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Wednesday, 28 October 1970

Mr McMAHON (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for External Affairs) - I remember the question asked by the honourable gentleman, and I think it can be answered in this way: First of all, approximately 90 per cent of forces fighting in the north of South Vietnam are NVA, and overall between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of forces fighting in South Vietnam are North Vietnamese. I think that disposes of the idea that civil war is involved. As to the second and third questions, I think the appropriate answer is this-

Dr Jenkins - What about the free election?

Mr McMAHON - Yes, and there have been free elections in South Vietnam but none in North Vietnam.

Dr Jenkins - The other candidate for the presidency is in gaol.

Mr Cope - I think they got the donkey vote.

Mr McMAHON - No, you have normally captured most of that yourself - and deserved it. As to the second point involved here - and perhaps I could now answer the interjection - there is nothing in the 1954 Agreements or in the 1962 Accords requiring an election in South Vietnam. The confusion arises in the mind of the honourable member-

Mr Morrison - Because it was the Final Declaration.

Mr McMAHON - Please let me answer the question.

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