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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3142

Mr Holdingto ask the Prime Minister:

(   1 ) Has his attention been drawn to the article in the San Antonio Light (published in Texas, U.S.A.), dated 26 February 1980, and headlined 'Australia Pledges "Absolute" Support for U.S. '.

(2)   Is he able to state whether this report was the result of an exclusive interview he gave to Mr William Randolph Hearst, Jr, and Mr Kingsbury Smith, of Hearst Newspapers as alleged in the article.

(3)   If so, did he state, during that interview that (a) Australian defence forces in the Indian Ocean already (i) maintain close liaison with United States of America naval forces and (ti) exchange surveillance information with them, (b) the communications base at North West Cape, W.A., relays VHF signals to U.S. nuclear submarines in the Indian Ocean and (c) the most important contribution made by Australia to the defence of the United States and itself is made by the top secret, chiefly American manned satellite communications base at Pine Gap, N.T.

(4)   Is there any substance in indications in the article that (a) Pine Gap has the world's largest radar installation for tracking, and receiving information from, America's spy satellites which maintain constant surveillance of the Soviet Union, (b) Pine Gap could receive the first indication of a Soviet inter-continental ballistic missile nuclear attack on the United States, (c) the base is operated mainly by about 22S Americans including the largest concentration of Central Intelligence Agency experts outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, U.S.A., (d) other Americans operating the base include a few National Security Agency and U.S. Air Force specialists and (e) Pine Gap would undoubtedly be one of the first targets of Soviet nuclear missiles in the event of war between Russia and the U.S.A.

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