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Tuesday, 15 March 1966

Mr HASLUCK (Curtin) (Minister for External Affairs) . - by leave - I am happy to inform the House that the Australian and Mexican Governments have agreed to exchange Embassies. A Charge d'Affaires will be sent initially to open the embassy in Mexico City, and an Ambassador will be appointed at a later stage. Mexico, too, will open its mission in Canberra with a Charge d'Affaires and later appoint an Ambassador. The opening of an embassy in Mexico is a further step in the efforts the Australian Government has been making to strengthen its contacts with Latin America. Last year a delegation from the Australian Parliament, comprising members from the Government and the Opposition parties and led by the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton), visited a number of Latin American countries including Mexico. There are many direct interests and contacts between Australia and Mexico, and our two countries have been brought physically closer now that Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. is to have four flights a week through Mexico - twice a week in each direction between Australia and Britain. This has led to a marked increase in the number of Australian businessmen and other visitors to that country. The holding of the Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968 will attract many more.

Mexico is one. of the largest and most influential of Latin American countries. Australia greatly values the political contacts which already exist between Mexico and Australia, particularly in the United Nations. We look forward to the strengthening of understanding and co-operation between the two countries as a result of the exchange of diplomatic missions.

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