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Wednesday, 20 April 1966

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) . - The House will recall that last week the Inter-Parliamentary Union held its meetings in Canberra. It would not be normal, of course, to criticise the delegates from other countries who came here to attend the meetings. But there are limits and I think in the interests of decency something should be said about one of the delegates, the leader of the Soviet delegation, Mr. J. Paletskis. I have checked and have found that he is identical with the Mr. J. Paletskis who was appointed by the Soviet to be head of the puppet government in Lithuania in June 1940. He was president of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic in those days.

It is important to remember that at that time Hitler and Stalin were in close alliance and friendship. Those were the days when they were in full concord. What was done in Lithuania at that time was done by the Russians with the approval of Nazi Germany. This man Paletskis was brought in to head the Soviet puppet government. It was unprovoked aggression against Lithuania and it was aggression that was followed by the most inhuman barbarism. It is described in the book "Lithuania's Fight for Freedom ", which was written by Mr. E. J. Harrison, who was British Vice-Consul in Lithuania. Let me quote a little from this book so that honorable members may know something about the past of the man who led the Soviet delegation here in Canberra, because he organised these things which I shall describe to the House. The book refers to the deportation of some 65,000 Lithuanian citizens. It states -

These mass deportations were carefully planned. They were particularly inhuman in that the deported families were deliberately, by special instruction, broken up; fathers and mothers with children were sent to different destinations, each being kept in ignorance of where the others were being exiled. Tens of thousands of people have been thus uprooted from Lithuania. There is evidence to prove that the plan provided for the deportation from Lithuania of seven hundred thousand persons in the near future.

No calamity of such magnitude had been experienced by the Lithuanian nation since the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when the Teutonic Knights used to put invaded Lithuanian territories to fire and sword. According to an estimate based on the evidence gathered by the

Lithuanian Red Cross, Lithuania suffered a total manpower loss of 65,000 persons either exiled or evacuated during the first year of the Soviet occupation of the country. The biggest haul was recorded on the night of June 14 to 15, 1941, viz., 30,455 persons, when a manhunt upon an enormous scale was organised. The facts are substantiated by authentic poli:e and railroad documents including " freight lists " of human cargoes showing the car numbers, capacity and destination.

Included in the book as an appendix is the actual Soviet order setting out which families were to be seized in their houses. The order shows that the families were not to be told of the separation instructions but were to be taken to the railway station, where the separation was to be carried out according to the instructions.

I refer now to a book written by Mr. J. A. Swettenham titled "The Tragedy of the Baltic States ". Mr. Swettenham was an American representative on the Displaced Persons Division of the Control Commission for Germany. He had an opportunity to learn at first hand what was happening in Europe. In his book he states - the Bolsheviks killed the prisoners on the spot or executed them in nearby forests. The terrible thing is that they did not kill the prisoners outright but first tortured them in the crudest way. They cut strips out of their backs, lore out their tongues, gouged out their eyes, cut off their ears and noses ... and thrust them into the mouths of their victims.

These are the kinds of things that were done when this man Paletskis was President of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. I understand that he is still President. You have to be a pretty good Bolshevik to remain in power and to keep your feet during some of the catastrophic shifts that have taken place in the Kremlin and the executions and purges during all that time.

I do not know whether the House thinks these matters are worth recalling; whether we should concern ourselves about these old unhappy far off events. I do not know whether the House wants to remember that the three Baltic States, of which Lithuania is one, are still under Soviet occupation - an occupation which has only the veriest sham of legality. When we hear the Soviet prating about liberating people, be they in Vietnam or Hungary, I wonder whether the House wants to remember that the Russian Soviet occupied these three little Baltic States, devastated them, deported their people and subjected them to tremendous cruelties.

Mr Curtin - This sounds like the case of Gunner O'Neill.

Mr WENTWORTH - The honorable member may laugh. I do not know whether this is because he always sticks up for the Russians. Perhaps the House does not want to recall these things. Perhaps it does not believe that these injustices are important. Perhaps it does not believe that these enslaved nations have any right to their freedom. Perhaps it would rather forget that the titular head of this apparatus - the man under whose seal of authority these inhuman barbarities were carried out a long time ago - is still in office and honour and was here in Canberra only last week leading the Soviet delegation.

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