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Wednesday, 17 May 1972
Page: 1715

Senator KANE - I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether Mr Andrew Farran, a former private secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs when Mr Freeth held that portfolio, is the author of an article entitled 'The Freeth Experiment' published in the 'Australian Outlook', the journal of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Did Mr Farran have any part in drafting the Freeth statement, often referred to as the soft-on-Russia statement of August 1969? Is his defence of the Freeth statement an essay in selfjustification? Finally, is the supply of arms by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to North Vietnam, without which the invasion of South Vietnam could not have taken place, a good example of the benefits we could hope to enjoy as a result of our association with the Soviet Union?

Senator WRIGHT - Interest has been attracted to the article by Mr Farran about what has become known as the Freeth Affair. I found it a very interesting article. I saw a rejoinder from Senator McManus which interested me somewhat. I have seen a rejoinder by Mr Farran which declines to disclose his part, if any, in the authorship of the speech which has been the subject of this intense interest. I am not disposed to enter into any exercise which will say what officers of the Department of External Affairs, as it was at that time, participated or whether the private secretary to Mr Freeth participated in the compilation of the speech. That is a matter which is not subject to scrutiny by question. With regard to the contribution of arms made by Soviet Russia to North Vietnam, in the light of the satirical fashion in which the question was asked I respond quite phlegmatically by saying that it is a gross assistance to the invaders, the North Vietnamese, who at the present time are launching such a savage attack against the South Vietnamese to the danger of South East Asia and to the detriment of this country.

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