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Thursday, 19 November 1914

Senator PEARCE - The duty to which Colonel Pethebridge has been detailed was not considered to be of sufficient importance 'to warrant a statement being made in Parliament unless questions were asked. I was not responsible for the previous statement in the press, which was one of an exaggerated character, and which made it appear that an appointment of an important kind had been made. The whole matter was substantially set forth by me yesterday, - and the purport of my statement was that we have made an arrangement with the British Government to send a Force to certain islands in the Pacific, that Colonel Pethebridge will accompany the Expedition, and - make inquiries with the view of' assisting in the making of arrangements as to trade, commerce, postal communication, and various matters of that kind. It did not seem to me that that matter was of sufficient importance to warrant a Ministerial statement. I. might add that other Expeditions have been sent away from time to time, but so far they have not been made, the subject of a special Ministerial statement. '

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