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Wednesday, 3 June 1970

Mr McMAHON - As to the first part of the question asked by the honourable member, little doubt exists that the armed forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are manning SAM sites in certain parts of the United Arab Republic, mainly concentrated around Cairo and the industrial centres of that country. At the moment, they have not extended to the Canal area. This is a matter between the United Arab Government and the USSR, and for that matter, if people care to draw attention to the situation, for the United Nations. I do not think that it is a matter in which the Australian Government should interfere. Secondly, with regard to both Israel and the Arab countries, we have taken up a position of strict neutrality and we will continue to maintain that position. Thirdly, as to flights in and out of Arab countries and in and out of Israel, we have agreed to Qantas flights to Damascus at the request of the Government concerned. I am not aware of the exact position so far as Israel is concerned. I will obtain information for the honourable gentleman and let him have that information later.

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