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Thursday, 8 November 1956

Dr EVATT (Barton) (Leader of the Opposition) . - by leave - I congratulate the Minister for Defence on the statement that he has made, particularly that portion of it dealing with the decision of the General Assembly of the United Nations regarding organized assistance. I think that something else might be done, if the resolution of the General Assembly is given effect. There have been a number of requests, the fourth of which is that the Secretary-General should investigate the situation, should observe, through representatives named by him, the situation in Hungary, and should report thereon to the General Assembly at the earliest moment, and as soon as possible suggest methods to bring an end to the existing situation in Hungary in accordance wtih the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. I think that is important. It is important that Australia should be active in this matter. If necessary, the Australian Government might send a delegation to ascertain the position, to assist in achieving the objectives that the Minister has mentioned, and to investigate the position generally.

The resolution also calls upon Hungary lo permit observers to enter the territory and report findings. That again, "1 think, is something that need not wait until some further decisions have "been made, and 1 ask the Minister to consider taking action in accordance with that portion of the resolution. There is also a request to specialized agencies to make provision with regard to food, medicine and other similar supplies, and to report to the General Assembly as soon as possible. An invitation to national and international humanitarian organizations is also mentioned.

On th: general question, 1 spoke to the House last week, after the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) had made a statement. In substance I agreed with him, and I pointed out that the guarantees of human rights contained in the relevant treaty were inserted as a result of the proposal of the Chifley Government when the post-war settlement was being made. Undoubtedly those rights are being breached. I therefore express general agreement with what has been done, and I suggest that the matter should not be allowed to rest. I agree entirely with the Minister's positive suggestion. There is only one other comment that I wish to make. I make it because statements have been made in many parts of the world suggesting that the action taken by Russia in Hungary, after it had been reported that Russian forces would withdraw from that country, resulted from the happenings in Egypt. Because of the two absolute statements made by the Minister, I shall read to the House portion of a report that appeared in the " Manchester Guardian ", which is a very reliable newspaper. The Prime Minister appears to be expressing scorn of that newspaper. Does he want me to quote the London " Times ", or the " Daily Mail ", which represent the conservative viewpoint? The "' Manchester Guardian " is recognized as being extremely accurate in its international reporting. It is one of the greatest newspapers in the world. The Prime Minister knows that. The newspaper said, in an editorial -

For months, even years, it will be a matter of debate whether Britain's attack on Egypt sparked Russia's attack on Hungary. To say the least, it is possible that British aggression tipped the scales in Soviet planning towards violent action.

And the British defiance of 'United Nations Assembly resolutions has sapped the Assembly's strength at a most .critical .moment.

Many comments to that effect have appeared in the press in various parts of the world. The West German press is very hostile to Russia .and its international activities, but the following report appeared in one of the Sydney newspapers: -

In Europe, the West German press .unanimously condemned Britain for " playing hand in hand with Moscow ".

That does not mean that Britain was working with Moscow, but merely that it defied the United Nations' decision in the way. I have tried to describe. The point is that we must stick to the United Nations in all matters. We cannot support the United Nations organization on one occasion only; we must support it on all occasions. I agree that the decision of the General Assembly in relation to Hungary was correct. We all, but particularly those who support Labour and socialist parties, must .applaud and encourage the triumph of social democracy in such countries as Hungary, some of which were originally social-democratic countries. We agree that this is a proper principle to support. I believe that much can be done by visits to the places concerned, and by giving practical assistance at this time to those in need of it. We on this side of the House are in substantial agreement with the Minister.

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