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Statement by the minister to the press in Washington on November 25, 1964

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(Released in Canberra and


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26th November, 1964




"The main purpose of my visit to Washington

during the past two days has been to discuss with the United

States Administration the implications of a number of major

events which have occurred since I was here at the time of

the ANZUS Council Meeting in July.

The rising power of China, its aggression and

subversion against its neighbours# and its political activities

in other continents, make it the major dangere to peace today.

South-East Asia is .threatened by the Communist

Chinese and unable to gain either stable government or to

: bring social and economic progress to its peoples because of

' the- fear of Communist China. -

. ' The aggressive intent ofvthe'Communist Chinese

.government, shown blatantly by actions in India and Tibet and

. . in' the plain declarations of fts leaders, is a threat to the

world. This is not just a regional or an Asian question.

It is part of a world conflict. It is the most significant

factor in the long-term problem of worl^L peace. '

. Ancillary to the problems of China, I discussed

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with members of the Administration the situation in Laos and

South Viet Nam.' Here is an active struggle against the

southward spread of Communist dominance in Asia.. Here is an i

immediate need to maintain the independence of new nations.

Here is the urgent cry to stop murder, sabotage and terror.

The United States, as the greatest single power, has won honour

and respect for its response to these calls but this is not a

job that the United States should be left to do alone. It '

concerns the whole of the free world.

Means by which fear can be removed from the

Vietnamese and other people of South-East Asia has been one

of«,the major matters for discussion by me in Washington.

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The Australian Government will continue to do all it

can within its own resources to assist the efforts which the United

States Government is making in this area. Naturally we are clooely

concerned in what steps are to.he taken next to ensure success uni

what will he expected of us. Looked at from one standpoint Viet ta:i

may present a risk of failure. Looked at from another standpoint it·

presents perhaps one of the last great chances of success.

During my discussions, I had the opportunity to review

the unjustified and unprovoked attacks hy Indonesia against Malaysia.

These attacks hy Indonesia have moved to a new and much more

dangerous phase since my last visit here. Beginning immediately

after Indonesian independence Day on 17th August, the Indonesian

government has conducted a series of landings hoth hy sea urrj. air

on the mainland of Malaya and most recently on the island of

Singapore. The details of these attacks of aggression, as well as

Indonesian aggression against the Malaysian states of Sarawak and

Sahah, have all heen reported hy Malaysia to the United Nations, both

prior to and following the Security Council's consideration of

Malaysia's complaint against.Indonesia.

It is deplorable that Indonesia has taken unprovoked

armed action against Malaysia.. It is even more deplorable that she

has continued to do so despite the condemnation of her conduct hy

the overwhelming majority of the principles of the United Nations

Charter regarding political independence and territorial integrity.

Yet she herself, is bringing these principles into disrespect. She

needs peace as much as.any of get on with the great internal

tasks of social and economic, advancement hut she is breaking the

peace and exposing herself by her own provocations and intrusions

to the danger of war. . . . .

Australia has committed, herself to aid Malaysia in her

defence against attack. Our Forces in all three Services are on duty

in Malaysia and our. material·:.aid is being continued.

As the result of these increasing tensions in South­

East Asia and the resulting deterioration in our strategic

situation, the Australiah Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies,

announced two weeks ago a major expansion in Australia's defence

programme which provides for proposed expenditure over the next

three years of $2.75 billion, an increase of 58 per cent on our

actual total expenditure in the past three years.

To enable the Regular Army to be increased by the end

of 1966 by 65 per cent to 37,500, the Government has introduced

selective compulsory military service. Under this system, those

selected will serve.two years with a regular Unit, then three

years on the Reserve. For the first time in Australia's peace­

time history, those called up will be required to serve overseas if necessary. ; ; : , . . . . . ./3·

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In addition, the new programme provides for increases

in the size of our Naval and Air Forces, as well as further increases

in the purchase of equipment for all three Services. Earlier

decisions also make our part-time Citizen Forces and the Emergency

Reserve readily available to serve outside Australia.

Both the Secretary of State, Mr Rusk, and the

Secretary of Defence, Mr McNamara, warmly welcomed this new ■ ; ! ciciic■ :

programme, not only because it increases Australia’s military

capacity in South-East Asia, but also because it provides further

proof to our neighbours of South-East Asia of our deep, unswerving

commitment to the fight for peace in the area.

Like the United States, Australia has no quarrel with

any nation or people in South-East Asia. Our quarrel, like that of

the United States is with aggression and any attempt to destroy the

liberty of people and the right to independence of nations. These .

are the principles which have led us into conflict with Indonesia -

a conflict which is very regrettable to the Australian Government and

people. We want nothing but good relations with the Indonesian

government and people. We can see no profit, either to the

Indonesian people or our area, if Indonesia’s policy of

confrontation should escalate any further from its already critical .

level. . . , Before coming to New.York, I represented Australia at

a Colombo Plan Conference in London, where both donor and receiver

countries discussed proposals for various forms of.assistance and co­

operation in the Colombo Plan area, which stretches around the whole

of .Southern Asia. We pledged ourselves to continue the plan for

another five years. Already it has brought aid totalling nearly

$15,000 million into the region. Besides removing fear from Asia

we must also try to bring their people’s hope.