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Tuesday, 27 April 1965

Senator GORTON - The Minister for External Affairs has furnished the following reply -

On 10th November, 1963, the then Minister for External Affairs, Sir Garfield Barwick, in an interview with the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, conveyed to the French Government the deep regret of the Australian Government that France had decided to hold nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific.

On 4th November, 1964, during my visit to Paris, I maintained the previous protests in a personal Interview with the French Foreign Minister. On 17th October, 1964, soon after the firs' atomic test in China, I made a statement to the Press deploring the test. I observed that other Asian nations were capable of building nuclear weapons if they chose but that they had preferred to promote the economic well-being of their people rather than divert such a large proportion of their national resources to the sterile field of nuclear armaments.

The Australian Government's opposition to nuclear testing by France and Chinahas been expressed, in addition, on a numberof other occasions, in Ministerial statements in Parliament, in answer to parliamentary questions, and in Australian statements in the United Nations General Assembly. At the Eighteenth (1963) Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Australian cosponsored a resolution calling on all States to accept the obligation of the Nuclear Weapons Test Ban Treaty, which Australia was one of the first countries to sign. Australian diplomatic representatives overseas haw made the Government's views on nuclear testing known to all countries with which Australia maintains diplomatic relations.

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