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Monday, 16 November 1964


Senator BRANSON (Western Australia) - by leave - Mr. President, on Friday last during your absence, in ray speech in the SenateI made reference to a meeting of the War Cabinet which was held in 1942 and which was attended by Australian intelligence officers. I said that during that meeting Dr. Evatt and the late Mr. Ward had made inquiries of the intelligence officers present as to what communication facilities were available to the Australian Government of the day should the Australian Government require to approach the Japanese in respect of establishing a separate peace. I said this information had come to me from what I regarded as a completely reliable source. I had no reason to believe that it was not completely accurate. Treating it as reliable, I gave the information to the Senate in good faith.

When I was asked to name the informant I said I was not able to do so at that time and without the approval of the source, and would therefore withdraw the statement until such time as I was able to quote the name of the informant. I pursued my inquiries over the weekend and I have now to inform the Senate that I am not in a position to quote my source. Having regard to the fact that I am unable to support my statement by reference to an informant, I withdraw unreservedly the statement that I made and tender my apologies to the Senate. At the same time, I express regret to those whom my statement may have injured, particularly Dr. Evatt and the relatives of the late Mr. Ward.







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