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Wednesday, 15 May 1957

Mr CASEY - The honorable member asked whether my attention was drawn to this matter. It was not drawn to it, but I saw the article in question, and I was not surprised. The remark of the Soviet leader was entirely consistent with the attitude that the Russians have taken before on such matters which is, of course, to make as much trouble as possible in the course of any given visit. This remark was made for that purpose. As to the attitude of Australia towards the question of west New Guinea, I have expressed on behalf of the Government times without number, at the United Nations, in this House and elsewhere, our attitude on this subject. I think it is well known, and it has not changed in any way at all.

The honorable gentleman stated that this matter is to come before the United Nations again. There, he has the advantage of me. I do not know that it is to come up again. It has come up during the last three years, and has been dealt with - adequately, I think - by the United Nations. I hope that remission of the problem to the United Nations can be regarded as a closed page, and that it will not come up again.

Concerning the honorable member's question about the visit to West New Guinea of the Dutch Minister for Defence, yes, indeed I do know of that. I hope very much that such a distinguished member of the Dutch Government will find time to visit Australia while he is in this part of the world. The discussion of defence problems would be, of course, another matter, and would be the perquisite of my friend and colleague, the Minister for Defence. However, if the Dutch Minister for Defence is to come here I hope that we shall be able not only to show him courtesy but also to discuss with him matters of mutual interest.

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