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Thursday, 29 March 1973
Page: 850

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - Has the Prime Minister seen a report from a respected National Times' reporter who last week visited Washington DC stating that the American President, Dr Henry Kissinger and the White House have now twice rejected State Department suggestions that the Prime Minister be invited officially to visit the United States of America? Does the Prime Minister now agree that his anti-American protest letter and the insulting public utterances of one-eighth of the Australian Labor Party Ministry have done our relations with the United States grave harm? Is he able to advise the House whether he has the distinction of being the only Australian Prime Minister to be declared, temporarily at least, almost non persona grata by the world's most powerful leader? Does the article agree with the advice given by the Department of Foreign Affairs? If so, what emergency measures does he propose to restore our wrecked relations with the United States? Finally, has he seen the result of the Harris poll which shows that in recent weeks the percentage of Americans willing to come to the aid of Australia has plummeted to 39 per cent?

Mr WHITLAM - I did see the report. I notice that the honourable gentleman did not verify it. Nobody could. It was a fabrication. It is true that there was a cloud over relations between the United States and Australia when bombing of North Vietnam was resumed. I took the action which was taken by every other political leader in the world, except the Leader of the Opposition in Australia, to protest at this conduct. The conduct ceased. Relations between the United States and Australia are now very cordial and are more fruitful because they are more adult. The honourable gentleman made reference to three of my colleagues. He will be frustrated to know that one of them in fact was a guest at the United States embassy as recently as yesterday.

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