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Tuesday, 23 March 1965
Page: 52

Senator GORTON(Victoria - Minister for

Works) [8.0]. - by leave - Mr. Deputy President, in making this statement, which is a reproduction of a statement being made tonight in the House of Representatives by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), when I use the personal pronoun it refers to the Minister for External Affiairs. The statement is as follows -

In this statement on foreign affairs I shall confine my remarks to a few of the more urgent topics. This is not intended, however, to limit the range of debate. With your indulgence, Mr. Deputy President, when I move that the House take note of my statement, I will suggest that you might permit honorable senators to discuss the full breadth of Australian foreign policy. To assist them to do so, my Department has prepared information papers to be placed on the table of the Parliamentary Library. Additional copies of the papers are available for the persona] use of members.

This is my first speech to the Parliament as Minister for External Affairs and I might reasonably be expected to disclose something of my own approach. I shall try to do so but, in doing so, I would stress that I am not introducing any change in the foreign policy of the Government. The foreign policy is that of the government; not of a person. Foremost in my mind as I look at the world is the fact that today force is being used and, in such a world, in which the possession of power is the main determinant of what happens, anyone engaged in foreign affairs must recognise and study the facts of power and also recognise the reality of power politics. We might like it otherwise but we cannot ignore the fact. The possibility of a nuclear holocaust still haunts the world. While we can see the risk we can also evaluate the situation by saying that the very horror of a nuclear war is one factor that has tended hitherto to reduce the risk of its coming. In certain situations the possession of nuclear power has been a deterrent to action that might lead to another world war.

At times during the past two years it has looked as though mankind might be creeping towards sanity on nuclear arms. The nuclear test ban treaty and proposals for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons - both of which have the full support of the Australian Government - have received a setback, however, firstly by the' French insistence on developing and testing a nuclear weapon of their own and, secondly to a much graver extent, by the explosion of a nuclear device by the Chinese Communists. Some time may elapse before Communist China becomes a frontrank nuclear power, but the cause for concern is that China has repeatedly spoken and acted in a way that reveals an aggressive intention to try to dominate the life of other nations, a readiness to achieve her purposes by any means at her command, and an unwillingness to contemplate peaceful relationships with other great powers except on her own terms. In the hands of such a nation, nuclear weapons become more dangerous and the prospect of nuclear control of disarmament less hopeful.

There are two other points to be made about nuclear power. Nuclear power in the hands of a few nations acting with responsibility can be a deterrent. The proliferationof nuclear power, by placing more fingers on more triggers and by giving a new impulse to the demand for nuclear weapons either for the sake of national prestige or for national security, will greatly increase the risk that something will go wrong. To check these impulses towards proliferation we are likely to need, as well as an agreement against dissemination, a reasonable assurance that other nations, particularly the middle-sized powers, will not need to possess or develop nuclear weapons of their own in order to feel that they can defend themselves. This in turn throws us all back to the real core of the problem of world peace - the policies of the great powers and their relationships with each other and the degree of our confidence that the two great nuclear powers - the United States and the Soviet Union - will act with restraint.

In my more hopeful moments, I am inclined to believe that the diplomatic labours of the past fifteen years have shown some results in the easing of tension between the group of countries centred on the Soviet Union and those centred on the Western Alliance. One also hopes that the social and economic changes that have taken place within the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe have themselves created influences making for peace. Although the basic nature of the Soviet Union as a Communist power has not changed, and although the facts of power rivalry remain, yet we can look back on the fact that these two great groups of powers have managed to live at peace with each other in spite of many occasions of great tension, for a period of twenty years and that at the end of twenty years, they would appear to be further from a deliberate choice of war with each other than at any time during the twenty years. If one were to think only of the risks of world war as the result of either action by the Soviet Union or action by the United States of America, one could nurture some hope of peace and even believe that it might still be possible for these two great powers to join together, perhaps not with a common ideal but with a common realism, to help keep the peace of the world.

Nuclear power, in the hands of a few nations, may yet remain a powerful factor in preventing the outbreak of big wars or in stopping small wars from growing into big wars. It is patently not a factor in pre venting the outbreak of small wars and it has not served as a deterrent against small wars and the fomenting of subversion. The immediate effect of the new power of Communist China has been felt not in any war that China itself is waging as an indentifiable combatant - although in Tibet and the Indian frontier China was the actual aggressor - but in numerous trouble spots in several continents.

It would be foolish to imagine that these smaller wars and trouble spots can be regarded as lying apart from and having nothing to do with the greater dangers and the major conflicts in world power. No incipient trouble can show its first signs without becoming part of great power politics. In many cases closer examination reveals that troubles which may seem local and trivial at first sight have been promoted or expanded as the result of influences controlled by great powers. Whether or not any such incident in its beginning was purely local, it would be unrealistic to assume that any great power, either in its role as a peace-keeper or being careful to maintain its own power, could ignore it. It sounds fine and moralistic to say that if only the great powers would keep out all would be well. But such moralising obscures the reality.

Let us test this by the case of South Vietnam. Chou En-lai has described the National Liberation Front as "the glorious standard bearer and illustrious leader of the South Vietnamese people in their struggle for national liberation ". This description of the war in South Vietnam as " a struggle for national liberation " has to be read in the context of Chinese Communist doctrine. In the exchange of open letters between Moscow and Peking, China's view in support of warfare and armed struggle is clearly expressed. I quote from several texts: "Until the imperialist system and the exploiting classes come to an end, wars of one kind or another will always occur"; "War is the continuation of politics by other means"; "Marxists-Leninists never conceal their views. We whole-heartedly support every peoples' revolutionary war".

South Vietnam is part of a pattern. In Laos, notwithstanding the fact that there is an international agreement for the neutrality of Laos, Communist China describes the territory held by the Communistcontrolled Pathet Lao as " the liberated area". The clear inference is that the remainder has still to be liberated. Peking has recently served notice that Thailand is in danger of becoming the object of what might be called conquest by subversion. Chinese radio and news agencies are now publishing the programme of an organisation describing itself as the "Thailand Patriotic Front " which, from Peking, calls for the overthrow of what it calls the " fascist " Thai Government. Radio Hanoi is also broadcasting the same material.

What is happening in South Vietnam is not a local rebellion caused by internal discontent but the application of the methods and doctrines of Communist guerrilla warfare first evolved in China and then successfully used in North Vietnam. The Peking and Hanoi regimes have both come to power through guerrilla warfare and both share the Asian Communist doctrine evolved by the Chinese. The practical application in neighbouring areas is clear. Neither Peking nor Hanoi has yet had to commit large scale conventional forces in South Vietnam for external aggression. A dissident Communist controlled movement was created for guerrilla warfare against the established social order and government. Lines of communication and support from outside were organised. Given the natural elements of instability in many of the newly established countries of the region, and their social, ethnic and communal problems, there are understandable opportunities for such tactics.

Tt is nearly three years since the International Control Commission in Vietnam condemned the violation by North Vietnam of the 1954 Geneva Agreements by the despatch of arms and men from the North and the incitement and encouragement of hostilities in the South. The rate of infiltration from North to South increased until in 1964 it is estimated that 10,000 Vietcong terrorists trained and armed by the North, were sent to the South. I draw the attention of members to the document recently distributed to the United Nations by the United States describing the extent of this new form of international aggression. Copies are available in the Parliamentary Library. We have considerable information of the same character from Australian sources.

At any one time the Vietcong maintains a hard core of guerrillas in military formation of some 30,000 to 40,000 and they are supported by an irregular force of another 80,000. This total force of something over 100,000 has established itself through methods of coercion and terrorism in large parts of the South Vietnamese countryside. In some areas it has been able to introduce its own system of administrative control. This it has done, not by the attraction of some programme of economic and social reform but by the exercise of power through terror. The Vietcong maintain their control as a determined minority relying on fear, despair, war-weariness and the political disintegration of their opponents.

Are these the circumstances in which the Asian Communist powers having taken such steps to advance their policies, all other powers who are opposed to such policies should look the other way and do nothing? What the United States has chosen to do in South Vietnam appears to the Australian Government as the recognition and acceptance of the great responsibilities which its own greatness has laid on it.

We are told from time to time that while external aid can help, it is for the people of South Vietnam themselves to establish a political regime which will withstand internal subversion. We must remember, however, that the South Vietnamese are not dealing simply with a situation of local unrest, but with a large-scale campaign of assassination and terrorism directed from outside. It would be a dangerous thing to argue that, because subversive elements inspired from outside have achieved some success in creating instability within a country, these elements thereby earn the right to become the government of that country. In South Vietnam one mav ask what future security, freedom and religious tolerance there would be for the millions of people who have committed themselves to resistance against Communism.

It is also unrealistic to claim that if only the influence of the great powers were removed there would be a sudden and blissful peace in South Vietnam. To whom would withdrawal leave the land? Not to tha local population. There is a campaign in Australia at the present time among a section of our population that might be summed up in the words sometimes chalked on walls abroad: " Yankee, go home ". Let those who are approached to support this campaign ask themselves what the phrase means. It means simply that the North Vietnamese and the Chinese are the only foreigners to be allowed in South Vietnam and therefore this is a campaign which, in its results, would favour Asian Communism. This was seldom heard of when Asian Communism was making gams; it has grown in strength when Asian Communism is being checked.

In the circumstances that now exist, the United States could not withdraw from South Vietnam without abandoning the responsibilities that belong to power or the principles it is trying to uphold. The United States could not withdraw without necessarily considering the world wide impact of such a withdrawal on the broader strategies of world politics.

If the United States did withdraw, the same conflict would be renewed somewhere else. Within a brief period the struggle now taking place in South Vietnam would be shifted to Thailand. If there was abandonment of Thailand, it would shift to Malaysia, to Indonesia, to Burma, to India and further. Nothing would be ended and no stability would be achieved by yielding in South Vietnam. lt is not a valid policy to call for negotiation unless there is a clear idea what is to be the outcome of negotiation. If negotiation is simply to mean an end of resistance to aggression and the success of aggression then a plainer word for it would be defeat for those resisting Asian Communism.

Fortunately we have the declaration of President Johnson who on 17th February set out the United States position on Vietnam in the following words -

Our purpose, our objective there is clear. That purpose and that objective is to join in the defence and protection of the freedom of a brave people who are under an attack that is controlled and that is directed from outside their country. We have no ambition there for ourselves. We seek no dominion. We seek no conquest. We seek no wider war. But we must all understand that we will persist in the defence of freedom, and our continuing actions will be those which are justified and those that are made necessary by the continuing aggression of others. These actions will be measured and fitting and adequate. Our stamina and the stamina of the American people is equal to the task.

Australia's own analysis of the situation has brought us to the belief that the United

States action is necessary for the defeat of aggression against Asian peoples and is also an essential step towards the building in Asia of the conditions of peace and progress. We also believe that in their resistance to China they are preventing an alternative in the world balance of power which would be in favour of the Communists and which would increase the risk of world war. Consequently, Australia firmly supports that stand by the United States and the decisions reached that targets in North Vietnam should be attacked. Should North Vietnam not be exposed to military risk, we would be permitting North Vietnam to remain a privileged sanctuary from which a military campaign of subversion and aggression against the South can be maintained and exploited indefinitely and with immunity.

It is asserted by Communists that the United States and her allies by acting thus are creating the risk of a wider war. But the alternative would be to allow the systematic mounting of campaigns of guerrilla warfare and terrorism to undermine non-Communist governments one after another in South-East Asia. In other words, the Communist powers would be free to conduct a wider war on an advancing front of subversive and guerrilla activity. At the moment, contacts are being made and the positions of the various powers involved are being explored in order to determine whether there are real prospects for negotiation. We should be clear about the position as it now stands. Hanoi and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam will negotiate on certain conditions. Those conditions include the prior withdrawal of United States forces from South Vietnam. Their policy, supported by China, is to remove the United States from the area. A study of Hanoi and the National Liberation Front documentation also makes it clear that what they aire seeking is the replacement of the present government in Saigon, not even by a coalition or neutralist government, but by a government which is Communist led and controlled. Such a government would be the instrument of the Hanoi regime, the National Liberation Front itself having been created by the North Vietnam Communist Party.

There clearly would have to be a considerable change in this position before there could be formal negotiations at a conference table. For the moment the Government believes that the best course lies in the exploration and assessment of the positions of the parties in order to establish whether a basis of political understanding can be reached. We would of course be favourable to negotiation in t'he right circumstances and we would hope as fervently as anyone that a true and lasting peace might be established. In the examination of the situation in South Vietnam I trust that I have shown clearly to honorable members the approach of the Government to the basic fact of a world power struggle and the immediacy of the danger in Asia. That is a danger not only to the country of Asia but to many countries of Asia and to countries outside the region.

A second immediately important topic on which I should declare myself is the relationship of Australia to Asia. What happens in Asia can have such immediate effects on what happens to Australia that perhaps we sometimes see events in Asia through too narrow a loophole. One point that I stressed repeatedly in conversations during my recent tour to several capitals of Europe and North America was that the power situation in Asia cannot be separated from the major problems of the power situation in the whole world. What is happening in Asia today cannot be regarded as a series of isolated incidents which can be settled as local affairs in the expectation, firstly, that after settlement they will remain unaffected by the power struggle and, secondly, that when they are settled they need not occupy the attention of other powers any longer. The struggle for peace today is a global struggle. The resistance to aggression is a world-wide resistance. The emergence of China and the policies of China affect the whole of world politics. What is happening in Asia today will perhaps prove more fateful for mankind than anything that has happened since the last World War. The corollary of course, is that any contribution to peace in Asia is a contribution to the peace of the World.

We Australians are perhaps inclined at times to think of South East Asia as a frontier where a potential enemy can be held. Let us also constantly remind ourselves that we have a wider and more farreaching interest in the region than that.

We have positive and constructive aims and not merely a defensive interest in Asia. We want to see an Asia in which the free nations of that continent, whether newly independent or long-established, will be able to develop their own way of life in a state of security from aggression. We want to see an Asia in which there will be social and economic opportunity and where, as a result of the fuller use of the natural resources of the region, the standards of living of its people will steadily rise and their opportunities and capacity to build a new life will grow. We want to see an Asia with which we ourselves can live in friendship and peace and with whom we can work for mutual benefit, respecting the qualities of each other.

To achieve these hopes the countries of Asia must be free of the domination of any single great power; there must be freedom of exchange and commercial intercourse between them and the rest of the world; and there must be an increased and a more helpful association between the countries of Asia and the peoples and nations of other continents. The participation of countries outside Asia in its affairs is essential, firstly to give to the smaller countries of Asia security against the aggression that is rising within Asia itself, and secondly in order to bring the financial, technological and social and economic assistance that is needed for the development of Asian resources and the creating of opportunity for its people to improve their own lot.

Situated near Asia, Australia lives with a number of neighbouring States which, for historical and economic reasons, have political and social systems vastly different from our own. We do not criticise or attempt to change systems freely chosen by other peoples. What we are concerned with is to achieve an international climate in which threats against and pressures against other States and peoples are removed, whether these threats arise from aggressive nationalism or aggressive communism or perhaps a mixture of the two. Within that climate, and behind the shelter provided by regional security arrangements, the countries of South and South East Asia wish to pursue their objectives of social and economic progress. This is the purpose of the Colombo Plan and other programmes of international aid to which the Australian Government contributes. The aim is not simply security for its own sake but development for the good of peoples.

Our involvement in the situation created by Indonesian confrontation of Malaysia is giving Australia at the present moment one of the most difficult tests of our resolution and our diplomacy. On the one hand we wish to live in harmonious relationships with Indonesia, we accept the fact that Indonesia has been established and we would like to see the growth and the integration of Indonesia and we have hoped to be able to co-operate as a neighbour in measures for its social and economic progress. In this country of great natural resources we saw an opportunity for its own people to build their own life. There is basic goodwill towards Indonesia. Unfortunately, Indonesia has embarked on policies which we are bound to oppose. To our regret, over the past six months Indonesian military confrontation of Malaysia has assumed new and more serious forms. Along the border between Malaysia and Indonesian Borneo there has been a substantial buildup of the Indonesian armed forces. Moreover, Malaya and Singapore itself have been subjected to a long series of attempted infiltration, sabotage and subversion.

That the situation has been held as well as it has is the result of the deterrent effect of the defensive measures taken to build up Malaysian, British and other Commonwealth forces in Borneo and of the striking success of the security forces in Malaysia in coping with infiltrators and saboteurs. Malaysia has shown a remarkable degree of self-restraint and maturity in dealing with these provocations. Indonesia's declared and active hostility to Malaysia imposes an additional strain on an area already subject to the threats of Communist subversion and intervention. It is not only forcing Malaysia to increase its defence expenditure at the expense of its development but it is adding to the burdens of the impoverished and neglected Indonesian economy. This situation could be eased very rapidly provided only that Indonesia accepted the existence of Malaysia and ceased to conduct military operations against it.

We have noted that, in withdrawing from the United Nations, the Indonesian Government declared that it still upheld the principles of international co-operation as enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

We, for our part, consider that all States which have become members of the United Nations have made a solemn declaration accepting the obligations imposed by the Charter and that a State, even though it no longer regards itself as a member of the organization, nevertheless remains bound to observe the principles upon which the Charter is based. We have said on many occasions, and I repeat it this evening, that it remains a primary objective of Australian policy to seek with Indonesia a relationship based on understanding and respect. Hence, while leaving Indonesia in no doubt of Australia's determination to assist Malaysia to defend herself against armed attack and subversion, we continue to demonstrate our willingness to search for the basis of an enduring peaceful relationship with Indonesia. In this spirit, the Government is continuing a limited programme of aid to Indonesia, details of which are available to honorable members in statements tabled in the Library. This aid has been and will be kept under close review and the decision to proceed with it has been made after the most careful consideration of all the relevant factors.

A new element in the situation created by Indonesia's confrontation of Malaysia, has been created by some evidence of increasing contacts between the Indonesians and the Chinese Communists. It is as yet difficult to determine the significance of these contacts, but they are a further reminder that, in all our thinking about Asia, we have to consider quite starkly the growing power of Communist China. Some people are disposed to argue that we should facilitate the representation of Communist Ohina in the United Nations. Certainly our long term objective must be the achievement of stable political relationships amongst all countries of the world. So long, however, as the Peking regime continues to threaten the Chinese Nationalist Government and the people of Formosa, to promote the export of revolution abroad and to construct nuclear weapons to back these policies contrary to the overwhelming voice of world opinion, one can hardly expect this regime to help to solve any of the major problems facing the United Nations.

This brings me to my third topic - the future of the United Nations. An information paper covering some aspects of the present problems confronting the United

Nations will be found amongst the material available in the Library. Behind the recent inability of the General Assembly of the United Nations to proceed with its business was a difference of opinion regarding the peace keeping functions of the United Nations and the role to be played by each of the two great blocs of power in maintaining the peace. It will not be finally solved except as part of the general problem of relationships between the great powers. As honorable members are aware, the General Assembly was unable to proceed with its business and has adjourned after appointing a special committee to examine questions of United Nations finance and the peace keeping functions of the Organisation and after expressing the hope that the great powers themselves would get together and reach an understanding on the same issues. I should like to make some observations about this situation. The failure of the General Assembly to proceed with its business does not necessarily mean a breakdown of the United Nations. The United Nations has many organs which are still functioning. For our part, Australia gives unqualified support to the United Nations and we will our best endeavours in co-operation with other members to find a way out of the difficulties of the General Assembly.

At the same time two things need to be said quite plainly about the experience in the General Assembly this year. One is that the General Assembly is not able to function at present as it was intended to function as the great forum of the world in which the conscience of the world might find expression and help to establish a body of principle by which the exercise of power might be restrained. Some of the reasons for that are not far to seek. Many of the members of the General Assembly - I particularise no single member - have not lived up to their opportunities and their obligations under the Charter. They themselves have decided matters without regard to established principles of international conduct and without trying to take as a consistent guide a body of principle which will apply to great and small.

The other observation is that at the present time the General Assembly, and indeed the Security Council, cannot be relied upon as a significant and effective means of keeping the peace of the world. Would any small country in danger of invasion or acts of aggression against its sovereignty and its territory be warranted in having full confidence that the United Nations would protect it? We have to see as a matter of reality this absence of any international means of bringing security to the smaller nations or even to the middle sized nations. It is the background to the situation in which such peace as we have is kept by one or other of the great powers and it is also the continuing challenge to all nations to work more purposefully at the problems of peace keeping. As a practical illustration of what I have been saying, may I remark that in South and South-East Asia, it is American armed strength which is the reality behind which the countries in that area have retained their liberty to choose their own courses. To this same end, the Australian Government also warmly welcomes the recent practical manifestations of Britain's continuing determination to fulfil her obligations to Malaysia and Asia.

Having spoken of power situations, I would talk of a fourth aspect of my own view on world affairs. Power is not enough. In a world of power, peace is only maintained on a precarious balance and it is plain that recourse to power as a means of security is in essence a readiness to have recourse to war. There will never be full security for anyone unless and until the exercise of power is made subject to agreed principles of international conduct and, in a world of national States, that means that the possessors of power restrict by their own pledges their own use of power.

I should like to develop this theme with particular application to Australian policies. As a small nation in a time of power contest, we have to choose. For us, neutralism is not a practical choice. We Australians must choose our side because in the immediate future we are determined to ensure the defence and the survival of our country and we want to preserve our right and our capacity to apply our own faith and ideals regarding human society in Australia. We must also choose our side because ultimately Australia will survive and grow and become a better country in all senses of the term only in a world in which the exercise of power has been subordinated to principle. It is deep in our faith for mankind and vital to our own existence that there should be a world in which sovereign independence is recognised; where territorial integrity is respected; where force and the threat of force are not used to compel nations to act against their own interest or against their own free choice; where settlement is by negotiation and the small as well as the great are protected in negotiation because it is conducted- according to these principles and, if negotiation fails, there will still be recourse to orderly and peaceful processes of settlement; a world where the pledged word is kept through the sanctity of treaties; where international law is built up both in its substance and its authority by the consistency of the conduct of nations, by the sanctity of treaties and by invariable recourse to these international institutions to whom the application of these laws and rules of conduct has been entrusted; where aggression is identified by actions contrary to these standards of conduct.

In choosing sides we serve these ideas. Let: us ask ourselves bluntly, when we are choosing sides and deciding whom we will support, which of the great powers, on the past record and their known doctrines, will take this line. We stand firmly with Britain and the United States of America, not only because in the short term we believe them to be military allies with resolution and capacity but, more than that, because we believe that they are nations which honour these principles and try to serve them. It is not enough to say that we believe in these principles - broadly the principles of the United Nations. We also have to give solid and constant backing to those powers who will work to put these principles into effect. What we are supporting is not only a military alliance but, more importantly, certain principles and standards of conduct in international affairs. This must be the final touchstone of our policy in respect of our allies, and it must guide our own contributions to discussions on the policies which will continue to command our support. We have to make judgments from time to time on what is right as well as on what will keep us safe. It seems likely that the world will become more and more unsafe for us in the coming years. In such case it will help us to see our course more clearly if we try to see not only the risks but also the opportunities - not only the threats we may have to meet but also the constant need to advance our own belief in the right standards of international conduct.

Personally I believe that today Australia faces the dual challenge of its own survival and the maintenance of those standards of civilised conduct and those basic values of civilisation which have been so laboriously established by past ages of mankind and which in international dealings today are so often in the discard. I also believe that the measures we are taking for our survival and for the support of those values are inseparably linked. Both considerations have helped us to choose our side in the current contest and have made us determined in support of it. Let us all see that we have not only chosen our side but have also dedicated ourselves to a cause. Surely at the heart of any realistic foreign policy for Australia must be the aim of trying to promote the unity and the resolution of all those forces that will work in the same direction. This must be not merely a policy of resisting those who threaten us but, more positively, one of helping friends - a policy not only of saying that our ideas are better than those of our opponents but also one of proving that our ideas will work.

This has a particular application to Asia. Among our near neighbours in Asia are many nations, both great and small, in a less fortunate position than we are but who are trying, just as we are, to advance the welfare of their own peoples in freedom from external threats. Their will to resist has been under assaults that we have never known. Their conditions of life are not yet such that they can have as high a confidence about the future as we have. Fear and physical want, the lack of means or opportunity to develop fully their national resources, political uncertainty and communal divisions have beset them. Surely in all we do we must see the need to strengthen their will, to assist them to realise their plans and hopes, and to join with them in maintaining those principles which are basic to their life as to our own.

Surely we are to test any other policies that may be advocated by asking whether they also serve that purpose. Or do those other policies only hoist signals to these peoples that they cannot count on understanding, let alone help or sympathy, from us, but- had better give in and let the Communist imperialists have their way?

As a last word I return to the nature of the interest that links us and other nonAsian countries to Asia. As an Australian

I do not want to look on our neighbours in Asia as buffer states. I see them rather as part of a structure of hope in which Australia itself, like each of them, is only one of many pillars. The structure weakens if any one of us should fall. The hope must belong not to one but to all. Hence Australian policy in respect of South Vietnam, S.E.A.T.O., the Colombo Plan and Malaysia will continue firmly on the lines already so clearly laid down by the Prime

Minister and other spokesmen for the Government.

I present the following paper -

Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 23rd March 1965. and move -

That the Senate take note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Senator Kennelly) adjourned.

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