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Monday, 12 November 1973
Page: 3094


Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Prime Minister aware of an article in this week's edition of the 'Bulletin' by Professor A. L. Burns, who is Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University, expressing some concern at the deterioration in the world political situation and generally expressing fears as to the future? Does the Prime Minister see the presence of some 67 divisions of Chinese and Soviet forces on either side of the SinoSoviet border as being probably as volatile a threat to world peace as the situation in the Middle East? If so, does he accept the fears expressed by Professor Burns that the policy of this Government is placing at risk Australia's capacity to depend on the future involvement of United States military forces on our behalf, particularly if there should be some type of explosion on the Chinese-Soviet border and a world war resulting therefrom?


Mr WHITLAM - I have not noticed the article by Professor Burns. Naturally I am concerned at the continuing tension between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. I venture the optimistic view that the situation there is not so immediate a threat to world peace as was the position in the Middle East, because the 2 powers concerned are able to take direct responsibility for their actions whereas the 2 super powers which could be embroiled in the Middle East could be embroiled by the actions of their clients. I take the opportunity of complimenting the United States Secretary of State on his extraordinary diplomatic success in persuading Israel and Egypt to sit down together for the first time since 1948. Not having seen Professor Burns' article, I do not suppose that it would be appropriate for me to expatiate further in the matter.







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