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Tuesday, 3 April 1973
Page: 964

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs) - I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER - Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr WHITLAM - The right honourable member for Lowe (Mr McMahon) has misrepresented me. I believe that what I said was that there was a standing invitation by our predecessors in the plural. I was referring to the fact that the last Deputy Prime Minister but one, Sir John McEwen, when he was a guest of the Yugoslav Government had, as is usual in these cases, extended an invitation for his counterpart, whoever he might be at the time, to visit this country.

Mr McMahon - But not Bijedic.

Mr WHITLAM - I think the record will show that J said 'the person holding that position'. Of course Mr Bijedic was not the Prime Minister at the time that Sir John McEwen was there. But the position is quite plain: When the head or deputy of a government visits another country as the guest of the government of that country the normal thing is for him to invite a reciprocal visit. That visit is made by whoever holds the position at the time of the visit. The invitation is not confined to the person holding the position at the time the invitation is extended.

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