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Tuesday, 12 May 1970

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to recent press reports that United States authorities in

Saigon were informed freely of communist contacts of an opposition Member who has since been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for contacting communists.

(2)   Is the Government's professed military aim in Vietnam to foster democratic processes.

Mr McMahon - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   I am aware of the many and conflicting press reports on the matter referred to.

(2)   The Government has stated repeatedly that the fundamental objective of Australia and other Allied countries assisting the Republic of Vietnam is the preservation of the South Vietnamese people's right to determine their own future free from external aggression and subversion. The Government has also made clear that it would not be appropriate for it to comment on the internal affairs and processes of a friendly government.

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