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Tuesday, 30 April 1968

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:

1.   Has his attention been drawn to a statement by Senator RobertV. Kennedy reported in the Brisbane 'Courier-Mail' of 27th March that the Vietcong, despite brutal acts of terrorism, must be granted a role in Vietnam's political life if the war was to be settled?

1.   If so, is this contrary to South Vetnam policy which has led to imprisonment of neutralists?

3.   Will he publicly make clear the Government's intentions, as Senator Kennedy and South Viet nam have made clear their intentions, in regard to non-military approaches to the Vietcong?

4.   Will he clarify these intentions in statements to South Vietnam and, before its prospective party leaders are selected, to the United States?

Mr Hasluck - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

1.   Yes.

2.   The Government of the Republic of Vietnam has announced its policy to be that all those who decide to leave the ranks of the Communists and become part of the national community will b: warmly welcomed as citizens with full citizenship.

3.   The Australian Government, together with its allies in Vietnam, declared at Manila in October 1966, that it would pursue any avenue which could lead to a secure and just peace.

4.   The Governments of the Republic of Vietnam and of the United States are aware of the position as stated at Manila, and the Australian Government continues to exchange views with them.

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