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Tuesday, 29 May 1973
Page: 2732

Mr SPEAKER - I call the honourable member for Parramatta. I presume that you are acting as the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Temporarily, Mr Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to the Foreign Affairs News Release of 10 May 1973 stating that the Minister's private secretary, Dr Wilenski had had an interview with Dr Kissinger in Washington. I quote from the release. It states: (Dr Wilenski) ... had had the opportunity of putting Australian attitudes on a number of foreign affairs matters at a high level to the American administration. 1 ask; Firstly, was the Australian Ambassador to the United States present at this interview?

Secondly, does the Foreign Minister hold the view that Dr Wilenski is better qualified to put Australian attitudes than our professional diplomats are? Thirdly, does he envisage for Dr Wilenski a Dr Kissinger type role in foreign affairs? Fourthly, was this interview used as a means of seeking an invitation to visit Washington? Finally, does he propose to disclose further details of the interview beyond those already released to the Press on 10 May?

Mr WHITLAM - The Acting Leader of the Opposition is as prolix as the present Leader of Opposition. 1 cannot remember all the questions that the Acting Leader of the Opposition asked or the sequence of them. My 'Kissinger' did have a discussion with President Nixon's 'Wilenski'. I said, my 'Kissinger' - not my 'Haldeman' or 'Ehrlichman'. The Australian Ambassador was not present at that discussion, and of course the American Ambassador is not present on many occasions when Dr Kissinger discusses matters with prominent people in other countries on behalf of the President.

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