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Thursday, 18 September 1958
Page: 1376

Mr CAIRNS (YARRA, VICTORIA) - I direct a question to the Minister for Defence in his capacity as acting Minister for External Affairs. Is it a fact that the Prime Minister recently said at a press conference that Australia had no specific policy on the off-shore islands in the Formosa Strait? Is it a fact, also, that the Minister for External Affairs, while overseas, and the acting Minister shortly afterwards, stated that Australia's policy on this matter was identical with that of the United States of America, in the sense that the Australian Government supports the efforts of the United States to ensure that there is no resort to force in any dispute over the Formosa Strait? Will the Minister say whether a policy was developed by the Australian Government between the time at which the Prime Minister's press conference was held and the time at which the other two statements were made, or whether, in view of the fact that force is being used by both sides in the Formosa Strait, what was stated by the Minister for External Affairs and the acting Minister to be a policy is not a policy at all?

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