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Tuesday, 20 October 1970

Mr McMAHON - I remember the honourable gentleman asking me a question concerning the whereabouts of Mr Francis James. I then pointed out that Mr Francis James was entitled to exactly the same kind of protection as any other Australian citizen overseas. I also said that we had carried out investigations both through the British Charge d'Affaires in Peking and other avenues in order to ascertain his whereabouts but that the Communist Chinese resolutely refused to give any information. We have continued with our investigations but with exactly the same results. On the last occasion in October when we approached the British Charge in Peking we asked him if he could try to obtain verification of statements made of the possible presence of Mr James in Canton. Again he met with exactly the same attitude from the Chinese Communist Government and no information whatsoever could be obtained. We were also informed by the British that this practice is adopted when Britain's own citizens arc concerned and that they cannot get any satisfactory replies. In fact, they cannot get any replies whatsoever. We will continue to do all we can to help this man and if I can get any worthwhile information 1 will immediately convey it to the House.

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