in six or ten years, and the question of who fills the vacuum is going to be the trouble. Understanding on both sides may produce something peaceful and sensible out of what could be an armed conflict over possession of what is only a piece of territory which nobody really wants except for political reasons, or political pride, or Merdeka on the part of the Indonesians.

I have the utmost sympathy with the aspirations of the people who want to lift standards. It is unfair to the Indonesians to say that they are colonial-minded, inasmuch as they will go in and take over an area which is colonial. The Indonesians have lifted themselves out of the jungle of colonialism and when they progress, as we hope they do, they will also lift anybody who belongs to their country. Their proposition is not a question of colonialism but of getting a piece of country which, in their view, did belong to them and should be returned to them. That is all it is. But we have to get back to the matters that have been raised in relation to Indonesia and Holland and West New Guinea, and ask ourselves a few serious questions. How far do our prejudices go? Have we still got the old idea that New Guinea, being an island, is a barrier against the invasion of Australia. The defence value of New Guinea has gone since the Russians have put a man into space. The island has nothing to do with defence any more. What we have to consider is the people's aspirations and what we should do about them.

There is no need to flog this matter into the ground, and I shall state, in conclusion, the core of this argument as we on this side of the House see it. We believe that any dependent people - I do not like the term indigenous, because it has been used too much and begins to lose meaning and becomes sloganized - who live in the territory in the poverty of primitive life are the first concern. We could help them because we have already worked miracles in New Guinea with a little money and a great deal of devotion to the natives. Look at the development of the Gazelle Peninsula and be proud that a country with only about 8,000,000 people in those days, and 10,000,000 to-day, worked that development out on its own without assistance. Look at the development of Mount Hagen in the highlands and look at the other towns and villages that are growing up. There is a pattern. The people who are clapping their hands and saying "In" or "Out" and "This is Dutch; this is Indonesian " have missed the main point. The man of New Guinea is looking to us who have been his oppressors, sometimes his exploiters, and at least his colonial owners, and who have now got to hand back to him either West New Guinea or the Trust Territory, as the case may be, as reparation for the years of conquest and the years of exploitation.

So, when a highly placed and intelligent member of the Indonesian Government who knows his subject in detail is able to converse with the leaders of the Australian Government on this matter, it is well worth while and there is no need for criticism and no need for taking sides. The point is, as I rose to say, that wars begin in the minds of men; and only by men meeting together for discussion can those thoughts of war be dissipated. I hope these discussions will continue. I hope that the United Nations, which is charged to ensure that some progress is made on this terribly vexed, serious and dangerous problem of international friendship and peace, does so. I repeat that what worries me is that on the floor of this House we have a voice which is peaceful and well-intentioned, but under some duress in the United Nations we abstain from vital votes. Surely we do not send a man or a delegation to the United Nations to abstain. We have the right to vote and we have a point of view on most matters. On these most vital issues which affect us we. should vote. An abstention means that we have not made up our minds or that we have not the moral fortitude to make up our minds.

In regard to West New Guinea I repeat that we have had a very good result from these discussions. Although we may feel that people are carried away by their prejudices, when a man comes to a country and states his view and does not deviate from it, I do not agree that he is bartering around to see which proposition will be acceptable. He would not have learnt that from his own people. He has learnt it from the white man's diplomacy. That would not be a natural instinct in a coloured man; he would have learnt it from his masters.







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