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Prime Minister's press conference, Lima, Peru



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N E W S R E L E A S E

NQ DATE

D30 28 April 1975

PRIMS MINISTER1S PRESS CONFERENCE, LIMA, PERU -

25 APRIL·, 1975

Prime Minister: The Prime Minister, Gen. Morales Bermudez and I will issue a statement to the press on Sunday morning that will include many of the things, most of the things, that we discussed yesterday and which some others of his Ministers have discussed

yesterday and today. In view of this I suppose there are some matters which you would like to ask me in anticipation.

Q .: Could you give us details of the purchase of the Nomad

Aircraft. Has that been finalized?

Prime Minister: No agreement has been made for the sale of the Nomad to the Peruvian Armed Forces. Nevertheless there have been some discussions proceeding for some weeks past. I believe that the choice is between the Nomad and one other aircraft. We were gratified that the President himself, Ge. Juan Velasco Alvaradro, asked about the Australian aircraft industry and of course of the Prime Minister

himself and several of Ministers are interested in aircraft. The characteristics and performance of the Nomad were discussed, in general terms. But Mr Bowen and I were not here to conclude specific arrangements of a technical nature such as that. .

Q .: Did you discuss with the President the alleged subversive elements here and the CIA?

Prime Minister: I make it a practice not to reveal what is said in private conversations of this character. There were only the President and I together there and so I wouldn’t identify subjects or details.

Q . : I wonder Mr Prime Minister ifjou could go into a little

more detail as to the characteristics of the Nomad built by the State plant in Australia and secondly, could you tell us whether you have conversed with the Peruvian authorities on the question of your becoming a member of the CIPEC group?

Prime Minister: First the Nomad. We believe the relevance of the Nomad to.Peru and to neighbouring countries is the fact that it can operate from quite short airstrips. In fact it can operate from airstrips which are not sealed. It is a very sturdy, and rugged

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aircraft which can carry freight as well as people and it can do so from short and relatively unformed airstrips which'one finds in such . a mountainous country as Peru or the neighbouring countries. It has, we think,·a very good performance in those difficult and testing

conditions. It could supply isolated centres very well. You also asked about CIPEC, the organisation of copper exporting countries, of which the present members are Chile, Peru, Zaire and Zambia. - Australia is an observer at conferences of the CIPEC countries,

. and. the suggestion was made by the Peruvian Ministers yesterday that Australia and Papua-New Guinea and the Philippines might also become full members of CIPEC. This suggestion had not previously been made to Australia by any of the present members of CIPEC. It was an interesting suggestion as far as we are concerned and I'm

sure w'e would give it very sympathetic consideration. It accords with our general attitude, that countries which depend on the sale of minerals should have a more secure and predictable market than they have hitherto been able to enjoy. Australia, like Peru, is a very large mineral exporting country. We have, like Peru, "

had greatly fluctuating incomes from our exports. We want to see that those incomes are more predictable. Also we want to see that industries in our own countries are based increasingly on those mineral resources.

Q . : A large number of American States have moved to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. When do you expect Australia itself to make such a move and will this be one of the topics of dis­ cussion when you visit Washington? .

Prime Minister: Last year Australia received a Consulate from Cuba, Cuba who made the request to the previous Australian Government which had not responded. My Government did respond and allowed the Consulate to be established. I think it unlikely that any diplomatic relations between Cuba would be discussed in Washington. Naturally, however, while in Peru, I was anxious to know the assessment of Peru of the likelihood of Cuba being readmitted to the organisation

of American States and any commercial embargoes against Cuba being lifted.

Prime Minister: Obviously Australia's attitude in this matter which is not of the highest priority as far as Australia is concerned would be very much influenced by the attitude of the O.A.S.

Q .: ’ Peru and other nations of the copper group have recently cut back on copper productions in an attempt to get an increase on the current low world price. Would Australia consider doing the same to assist these countries in getting a higher price?

Prime Minister: Like all the copper exporting countries Australia has suffered from the drop in prices. The CIPEC countries reduced their exports by 15 per cent in quantity. .Australia has reduced hers by 10 per cent.

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Q .: I wonder Mr Prime Minister'whether you intend to sign any important agreements with the Peruvian Government in the field of technical and economic co-operation?

P.M.: On Sunday morning the Prime Minister and I will be signing an agreement for an Inter-Governmental Joint Commission in several fields including the particular fields of scientific cooperation you mentioned. ' '

Q . : * You are the second foreign leader to meet with President Velasco since February. I would like to know whether he discussed his health with you and what your assessment was of the President's healt’ h?

Prime^ Minister: I wouldn't presume to express an opinion about the healtjh of President Juan Velasco Alvarado. He seemed to me to be in robust good health and excellent spirits.

Q . : What prospects do you see for Australia gaining observer status at the next conference of the non-aligned movement. And secondly if I may are we seeking full membership? 1

Prime Minister: Membership of the non-aligned group has not been sought by Australia, nor offered to Australia. There are a great number of members of the non-aligned group in Australia's neighbour­ hood, in fact most of Australia's neighbours are members of the group. 'In those circumstances it seems to the Australian Government that it would be appropriate for Australia to have observer status

at the meetings of the group. Accordingly I have discussed this when I have had conversations with Heads of Government of prominent members of the group, such as Sri Lanka, India, Yugoslavia and now Peru.· The group is increasingly interested In economic matters. The Australian Government's attitude on economic matters in various .international, forums has aroused a great deal of interest and support

among members of the group. Australia already has observer status in many bodies to which Peru belongs. I have mentioned ClPEC already, there is in addition OAS and the members of the Andean Pact, the Acuerdo de Cartegna. ■

Q . : . Observer status is quite often the first step to full membership. Is full menbership of the non-aligned group a long­ term aim of the Australian Government. And also if there was a strong feeling among that group that they would like to see you as a full member, would that influence you?

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Prime· Minister: I have seen no inclination in the countries that I have mentioned or in any other countries, to offer full membership to Australia. Australia is in fact an aligned country because there is an arrangement between Australia, New Zealand and the United States arising from their association in the Second World War. Accordingly it wouldn't be appropriate in the present circumstances, or those that are contemplated, for Australia to seek full membership.

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Q . : What do you see as the most important development to come

out of this visit, the first of an Australian Prime Minister to a ' South American country? ' .

Prime Minister: I believe there is an awareness in. Peru of the relevance of Australia to Peru's interests and aspirations in a very great number of fields. Very clearly after the direct discussions between Mr Bowen and me on one side, and the Peruvian Ministers it

is realised that the whole question of the exploration and the development and the marketing of our mineral resources is something .that we can do very much better in consultation and co-operation with each other than we could at a distance from each other. Moreover

there are a great number of diplomatic matters in which we have shown an identity of interests. We were through 1973 and 1 974 members of the United Nations Security Council. Australia adopted . an attitude at the Unido Conference in Lima which was appreciated by the less developed countries. .

Peru and Australia were very conscious of the hazards of the environ­ ment of the Pacific through the atmospheric nuclear tests. For centuries Australia and Peru, in so far as they've thought about each other at all, have regarded the Pacific as a barrier rather

than a link. 1 can't say that Australians have been sufficiently aware of Peru: 1 don't believe that Peruvians have been sufficiently aware of Australia. We have during these days set out to correct this mutual indifference or ignorance. After all it was from Callalo, half a dozen miles from here that navigators set out to cross the Pacific to discover the Great South Land. There has never been a Peruvian Minister visit Australia. Until Senator Willesee, the Australian Foreign Minister, came to Peru last year there had never been an Australian Minister visit Peru. There was an Australian Prime Minister born in South America, John Christian Watson, the

first Labor Prime Minister, but there had never been an Australian Prime Minister visit to South America. So we are redressing this situation. The Prime Minister, General Francisco Morales Bermudez, has accepted my invitation to visit Australia at a time which is mutually convenient to us.

• Q. : Prime Minister, .you said that you had no information or had received no information from countries on joining the group. At a press conference with the Peruvian Foreign Minister this ■ afternoon, he pointed out that he would be happy to support Australia, and gave us the example of Cyprus which was also an aligned country. In view of this would you reconsider any point in Australia becoming a member of the group?

Prime Minister: I've got nothing to add to what I have said previously to this. Most of the countries in the non-aligned group regard Australia's alignment as disqualifying it.