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Wednesday, 8 May 1968

Mr GORTON - Answering the first part of the question, yes, Australia did agree to Paris as the site for the initial contacts between the North Vietnamese and the United States. Indeed, during all of the discussions that have been going on as to sites which might be selected for the initial contacts the Government has been kept constantly informed of the one or two sites suggested by North Vietnam and of the 15 or 16 suggested by the United States, and has been asked for its views in each case. We have indicated that while we would not wish to press the matter to any point which would militate against initial contacts being held, it was our view that it was preferable for any contacts to be made in a site which was neutral, which was seen to be neutral and which . had the other requirements of freedom of reporting and of communication and so on, which the United States required. Paris appears to us to meet these requirements. I do not know who is suggesting that this could be a triumph for the foreign policies of Charles de Gaulle, but I find it very difficult to see any basis for such a suggestion. He happens to be the President of a country of which Paris is the capital, and Paris as a capital presents the requirements for initial contacts between the countries involved.

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