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Tuesday, 25 October 1949

Dr EVATT - I have not recently seen the report to which the honorable gentleman has referred, but I have no doubt that the Soviet Union is interested in the

Antarctic region, as indeed are so many other countries, including Japan. The fact is that the United States made a proposal, to which the honorable member has referred, about ten or twelve months ago, in which it suggested a pooling of sovereignty in that territory. That proposal has been considered by a number of British Commonwealth countries, some of which, including Australia, supported the view that instead of pooling sovereignty what was required was a reasoned agreement retaining sovereignty, including Australia's sovereignty over Australia's Antarctic territory, but with the interested States also agreeing to assist each other in the development of Antarctica. That matter has not been carried any further recently. Australia's interests in the Antarctic are very important and, as the honorable member knows, both by our activities recently in Heard Island and Macquarie Island, and also by our taking part in carious Antarctic expeditions, we are always trying to safeguard our Antarctic interests. Our interest in Antarctica is not an interest of Australia alone, but is an interest in common with the British Commonwealth and also very largely with the United States and Norway, which latter country has a very important interest in that part of the world.

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