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Date 19 January 19 82 No. Ml 0 THE HON. TONY STREET, M.P.


Cabinet today considered the implications of events in Poland

in the light of recent actions by the United States against ■

the martial law regime of General Jaruzelski and the Soviet :

Union, and of NATO's declaration of 11 January 1982. .

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Tony Street MP, said

that Cabinet fully supported the actions of the Western allies

in attempting to bring an end to martial law and a return . ' · .

to a genuine process of reconciliation and reform in Poland.

It considered that it was necessary to make it unmistakably .

clear that unless the Polish people were allowed to return to

this path the costs to both the martial law regime and the

USSR would be severe. The Government condemned the continuing

violation of human rights and civil liberties w h i c h martial

law had brought to Poland. It warned that the international

community could not and would not remain indifferent to the .

suppression of the courageous attempts of the Polish people

to give expression to their just and natural aspirations.

The Government called for the lifting of martial law, the

release of detainees, and an early return to the circumstances

in which the people of Poland could be left free to find their

own solution to their internal economic and political difficulties

on the basis of consensus and reconciliation.

Mr Street said that it was a matter of great regret that the Polish

martial law leader General Jaruzelski, despite his stated

undertakings, had not yet given the international community a

credible sign that he was prepared to allow a genuine restoration

of reform in Poland. In this regard, General Jaruzelski bore a heavy

responsibility, not only to the people of Poland but to the

international community, for which the continuing imposition

of martial law posed potentially grave consequences for East-West

relations and for international stability in general. "

. 2 . - . . · : .

In its bilateral dealings with the Polish authorities the Australian

Government could not ignore these factors. Mr Street said that;

with this in mind the Government would continue to defer a

recent request from the Polish authorities for further economic:

assistance. The Government would also indicate to the Polish

authorities that the roll-over provisions of the current :

Government guaranteed credit facility are dependent on the prompt

payment of accounts as they fall due and that the option to cancel

or suspend those provisions remains open to the Government. At;

the same time the Government would support Western moves to condemn

martial law and its consequences in appropriate international 1

forums, including those of the United Nations. The G o v e r n m e n t :would

also continue to consult closely with its Western partners to see what

further concerted action may be necessary in the achievement of

Western objectives towards Poland. The Government would, however,

do nothing to impede the flow of private humanitarian aid for the

the benefit of the Polish p e o p l e , and was confident that . ■.

satisfactory arrangements were in place for the appropriate

distribution of such aid. - "

Mr Street said that the Government's condemnation of martial law

in Poland could not ignore the role of the Soviet U n i o n , which

had persistently sought to coerce and threaten the Polish nation

in an attempt to stifle the development of basic human and political

freedoms. The Soviet Union had also lent its active support to the

imposition of martial law. It had once again acted in breach of -

its international obligations, as it had by invading and occupying

Afghanistan. The Government called on the Soviet Union to end its

interference in Poland's internal affairs and, in concert with

its Western p a r t n e r s , recognised the importance of bringing home

to the Soviet Union and the Polish authorities the seriousness of

Western concern about what was occurring in Poland. . . .

Mr Street recalled the measures Australia had introduced to curtail

its bilateral relations with the Soviet Union in response to the

Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He said that those measures were

wide-ranging and sustained. They include the suspension of

scientific, academic and cultural e x c h a n g e s ., suspension of '

officials' talks at Foreign Ministry level., suspension of fisheries

c o - O p e r a t i o n ., suspension of Soviet cruise ship o p e r a t i o n s . , y

' - ■ j ''

suspension of consideration of new maritime initiatives proposed .

by the Soviet Union, and Soviet proposals in civil aviation, notably

the denial of access to Australia by A e r o f l o t . , suspension of the

Mixed Commission on trade., the withholding of special government .

marketing and promotion assistance to Australian e x p o r t e r s ., and

the suspension of an Agreement for the allocation of land and the

building of new embassies in Canberra and Moscow. .

At its meeting today Cabinet had decided that the need to retain those

measures at this time had been reinforced by events in Poland.

Australia would also consult closely with its allies with a view

to keeping its policy towards the Soviet Union under careful : '

review in support of current Western o b j e c t i v e s . . ' '

Mr Street said that it was appropriate in current circumstances to

recall the government's warning that Soviet intervention in Poland

would pose the most serious risks for East-West relations and

for inte-rnational co- o p e r a t i o n . No country could remain immune

from the consequences of such action and he sincerely hoped that

the Soviet Union would remain mindful of the grave responsibility

it bore in that r e g a r d .