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Wednesday, 4 March 1970

Mr McMAHON - Already the Prime Minister of Laos, Prince Souvanna Phouma, has asked the Co-Chairmen of the nations which were party to the Geneva Accords to call a conference in an endeavour to settle the problem or come to an accommodation with the North Vietnamese and Communist Pathet Lao. It is under consideration now. An attempt to refer the matter to the United Nations would not only delay it but also, I think, reduce the prospect of getting any sort of solution. Honourable members are probably aware that the Prime Minister of Laos did make an offer to the North Vietnamese Government for consultations in an attempt to arrange neutralisation.

Mr Bryant - Which Prime Minister?

Mr McMAHON - Souvanna Phouma. As you would expect, he got no reply. For that reason he had no alternative but to put the matter before the Geneva countries.

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