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Foreign Minister's policy statement

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Ml 7 15 March 1977


The following is the text of the policy. statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrew Peacock, to be delivered in the House of Representatives today.

The text is embargoed until delivery and 4 -■*> subject to check on delivery.




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■ In this statement I shall review the main aspects

of the Government's foreign policy during the fifteen months it has been in office, indicate the understanding of Australia's interests and of the international situation on which it has • been b a s e d , and direct attention to some of the key issues

which will confront us in the near future»

. . As it happened, the Government's first year in.

office coincided with the beginning of the .'last quarter of this century» Marking the flow of history into centuries and fractions of centuries is usually an artificial and unprofitable business, for historical trends are not respecters of dates.

But occasionally such divisions do coincide with significant, even profound, transitions in human affairs, and when they do they can help to drama rise and focus attention on those changes„ This is true in Die present instance.

■ i The last twenty-five years were dominated by the

tension between the Super Powers in an essentially bi-polar world. This domination was as evident in the over-riding priority given to the search for super-powei detente in the later years as it was in the stark cold war confrontation of the early years. It was a period characterised by the priority given to the ideological and military dimensions of world

affairs, and by a high degree of political immobility» During it, the Third World countries, absorbed in gaining or . consolidating their independence, tended to be objects of international politics rather than aeters, For the developed

countries the last quarter century was,.until near its end, a period of sustained and spectacular economic growth, symbolised best, perhaps, by uhe economic "miracles'' of Japan and West. Germany. It was a period of unprecedented affluence, and this experience profoundly affected attitudes and expecta­ tions , at. least in Western countries.

This picture is now rapidly changing. The ability of the Super Powers to control other states and to determine the agenda of international politics has diminished perceptibly, and they are being forced to give less attention to each other and more to third parties. While the question of the military balance remains crucial, the process of converting military

strength into political power and influence has become more complex and uncertain. The potency of ideology -- at least of the ideologies of the Cold War — has diminished, and . _

pragmatism, scepticism, dissent have become more prevalent. Alignments are less fixed and static and there is more room f gr manoeuvre. Since the OPEC decisorv on oil prices in 1973, the Third World countries have shown a new assertiveness ar.d confidence, and in-their collective· capacity have thrust them­ selves on the international scene as initiators of change particularly on economic nutters, , · .

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.importance of s major developed world's trade, . on v'whom the rev

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menturn of growth in the crested and Governments inflation and recession,

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current year — although 2fore inflation is. brought. cial and environmental · _ ence. - _ ■

statement by drawing o , not as an academic an essential framework for ralia's foreign policy

take account of them, am — unless, that is, we

the future into which we ·'nipt ions and perspectives danger, for as a people volicy with a short-term,

) learn to think strategically i tactically and in terms of do so urgently„ : .

vtent of the changes. 1 ians1 warning that it is is beginning but what is .ditional issues of ■ to disappear, and seme '

.imitations of military • critical„ Bu t , '

lopments 1 have described ■r existing problems more nt them with new ones. . It o Australia that these

r interests, are properly

v something suddenly a contrary, it permeates Lon Parties' policy ven repeatedly stressed

1 Minister and myselfn in the policies we have

^tressed throughout is the . 's relations with the . major sources of the · ■ , these are the countries

ith*- functioning of the . ,;ally depend. Both in

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t h e ir i nd iv i d u a l c a p a c i t i e s and as a k i n d of de f a c t o .

T r i l a t e r a l Alliance, the c c n u r i b u t i o n of the U n i t e d States, J a p a n a nd W e s t e r n E ur o p e will be' crucial as far as t'he w h o l e g l o b a l a g e n d a is concerned. If A u s t r a l i a is to h a v e a d e q u a t e a c c e s s to the N o r t h - S o u t h dialogue, if it is to be a p r o p e r l y - p a r t i c i p a t i n g m e m b e r of the v a r i o u s e t h e r forums w h e r e these m a t t e r s are discussed, if the :ld e m o c r a t i c concert" of which

P r e s i d e n t C a r t e r has spo ke n is g o i n g to b e c o m e a real it y - -

t he n we h a v e to a d d re ss o u r s e l v e s s e r i o u s l y to e n s u r i n g , '

t ha t o ur v o i c e is h e a r d and o u r i nt e r e s t s t aken i nt o'account .

In c o n d u c t i n g its a f f ai rs w i t h these t h re e g r ea t

c e n t r e s of d e m o c r a t i c e c o n o m i c p o w e r o ve r the last f i f t e e n months, the G o v e r n m e n t has had these c o n s i d e r a t i o n s ,· as well as b i l a t e r a l relations, well in the for ef ro nt of its attention»

I p u t Japan firsc d e li be ra te ly , for in r.o other y e a r in ou r h i s t o r y has c u r i e.i.ati u n s h i p w it h that c o u n t r y b e e n g i v e n such an impe tu s as in the last twelve months»

C e r t a i n l y the o nl y y e a r ever to c o m p a r e w it h it is 1957, wh en Sir R o b e r t and Sir John M c E w e n n e g o t i a t e d the T r e a t y of C o mmerce. Th e last yea;- has w i t n e s s e d v is i t s t_ J a pa n b v the P rime M i n i s t e r and the. Deputy P r im e Minister , the If i na l s i g ni ng of the B asic T r e a t y of F r i e n d s h i p and C o -o pe ra t io n ,

th e r a t i f i c a t i o n of the C ul tural A greement, the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of t h e A u s t r a l i a - J a p a n Fcu.tdation, and, in J a n u a r y of this year, the foui'th m e e t i n g v.f the A u s t r a li a - J a p a n M i n i s te ri al C om mi ttee, w h i c h w a s a t t e n d e d by four A u s t r a l i a n C a b in er m e mb e r s . Some of these m e a s u r e s w e r e i n i t i a t e d by the

p r e v i o u s G ov er nment, but it w a s the e n e r g y and d e t e r m i n a t i o n of this G o v e r n m e n t that brou gh t the m all to c o m p l e t i o n - q u i c k l y a f te r c o m i n g to office»

T his a c t i v i t y h a s fl-'wed f r e m a clear r e c o g n i t i o n of the i m p o r t a n c e of Japan in A u s t r a l i a ' s future, b o t h as a^ m a j o r e c o n c m i c p o w e r and a critical factor b n the a f f a i r s .· cf the W e s t e r n P a c if ic region,. Our c o n c e r n has been, first,

to c o n s o l i d a t e o ur imp or ta nt and s u b s t a n t i a l e c o n o m i c r e l a t i o n s h i p by r e c o g n i s i n g the m u t u a l interests of. bntn c o u n t r i e s in b e i n g s ta b l e and r e l i a b l e s u p p l i e r s and m a r k e t s for e a c h other; secondly, t.; c r e a t e the m a c h i n e r y a nd spj r j t. n e c e s s a r y to dea l w i t h the s t r a i n s and d i f f e r e n c e s w h i c h i n e v i t a b l y d ev e . ‘.cp. periedi c a l l y ; a nd thirdly, to s u p p l e m e n t . . . a nd s up po rt the e c o n o m i c tie- wit h c l o s e r poli ti ca l, cultural, a n d s o ci a l ones, .

T h e c u m u l a t i v e e f f e c t of t h e s e s teps was mos t e v i d e n t at the M i n i s t e r i a l C o m m i t t e e in January, That, m e e t i n g w a s a very i m p o r t a n t o ne in p r a c t i c a l terms. E x t r e m e l y useful p r o g r e s s wa s m a d e r e g a r d i n g the A u s t r a l i a n b e e f quota. T he ~~ p o r t a cc e s s a g r e e m e n t s for J a p a n e s e v e s s e l s w er e extended..

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The Japanese Government gave an assurance that imports of coal and iron ore from Australia during 1977 would be maintained at 1976 levels- There was an agx'eernent to examine the . possibility of reducing air fares between the two countries to facilitate contacts between our peoples. Japan accepted our proposals fox- periodic joint meetings between· a range of . . senior officials from both sides. As well as all this, · .

however, I think that all those who took part in the talks _ were left with the sense that- the whole relationship has now been put on a now' plane, that ita importance and potential are fully understood. This was as evident in the directness

and frankness of the di'scussions as it was in the spirit cl compromise that prevailed. . .

. The recent decision to appoint an ad hoc Working

Committee, to repox't to Cabinet on ways in which the co­ ordination of Austi-alian policy towards Japan can be improved, may be taken as a clear indication that, we intend to build purposefully on the foundation which -has been laid. .

I turn now to our relations with the United States. The first thing to be said about them is that the uncertainty about the future course of Australian policy, the doubts, reservations and acrimony which were, so much a feature of the previous Government’s dealings with the United States, have been removed. We pursue Australia's interests, express our disagreement with American policy where it exists, but the

fundamental importance attached to the Alliance and the general relationship are no longer in question. .

During the last year American affairs were dcmihated by the' Presidential election. As these elections have often been criticised in the past for their disruptive effects on ■ American public life, I think it is worth observing chat this

one established that they.can also serve the purpose of .

regeneration and renewal. · . During this election thex'e was a · palpable sense of a healing .of wounds and the renewal of. self­ confidence. '

The Government worked effectively to establish early contact with Mr Carter, and with many who have now become key figures in his Administration, and we have acquainted ourselves very thoroughly with theix* views on foreign policy. - I

I note amongst other things the emphasis in these .

views on the strengthening of ties with well-established democratic allies; the concern with finding a secure moral basis for policy and for ensuring that policy is consistent with the values of the American people; the stress on hard- hea'ded bargaining and reciprocity as the basis for sound and productive relations between the Super Powers; and the

importance given to an energetic and imaginative response to thosfe global- problems which are rightly identified as cxucial.


. As far as the last of these is concerned, I will ,

make two points. First, the strife and uncertainty of the last few years in America's history should not be allowed to obscure the fact that the United States' capacity for : contributing to the solution of these global problems is. unparalleled. In terms of a l l .the ingredients necessary for

a solution — food production, technology, investment and capacity, managerial and research skills, and (certain!y not ■ least) a deep, humanitarian sense of responsibility — the · United States is pre-eminent, and no solution is conceivable? . without its serious commitment.

■ ’ Secondly from our Government's standpoint the new

Administration's commitment on these issues gives a new significance to the concern, expressed by the Prime Minister and myself, to develop our American alliance not only as an instrument to make Australia more secure but also as one which,

joining as it does two of the democracies richest in resources, can make a signif result contribution to the solution of global problems. The Government has already indicated t o .President Carter that we share his sense of urgency and that we intend

to participate actively in the international efforts to find Isolutions to these problems.

. The third great centre of democratic power and

development is W estern Europe. Given our origins and his1 · cry, it is: the centre with which we could be expected to have the closest relationship. However, this has not been the case. It is: true that there is a substantial trade relationship, -·- the EEC supplies us with more of our imports than anyone else arid takes more of our exports than anyone else except Japan. But beyond that there has not been, at least until very recently, any concerted ar.d determined effort on either side to develop a broad and balanced relationship, The Government believes that, given the trends in international affairs, · '

this state of affairs can not be allowed to continue, an i that our relationship with the European Communities must be brought closer to the level of the relationships we have with tie other two great industrial democracies. Western Europe's strategic

and political importance, its increasing significance a-· an international "personality" in important conferences and forums, its role in maintaining and strengthening a viable . international economic system, its potential as a source of development aid to developing countries through the Lome Convention arrangement — all these point to the need to move

in that direction. .

. Consequently, the Government has been very active during the last year in moving to strengthen our ties. In June of last year we sent the first delegation of senior officials for talks in Brussels, thus inaugurating a system of* annual across-the-board consultations with the Commission ofv^thc European Cominuni I . i o s . The second of these mootings began in Canberr a this rnoi η i nq„ In October J.976 I . visited

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U n d e r f u r t h e r e x p l o r a t i o n , s ince m y d e p a r t u r e , h a s b e e n c ur c o n c e r n to d e v e l o p m o r e us ef ul p o l i t i c a l an d m i l i t a r y con- . ,

t a c t s w i t h N A T O w h i c h m i g h t b o t h e n l a r g e the range and d e p t h of N A T O i n f o r m a t i o n available' to A u s t r a l i a and brtoaden the. b a s e s of A u s t r a l i a ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p in a p o l i t i c a l c o n t e x t . T h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r and I w i l l again v is it B r u s s e l s in J u n e of this

y e a r . · T h e r e is a l re ad y e v i d e n c e that A u s t r a l i a is a s s u m i n g · _

s h a r p e r d e f i n i t i o n in E u r o p e a n e y e s . . ·

. W h a t we are m o v i n g t o w ar ds is a r e g u l a r , i n s t i t u ­

t i o n a l i s e d s y s t e m of w i d e - r a n g i n g c o n s u l t a t i o n at v a r i o u s le ve l s r a n g i n g f r o m M i n i s t e r i a l m e e t i n g s to m i d d l e - o r d e r o f f i c i a l d i s c u s s i o n s . T h e s e c o n s u l t a t i o n s are not e x p e c t e d to remove all p r o b l e m s . Our d i f f i c u l t i e s w i t h the C o m m o n A g r i c u l t u r a l

P o l i c y o f the EEC are real a nd substantial. It w i l l be to the a d v a n t a g e of b o t h sides , if t hese can b e d i s c u s s e d in the c o n ­

text of m o r e s u b s t a n t i a l f r a m e w o r k of c o n t a c t s and c o n s u l t a t i o n , w h i c h w i l l h e l p to r em o v e m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g and p r o v i d e an o p p o r t u n i t y for e x p l o r i n g areas o f m u t u a l interest. .

C H I N A . ‘ '

A s o n e a s p e c t of c ur p o l i c y h a s b e e n to s t r e n g t h e n r e l a t i o n s w i t h the m a j o r dem oc ra ci es , a n o t h e r ha s b e e n to p l a c e o u r r e l a t i o n s w i t h the m a j o r C o m m u n i s t c o u n t r i e s on a m o r e p r a g m a t i c , less ide ol og ic al , b a s i s . T h i s is n o t b e c a u s e

o u r o p i n i o n s of the i d e o l o g i e s h a v e changed, or b e c a u s e we f i n d the r e p r e s s i v e a s p e c t s of C o m m u n i s m any m o r e a cceptable. A g a i n it f o l l o w s f r o m c h a n g e s in the i n t e r n a t i o n a l system. In a l es s s t a t i c , p o l a r i s e d and i d e o l o g i c a l w o r l d , w e c an a f f o r d

to g i v e l ess w e i g h t to i d e o l o g y and m o r e to a d i s c r i m i n a t i n g e v a l u a t i o n of actual b e h a v i o u r a nd c a p a b i l i t i e s , a nd t heir r e l e v a n c e to us. ·

. T h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r ' s v i s i t to C h i n a in J u n e 1976, a n d the e x t e n s i v e d i s c u s s i o n s that took p l a c e d u r i n g it, c o n ­

f i r m e d o ur e a r l i e r e v a l u a t i o n t h a t , in t he p r e v a i l i n g c i r c u m ­

s t a n c e s a nd on the b a s i s of a r e a l i s t i c r e a d i n g of the e x i s t i n g c o n f i g u r a t i o n of f o r c e s , C h i n a ' s f o re ig n p o l i c y is c o n c e r n e d to m a i n t a i n g lo b a l and r eg io na l stability. T hi s is a fact c f e n o r m o u s s i g n i f i c a n c e .for the i m m e d i a t e f ut u r e of the r e g i o n . .

W e s ha re t his c o n c e r n and w i l l do w h a t w e can to s u s t a i n it,

W e b e l i e v e that it is m o r e l ik e l y to be s u s t a i n e d if C h i n a is f u l ly i n t e g r a t e d int o the i n t e r n a t i o n a l s y s t e m o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d c o n s u l t a t i o n , a n d w e h av e m a d e thi s v i e w k n o w n to o t he r g o v e r n m e n t s . ·

In t erms of o u r .b i l a t e r a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , the h i s t o r ­ ical b a c k g r o u n d and the e n o r m o u s c u l t u r a l d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n o u r s o c i e t i e s p o i n t to the init ia l n e e d for w h a t m i g h t be term ed a f a m i l i a r i s a t i o n p r o c e s s and s te a d y p r o g r e s s , r a t h e r than

s p e c t a c u l a r gestures. W e h a v e p r o c e e d e d i n these terms. T h e



·« :

Family Reunion agreement, doncluded in October 1976 after long negotiations, is an achievement of considerable human . and practical significance for people of Chinese origin in our community. We are examining the possibilities of establish­

ing an Australia-China foundation which would function, as a particularly useful addition to other points of contact between our two countries. Vie are also examining the scope for cooper­ . ation in the exchange of technical information .in areas of

shared interest such as the development of semi-arid land. We expect that the visit of the superb archaeological exhibition now in Australia, and of a party of.Chinese newspaper editors in January, will be followed by regular exchanges and visits both ways. Later in the year, we expect to welcome a delegation

from the National People's Congress and it is worth observing that such a visit to a non-communist country is unusual. .

Against the background of vast emptiness.and silence which _ represented early Sinc-Australian .relations, steps such as these have a cumulative significance.

• There are three further points it is necessary to

make about our relations with China. The first .is that our i . concern with improving relations has in no way inhibited us ' from talcing up matters on which we disagree. In the Peking talks it was apparent that these include such important question

as nuclear proliferation and testing, our respective positions .. on the Middle East conflict, and the question of support for ' insurgency, particularly in South East Asia.. These are anything but trivial matters and there has been no attempt to minimise

the significance of the differences over them. On the question of support for insurgency, in their talks with the Prime Minister the Chinese leaders used a formula which in the view, of Dr Stephen FitzGerald, our then Ambassador in Peking^was

significantly different from ones they had previously used. But what is important ultimately — and if is very important'— is what happens on the ground. We shall be watching with close interest for evidence of changes in levels of activity and degrees of support.

The second point is that in our dealings with China we have to take into account the elements of uncertainty in China's domestic affairs and the effects these may have on foreign policy. In the last year the two founders of contem­ porary China -- Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai -- died. Such

a double loss in so short a time, and the problem of succession it raises, represents a severe test for a regime which has '

been in existence for less than thirty years. The practical, and perhaps the symbolic, effect of a devastating earthquake in the same year must have added to the sense of dislocation.— Recognising the clement of uncertainty, .1 can only say that at . ~this time we see no evidence of the likelihood of a sudden

„and radical discontinuity#in China's foreign policy.

' The last point I wish to make — and both the .

. Prime Minister and I have made it before — is that anyone who

interprets our policy towards China as essentially a function of our policy towards a third country is proceeding on a wrong ' 'assumption and will arrive at a wrong conclusion. We are not . "taking sides" and we are not "ganging up" on anyone. It is

appropriate that I end what I have to say about relations with China on this point, for the third country usually referred to in this context .is the Soviet Union, and I turn to our relations with that country. . . .


If China is important to Australia principally because of the great significance it has within our region, the Soviet Union is important as a global power. Because of ' the reach of its power, its formidable ability to influence the

course of events far beyond its boundaries, a nd, above a ll, its capacity to influence the overriding issues of peace and war, we, like every other country, have to pay close attention to the Soviet Union. . .

As the Prime Minister and I have previously emphasised, our bilateral relations with the Soviet Union are sound and we wish to make them as extensive and friendly as possible. During the last year two senior Australian Ministers — the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Transport -— visited an<3 ' held wide-ranging and useful talks there. Agreements on scien­

tific, technical and cultural cooperation are being actively' · implemented. Australia has recently achieved substantially increased sales of beef and mutton to the Soviet Union, and both countries are actively promoting trade with each other. We hope that the of trade imbalance that now exists can "be corrected over time." We also hope that the ties between us ,can be developed and will give careful consideration·to Soviet *

proposals as well as to formulating our own. .

■ ■ ' There is therefore little "in our bilateral - relationship which causes the Australian Government concern. What does con­ cern us and what we have ffelt obliged to draw to public attention is the extent, and- the implications , of the £ovielf^· arms build-up in recent years. " That' build-up threatens to" destabilise the .

fundamental strategic balance. If' it continues it will leave others-in the position of either having to match the Soviet effort, causing a steep upward spiral in the arms race, or of 'acquiescing in Soviet superiority. In either case the peace of

the world will be threatened. —

‘ . There is no need! to deny the complexities and ambigui-

- ties of the-debate on the strategic balance — they are real ■ c e n o u g h , B u t they' must not be allowed to obscure the essence ^pf the matter, which is that over the last ten years.

' the Soviet Union h a s t first, closed the strategic nuclear gap between the United States and itself; second, substantially closed the naval gap between the United States and i t s e l f a n d third rapidly widened the gap in conventional land forces in

its . favour. Having done this it- continues to outspe'nd the United States in i t s .arms program and shows no sign of letting up.

. ’ When the Prime Minister drew attention to these facts

last June he was widely criticised, as if drawing attention to them, rather than the facts themselves, constituted the danger to peace. Subsequently, the balance of informed Western opinion has strongly confirmed what the Prime Minister said. Throughout

the Western world — in social democratic countries as well as ones with conservative governments, from civilian sources as well as military ones -- there is deep concern at the trends . in the military balance. The NATO Foreign Ministers stated .

on December 8,;1976 that 1 they viewed with concern the high level of military expenditure in the .Soviet; Union and the con­ tinued disquieting expansion of the military power of the Warsaw Pact on land, air and sea which are difficult to reconcile with the avowed desire of the Soviet Union to improve Ease- .

i West relations. 1

There are some who say that even if all this is true, it is not appropriate for an Australian Government;, to comment on it. We do not accept that view. The questicn of world

peace is not a regional matter, nor something to be left exclus- . ively to the Great Powers. It concerns everybody. We cannot in one breath speak of peace as being .indivisible and in the next maintain that unless there is a perceptible and d-ireot

threat, to ourselves we should keep silent. . ' · " · · .

Similar considerations apply, I think, to recent evidence of continuing restraints on intellectual, freedom in the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. But at the same time we assure the leaders of the Soviet Union that critic- ‘ ising one of the w o rld1s super powers is not something we do lightly or with relish, and we want nothing more chan the r e ­ moval of the justification for our concern. We h o p e , profoundly, ·

that they will respond to the approach of a. new American President for a"genuine arms control agreement which will ..lead to a substantial reduction in the accumulation of military power.


I turn now to our regional'relationships and policies. . Together with our relationships with the major democracies, these form the core of our foreign' policy. They are important— both in terms of the traditional international agenda, in that ^hey bear upon the peace and stability of cur neighbourhood,

and of the emerging issues. I have referred to. For the part of the Third World which is most relevant.· to us, that we can · . ' ■ ·


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do most to assist, and in which we can best demonstrate our, intent, is that which is adjacent to us- It is here that the ' global problems — problems .of development, trade, population growth, refugees — .become also regional problems. "

The processes of transition which I have identified are very marked throughout the region. In South East Asia, the success of the ASEAN countries i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, in achieving an im­ pressive degree of unity and purposefulness, and the' unitication

of Vietnam into one state, have given the affairs of the region a different structure and atmosphere. At this time there is probably less internal dissension and violence in the area than at any time since the end of, the Second World War. To point,

to this development and the encouraging examples of economic · growth in the region is not to claim that all is well there. The memory of recent terrible and tragic events is still fresh, ' and there are still serious points tif tension and areas of

instability there. In my experience the countries of the region have a very realistic appreciation of the tasks still facing . them and of the fragility of the progress so far made. Neverthe- ■ less the progress is real. · .

. The Government attaches the greatest importance to

consolidating and developing our close relationship with the five members of ASEAN, both individually and collectively. . · On their two basic political priorities — the determination to see a region free of great power rivalry and domination, and

the concern to develop harmonious and cooperative relations among the countries of the region themselves — we are in full agree­ ment with them.

· . This Government recognises that, while political and security considerations will always be vitally important and while aid in various forms is, for the foreseeable future, . ' indispensable, the ASEAN countries are increasingly concerned

to develop their economic relations with Australia. We for our part are determined that they shall be developed, for we fully recognise the importance of healthy economic growth in the region and the importance of expanding trade for the developing

economies generally. , '

We have stated opr position on this matter. It is . that any significant change in our trade relations will have to take place gradually to minimise any domestic dislocation in this country. The fact that we make these stipulations is

evidence not that we are concerned to prevaricate or delay fof its own sake, b u t , on the contrary, that we are serious about ' · the matter and determined to approach it in a systematic and - viable, manner — rather than simply to make a political gesture. ^Progress in these matters depends on the recovery of the


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Australian e c o n o m y . In the meant ime we recognise that if now is not the time to a c t , now is, the time to prepare for action.

We d e c i d e d , in D e c e m b e r , to form an Interdepartmental Stand ing Committee to review all aspects of our relations with the ASEAN countries and make positive recommendations on the way they can be improved. The composition of that Committee,.which is heavily . w e i ghted on the economic side, is a clear indication of our

pur p o s e in this m a t t e r . The invitation I have extended to the Secretary-General of ASEAN, General D h a r s o n o , to visit Australia in the near future further emphasises this p u r p o s e . Preparations are also going ahead, for d i s c u s s i o n s , probably in M a y , between senior ASEAN and Australian offic ials to examine a wide range

of matters connected v :i th the development of closer economic relations between Australia and the ASEAN countries.

■ As far as the countries of Indo-China are concerned, it is in Australia's interest to see the three governments part­ icipate in the kind of peaceful activities which will contribute towards bringing about their own economic progress and harmonious relationships in the region. We are not being starry-eyed about this. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with a population of fifty million and the most formidable military apparatus in South East Asia, is a communist state hardened by thirty years of revolutionary struggle and war. What course it will take will be crucial to the future of the regiou.. The new regime

in Cambodia began its ruJ.e in the most savage and drastic manner. We believe, however, that nothing will be gained by either Australia or the region ostracising, ignoring or setting out to alienate these governments. In the case of Vietnam in particular, it will be dangerous if it is placed in a position

where it feels that it can only maintain cordial relations with other communist states. We have put this view to the United States during the past year.

There are signs that Vietnam does not wish to be. placed in such a position. While it views ASEAN with some "

suspicion, a suspicion which in is possible t o .understand though it is completely unwarranted, it has made sensible efforts to improve its bilateral relations with ASEAN members. It has joined various international, organisations and has shown

an interest in foreign investments from no ή-communis t sources.

It is Australia's policy to encourage it in this .

direction. We have supported its successful application for membership of the Asian Development Bank, the International Mone­ tary Fund a n d ·the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as its so far unsuccessful application for membership of the United Nations. We have initiated a modest

aid program, for humanitarian as well as political reasons, oner that concentrates on agricultural development where the benefits b o the people of Vietnam will be most apparent. T h e s e ·steps

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sh ou ld ma k e it evident to the G ove rn men t of V i e t n a m that if , it wi sh es to est ablish a p e ac e fu l and c on st r uc ti v e role for. itself in the r e g i o n , A u s t ra li a will b e c on ce r ne d to -assist it. . . .

• As. far as our ot he r b il at e ra l r el at ion sh ips in

the region are c o n c e r n e d , I. will m en t i o n only two: that_ w it h In do ne s ia ov e r Ti m or and that with P apua M e w G u i n e a . ' ' . .

.When we came to o f f i c e . in N o v m e b e r 197 5, we' i nh er it ed a si tu at io n in Ti m or whi ch was a lr ea dy far developed. Most of . the li m i t e d o p p o r tu n it ie s for e xe rt i ng infl ue nce had a lr ea dy passed. Short of ph y s i c a l .intervention — ' and I do not think . that wa s c o n t e m p l a t e d by any res ponsible A u s t r a l i a n — .our

p u r c h a s e on the sit uation was slight. T he re w e r e very vocal g r ou ps in A u s t r a l i a who mai nta in ed that in. this issue our onl y c o nc er n should be to ma i n t a i n our good relations w it h Indonesia. T h er e we re ot h er groups who maintained· that our only concer n

should be with What they believed to be the int ere st s of the T i m o r e s e and opp os it io n to outsi de .intervention. The Gov ern m en t b e l i e v e s that both these views o v e r - s i m p l i f i e d the issues and that Au s t r a l i a ' s int erests wou ld be best served by f in di n g a b a l a n c e b e t w e e n these c o n c e r n s .

• At the Un ite d Na ti ons G en er al A ss em b ly in D e c e m b e r 1975, we voted in suppor t of a res olu ti on appealing: to the p a r t i e s in Po r tu g u e s e Timor 1 to join in talks to end the strife and calling for the withdrawal of Indonesian troops. At the same time we suggested the sending of a United Nations

Special Representative to Timor, and this was subsequently done. We assisted that representative, Mr Winspeare Guicc.i ardi, with radio facilities to attempt to contact Fretilin, and we ' indicated that if all parties would guarantee his safety, we would provide him with transport to visit the territory. We urged, consistently and strongly, that, the International Red · Cross be allowed to resume activity' in East Timor. . When r hj.s did not eventuate, we contributed $330,000 in aid to the

Indonesian. Red Cross, as the only means ava ilable to relieve distress in the territory. We have been particularly concerned about the plight of those refugees who have come to Australia without their families. Arrangements are well advanced for many of these people to be reunited with each other. .

Our oppositj.on to the :use of force t.c settle problems in the region has been clearly registered and still stands. But throughout we have striven to maintain our close and friendly relations with the Indonesian "Government, and to contain our . differences over the Timor question. To jeopardise these re­ : . lotions would not have been in Australia1s interests and would

'-not have benefited the people of East Timor. The Prime Minister visit to Indonesia in October 1976 established that the relation ship continues to be soundly and firmly based. ’

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. - Since coming to office shortly after Papua Mew Guine a 1s

accession to independence in September 1975, the Government has given high priority to laying-a solid basis for the n e w , post­ Independence era of the relationship with our nearest neighbour. During the Prime Ministerial visits by Mr Somare to' Canberra

in March 1976 and by Mr Fraser to Port Moresby this month, and in my many discussions over the past year with the Papua New ' Guinea Foreign Minister, Sir Maori K.iki, the great importance which both Governments attach to the relationship between the

two countries has been unequivocally reaffirmed. .

The Australian Government has also reaffirmed the pledge of successive Australian Governments to give the highest . priority to providing assistance to Papua New Guinea. Indeed, we improved on it;: the new aid commitment announced in March

. 1976 which guaranteed Papua New Guinea at the very least $A930 million over the five-year period beginning in 1976/77 represented a substantial increase in Australia") assistance. "The new aid arrangements were also designed to put an end to Australian · "

involvement in Papua New Guinea's budget-making and have been warmly welcomed by Mr Somare's Government as a substantial con­ tribution to Papua New Guinea's ability to move towards its objective of self-reliance and to determine and implement its j own .development priorities. . . · · ■

Substantial progress has also been made during the · past year in the negotiation of a range of long-term bilateral ' agreements and. arrangements including the Trade and Commercial Relations Agreement and an Agreement on Air Services. The same ‘ is true of the negotiations which began in May 1976 for a settle­

ment of all issues relating to Torres Strait. There are, a number, of points not yet resolved and more work needs to be done on the . complex legal and humanitarian issues involved. . But both Govern­ ments are determined and confident that outstanding issues can

and will be resolved through a continued process of amicable and direct bilateral negotiation. As my colleague, the Minister for Defence, informed the House on 23 February, a Status of Forces Agreement was signed in January and a Joint Statement on the future defence relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea was issued by the two Prime Ministers on .11 February. "

The relationship between our two countries by no means depends solely on-the actions of Governments: it is sus­ tained by personal associations and friendships which reach ' into every corner of our two societies. It is a complex and • intimate relationship which reflects the many abiding common

interests we have. The relationship is soundly-based and I look with confidence to its future. ’ .

In the second of the regions in which we have a special 4-nterest, the South Pacific, there is again a rapidly-accelerat- ring pace of change,. In the next two years, three countries, the Solomon Islands,;the Gilbert Islands, and Tuvalu, are likely

to achieve independence. The Anglo-Fa.ench Condominium of the


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New Hebrides is moving towards self-government and eventual independence; the future status of the United States Trust Territories is being actively considered. Contacts with count- . · ries outside the region arc increasing, notably through the . relationship which has developed between Fiji, Western Samoa, . Tonga and Papua New Guinea and the European.Communities through

the Lome Convention, though, there are also significant develop­ ments in bilateral diplomatic relations. In the South Pacific · Forum and the South Pacific Commission the countries of the region are also actively studying possibilities for closer regional .cooperation, such as shipping, telecommunication, civil aviation

services, and Law of the Sea m a t t e r s i n c l u d i n g the policing and surveillance of 200-mile economic zones and the possibility of ‘ establishing a South Pacific Fisheries Agency. ' .

• In retrospect I think it is clear that in earlier

years Australian Governments of both persuasions have not given . the South. Pacific the attention it deserves. In terms of the considerable problems its countries face, in.terms of the impor- . ζ"' tance of the area for Australia, and in terms of the impact which

jjk even a quite limited intrusion by outside powers can have on the ™ smaller countries, it deserves serious attention. Australia is now working in close collaboration with our regional partner, New Zealand, to assist the countries of the South Pacific in advancing

the welfare of their people. As I announced in Suva last October, . we have now carried out a major revision of Australia1s South . Pacific Aid Programme. Jt has been placed on a rolling three- '

year basis with an initial, commitment of $60 million for the period . 1976-79. This amounted to an increase of 400 per cent. In addition, guidelines have been made more flexible to allow the program to meet: the particular needs of different countries more effectively.

The Australian Government's policy towards the third - region which is necessarily of particular concern to us, the .

Indian Ocean, is based on the premise that it can only become a zone oT~peace if it: first becomes a zone of balance. Our concern, repeatedly stated, is that, this balance be achieved at the lowest ^ practicable level . We support an American presence at a level φ sufficient to maintain a. balance and we neither seek nor urge a

greater capability. The United States for its part is committed to a policy of restraint and the new United States Administration has signalled since it took office that it would be interested in negotiating a bilateral ar m s ·limitation agreement with the

Soviet Union on the Indian Ocean. President Carter last week ’

confirmed this. It is, of course, early days yet to judge what the prospects are for such negotiations. .


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■ . We have drawn attention to the Soviet naval presence

in the Ocean n o t because we see it as 'a direct threat to Australia · but because we see it as a destabilising and exacerbating develop­ . ment in the global strategic picture. We supported the mode'st extension of the facilities in Diego Garcia because of the existence

of the very extensive Soviet facilities in Berbera and the not insignificant ones elsewhere in and around the Ocean. If both · _ can be removed by mutual agreement, so much the better. An Indian Ocean Zone of Peace is an objective with which Australia has

sympathy and we recognise that those who sponsor it are concerned with the same end as wc are.., namc-ly, a stable peace in the Indian Ocean. The degree of complementarity between the two approaches ' was evident in tlu- Commun i quo that was issued at the end of the

Indonesian visLt last October, when it said, "Pending the achieve­ ment of a Zone of Peace, the President and the Prime Minister recognised .that a balance .in the Indian Ocean at as low a level as ^ possible should make, it possible to avoid a competitive escalation

forces". We believe this gets it right. .


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' Apart from those trends in the central strategic balance to which 1. have referred, international peace is most immediately threatened by the Chronic tension which exists in three widely- separated regions -- sour hern Africa, the Middle East and North East. Asia. . . .

• . · The last year has seen the tempo of change in southern

Africa quicken decisively, bringing the region to the forefront ' . o F T K e world's attention’ . The meaningful questions now are riot - whe_thor fundamental changes will take place, but when they will take place and how they will take place. These, questions are

clearly related: fundamental changes will have to be made sooner very much, sooner - - if they are to be made comparatively peace- ( , fully, and if the whole region .is to avoid the incalculable con- φ sequences of large-scale outside intervention.

. Obscuring this fact will serve no-cne's interest. We recognise the di.I: which, have, grown with the wasted years, but the future of all the people both black and white now depends on making swift and resolute use of the little time remaining.

This is why we have supported the process of negotiated change i.n Zimbabwe and Namibia. This is w h y , in pursuing a policy of maintaining correct diplomatic relations with South Africa, we have sought to convey very firmly that we not only oppose that

r e g i m e p o l i c i e s of racial discrimination without reservation, but we believe .i ts po 1 i ti.caj structure can not indefinitely . sustain - the tensions and divisive, forces Inherent in a system



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which institutionalises racial inequality. The tragic, and significantly sustained, eruption of violence in Soweto underlines the validity of this message. It is one which it '

is proper for us to convey and we will continue to do so. For

what is happening in southern Africa is significant not only in Africa; it demonstrates in most convincing terms the .

potency of the racial question in contemporary international ' politics, and it has an important effect on the whole spectrum * of Third World-Western relations. .

: , I want to make it clear, that the Government opposes racism not only in. South Africa but wherever it occurs and whoever are its victims. In. the African context we find utterly deplorable the racist and tyrannical regime in Uganda. We also

bear in mind that, repugnant as it is, racism is by no means the only thing that violates the dignity of men and denies human rights. It is necessary to defend those rights against all forms of attack. .

' This Government has made clear its concern about human rights both publicly and privately on many occasions and in respect of events in many different countries. Furthermore in my speech to the UN General Assembly last year I said "we see

importance too in the more general re-assertion of the cause of freedom of the person, and the elimination of the indignities which man still heaps upon man, torture, forced labour, discri­ mination and inequality - to mention but a few".

In the Middle East the last year witnessed another ■ tragic episode in an already tragic history: the terrible inter­ necine conflict in Lebanon. Australia has played its part in international efforts to alleviate the human suffering, both

through'gifts of food and through special immigration arrange­ ments. We hope President Sarkis will make rapid progress in re­ building the country. I am very pleased that we will be able to reopen our: office iri Beirut in May. In the meantime the resident

Embassy now being established in Damascus will deal with Lebanese migration applications. As well, as the Embassy in Syria, we . have recently established one in Iraq, where an Ambassador takes charge this month. These moves to strengthen our representation

testify to our recognition of the growing economic and political importance of the region.

- On Ehe central Arab Israeli dispute, the coming year

will s^e a renewed effort towards settlement, and together with · most other states we welcome this and trus t* that it will be pressed with the utmost determination. in the meantime, we have been glad to contribute to the United Nations Peace-keeping effort for the

Middle East. At the request ο i the United Nations Secretary-General, Australia deployed lour RAAF helicopters with their crews and main­ tenance staff to the IJN Emergency Force in the Sinai in July last . /· _



C )


' ■ ! Australia has lent Its support to United Nations *

resolutions 242 of 1967 and 33.8 of .1973, seeing them as giving ' absolute recognition to the right of Israel to survive as a nation, and as also recognising the need for Israel t o . .withdraw from occupied territories. One change in the situation since

1967 is that the Palestine problem has come to be seen generally as not merely an issue of refugees, but of the need., for any . settlement to take account of the legitimate rights of the .Palestine people. . , ' ■

- . ' Proposals are now being advanced from the Arab side.

relating to the setting up of a Palestinian state on territory .. to be vacated by.Israel on the West Bank of the Jordan and in Gaza. It is an entirely legitimate concern in Israel that ;

whatever entity is in control of these territories should live . · _ in peace with .its neighbour's, and abjure threats or acts of force, as required by resolution 242.,. This can not .be said of ■ ­ the long-established platform of the P L O , and so long as the

PLO. can not be seen to have abandoned its earlier written rejec­ tion of Israel's right to exist, the road to peace will be . --

I blocked. A reciprocal proposition is that recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people w i l l 'also require . . · action by Israel in one form or another. . ■ · ■ "

: :' ■ If, as a result of negotiations, there'is agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian homeland alongside Israel, . · this will have Australian support. All this is a matter for negotiation among the parties directly concerned.

. . . . Because the interests of four great powers intersect

in North East A sia and because of the hostility that exists between the two states into which it is divided, the Korean peninsula inevitably constitutes one of the principal danger points in international politics. Our concern is to reduce the

level of friction which exists, to encourage any new initiative which will enhance stability, and to foster an atmosphere in which constructive negotiation can take place. We welcomed the fact that in 1976, at the wish of both the Korean Governments,

the prospect of another sterile debate at the United Nations was averted. We hope that a means acceptable to both sides can be found, outside the United Nati ons context, of reducing the . . . emphasis upon the military aspect of the confrontation. Until

this happens the Government believes that the sensitivity of the situation is such that any step which will substantially . affect the status quo should be approached with great caution and preceded by thorough consultation. In foreshadowing its _

intention to withdraw its ground forces from the Republic of Korea over a period of years, the new United States Administr­ ation has made it clear that it fully recognises this. . .

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• · . . .· ' ·

. ' ; : T h r o u g h o u t t h i s s t a t e m e n t , I h a v e s t r e s s e d Jnow a n . '

. a w a r e n e s s o f c h a n g e p e r v a d e s a n d s h a p e s t h e G o v e r n m e n t ' s f o r e i g n

. ' p o l i c y . I n t h e last: p a r t o f . i t , I t u r n t o l o o k d i r e c t l y a t t h e . i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r A u s t r a l i a o f t h e e m e r g e n c e o f w h a t h a v e c c m e * t o

b e k n o w n , r i g h t l y a s " t h e g l o b a l i s s u e s " . , ·

. T h i s G o v e r n m e n t c a m e t o o f f i c e f u l l y s e i z e d o f t h e

· i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e s e global, i s s u e s . I n o u r p o l i c y s t a t e m e n t , ' p r i o r t o t h e e l e c t i o n s , w e r e c o g n i s e d t h a t they, p r e s e n t e d

‘ · A u s t r a l i a w i t h i t s g r e a t e s t t e s t o f s t a t e s m a n s h i p i n f o r e i g n .·.

p o l i c y . I n h i s s t a t e m e n t o n t h e w o r l d s i t u a t i o n l a s t J u n e , ·

t h e P r i m e Minister spoke at length about, these problems, in terms that, dispelled any cornp] acency about the record of the developed countries and recognised the need for a farsighted . response to '.hem,, if they were not to create an international \_) atmosphere inimical, to Australia's well-being. Subsequently, φ . I and other members of the Government have elaborated on this ·

.theme. ' ■ ' ;

. ' In a speech to the National. Press Club last November

I- spoke at. s.nv.e length on the significance of this "new agenda" . for Aust ralia. I argued that, because of our resources our . rol e as a food producer ,-naur energy resources, our vast mineral resources -- arid our position as a trading nation, it is bound ' .

to enhance our importance. This in turn will mean not. that our bargaining power will increase, but that, we will almost cer- • tainly be sub isoted to more demands and pressures — not only from the Third World but from other countries which are concerned

t o ;find scu_u.t;.i oris to such questions. ' . -

. These issues are individually important, many of them

vitally so, and they are even more important in their collective, ' cumulative impact. They are important, in the short-run and " going t.o be even, more so in the longer-run. ■ They are important in "terms of the substantive matters they raise and they are ■

important, politically. Γη one way or another they will at feet, our relationships with most other countries -·- the 120 or so states which now ccnst.d tute the Third W o rld, as well as the great powers. . . . . ·

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. For at least, the next decade, we will· still be a

sparsely-populated, and richly endowed country in a world which is.going to be increasingly "overcrowded, short of food, energy and other essentials, and seized of the importance of how the world's resources are distributed and utilised. This is not an empty cliche.. 11: points to the heart of Australia's

foreign policy problem over the coming years. We had better address ourselves to it because it will certainly address itself tii. us. Those who think that it is- a realistic approach to stand pat, to wait and see, to conduct business as usual, are


seriously underestimating the dynamics of the situation. In many areas, the time for decision is rapidly approaching- . . . I will give some specific examples. . . .

' . . First , the stage reached in the deliberation's of thp '

Law of the Sea Conference, and the declaration of a number of other states on the matter, mean that. Australia will soon have to make a decision, on. the question of a 2C0-mi.le economic zcne". ' . This concept, which has developed over the last decade, involves

giving to coastal states jur.isdiction over the living .and non- . · . living resources of. the sea and seabed up to 200 miles, from the coast. For Australia, v-ith its enormously long coastline, it is a development, of a unique ar-d unprecedented order of mnagnitude.

A decision ::o declare an economic zone will confront us with a . series of vital decisions -- in terns of developing a capacity to exploit what we have, claimed; t.he.kinds of agreement we will need to enter .into with others concerning the zone; our respons- ·

abilities in terms of resource-- sharing.; and the problem of _ surveillance. But the matter is an urgent one, involving respons­ ibilities both to the Australian pec-ple and to the community of nations. The Government'is giving it the most careful consider­ ation. The Law of the Sea Conference has not yet concluded

its work. Whether it: succeeds or fails remains to be seen. There is at present a deep division of opinion between the developed stales and the Third World states, particularly ever the question of an international. r6gime of the seabed beyond the

limits of national jurisdiction. More generally, up to this , point the Conference has been characterised by an absence of .·'·â– ' the political will and determination necessary to find an agreed solution. If this continues, it is likely that" there ' ■

will be a breakdown and this will have the most serious ccnsequ- . ences. For our part, we are determined to do everything to ·

■ avoid a breakdown. Our delegation has been playing a valuable . ■ ' and well-regarded mediatory role. Between now and the next session of the Conference in May we will do nothing which might prejud- . ' ice its success. . · . ·

· Second , and in important ways connected to the Law

of the Sea Conference, is the future of Antarctica and its re­ sources. As the Australian Antarctic Territory comprises about three-sevenths of the entire Antarctic land mass, this is a matter of great concern to us. J.t will be considered by the _

Antarctic Treaty Consultative Powers at their next meeting in October of this year. The questions involved are enormously ' complex involving living and non-living resources, environmental , issues, defence and strategic questions, access and sovereignty... It is an issue on which the defining of" the national interest in realistic and. enlightened terms — terms which recognise the potential importance of Antarctica4:q the whole of mankind —

rs’ a major and urgent task. It is now hieing undertaken" .


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T h i r d ( A u s t r a l i a is b e i n g a s k e d to p l a y a m a j o r r ole in t he r e s e t t l e m e n t of refucjees f ro m the a l l - t o o - m a n y a reas of c o n f l i c t and d i s r u p t i o n a r o u n d the world. O v e r the p a s t y e a r - t he G o v e r n m e n t has· r e s p o n d e d to m a n y such s i t u a t i o n s , for

i n s t a n c e in the L e b a n o n , I n d o - C h i n a and L a t i n America.' It is p r e s e n t l y e n g a g e d in a r r a n g i n g r e un io n of Eas t T i m o r e s e e v a c u e e s in A u s t r a l i a w i t h t h e i r c l o s e r e l a t i v e s in East T i m o r and e l s e ­

w h e r e . T he G o v e r n m e n t r e c o g n i s e s t hat refugee-type" situations.· w i l l c o n t i n u e to a ri se and that A u s t r a l i a , b e c a u s e of .its s i z e , r e s o u r c e s , e x i s t i n g l evel of p o p u l a t i o n and' general· c a p a c i t y to r e s e t t l e r ef u g e e s w i l l 'c o n t i n u e to b e seen as a m a j o r r e f u g e e ; r e s e t t l e m e n t country. T h e M i n i s t e r for I m m i g r a t i o n and E th n i c

A f f a i r s w il l b e m a k i n g a d e t a i l e d s t a t e m e n t on our r e f u g e e p o l i c y and p r o p o s e d n e w m e c h a n i s m s in the n e a r future. .

E°u r f h , in the field of i n t e r n a t i o n a l t r a d e , the ,

d i f f i c u l t i e s of d e v e l o p i n g c o u n t r i e s , a p a r t from, m o s t oil "

e x p o r t i n g n a t i o n s , are s e r i o u s and immediate. In the p a s t t w e n t y y e a r s , their s h a r e of w o r l d t r a d e h a s d e c l i n e d sharply. T h e y h a v e faced, a s i t u a t i o n of e r r a t i c c h a n g e in t h e i r terms of trade. E x t r e m e f l u c t u a t i o n s in their e x p o r t •d a r n i n g s hav e a d d e d f o r m i d a b l y to the tas k of p l a n n i n g e c o n o m i c 'growth. A g a i n s t this b a c k g r o u n d , and in the n a m e of e q u i t y .

a nd j u s t i c e , the d e v e l o p i n g c o u n t r i e s are p r e s s i n g h a r d for a d j u s t m e n t s to the i n t e r n a t i o n a l e c o n o m i c system. P r o p o s a l s - · for t h e r e s t r u c t u r i n g of i n t e r n a t i o n a l c o m m o d i t y triade, for the i m p r o v e m e n t of m a r k e t a c c e s s a r r a n g e m e n t s , for the a l l e v i a t i o n ' of i n t e r n a t i o n a l debts, and for the s h a r i n g of t e c h n o l o g i e s are n o w on the table. D e t a i l e d n e g o t i a t i o n s are n o w p r o c e e d i n g w i t h i n U N C T A D , the c o n f e r e n c e o n I n t e r n a t i o n a l E c o n o m i c 'C o o p e r a-

t ion (Cl EC ) and the M u l t i l a t e r a l T r a d e N e g o t i a t i o n s ( MTNsO ^ ■ - .

T h e s e n e g o t i a t i o n s are t e c h n i c a l and c o m p l e x for the l ay m a n b u t t h e i r o u t c o m e w i l l u l t i m a t e l y af fe ct us a l l , A c c e p t a n c e of t h e p r o p o s a l s a d v a n c e d b y the T h i r d W o r l d c o u n t r i e s w o u l d h a v e far r e a c h i n g c o n s e q u e n c e s for the g r o w t h an d d i r e c t i o n of w o r l d trade. E q u a l l y , r e j e c t i o n , or a f a i l u r e to. a c h i e v e any m e a s u r e of c o n s e n s u s , w o u l d b e a s ou r c e of i n s t a b i l i t y a n d con- "

flict. An a s s e s s m e n t of w h e t h e r the p r o p o s a l s are r e a l i s t i c and a p p r o p r i a t e b o t h to the n e e d s of the d e v e l o p i n g c o u n t r i e s a n d t he c a p a c i t i e s of the d e v e l o p e d c o u n t r i e s is c u r r e n t l y p r o c e e d i n g . A u s t r a l i a , as an i m p o r t a n t t r a d i n g n a t i o n w i t h a

v i t a l s take in the i n t e r n a t i o n a l t r a d i n g system, ha s a l e g i ­

t i m a t e a nd s e r i o u s i n t e r e s t in the o u t c o m e .. Th e G o v e r n m e n t f ul ly r e c o g n i s e s the n e e d to b e s e n s i t i v e , p o s i t i v e and c o n s t r u c t i v e . as f ar as the d i f f i c u l t i e s of the d e v e l o p i n g c o u n t r i e s are c o n c e r n e d . It a l s o r e c o g n i s e s the n e e d to be r e a l i s t i c and p r a g m a t i c in terms o f w h a t the s y s t e m w i l l b e a r , and of o u r .

o w n i nt erests, i n t e r p r e t e d broadly, in p o l i t i c a l as w e l l as — e c o n o m i c t e r m s . F i n d i n g the a p p r o p r i a t e b a l a n c e b e t w e e n .

tliese c o n s i d e r a t i o n s is a p r o b l e m we s h ar e w i t h m o s t o t h e r c ou nt r ie s , a n d is n o t o n e that c an b e set aside. .

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Fifth , and perhaps most urgent of a l l , along with - ' every other country, Australia has a vital interest in’how nuclear power is developed and utilised in the near future, I • say the near future, for it seems clear that time is of the .

essence in this matter. Apart from t.he interest, it shares with the rest of mankind, Australia has a particular'interest and responsibility because it controls a sizeable part of the w o rld1 s resources of uranium.. The decision regarding the '

. . ■ export of these resources will not be made in advance of the final Ranger Inquiry report. But the Government would be re— __ miss'*" if it did not address itself to the general questions of" nuclear development: and safeguards in the meantime, for

these are vital matters in any event. ....

The Government regards it as imperative that peaceful " nuclear energy development takes place and it seems inevitable that it .will, take place ---· under an effective international regime. ye attach the greatest importance to the Non-Prcli-

feration Treaty and will abide strictly by its provisions. We attach the greatest importance to the strengthening of the ηon-prο 1 .if:eration rbgime, reducing distinctions, between · nuclear "have 1s" and "have n o t 1s ", and between developed and developing. countrieso We believe that, adherence to the . - · I Treaty needs to be made more attractive to non-nuclear stakes, • by balancing new and tightened safeguards with rational incen­

tives for the self-denial of a weapons option. ■ _

" It is clear that other countries will continue to

rely to an increasing ex fen on nuclear generated electric power for their energy requirements. This trend to a greater . . l'e.liance oh nuclear ;energy abroad will occur whether or net Australia becomes a .large-seale exporter of urahium. At the 1 ■ same time, the. maintenance and improvement on an effective

international nuclear safeguards regime will continue. Aust- ralia1s contribution to ensure effective international nuclear safeguards must surely be much greacer if we accept positively . the responsibility which we have to the international community as a major world supplier of uranium. While it awaits the final report of the Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry, the Government has conducted a most thorough preliminary investigation on the whole question, of nuclear safeguards, both as they apply in Australia itself and overseas. If Australia dees become a major exporter of uranium, she will

do so with a comprehensive and stringent national policy on - the safeguards to apply to her exports.

, . We recognise fully the nexus between the prospects · . -

of "horizontal non-proliferation" — the prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons to more countries — and the . prospects of "vertical non-proliferation" — the placing of curbs on existing nuclear arsenals. There is an inescapable

.connection between i.he two„ The outcome of the SALT nego­ tiations .later this year will go far to determine not only


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the future balance between the United States and the Soviet . Union, but the prospects of non-proliferation fin: the rest of this century.. We take hops from the fact that President _ Carter clearly recognises this and the imperative need for

the super powers to reach agreement on stabilising, ·and ultimately reducing, their nuclear armaments. . . ·

. I have.said something about these five issues — '

and I could easily have extended the list with references to food, the control of conventional arms sales, and'many . .others --- because they make it clear that as far as Australia is concerned decisions· on many of the global problems are not

ones that can be postponed to an indefinite future. They will have to be made in this decade if they are not simply . to be made by events. Even it they are made successfully, there will be others to follow them. The population of the ' world cannot double iri thirty years without producing

problems of unprecedented complexity and dimensions.

Apart from their specific content they are bound to raise general questions about the way we conduct our foreign delations. ‘

. We shall have to give increasing the

question of ensuring adequate access to international f ■deliberations in a world increasingly characterised by a system of Groups and the organisation of international negotiations in terms of Group representation. 1 refer,

of course,' to such entities as the Q.E.C.D., of which we are a member, and the Group of 77, the Non-aligned Movement, and the Eastern European Countries' CMEA. It. is essential that Australia shouJ d not be left in the interstices between' these Groups. We cannot, do this by claiming to be what we are not, in order to gain membership where we do not belong.

" It will involve patiently pressing our case.for

representation in new forums. If will involve strengthening our bilateral re! at ions'" wi f h countries in a.l..l groups and it will involve ensuring that we make full and energetic use of those forums to which we do have access.

In this last respect I want, to make special reference to the Commonwealth and the United Nations. Not too long ago the Commonwealbh was a centre-piece in Australia's foreign police •In recent years it has been given somewhat less prominence,

partly because our relationships have become more diverse, but partly also because," hisr.orically, the Australi an approach ' to the Commonwealth was largely a function of the importance attached, to our connection with Britain but as her interest east

of Suez declined and her commitment to Europe increased, it. ; was- inevitable that Australia's attitude, towards the Commonwealth should be affected. . ' · " ' · .

· ..../23 ‘


ZU -


' ■ I : ■ :

' ■ But the time is ripe' for a reassessment of its _ · . ·

. significance for our foreign policy. After all, a North- South dialogue lias been going on in the framework, of the Commonwealth for a Jong time however novel it is else- _

where. The Commonweal v.h is an old muJ.t.i-i acial forum . ' and the accumul a l . ed experience of its members is great. It is an international organ!sation which is not ■

overshadowed by the presence of great powers. And lastly, there are many other Commonwealth members in regions adjacent to us -- in. South East Asia' and the South Pacific.

For all these very sound reasons the Government believes, that Australia should attend, more actively to the possibility of its Commonwealth role — both globally and ' regionally. That is why the Prime Minister has invited a-number of

Prime Ministers of Commonwealch countries in the Pacific for talks prior to the Commonwealh Heads of Government Meeting, to be held in London it June. These will supplement the talks which the Prime Miniseer and I have had and will have with

the Prime Minister of Papua Hew Guinea, Singapore and ' "

Malaysia against the same background. The Prime Minister .

will attend the London Conference with the positive approach indicated by these preparatory steps. '

i. The importance of the United Nations derives from

i * its comprehensiveness. It is the only int ernational meeting place at which virtually all countries are represented. .

Despite its impet f ec Lions ·-- a n d , from different points of view, all members acknowledge that these exist --- this ensures its indispensibili.t.y. The growth and change of the United Nations over the years have reflected — fc-r better and for worse — • the growth and change which have occurred in the world .

. around it. Australia was one of ' the 5], founding members. . . . There are now 147 members. I:.i the United Nations our electoral grouping is with the so-called WEOG -- the We’st European and Others. Group. We also have a pattern of consultation with

the "ASEAN plus'* group. And beyond that the United Nations provides our only means of" constant and ready contact with . close on half the conn erics of the world. In terms of the t

need for access, therefore, the United Nations is of great benefit to us. It is important, that we do what we can to .

maintain its authority and. effectiveness.

We w i l l .also h a v e .to give increasing attention to ensuring coherence and coordination in our policy.. The days · when foreign policy was something relatively self-contained are ever. The distinctions between domestic and foreign,

economic and political, are becoming increasingly blurred. We will have to devise more flexible and integrated methods of decision-making if traditional boundaries and conventional jurisdictions are not to lead to overlapping, inconsistencies^

and missed opportunities.


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• -Ο

. It. is h o t o n l y a m a t t e r of p r o b le ms » A u s t r a l i a i%:

a l s o p r e s e n t e d wi'th g p po r tun i ties b y m a n y of -these c h a n g e s , for they e n h a n c e the. i m p o r t a n c e of w h a t v/e p os se ss - H o w we ' r e s p o n d to t h e s e o p p o r t u n i t i e s w i l l d e t e r m i n e not onl y how·· s e c u r e l y a n d c o m f o r t a b l y w e will, live in a changing world, . · but also what kind of a country Australia will become-

The goals of cur Foreign Policy in this changing world are .ambitious ones- pursuit will, take patience and per­ sistence and require the skilful use of our nation's .

. resources- .

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