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Wednesday, 28 October 1970


Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) ns asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:

(1)   What was the total number of war pensioners as at 30 June 1970.

(2)   How many of these pensioners received an increase in pension during the financial year ended 30 June 1970.

(3)   Is it a fact that war pensioners receiving from 10 per cent to 70 per cent pension have not had an increase for a considerable time, despite increases in cost of living which have seriously cut the purchasing value of their pension.


Mr Holten (INDI, VICTORIA) (Minister for Repatriation) - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

(1)   The total number of war pensioners as at 30 June 1970 was 585,307. This figure included incapacitated ex-servicemen and their dependants and the dependants of deceased ex-servicemen.

(2)   Precise figures are not available, but assuming that the question is directed to those who received increases in their basic rates of pension as distinct from those who received increases arising from re-assessment of the extent of pensionable incapacity, approximately 98,000 war pensioners would have received increases during the year.

(3)   Yes, assuming again that the question does not relate to increases arising from re-assessment of pensionable incapacity.

Geneva Conference on Indo-China: United States Speech (Question No. 1724)


Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to the United States Department of State Bulletin Vol. 31, JulyDecember, 1954, page 162, in which the United States representative is quoted as saying at the conclusion of the Indo-China conference at Geneva on 21st July 1954 that his Government would continue to seek to achieve unity in VietNam through free elections supervised by the United Nations to ensure that they were conducted fairly.

(G)   Why did his Department's Select Document on International Affairs No. 1 of 1964 page 17, omit what the United States representative had said at Geneva on 21st July 1954 concerning elections in Viet-Nam.

(3)   Has his Department published any document in which it produces the full text of whit the United States representative said at Geneva on 21st July 1954 concerning elections in VietNam.


Mr McMahon - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   I am aware of the document referred to.

(2)   The text published at page 162 of the Department of State Bulletin Vol. 31 JulyDecember 1954, was the full text of the United States representative's speech at the 21st July 1954 meeting of the Geneva Conference on IndoChina. The text of the formal declaration itself, as published on page 17 of Select Documents on International Affairs No. 1 of 1964, was considered to be the part of the speech most relevant for inclusion in such a publication as Select Documents.

In the remainder of his speech, the United States representative referred, inter alia, to the United States attitude to nations divided against their will, noting that his Government would continue to seek to achieve unity through free elections, and to its traditional position that peoples were entitled to determine their own future. The United States would not join any arrangement which would hinder this.

In view of the interest shown in the speech, I include here the full text of what the United States representative, Under Secretary of State, General Walter Bedell Smith, said at the concluding Indo-China plenary session at Geneva on 21st July 1954:

As I stated on 18th July, my Government is not prepared to join in a declaration by the Conference such as is submitted. However, the United States makes this unilateral declaration of its position in these matters:

Declaration

The Government of the United States being resolved to devote its efforts to the strengthening of peace in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations takes note of the agreements concluded at Geneva on 20th July and 2 1st July 1954 between (a) the Franco-Laotian Command and the Command of the Peoples Army of VietNam; (b) the Royal Khmer Army Command and the Command of the Peoples Army of Viet-Nam; (c) Franco-Vietnamese Command and the Command of the Peoples Army of Viet-Nam and of paragraphs 1 to 12 inclusive of the declaration presented to the Geneva Conference on 21st July 1954 declares with regard to the aforesaid agreements and paragraphs that (i) it will refrain from the threat or the use of force to disturb them, in accordance with Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations dealing with the obligation of members to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force; and (ii) it would view any renewal of the aggression in violation of the aforesaid agreements with grave concern and as seriously threatening international peace and security.

In connection with the statement in the Declaration concerning free elections in VietNam my Government wishes to make clear its position which it has expressed in a declaration made in Washington on 29th June 1954, as follows:

In the case of nations now divided against their will, we shall continue to seek to achieve unity through free elections supervised by the United Nations to ensure that they are conducted fairly.

With respect to the statement made by the representative of the State of Viet-Nam, the United States reiterates its traditional position that peoples are entitled to determine their own future and that it will not join in an arrangement which would hinder this. Nothing in its declaration just made is intended to or does indicate any departure from this traditional position.

We share the hope that the agreements will permit Cambodia, Laos and Viet-Namto play their part, in full, independence and sovereignty, in the peaceful community of nations, and will enable the peoples of that area to determine their own future.

(3)   No.







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