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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3238

Question No. 658

Mr MacKellar asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 1 November 1983:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to the terms of directives, purportedly used by the Heng Samrin Government, on Vietnamese immigration into Cambodia.

(2) If so, was one of the directives issued on 9 October 1982 signed by the Prime Minister, Chan Si.

(3) What do these directives reveal to the Government about Vietnam's policy on the Vietnamisation of Cambodia.

(4) Is he able to say what is the extent of the settlement of Vietnamese in Cambodia.

(5) Has he seen estimates by the United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr John C. Mongo, that the number of Vietnamese settled in Cambodia is, at present, between 150,000 and 200,000, and that as many as one-third are in a category of new immigrants; if so, can the Government confirm these figures.

Mr Hayden —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) The reported directive issued on 9 October 1982 is said to have been signed by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Chan Si.

(3) The reports of these government directives and of an influx of Vietnamese settlers into Cambodia led me to raise that issue with the Vietnamese Foreign Minister, Nguyen Co Thach, during my visit to Hanoi earlier this year. Our information is that most of these Vietnamese settlers were in Cambodia before 1970 and have been returning under a resettlement arrangement. There were approximately 500,000 Vietnamese settlers in Cambodia before 1970. We would be deeply disturbed if reports of an influx of Vietnamese settlers in a deliberate and sustained program to disturb the balance in Cambodia's population were to be substantiated.

(4) Estimates of the number of Vietnamese settlers range from 60,000 to 700,000 and even higher. It is impossible to establish a precise figure, but our information leads us to believe that it is still well below the figure of approximately 500,000 who constituted the Vietnamese community resident in Cambodia before the exoduses of the 1970s.

(5) Yes. We note that the estimates put forward by the United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs are significantly lower than the figure for the pre-1970 Vietnamese population. We are unable to assess the proportion of new settlers with any accuracy.