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Wellington: Joint communique issued by New Zealand Prime Minister Holyoake and Australian Prime Minister Gorton

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28 MARCH 1968

The Prime Ministers of t ustralia and New Zealand greatly welcomed the opportunity provided by Mr Gorton's goodwill visit to New Zealand to discuss a wide range of subjects, expecially those which affect relations between the two countries.

Mr Holyoake and his colleagues expressed their appreciation that it should have been to New Zealand that Mr Gorton paid his first visit outside Australia as Prime Minister. Both Prime

Ministers noted with satisfaction that the visit reflects the very close ties between Australia and New Zealand.

The talks have also been most timely in view of the forthcoming meetings at Wellington in connection with SEATO, JNZUS and the Viet Nam war.

This meeting took place against -a background of increasing consultation and co-operation between Australia and New Zealand.

Not only do the two countries continue to work together within alliances and groupings such as ANZUS, SEATO, Asia and the Pacific Coundl (ASP i- C) and the Commonwealth, and in international forums such as the United Nations, but the essence of their relationship

is-to be found in the close contacts between them which are constantly maintained at many levels.

The Prime Ministers viewed with satisfaction the trend -greatly strengthened since the visit to New Zealand last year by the late Mr Holt - for more frequent consultation between the two Governments, and agreed they would do all that was necessary to ensure that these exchanges will continue and increase.

The discussions were informal, their chief purpose being to acquaint the Prime Minister more fully with each other's thinking. They covered not only developments in relations between the two countries but international questions, especially the two countries' policies- in

South-East Asia and the Pacific and their attitudes to international trade.

The Prime Ministers agreed that while the aggression in Viet Nam continues, the two countries will maintain their military support to the Republic of Viet Nam and its Allies. ht the same time, they will endeavour to assist the search for a peaceful solution. Both countries

accept the need to continue civil aid to assist the social and economic reconstruction of that country.

The acceleration of the withdrawal of British Forces from South East Asia is of deep concern to both countries and has prompted both Governments to reassess, in consultation with their Allies in the





region, the role Australia and New Zealand are best fitted to play.

With regard to the situation r in South-East Asia generally, the Prime Ministers were particularly heartened by the disposition of many of the States in this region to work together for peace and prosperity. Through ASPAC, the Colombo Plan, the

Economic Commission for Asia and the Far-East (ECAFE), and the Asian Development Bank-to which Australia and New Zealand belong, both countries demonstrate their- sense of continuing involvement in the progress and stability of the area..

The Prime Ministers welcomed the recent formation of the Association of south-East Asian Nations (ASEhN) and the develop-ment of a closer working relationship between Indonesia and its neighbours.

The Prime Ministers also -discussed their continuing• Interest in the affairs of the" South Pacific, an area with which Australia and New Zealand have Intimate ties and in whose development both countries are closely involved.

Both countries have ? common concern in the stability of international -commodity-trade, and in this field they traditionally Adopt a co-operative approach. The Prime Ministers noted that world markets for dairy products were under intensive pressure because of

subsidised competition, and agreed that an international solution was urgently needed. An attempt to achieve an interim solution was at present being made in the GATT. Both Governments are striving to ensure a successful outcome to these negotiations.

Matters relevant to the Free Trade Agreement between r,ustralia and New Zealand will be the subject of further discussions between Mr Mc ;wen and Mr Marshall next week. The Prime Ministers agreed on the importance of doing everything possible

to ensure the success of the agreement and that it was a key factor in the healthy development of both economies.

The discussions between the Prime Ministers, which took place in a most friendly atmosphere, have given them both valuable insights into the respective policies of Australia And New Zealand over a wide range of subjects.

They look forward to further meetings and intend that contacts at all levels between Australia and New Zealand should increase.