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Prime Minister interviewed by Richard Colville for "Conversations"



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SUNDAY, 27 APRIL, 1980 PRESS OFFICE TRANSCRIPT

PRIME MINISTER INTERVIEWED BY RICHARD COLVILLE FOR "CONVERSATIONS" _ .

Colville

...we have many problems in the world today, and I suppose the most serious would be Afghanistan. Do you think, today, we are any closer to a solution than we were before?

Prime Minister

Before last time we spoke?

Colville . .

Yes. . .

Prime Minister

I think the independent world - North America, the United States, and Western Europe - are showing that they are prepared to exhibit a determination and a strength, . over time. I think I said at the outset, that there will not be any. solution to Afghanistan' in a week or a month. And if a miracle happens and the Soviets.withdraw - but

they are not withdrawing, they are digging in, and the number of troops has been rising. Against that background,, what we are in for is a long haul. We increased our own

defence vote, not because we. think that it is a short-term situation that can. be resolved by that, but we. are.' in a long-term position, where we need, a greater effort. The

United States has increased its defence vote. And over time we have to make sure that there is a clear signal to the Soviet Union: thus far, and no farther. Unless they can understand' that — the Soviets can understand that - we are going to be living in a very dangerous world. I believe the efforts of President .Carter, France, Germany, the . United Kingdom, that those efforts, are getting that message through to the Soviet Union. But the message has,

to be continuous· and- it h a s : to Be sustained. If. that is; so·, the world will become safer.But if the Soviets think that there- is no determination in the United States, no alliance, no

unity, between the. United States and Europe, then we are going to be in for a very rough decade.

Colville .

You have said right from the outset that the only way to demonstrate solidarity against what has happened in Afghanistan is an effective boycott of the Olympic Games. .

Prime Minister . I

I have said the best way of demonstrating that to the Soviet Government and people that that is not the be all and end all

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Prime Minister (continued)

of our response to Afghanistan - the long term sustained defence effort, the clear signal, the determination over weeks, months a n d :if necessary years. What I have said is that an effective boycott will be very, very effective

in helping to get that signal established in the minds of the Soviet Government and people. .

Colville .

We have seen a number of countries coming in on the side of a boycott of the Olympic Games in Russia. You have always said that an effective boycott is needed. At what stage does it become effective? Do you think it is effective now?

Prime Minister . ' .

Very.nearly. It is going to be effective, I have not got .

any doubt. We've got the United States athletes not attending in Moscow. We have the Canadian Government having given advice to its own- Olympic Committee, the German Government having given advice to its Olympic Committee. I am told that in both .

instances, the Olympic Committee1s will accept the advice- of Government. Now, if you say that Germany is not going to attend, the United. States is not going to. attend, that in itself I believe, is an effective boycott. They are two very great

athletic nations, great sporting nations. Anyone who wins ! a gold medal in the circumstances of an absent America, an absent Germany, cannot guarantee that they will have won that gold medal if the United States and Germany had been present. SO, it is going to be effective. But on- the advice that I

have, it is highly likely that France will also join in. Other countries in Europe have indicated that they will not be ..

attending. . China will not attend. I am told that the Japanese will not attend. In our own part of the world, the ASEAN

countries, Papua New Guinea, Fiji- the Labor Party and the .

Government in New Zealand both believe that there ought to be a boycott. So, it is really starting to gather pace. It will

be effective. But, where does it become effective? I think America and Germany alone make it effective. But there will be many, many more nations than that not attending in Moscow.

Colville . . ·

And as you say, two of the greatest Olympic nations - America and Germany - won't be t h e r e . Do you think that this factor

will help in your effort to persuade, the Australian Olympic Federation, to join in?

Prime Minister . . . . I

I will be, I must say, very surprised if, in the face of an

unfolding effective boycott, if our own Olympic Committee then decided to send a team to Moscow. I do not believe they will. As you know, the Executive has been given final authority to make a decision - and they deferred that decision, because they

thought the scene was changing and an effective boycott was in fact unfolding. Some might argue that our people should have

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led that boycott. They did not want to do that, but if

they want, to follow, then there will be an effective boycott, led by others, and an example given by others to the Australian Committee, to follow.. I think it would be a very sad day for Australia if our Olympic Committee made,

a decision for our athletes to attend with the United States, Canada, Germany and many, many other countries not attending. That would be contrary to our whole history of support for the free world, of support for

the independent world, down through all the history of Australia, through the whole of this century.

Colville .

Prime Minister (continued) .

There was a report from Europe this morning.that Russia had. decided to withdraw some of its units froitv Afghanistan. What would it take to satisfy you that this had. been done and that perhaps the Olympians should be allowed to go.

Prime Minister .

I would be satisfied with a total Soviet withdrawal and then with United Nations supervision that they were not going to return. I would not be at all. surprised if they said they were going to withdraw some divisions - invite television. .

cameras in to show them withdrawing and put them back under cover of . darkness. All our intelligence, indicates that the units are digging in. They went in with tents. Now they are

having better structures built. The number of troops has. been rising:, about 90,000 with, another 30,000 to. 40,000 on the borders also heavily supporting the whole operation. Indeed, some of our intelligence assessments suggest that if'

they are really going to pacify the country, they will need many, many more troops than they now have. There are no signs whatsoever that the' S o v i e t . Union, is. in fact"1 withdrawing. If there was a total withdrawal, fine. The free world would

have won its point, so long as at the same time there were guarantees that they were not going to go b ack. But all I can say is that on all the intelligence assessments that we have there, is no intention whatsoever: o.f. the·· Soviets withdrawing:.,.

Colville .

What can the rest of the world do? You say that they are

obviously digging in. . They are obviously going to stay. They are obviously, at least not concerned about the. Olympic boycott -to the extent of being forced to withdraw. What do. you do after the Olympics?

Prime Minister . .

After the Olympics we need a long-term and sustained effort on the part of Europe and North America in particular, that is supported by as many other people as possible. We have lifted, or are in the process of lifting, our own defence expenditure onto a new plateau. Not because we thought we were in a short

term situation which would last for a few weeks or a few months. The United States is doing the same thing. Countries in Europe

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Prime Minister (continued)

are replenishing their own defence forces. They are doing that because they believe that the Western alliance, North America and Europe, supported by as many other countries as possible, need to exhibit a long-term determination

that the Soviet Union has moved so far, but must move no further. . And that if they do, the consequences to the Soviet Union will be enormously grave and serious, indeed,

the consequences' to the whole world will be. I have said it on other occasions, that what President Carter and European leaders are seeking to do is to prevent the world, in the early part of the 1980s, making the tragic mistakes that were made in 1936 to 1939 when nobody stood against Hitler,

Hitler's aggression. They said, well, he says all he wants is Austria. He says all he wants is Czechoslovakia. Italy said all it wanted was Ethiopia. And nobody did anything.. Therefore, the leaders of those two aggressive, totalitarian countries came to believe that France, the United Kingdom and America, would never do anything. But of course at one point they had to, and that led, or the appeasement of the

latter part of the 3 0s, led very directly to that World War. We have got. to make sure that this world does not make the same mistakes iri the early part of the 1980s.

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