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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr McMAHON - I have read reports that Australia intended to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Late last night or early this morning it was reported to my Department that an article on this matter had been published in one of the London newspapers. The position is that the Government did approve of exploratory negotiations being carried out to determine the terms and conditions on which Australia might enter the OECD, if it decided to do so at a later date.

I point out to the honourable gentleman that the OECD is purely an advisory body and cannot in fact dictate what should be done by any party that might become a member of it. I also point out that we are already a member of the Development Assistance Committee which does look at the problem of aid to various countries and that organisation has been high in its praise of the Australian effort. After a report has been received it will be considered by the Government and it is only then that a decision will be made as to whether or not we think that entry into the OECD is justified.

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