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Thursday, 17 May 1973
Page: 2257


Mr MacKELLAR (WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Prime Minister. As a preface, I refer him to his Press conference of 8th May at which, in reply to the question 'Have you had any response from the Chinese Government on your protest note on the nuclear testing?', he said: 'The protest to China was oral, so there would be no written response'. 1 also refer him to an answer to a question on notice reported in the Senate Hansard of 15th May in which Senator Murphy, in reply to a question asked by Senator Webster, said that the Prime Minister had furnished the following answer:

The protest took the form of a letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr Chi Peng-fei. The letter was banded to the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister ... by the Australian Charge d'Affaires in Peking.

Was the Prime Minister's answer at his Press conference on 8th May incorrect or was the Prime Minister's answer provided for Senator Murphy incorrect? Finally, precisely what form did the Australian protest to China take? If it was a written protest, does the Prime Minister expect a response?


Mr WHITLAM - 'Both answers were correct. The Charge d'Affaires handed a letter to Mr Chi Peng-fei and then there was a conversation explaining the points of view of both governments.







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