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Tuesday, 12 May 1970

Mr McMAHON (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for External Affairs) - The main conclusion that one can reach about the combined military operations in Cambodia in recent days is that tension has been considerably reduced. From the reports that have been made available by the United States and the South Vietnamese military representatives and Government, it seems that the operations have been completely successful. Certain other things can be said, too. The closing of the Mekong, which held up the movement of supplies and troops into Phnom Penh, has been relieved. South Vietnamese ships have passed up the river as far as Phnom Penh and will probably go as far as Kampong Cham. Vast quantities of arms, ammunition and supplies of all kinds have been captured, and in some quarters it is felt that it will take at least 8 months before these can be restored. The COSVN, or Central Office for South Vietnam, has been attacked and for some time it was out of communication. Above all one other lesson can be learnt. If the United States makes up its mind and gives up the doctrine of privileged sanctuary, there is no doubt whatever that it can make a decisive impact. I hope that this message will be learnt not only in South Vietnam but throughout the world.

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