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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2362


Senator Greenwood asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(   1 ) Is the Prime Minister aware that Senator Willesee, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, informed the Leader of the Opposition that the decision on the de jure recognition of the incorporation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was taken on 3 July 1 974; if so, was the Minister for Foreign Affairs ' statement to the Leader of the Opposition correct.

(2)   Is the Prime Minister also aware that Senator Willesee said that the decision to recognise de jure the incorporation of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a unilateral act by the Prime Minister; if so, was the statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs correct.

(3)   Was the decision to recognise de jure the incorporation of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania a departure in attitude from the previous attitude of the Government.

(4)   If the answer to (3) is in the negative, why was the decision taken.


Senator Murphy - The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   Yes; yes.

(2)   The Minister for Foreign Affairs did not describe the decision as an 'unilateral act'. The Minister had his Department look into the question and its recommendation was submitted to the Prime Minister in his capacity as Acting Foreign Minister during the Minister's absence overseas. The Prime Minister accepted the recommendation but asked that no action be taken until the Minister also had an opportunity to see it. See also the Minister's statement on 18 September 1974(Hansard, page 1 179).

(3)   Yes. Previously the Australian Government accorded de facto recognition of the incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On 3 July 1974 a decision was taken to accord de jure recognition. As the Minister for Foreign Affairs said on 18 September 1974 (Hansard, page 1 179) 'What the Australian Government, in effect, has done is to recognise that the existing situation in regard to the three Baltic States is unlikely to change. De jure recognition does not mean, as many critics of the Government's decision seem to think, rightful incorporation. But in the present circumstances, 34 years after incorporation, the difference between de facto and de jure recognition is minimal'.

(4)   The answer is in the affirmative.







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