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Wednesday, 27 October 1971
Page: 2657


Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

(1)   When is each unit in (a) Vietnam and (b) Singapore due to complete its tour of duty?

(2)   What reduction has the United States (a) made in numbers of her forces in Vietnam in the last 12 months and (b) announced that she will make in the next 12 months?

(3)   What reduction has Britain (a) made in the numbers of her forces in Malaysia-Singapore in the last 12 months and (b) announced that she will make in the next 12 months.


Mr Fairbairn - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: 1. (a) Vietnam -

(i)   Navy - HMAS 'Brisbane' - arrived in Brisbane on 11th October 1971.

(ii)   Army - 3rd Battalion RAR - returned to Australia on 16th October. 4th Battalion RAR- December 1971.

(iii)   Air Force - No. 9 Squadron - December 1971. No. 35 Squadron - early 1972.

(b)   Singapore -

(i)   Navy - HMAS 'Parramatta' - arrived in Fremantle 6th October 1971. HMAS 'Derwent' - mid December 1971.

(ii)   Army - 6th Battalion RAR - December 1973. 108 Field Battery- December 1971.

(iii)   Air Force - RAAF Support Unit Tengah - Personnel in the unit complete tours of 2 to 2i years.

RAAF Advisory Flight attached to Singapore Armed Forces - This unit is training personnel of the Singapore Armed Forces in the use of the Bloodhound missile. It is expected to complete its task in about 2 years.

2.   United States Withdrawals from South Vietnam - President Nixon announced on 7th April 1971 that a total of 265,000 men would have been withdrawn from Vietnam by 1st May 1971, and that a further 100,000 were to be withdrawn between 1st May and 1st December 1971.

3.   British Force Reductions in Malaysia and Singapore - Britain has announced that her forces in the Mediterranean, Middle and Far East were reduced by a total of some 3,600 during 1970 and that in the financial year 1971-72 the strength of her Army Combat Forces in the Far East, including Hong Kong, would be some 5,900 less than in the previous year. The reductions in Navy and Air strengths have not been announced.







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