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Wednesday, 20 May 1970

Mr Whitlam asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

On what occasions, in what form and with what result have consultations taken place between Britain and Australia on the political future of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate.

Mr Gorton - The answer to the honourable Member's question is as follows:

Exchanges of views take place from time to time between Britain and Australia about developments in the South Pacific generally. The British authorities keep us informed about constitutional developments in respect of their South Pacific territories, including the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. Australia likewise keeps the British authorities informed in respect of the territories for which it is responsible. The question of the political future of dependent territories is essentially one for the peoples of the territories concerned and for the countries which administer them. The British Government's policy with respect to its territories has been stated on various occasions. For example, the communique issued at the 1966 Prime Ministers' Conference in London included the following: 'The British Government stands ready to give independence to territories that want it and can sustain it. For the others Britain is willing to work out arrangements appropriate to each territory that will enable them, if they wish, to continue some form of association with Britain'.

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