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Thursday, 31 October 1974
Page: 2185

Senator SIM (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Did the Prime Minister describe the Nippon Australia Relations Agreement, known as the treaty of NARA, as his greatest achievement? Is the treaty to be signed during the visit of the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Tanaka? If not, what are the reasons for the delay? If the treaty is not to be signed will the Prime Minister now make a more modest assessment of his achievement?

Senator WILLESEE - In answer to the first question, I do not know whether the Prime Minister said that or not. The treaty of NARA will not be signed during Prime Minister Tanaka 's visit. There has been a long process of to-ing and fro-ing on it. Japan put up a draft treaty and we put up another and so on. I was asked a few weeks ago whether we should speed up the preparation of the treaty and have it signed during his visit. I said no. This is a very technical matter. It is the first time it has been done. This is a new type of treaty. As I understand it, Japan has never entered into this type of treaty with anybody else. My attitude is that it is better to have a good treaty than a fast one. It would be nice to sign it when Prime Minister Tanaka is here but does that really matter when it is a treaty that is going to last for as far ahead as we can see? So it will not be signed during the time that he is here. I have seen a draft and have been in fairly close contact with my officers who are working on it. As the doctors say, it is coming along as well as can be expected under all the circumstances.

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