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Transcript of interview: Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation: 15 December 1974



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PRIME MINISTER'S INTERVIEW WITH SRI LANKA BROADCASTING CORPORATION - 15 DECEMBER 1974

PRIME M I N I S T E R ’ S V I S I T : INTERVIEW WITH SRI LANKA BROADCASTING CORPORATION. , .

FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF THE PRIME M I N I S T E R ’ S INTERVIEW WITH SRI LANKA BROADCASTING CORPORATION HELD IN COLOMBO AT 0815 HOURS SUNDAY 15 DECEMBER 1974.

1. QUESTION: MR PRIME M IN IS T E R , SRI LANKA HAS CLOSE LINK S WITH AUSTRALIA. . v

WHAT ARE THE MEASURES THAT BOTH NATIONS COULD TAKE TO FURTHER STRENGTHEN THESE T I E S , PARTICULARLY IN THE FIE LD OF ECONOMIC CO-OPERATON?

ANSWER: I LOOK FORWARD TO THE STRENGTHENING OF THE LONG­ STANDING T IE S BETWEEN SRI LANKA AND AUSTRALIA. APART FROM OUR CONTINUING CO-OPERATION IN INTERNATIONAL FORUMS L I K E THE COMMONWEALTH AND THE UNITED NATIONS, I WOULD HOPE THAT·OUR T I E S WILL BE FURTHER CONSOLIDATED . THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE, TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND THE GROWING NETWORK OF CULTURAL AND OTHER CONTACTS. .

2 . QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPAL EFFECTS OF THE '

ENLARGEMENT OF THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY ON THE * AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY? AND WHAT STEPS IS AUSTRALIA TAKING TO COPE WITH ANY PROBLEMS ARISING IN TH IS CONTEXT?

ANSWER: THE ENLARGEMENT OF THE COMMUNITY HAS NOT HAD MUCH EFFECT ON THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY IN TOTAL. IT HAS MEANT SOME RE-DIRECTION OF AUSTRALIAN EXPORT TRADE IN

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS AWAY FROM EUROPE TO OTHER, AND PRINCIPA LLY ASIA N, MARKETS. THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD HAS BEEN MADE EASIER FOR

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AUSTRALIA BY THE STRONG WORLD DEMAND FOR FOODSTUFFS OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. A NOTABLE EXCEPTION TO ALL T H IS HAS BEEN MEAT - MORE ESPECIALLY BEEF. .

B R I T A I N WAS ONCE A VALUED MARKET FOR AUSTRALIAN BEEF, BUT WITH THE CLOSING OF THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY MARKET TO IMPORTS OF BEEF, THE B R I T I S H MARKET HAS OF COURSE ALSO BEEfa CLOSED TO A U S T R A L I A . .

AT THE SAME T I M E , THE JAPANESE HAVE CLOSED OFF THEIR MEAT IMPORTS. -SO WE HAVE SOME VERY GREAT PROBLEMS WITH BEEF. I SHALL TAKE T H IS UP IN BRUSSELS AND THE OTHER E . E . C . ’

CAPITALS IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

ON THE OTHER HAND, B R I T A I N HAS SOUGHT TO CONTINUE TO IMPORT SUGAR FROM AUSTRALIA AS IN THE PAST. TH1 " FEC RULES WILL NOT PERMIT T H I S . BUT IN THE CASE OF SUGAR, THE B R I T I S H HOUSEWIVES ARE THE LOSERS AS AUSTRALIA HAS NO D I F F I C U L T Y IN FINDING ALTERNATE LONG-TERM MARKETS FOR SUGAR.

IN GENERAL, AUSTRALIA WELCOMES THE ENLARGEMENT OF THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY, AND APART FROM THE EVIDENT P O L I T IC A L BENEFITS WHICH WILL FLOW FROM PROGRESSIVE MOVES TOWARDS GREATER P O L I T IC A L UNION IN EUROPE, AUSTRALIA SEES THE EMERGENCE OF AN ECONOMICALLY STRONG EUROPE AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO A U S T R A L I A ' S LONG-TERM TRADE INTERESTS. '

NO DOUBT PROBLEMS WILL ARISE FROM TIME TO TIME AND WE HOPE TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO S I T DOWN WITH THE EUROPEANS TO TALK THEM THROUGH, AS WE HAVE FOR SOME YEARS, AND TH IS I ’ LL BE DOING IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS. .

3 . QUESTION: ON THE SUBJECT OF THE INDIAN OCEAN PEACE ZONE PROPOSAL, WHAT ROLE DOES AUSTRALIA EXPECT TO PLAY IN ITS IMPLEMENTATION?

ANSWER: AUSTRALIA WANTS TO HELP REDUCE TENSIONS IN THE ASIAN REG ION. SHORTLY AFTER MY GOVERNMENT CAME TO POWER I T ANNOUNCED THAT AUSTRALIA WOULD SUPPORT SRI LA N K A ’ S I N I T I A T I V E FOR A ZONE

OF PEACE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN. WE SHALL CONTINUE TO CO-OPERATE IN THE UNITED NATIONS WITH

SRI LANKA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN LITTORAL STATES ON THIS QUESTION. WE HAVE MADE REPRESENTATIONS TO THE GREAT POWERS - BOTH THE UNITED STATES AND THE SOVIET UNION - URGING ON THEM MUTUAL RESTRAINT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR M I L I T A R Y PRESENCE IN

THE INDIAN OCEAN. . .. . . . .... , . . ... .

WE SHALL CONTINUE TO TAKE WHAT STEPS WE'CAN TO' REDUCE* T H E "· PROSPECTS OF GREAT POWER CONFRONTATION IN THE INDIAN OCEAN.

4 . QUESTION: WOULD YOU AGREE WITH THE VIEW THAT THE ■ PROSPECTS FOR WORLD PEACE ARE BETTER NOW THAN THEY HAVE EVER BEEN SINCE THE LAST WORLD WAR? .

ANSWER: YES, I WOULD. I DON'T DENY THAT THERE CAN BE AN

OUTBREAK OF H O S T I L I T I E S IN IN D I V I D U A L REGIONS. I THINK IT I S UNLIKELY THAT THEY WILL SPREAD ROUND THE WORLD. PEACE DOES NOT COME SIMPLY BECAUSE WE WANT I T . IT HAS TO BE CONSOLIDATED PATIENTLY THROUGH CONTACTS BETWEEN LEADERS, ACCOMMODATIONS AND THE RECONCILIATION

OF CONFLICTING INTERESTS. DETENTE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE SOVIET UNION MUST BE MADE TO WORK AND THE MIDDLE AND SMALLER POWERS OR THE POWERS

WHICH ARE STRATEGICALLY LOCATED - COUNTRIES L I K E AUSTRALIA AND SRI LANKA - MUST CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE THE LARGER t COUNTRIES TO GRASP THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR BU ILDING AN ' INTERNATIONAL STRUCTURE OF PEACE AND T H IS STRUCTURE , I B E L I E V E , IS BETTER NOW THAN I T HAS BEEN SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR. · .

5 . QUESTION: ONE F IN A L QUESTION. HOW DO YOU ENVISAGE .

A U S T R A L I A 'S FUTURE ROLE IN ASIA AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF ASIA . . . ASIAN COUNTRIES? .

ANSWER: T H IS I S A VAST SUBJECT OF COURSE. B R I E F L Y , AUSTRALIA SEEKS TO ESTABLISH HER OWN I D E N T I T Y IN A S IA . OUR HISTORY AND OUR GEOGRAPHY HAVE AFFORDED US AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD LASTING FRIENDSHIP WITH THE NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES’

OF A S IA AND THE P A C I F I C NOTWITHSTANDING OUR ET HNIC, CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL DIFFERENCES. ONE MEDIUM FOR DOING T H I S OF COURSE IS THE COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS.

MOST OF THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS L I E

AROUND OR IN THE INDIAN OCEAN AND THE SOUTH P A C I F I C . MY GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED■THAT AUSTRALIA SHALL PLAY A CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE IN DEVELOPING REGIONAL CO-OPERATION IN AS IA AND IN STRENGTHENING OUR T I E S BILA TERALLY WITH THE COUNTRIES

OF THE REGION. WE ALSO HOPE TO PLAY A ROLE IN PROMOTING DEVELOPMENT THROUGH MUTUALLY ADVANTAGEOUS TRADING ARRANGEMENTS AND THROUGH OUR AID PROGRAMS. .

I ’ VE ANNOUNCED WHILE I ' V E BEEN IN SRI LANKA THAT WE ARE MAKING A GRANT OF 3 0 , 0 0 0 TONNES OF WHEAT. : '

WE DON'T WISH TO BE REGARDED AS SOME TRANSPLANTED EUROPEAN OUTPOST. RATHER WE WANT TO BE ACCEPTED AS A HELPFUL AND CO-OPERATIVE MEMBER OF AN ASIAN REGION WHICH I S GROWING IN ECONOMIC

STnENGTH AND S T A B I L I T Y .

INTERVIEWER: WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH MR PRIME MIN IST ER FOR T H I S INTERVIEW.

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