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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2621

Senator WITHERS (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to the answer that the Prime Minister gave in the House of Representatives on Tuesday when he stated that the failure of an Australian Prime Minister to visit a number of European nations in recent years is resented by those nations. Can the Minister for Foreign Affairs list the European nations which have indicated, either officially or unofficially, their resentment that the Australian Prime Minister has failed to visit them?

Senator WILLESEE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Foreign Affairs) - In the 2 years that I have been associated with the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, both as Minister for Foreign Affairs and as Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs, several people from Europe have spoken to me, urging that the Prime Minister should visit their countries.

Senator Carrick - Who are they?

Senator WILLESEE -There is quite a long list of Europeans whom I could mention. I could leave others out. Honourable senators opposite may giggle about this. They do not take it seriously. I might say that Mr Snedden is also making a European trip, and no Europeans have ever expressed a desire to me that Mr Snedden should visit them. Evidently the question was asked in a jocular manner but I am trying to answer it seriously. The point is that several diplomats have from time to time pressed me to get Mr Whitlam to visit their countries. When it has been mentioned that he will make the trip there has been quite a queue of them. Those are the facts as I know them. The matter has certainly been mentioned to me several times.

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