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Wednesday, 20 May 1970

Mr McMAHON - Up to the present moment the thinking of the Djakarta conference - and since I have returned - has been localised to Cambodia. I can assure the honourable gentleman that so important is the geostrategic position in Cambodia that if we were to achieve peace and neutrality free from interference by other countries there we would make an enormous contribution towards peace in the whole of South East Asia. SoI do hope that this can be recognised by all countries, and particularly by the Communists, and that they will accept this principle in the same way as we in the Government in Australia accept it.

As to the Djakarta conference itself, again I have to stress that this was localised to Cambodia. All our thoughts were designed to try to ensure that the neutrality of that country was respected and that, consequently, after a ceasefire all foreign troops would be withdrawn. As to the conference itself, as I pointed out to the House yesterday, 3 countries led by Indonesia - the other 2 were Japan and Malaysia - had been appointed as a goodwill mission to interview the 3 countries representing the International Control Commission on Cambodia in order to sec whether they would exert their best influences in order to achieve peace. Before the representatives at that conference - that is, the Foreign Ministers of the 3 countries concerned - left Djakarta, they had had a preliminary meeting. If Mr Aichi, the Japanese Foreign Minister, had left before this meeting was called his Ambassador would have taken his place. Representatives of these countries have discussed preliminary ways and means of approaching the members of the International Control Commission.

It has been pointed out in today's cables that Tun Abdul Razak, the Foreign Minister for Malaysia, himself will approach the Canadian Prime Minister when the Canadian Prime Minister visits Malaysia this week. I am sure that he will put in the strongest terms the necessity for action forgetting all the protocol and difficulties that have to be overcome, in order to play a part to the best of our combined capacities to try in bring peace to this region which is so enormously important to the future of this country.

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