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Wednesday, 13 May 1981
Page: 2379

(Question No. 1153)

Mr Howe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 8 April 1981:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to the fact that the Reagan Administration is asking the Congress of the United States of America to lift the 1976 ban on aid to military and para-military operations in Angola.

(2) Has his attention also been drawn to the fact that one of the Angolan rebel leaders, Mr Jonas Savimbi, will visit Washington D.C. shortly to meet United States officials.

(3) Will the USA by this action be seen to be collaborating militarily with South Africa, without whose aid Mr Savimbi's group could not survive.

(4) Does the Australian Government support South African military intervention in Angola.

Mr Street —The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

(1) I have seen reports that the Administration is seeking to repeal the 1976 Clark Amendment which bans aid for the purpose of conducting military and para-military operations to groups or individuals in Angola except under certain precise conditions. The Administration has said that it seeks repeal on principle because the amendment is a restriction on executive authority.

(2) I have seen reports to this effect.

(3) and (4) The United States Administration has said that its policy towards South Africa is under review. President Reagan's nominee for the position of Under Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mr Chester Crocker, has recently visited a number of countries in Europe and Africa, including Angola, for discussions as part of that review. Until the results of the review have been announced, it is not possible to judge what effects any new United States policy might have, but the Government notes that in testimony to the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee Mr Crocker said the United States Government did not intend to 'destabilize' the Government of Angola. The Australian Government recognises the MPLA as the Government of Angola. We have consistently deplored South African military intervention in Angola. South Africa's continued illegal occupation of Namibia has contributed dramatically to the heightening of tension along the border between Angola and Namibia. South Africa has mounted a number of raids into Angola allegedly against SWAPO positions which have caused direct contact between Angolan and South African armed forces. South African actions in Angola have been condemned by the United Nations Security Council which in June 1980 passed Resolution 465 (180) dealing with this question.

The Government regrets the suffering and loss of life which resulted from South African incursions. It considers the raids to be a violation of the principle of the mutual respect for the territorial integrity of all states. The Government also believes that the raids have contributed to the difficulties confronting the negotiations on the UN/Western plan for a peaceful settlement to the issue of independence for Namibia.