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Thursday, 25 November 1965

Mr HASLUCK (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for External Affairs) - Matters between the President of the United States of America and the people of that country, of course, do not come under my administration. We have noted with interest a revival of discussion regarding events in Vietnam. It is a matter for satisfaction in both the United States and Australia that discussion in both countries is still free and that, unlike the situation in some other countries, it is possible for the people to express opinions about the policy of their Government and that the Government justifies its policy to the people. All the reports that we have received are to the effect that an overwhelming majority of the population of the United States supports the Johnson Administration in its policy in Vietnam. The Australian Government is confident that the overwhelming majority of the people of Australia support our policy.

Mr Reynolds - What about Air ViceMarshal Ky's statement?

Mr HASLUCK - Regarding Air ViceMarshal Ky's statement, I am informed that when he was in South Korea he said something to the effect that if the Communists wanted peace they had only to leave South Vietnam and that talking was unnecessary. That is the sense of what he said. One can readily sympathise with the leader of the South Vietnamese people, whose country has been under occupation by hostile forces for many years, when he says in effect: " If these people want peace let them shown their earnest desire for it by getting out of our country ". Surely one can understand Air Vice-Marshal Ky's having those sentiments. We are not called on either to endorse them or to disagree with them. Surely we can understand that that is a view that a South Vietnamese patriot might well take.

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