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Friday, 25 September 1970

Mr Morrison (ST GEORGE, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that in a statement dated 24th May 1962 (Department of External Affairs Select Documents on International Affairs No. 1 of 1964, page 36) the then Minister for Defence announced that at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam Australia was sending a group of military advisers to that country.

(2)   If so, has the full text of the request ever been made public.

(3)   If no, will he make the document available.

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   No- The situation remains as mentioned in the reply to a question without notice by Senator Murphy, (Senate, Debates 7th April 1970, pages 549-550) that . . . 'there is a well established principle in those matters that communications between Governments are confidential to the Governments concerned. The Government does not believe it is appropriate to depart from that principle in this case.'

(3)   See 2 above.

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