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Thursday, 18 October 1973
Page: 2322

Mr BURY (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. He will recollect that not long ago he told a large Jewish audience in Sydney that the sovereignty of Israel was not negotiable. Can he now inform the House what steps the Government has taken to assert this policy in the United Nations Security Council, particularly during the time our Ambassador there was acting as President of the Security Council?

Mr WHITLAM - I am glad to say that Australia's Ambassador to the United Nations is continuing to act throughout this month as the President of the Security Council. The Australian Government is committed to the sovereignty of Israel. The present Australian Government is of the same political party as the Government in 1948 when the UN accepted the sovereignty of Israel. My predecessor as Foreign Minister, Dr Evatt, presided over the General Assembly at that time and was very much instrumental in bringing it about. I do not want to make any political point of this. I believe that all the intervening Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers have been committed to the same proposition. The emergency in the Middle East is taking on very grave aspects, since the 2 super powers backing the opposing forces are now busy resupplying them and thus promoting the prospect of a spread of hostilities. In these circumstances, the Australian Ambassador to the United Nations - the President of the Security Council - is making undiminished efforts to bring about an end of hostilities. I regret to say that the combatants still are not doing anything to put the matter in the hands of the United Nations.

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