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Wednesday, 12 December 1973
Page: 2697

Senator SIM (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I refer the Minister for Foreign Affairs to a report that the Vietcong has warned the Government of South Vietnam to pull its troops out of the border province of Quong Duc or face the consequences. The report continued by stating that the Vietcong had said that 'all our military acts are aimed at punishing the Saigon administration for its acts on territory belonging to the People's Revolutionary Council'. Does the Government accept this arrogant assumption by the Vietcong that it has rights over South Vietnamese territory?

Senator WILLESEE -I have not seen the report to which Senator Sim alludes. I think that I have said before that it is tremendously difficult to prove any of these allegations in the situation in Vietnam. Both sides make allegations about breaking the ceasefire and so on. That happens not only in that area but throughout the world wherever there is conflict. We can only do what we can to insist that the Vietnamese go back to the Paris agreements and try to maintain them. There is a flimsy peace in that area at the moment and if it is broken the consequences will spread far beyond the 2 Vietnams. It undoubtedly will affect the Laotian situation and will make the peace position in Cambodia all the more dangerous. I am afraid it is not of very much good to take one side or the other, or to try to analyse every allegation that is made because the number runs into several thousands.

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