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Senator Willesee's speech to United Nations General Assembly



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G3 S

N E W S R E L E A S E

N Q D A T E

4 October 1973

SENATOR WILLESEE'S SPEECH TO UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The following is the text of the speech delivered

on 4 October, Australian time, to the United Nations General

Assembly, by the Special Minister of State and Minister Assisting

the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Willesee.

Mr President, I would like to extend to you the

warmest congratulations of the Australian delegation on your

election as President of the General Assembly.

There has been for many years now, a growing sense of ■

community between us in Australia and our Latin-American

neighbours across the Pacific Ocean and a developing sympathy,

understanding and awareness of our common problems and mutual

interests.

The history of the United Nations since 1945 has been

marked- by outstanding contributions from a series of

distinguished .representatives from Latin-America and none more

so than your own.

Your profound experience of the United Nations spans ■

two decades, in the second of which in particular you have been

able to play a guiding role in a wide range of United Nations

activities.

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It is fitting therefore that we. should now have this ...

opportunity of saluting you as President of the twenty-eighth ~ ’,> ·â– 

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Assembly.

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Mr President, I might begin by recalling that the

present Australian, Government came, into office less than one ·

year ago, towards the close of. the last session of the Geieral

Assembly, . , ., ‘ C . ?

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; i · . This is thus, the first opportunity for a Minister of

the present Government to appear at the rostrum of this ^ssembly.

' and explain its broad philosophy and the policies it is

’. · pursuing now and for the .future, , "

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■ ' I regard it as a great privilege to be here and 1 to be'

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. , 'able to take advantage of this opportunity.

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I want to emphasise first that those ideals, which inspired

are valid today. · , Λ'οΧ

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At Sail' Francisco; the Australian Delegation saw the United

the Australian Delegation in helping to draw up the charter . in

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Nations as an "instrument for peace and for human welfare ever y w h e r e ,

■ ' · - Wc conceived of "it not only as a charter for politicians

and diplomats, but. as!-one aimed especially to promote the dignity

and well-being o f the ·.·â– .·

ordinary man and woman.

- We saw this irganisation as a 'means for "leading dependent

peoples towards independence and as a means of eliminating

discrimination'of all

r a c e , . ■ ' 1

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kinds, including discrimination based on

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Tbe.se are all clearly written into the charter and

through such instruments' as the Universal Declaration of Human

Righto, they'.have .received further expression in this assembly

and in other U n i t e d ; Nations- organs' -as the "years h a v e ’passed, ' ‘ ' * ' ' . , . Vi ‘ "

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· . 1 We hold fast to these ideals, and the philosophy that

guides the Australian Government today is a positive philosophy

of faith in the United Nations, in its enduring principles arid

in its ultimate capacity to fulfil the hopes and aspirations

of all mankind» ' · V

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We are living in a time of constant change in the

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; international scene, not all of it rapid - not all of H"t' for the

better, but much of it directed towards the end that we all .

ardently wish for, which is peace and.security everywhere and the J

promise of a better life for peoples, everywhere» / ’

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In 'spite of disappointments end frustration? we can at

.·)" least sense an atmosphere of relief from old tensions and an,

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easing of old postures,

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: I 'have in mind the European Security Pact negotiations,

j--the1 Strategic Arms Limitation talks between the United States and

the" Soviet Union, and the various movements towards peace and

■ ' ‘'neutrality in-Asia»- · · ' ' · ;·" · ·,'

,

T h e ,international^community has been enriched by the full

.and energetic, participation, o'f'-thje P e o p l e :s Republic of China

' ■ On the debit side I- need only mention as examples the

seemingly intractable situation in the Middle East^ the. continued

fighting in' the countries of Indo-China and the recent grievous

developments in C h i l e / ' / /' . ' c ' · ' · .*·/'= . ■ ' J ' ·

M r President, let me try to identify the main principles

and guidelines that set the general direction of Australia’s

■ policies, and to place them in the context of the United' Rations,

its purposes and its operations» ■ ■ ' ·/ '

There have been some changes in A u s t r a l i a n Outlook on

the world and consequently in its national policies -*changes

whicli we have considered necessary and indeed overdue and which

reflect .our conception of a new a m dynamic approach' -to

domestic 'affairs and our - international red ationshipe, ' . x/

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.It was during an earlier period of office of the present'

Australian Government that the late Dr Evatt, our then Foreign

1 Minister, took - a- leading part in the drafting of the 'c'harte'rf

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. ' . . Nobody will claim that the charter is nerfect, cut · .

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" hearing in mind the transformation undergone· by the United Nations '! • ' ' · ' · * ■ . ;i

. s i n c e ■1945, it has proved a remarkably durable and adaptable . [

instrument, \ ; ' * !

• ’ At the same time we acknowledge that there is room for G ·

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, ‘ . modification of some of the provisions of the charter to ' . <

' · accommodate changes that h a v e .taken place in the balance of . j

- ' influence O f member states, . . · · ' · ' ■ ' |

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; We will extend our sympathy and support for efforts in ^

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* · · ..this direction, while

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- achieve. ' . · . . . . . . · ··· ·' - .· ;

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, ■ ' Mr President, one conspicious cl-ement_.in_ Australia’ 3 · faith χ

; .· t1 i'"in the United Nations is the enduring principle that discussion' ;

r ’ and dialogue are essential to the work of the organisation* ' ·

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v « · , We accordingly welcome as a major development the decision j

that the question of Korea should come under scrutiny and ;

//.discussion in this Assembly after a. lapse of three years* ' ■

Australia, as a member of the United Nations Comm j. si on

in Seoul, has been seeking to prepare the· ground so that thr.

Assembly’s handling of the Korean question m a y help to lessen tons:s

facilitate accommodation and improve , the ..prospects ._of. Korean

reunification,. ‘ '? ■ "

UNCURK itself has taken a timely initiative in — ^

recommending in its Annual Report to tbe Secretary-General, \;har

it should now be dissolved* · . ' ■ ■

- Australia’s efforts have been directed to promo l;r<

. conciliation and consensus, on the Korean question.

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V/e wish to ensure that the renewal of the Korean debate

should-not be -a -polemical confrontation which would only be

detrimental to the spirit, of harmony and good relations which we

are seeking to promote* · . · (

V/e hope that the parties will be able to adjust to each

ot h e r ’s positions without trying to push each other into a corner, Ch

and that the Assembly will arrive at.a constructive consensus^-■ ■ . .

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• V/e have been active in .extending our bilateral

relationships throughout the broad region to Australia’s north

and cast. ■ ' . ‘

In addition* to establishing diplomatic relations vrith , f · .

P e o p l e ’s Republic of China we have -moved quickly establish

diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Yict-Nam . .

and have begun trade and other exchanges w ith the Democratic

P eonle’s Renublic of Korea* ’ < ■ ;

our '.long established

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have at the same time sought to broaden and d e e p e n x

relations vrith the other Asian and Pacific .

countries including the ASEAN group of states and ou.v close

neighbour, Indonesia

' ' · Mr President, 'this twenty-eighth session of blie Assembly

markss a further notable step towards the attainment of the ideal

of universality of membership of the United Nations.

My delegation, has been most happy to welcome· the admission

to the United Nations o f "the federal Repub'licToif Germany and the

German Democratic Republic» both"of which now have diplomatic

relations with .'Australia# '

Their presence here Is a symbol and a measure of lessening

ideological tensions' and a re-endorsement of international

co-existence.

• V/e also warmly welcome tc membership of tab United

Nations the Commonwealth' of , the Bahanias, ••vhich on Its attainment

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of independence earlier this year we have already welcomed as !

a fellow member pf the Commonwealth of Nations.

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. We in Australia have been sufficiently encouraged by .

the recent progress in negotiations among the countries of the ;

; South Asian sub-continent on their difficult and complex problems

to hope that the remaining obstacles may soon be removed' to the

| admission of another Commonwealth country, Bangladesh, to . ‘

membership of the United Nations. “

, · Our Crcvernment is deeply conscious that to realise the

full.benefit of our philosophy we must eliminate some of hhe 1 I * ' *

heritage of the past, such as colonialism and racism, before

.the welfare o f people around the world can be improved.

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· : · Australia believes that it can take some m o d e s t ’credit

for its part in ensuring that the chapters on economic and social

.welfare were" included in the charter, ' ' ' ·'· ' v X-

1 ■ Those chapters provide the United Nations with the 'X

. incentive and the means to advance human welfare and to adapt ‘

. . . . international action

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to theneeds of the present.

y X V / We kndw that some of the paramount objectives have Tallen

far short o f ■ achievement, ,' · · -

. .· We have poverty in most of our member countries.

We do not have the stability in trade and’ financial

relationships among United Nations members that we would like.

But we have the means available to us to formulate

solutions to the problems of the developing countries and to the

problems of stability among all countries. · ■

The Australian Government believes that we should

utilise these means to the full c ·’- ·

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Our Government!s purpose of 'promoting human freedom, • ' · . · kZ> “

human, dignity and human welfare calls of course for domestic

as well* as international action,,.

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. We aim to enlarge welfare and social security and

especially to protect the more exposed sections of our community,

• . We are concerned not only with welfare in the broad sense

but also with removing discrimination and with looking after .

those of our people, including particularly our aborigi il people,

who have suffered from discrimination In the past, ;Λ ':

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· * Hr President, during the present Assembly we wJ.l

celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption J.f the

universal Declaration of Human Rights» Y

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This anniversary of one of the most significant and .

enlightened achievements of the United Nations gives Governments

; < an opportunity to rededicate themselves to the promotion of

human rights in theirj own societies and internationally. , · . · ‘ ' V .. ' . . ' . ■ ' .

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■ . It .is . a fundamental objective of A u s t r a l i a n approach

•.to ervjure that o.ur own policies are soundly based on respect for

and protection and enhancement of civil liberties and. basic « z

•human r i g h t s · ' * < ·.." > · · . , ."Y·"·'/1'.",' ‘ ' Y· ' .

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• When our present Government came to power,-.it immediately

began to examine all jthe’ international instruments concerned with

human rights'with a Vjiew to determining what action [ \ f e should be

taking to give effect^ to them. : ’ ' ' j

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■ Already this year Australia has ratified a number of II/)

conventions dealing with the rights to organise and bargain

collectively, equal remuneration for men and women and the

elimination, of "discrimination in the. fields of employment and

occupation., ' · , ' / . ■ .Y ' ,

We have put in'hand action to' ratify the Convention

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όη the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, ··

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• Respect for human rights and opposition to discrimination

lead' naturally to positive support for the process of ' .

decolonisation,.

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The Australian Government, supports the principles of

decolonisation for all dependent territories and is participating

fully in the efforts of the international community to induce the

metropolitan administering powers to take all necessary ;eps to ;V

ensure that peoples in dependent 'territories are enabled to i . t"

exercise their right to self-determination, 1 i'· ■

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Suiting the action to the vzord, ■ Australia in_Jatiuary/ '

of this year rejoined the. Special Committee on Decolonisation - “ ■ · e >

The Committee of Twenty Four - of which we had been an original

member, ' ' · ‘ .r

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. ■ on Southern Africa, although the processes of decolonisation , , , * / ' ' ' '

·*'■' are still to' be w o r k e d .out in many other areas as well.

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·/■·'· The most acute of the,colonial problems remain centred

”· I have personally had the honour to be received with

..notable hospitality and generosity in seven African countries’* ■S'··. ' > J· during visits undertaken to further Australia1 s sympathy,

knowledge and_ understanding of African problems, , . . . . - r ' , , - . '

. · . - -s. ' · , ! ' · . ' · 1 · . . . ‘

We ha.ve' beenSvo.rk.ing as a'member of the Security Council

' for the strict enforcemeiit^ef^sanctions against .the illegal --

■" racist regime in Zimbabwe, . -1 . · ■ . · ■

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. Indeed, we see these sanctions as a test of the sincerity

of member nations to act In accordance with' the principles and

obligations of the! charter, ' 1 · ' . ■ ·

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Wo in Australia are determined to enforce them in full,

and we v/ill continue- to - deny the illegal regime any recognition *

or respectability, · - . ■ 1

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We alsof < s e e ,as a test of the sincerity of member nations i

their attitude to the intolerable.practice.of apartheid in South 1

Africa, This is a practice,which we utterly reject, ' ·

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. We shall continue "to ^ take every opportunity to condemn ·

it and to co-operate v/ith all tbose--s_eeking responsibility to .

eliminate* it. · · . · ; , . :

We understand the .frustrations that have led the OAU ·

and the non-aligned countries to adopt the position that armed

struggle is essential to end colonialism and racial discrimination.

! While we sympathise with the aims of the National · '

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Liberation Movements in Southern Africa, we ourselves st< ) short

of endorsing the use of.force to attain these and indeed u a y other

♦ objectives. .

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! We hope that, through the application of the principles

of the charter, liberty and equality may be achieved without the

. tragedies of war. . .. ·. . · · - *

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• Mr President, Australia values continuing co-operation

with the Special Committee on Decolonisation and the Trusteeship

Council, in the territories for which Australia is still the

’ administering power. " · · ; ' ' , · . ·."

, Our principal residual responsibility as an administering

power rests in Papua New Guinea, the largest and most populous

territory remaining within* the United Nations trusteeship system

The termination of the Trusteeship Agreement is now in

sight.

In close co-operation, the Government and House of

Assembly of Papua New Guinea and the Australian Government are

moving purposefully t o ίbring Papua New. Guinea to sovereign

membership of the family of nations. ' ■ · : .

Since 30 April 1973, the Ministers of the Papua New Guinea

Government have had effective control over virtually all aspects

of the internal government of the country. .

■ Formal self-government will oqrne on 1. December this year.

. Certain policy functions such as defence and foreign

affairs will not, for constitutional reasons, be transferred.

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until independence, "but these functions are already being

exercised by Australia only after the fullest consultation with,

arid advice from, the Government of Papua New Guinea,

Earlier this year the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly

affirmed its right as the duly elected parliament of the people

to decide when independence is. to come.

The Australian Government acknowledges that, on./ he

. question of independence as on the question of self-gover jnent, v s.

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the House of Assembly.shouldgive effect to the wishes of ,c;he

peoplej ■ · ; . ... · . '·.

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'We expect Papua New Guinea to proceed to sovereign

j· · . / · , ; . · , . independent status by 1975. as a politically unified nation with

' a.' freely elected central government,

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4;//>>'··· ' · , · / . ; . · V/e have pledged substantial and comprehensive help to the

i Government and people of an independent! Papua New Guinea which

' V : will naturally have a'special place in the^^ffectior.s of the

» j ν ' - ? .: \ Australian people andhin our network of political^and other ] ' · :.r relations,

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j l , : : · · . 3. . · ■ Australia is not seeking any exclusive relationship

:i ; . · ' . ' ν · , " w ith Papua New Guinea, which will want ..to find its owr. place in • i . · . · ·

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the international community.

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; . Mr President, the principle that well-to-do -countries

have an obligation to help those that are poorly, off ranlcs high

’ rr-- in the estimation of our Government, : and we have taken a fresh

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look at our policies arid programs of development assistance v/ith

the aim of making them more sensitive and responsive to the '

requirements -of the' developing countries. .: V ί .·'

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To this end we have decided that, there should be a

separate Government . Agency to administer 'Australia18 development

assistance programs. . . . "f

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• We intend that our. programs ‘ of bilateral assistance^ should

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‘ V./jv■·''.'. te increasingly directed to - activities that will have the effect i. · · ■ -

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of spreading social and employment benefits,

. * S We are also particularly conscious of the wish of

developing countries to increase their exports and to bring bilateral

trade more into balance, !

Our recent decisions to effect an across-the-board

25 per cent reduction in tariffs and to revalue the Aus1 alian

dollar for the second time in nine months together represent

; a constructive attempt, to play our part in liberalising^;. . > ’ c ♦ ■ * * ‘ * . 1 * ‘ - . < , · ' international trade,

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. . ‘ vf ,· ■ The tariff cuts are to be accompanied by. significant new

' tariff preferences for imports from developing countries which

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‘ {y·.-.will greatly extend and elaborate Australia’s scheme of

, ' *V-u ' · generalised preferences first introduced in 1966. ;

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1 , We are also giving improved technical assistance to

::.i · · v developing countries to help them to exploit their opportunities

, ' i'·.'.'1/ i n the Australian market, ' ' ·

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•N. v : ■ ·â–  ·" 'Australia’s major economic and technical aid programs, arid v/e - . . ’are now for the first time giving vigorous support to the effort?

^ .of the United Nations in the population field. r .

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Although, as before., Australian aid v/ill continue to be * · . . ’ .

channeled mainly to the countries of Asia and the Pacific, we

will next year.be making increases in allocations tc African J

· countries as v/ell as in our contributions 'teethe'major United

r; Nations and other multilateral funds. . r . ■. · ,

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Australia accepts the principal targe_t<^

Development. Strategy and will aim to raise its official

development assistance to 0,7 per cent: of C-NP,

In- the past Australia has ‘ taken a : cautious approach

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The current financial year v/ill see ar. increase in all of

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to the question of the link between the International Monetary

Fund's special drawing rights and development assistance. v * - · . · · ... ί · Λ..- ■ - ,

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The present Australian Government supports the studies

undertaken within the Committee of 20 on this matter, since we

ί are conscious that the overwhelming majority of developing

y countries believe that their· interests would be significantly

· . advanced by some form of link. - ,

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: Australia shares the deep concern expressed dv ing

this General Debate at the world food situation. f"' '

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a positive and constructive contribution to the international λ;

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efforts to alleviate the distress andvhardship resulting from ■ ■ ' ’ . · ■ i. '. ^

this situation. . · · - · . > · ' · .

Accordingly Australia has reacted fax

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proposal by the distinguished Secretary of S t a ^ ^ ^ ^ h e 7 United

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States that the Assembly should consider organising a World

* · · '•••yip.V'-V Food Conference in 1974 • · - . · · -?.

• : · ' ■ :-.K . . ' · · . * ■ ■

.... We have noted that the essence of Dr Kissinger's

proposal is similar to that in the action program o ± the .

Non-aligned Conference which advocates the convening of an .

Emergency Joint Conference of FAO and. UNCTAD on this problem. · ; ! : ■ ♦ · .

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Our Government is determined that Australia should make

. Mr President, Australia is flexible about the procedure

for organising the conference, but we are determined to join -

with others to find the most suitable, the most immediate and

most efficient way of bringing the attention of the international

community to the problem of world fpod supply with a view to

reaching practical agreement on,the way in which it can be

rationally and humanely managed.

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· , Mr President, the principles which guide Australia’s

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. policy of active support for the United Nations" "through j1

protection and enhancement of human rights, .t h ---

to colOnialism and -racism and through acceptance of the

obligation to help those who are poorly off are all part of a

, central concern with the· kind of life that our people can enjoy

and with the kind of environment in which they are to live, ‘

The first responsibility for maintaining a congenial

environment for mank i n d ’s working and leisure hours must rest

.with our own and other individual governments, and Australia

for its part is now equipped with an administrative apparatus

which is being geared to take sensitive account of our people's

interest in maintaining the quality of their surroundings.

But there is also much that countries can learn from . ■ · * . ■ · . . *

. · ; V '

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. · .V ,

; - one another. \

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Placed as v;e are in a large island continent offering

wide extremes of climate and terrain, we believe that--we- have

some experience of our own to share with the international

community in return for the lessons we can learn from abroad,·

in combating air and water pollution, in preserving our .

natural heritage and in contributing generally towards a

satisfactory, .and indeed an improving quality of human living.

' And so from the beginning, Australia took a lively

‘ ' ./· interest in the proceedings of last year's Conference on the

Human Environment in Stockholm. . ;. ·

— .......We have declared'our support'for the "achievements of

that Conference, and intend to pursue policies that accord fully

i with the Stockholm principles, . . * . .

. We are also contributing substantially to the United

.' N a t i o n s . Environment Program. ' ' ■

- The proliferation and testing of nuclear weapons are

clearly incompatible with the outlook of any government and

V , . - /14

people, which is concerned with the quality of life.

• . . · ‘ ’ * T h e s e ‘activities divert into unproductive channels the

."^resources, energies arid skills which could much more profitably

• . be expended on programs-for the political, economic and social

. development of the international communityv

• Australia ratified the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

in 1965 and our Government this, year ratified^ the N u c l e a r ' ' "

Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Sea Beds Arms Control Ti„ aty. • * ' « ~ ’ - ■ _._' , * S>

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■ Australia pledges its full support to the efforts of the

-United Nations to achieve general and complete disarmament, , ■ $

subject to effective means o f ,verification, and our Government

- is now taking steps to ratify the Convention on Bacteriological

(Biological) Weapons. / ' . :

We find it deeply regrettable that the Governments ^

." of two nuclear powers have continued to conduct nuclear weapons.

testing programs j.n the atmosphere, with associated hazards for

,i ^present and future generations, despite the repeated expressions

N of disapproval by the United Nations and other international

' ..'bodies and by individual countries. ·

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, / 71 * ' I might take the opportunity to recall that cn

• ^ 22 June last the International^Gourt of Justice gave an order

' ■ for interim measures to restrain theTcovernment of France from

, conducting atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific which would

-..‘ deposit radio-active fallout on Australia. .

' V - ' ' ■ ·

; Australia is opposed to all forms of nuclear weapons

. testing in any environment by whatever state, and we fully ·

V endorse the statement by the Secretary-General that "the time

has now surely come for a general agreement to stop all nuclear

‘ weapons testing". . ; ,

· Mr President, the air and seas of our planet are

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- ’· ' \ ' 15 -

accessible to all the nations of the v/orld,

I l· · ■ · . ·

· Just as the international community cannot tolerate

misuse o f the ear t h ’s atmosphere for any purpose whatever, so

we must try to ensure that the oceans are not misused.

The United Nations has been grappling now for almost -

three years with the task of preparing for a comprehensive

conference on· the Law of the Sea. -

- ■ . ■ ■ · ' / I -

• · The fact that progress has not been as'T?aj)id as we

mighl wish is a measure of the importance of the subject and V-^

of the diversity and complexity of interests that will have to

be accommodated in the n e w system of law.

' , , * ■

As a matter of priority the General Assembly at this

session must review theprogress of the preparatory work and

confirm the decisions it took at its last session to convene

the conference in 1973/74. " ■ ,· '

Australia, as a :coastal state with interests in every

aspect of the Law of the' Sea, has a concern second to none in

achieving agreement on a satisfactory convention.

We hope that the Assembly with, an appropriate sense of

urgency will reach early agreement to convene the organisational

session of the conference later this year and the substantive

session in 1974. ■ ■ . ^ , . ·

- · · · - - ' · ' . ·· . · . N - ""

■ ■ · Mr President, few delegations at San Francisco in 1945

could have envisaged the radical transformation of the United

Nations which has taken place, · ' v .·- . ·

> ■ The vast majority of the world *s people a r e now . '

represented here. .' ■ . . .

r ·; ..

.· ‘ . ; ·.

Australia is encouraged by this remarkable achievement

and by the w ork of the United Nations in· promoting the fundamental

principle of peace and human welfare, ,

. ιΓ " , ί " - . ■ ' ΐ ' · » , ' ϋ . ·~ ' | > ϊ · \ ■·.?·.

- 16 -

. .We intend to be ag active at home as internationally

in giving.effect to the basic principles' of this organisation. ■. ; ; v /

. ' If, as we hope, v/e are now entering a more promising

era of reconciliation, accommodation and peace in^voternational

affairs, the United Nations will be able to mu^ t W ^ p^rq^ r i Q ^ j^

and to concentrate more effectively on the economic and social

problems of development and on improving the quality of life

everywhere. , . ■ , "

v"

These noble purposes call for renewed dedication,

unstinting co-operation and ceaseless effort from every member

of this organisation, and we in Australia are determined to provide

all three. -

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