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Foreign Minister outlines agenda of the seventies

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D A T E 15 June 1974


The Foreign Minister, Senator Don Willesee, said in Adelaide today that, with the backlog of outdated policies cleared away, Australia now faced a heavy and challenging agenda in the foreign policy field for the remainder of the


He was opening the Fourth International Conference of the Australian Institute of International Affairs on the theme "Advance Australia - Where?".

' Senator Willesee said it would be a principal objective of Australia's policies in the remainder of the decade to work for machinery that would lead to an acceptable restructuring of the world economic order towards a system of collective economic security, an objective Australia was in a' unique position to help achieve.

Senator Willesee said that in meeting these ' challenges he wanted to see Australia follow policies which reflected the idealism of Australians and embodied the kind of imagination, daring and inspired wisdom the world admired in Dr Kissinger. Orthodox methods of approach, which* had failed in the past would not be sufficient to deal with the new problems in the future.

Among the points made by Senator Willesee in his outline of the 1 future agenda for Australian foreign policy were:

Foreign Affairs had ceased to be an issue of major political contention among Australians, who were now better served because debate about future · policies could take place in a more rational way, less oriented to narrow party political advantage.

In the international climate of concern following the Indian nuclear explosion, the Government would be making renewed efforts to strengthen the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty structure. Senator Willesee warned of the dangers of a proliferated world of nuclear weapons if this structure were to break up.

He had directed the Senior Science Adviser of the Department of Foreign Affairs to visittNew Delhi shortly to discuss the recent Indian test with Indian officials.

Until recently Australia’s whole outlook on regional and international affairs had become coloured by the perceptions and information it had tended to accept unquestioningly from its friends. Today, Australia’s evaluation of this information was much more searching and less prone to uncritical

acceptance. ,

Although the Government had in the last 18 months opened missions or accredited diplomatic representatives to no less than 21 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, significant gaps still remained. Australia hoped soon, for example, to be able to announce the establishment of diplomatic relations with North Korea and Algeria.

Recently Australia had voted in favour of admitting Guinea Bissau to the World Health Organisation and intended to treat that act as de facto recognition of, that, entity. In so doing, Australia had also stated its support for the legitimate aspirations

of black Africans still denied their inalienable right to self-determination and independence. Similarly, Australia would be ready, through the ' United Nations, to assist the Portuguese colonies

of Angola and Mozambique achieve their rightful place in the world community.

Australia was looking again at the possibility of gaining access to the councils of the world’s non- aligned movement, because of the growing interests it shared with non-aligned countries in important areas like natural resources.

The United Nations Charter provided specific guidelines for international peace-keeping · arrangements, but these had been rendered largely inoperative by the attitudes of the major powers. . The international climate was now opportune for renewed efforts to work out realistic and acceptable guidelines for peace-keeping operations.

The 26-member Conference of the Committee on Disarmament had no representative from Australia’s immediate geographic area and the Department of Foreign Affairs was studying the possibility of

Australia becoming associated more closely with the work of this disarmament body.


In the field of human rights, the Department of Foreign Affairs was examining the possibility of Australia proposing, on a world-wide basis, an international convention on asylum which would

embody more humane principles of action by countries in which upheavals had occurred and by States represented by missions in those countries. · Negotiations would be delicate and difficult, but

it was hoped that a start could be made at the United Nations General Assembly in three months.

The full text of Senator Willesee's speech is attached.


I am very glad to have been afforded by the Australian Institute of International Affairs the opportunity to open your National Conference in Adelaide.

First, I am glad because the Labor Government was returned, less than a month ago, partly I believe because of the pride Australians now feel in the new standing of Australia overseas, which in turn I think owes much to the

initiatives we have taken in foreign policy.

Secondly, I am pleased because we believe it is important to involve the Australian people as much as possible in the public discussion of foreign affairs options open to the Australian Government. In this respect I would like to acknowledge the particular debt of this Government to

institutions like the AllA and the Australian Institute of Political Science, for the way in which they have helped to articulate and channel informed discussion about foreign policy. It is often said that the policies on which the

Government was elected in 1972 w sre policies clearly worked out in detail over a lengthy period, and I believe that is largely true, in foreign policy no less than in other fields. Yet it is also true that a party in opposition can have no more than a very broad idea of what it wishes to do when it gets into office, and that these broad ideas need to be given

shape and direction before they can be implemented. The Government elected in December 1972 more than most is the beneficiary of a more constructive, revitalised and imaginative debate in the Australian community about foreign policy, and its policies are the better as a result.

Thirdly, I am especially pleased to be able to address a conference with the particular theme you have chosen - Australian Foreign Policy in the 1970's - Advance■ Australia Where? Australian Foreign Policy has, I believe, gone through a period of important and substantial change

since December 1972, one result of which is that our policies are now up to date. It is instructive to reflect on how painless, relatively speaking, that process was, and how well accepted the changes have become. If there were one result from last month's election which no one would dispute

it is that foreign affairs has ceased to be an issue of major political contention amongst the people of Australia. I would be less than human if I did not admit to deriving some partisan satisfaction from this state of affairs. Yet beyond partisanship, I believe that the people of Australia will be

the better served for the fact that debate about the future

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course of foreign policy can take place in a more rational way, less oriented to narrow party political advantage. For too long foreign policy has been used almost solely as a weapon of internal political propaganda. This in turn

limited the options of previous governments in the foreign policy field. Now, I believe, we can look with some confidence to a situation in which Australians can be united in discussing ways of sustaining and strengthening in the future a national

consensus the basis for which already exists.

In this talk I would like to avoid two courses which seem to me inappropriate at this time although both were tempting. The first course I do not want to take is to engage in the kind of justification and defence of past

policies by which politicians are so much attracted at election time. I don't think I need to do that now. The second course I want to avoid is to engage■in a grand tour of the various trouble spots around the world, treating you to my predictions of what is going to happen and why. For that

kind of crystall ball gazing you would need to go to a more professional fortune teller than I am.

Rather I want to attempt to do three other things. Firstly, I want to speak about the equipment with which the Government has provided itself for looking at, for informing itself about, for analysing and assessing the much more

complex and diverse world in which foreign policy is nowadays made. Secondly, I want to speak briefly about the beliefs and principles the Government brings to decisions about

foreign policy? and thirdly, I would like to look at several areas which it seems to me ought to be the priorities for Australia in the world of the 1970's.

• The decisions about where we go from here rest · as they have always done on the same two basic determinants, domestic priorities and overseas trends and developments. It is a truism that the more countries become complex

societies within themselves, the more closely interwined they are with other countries, the more one must look to a much wider range of factors in deciding upon appropriate foreign affairs policies. Unfortunately for people in my position this inter-relationship and inter-action of

domestic and foreign policies is a phenomenon of our age? the Congress of Vienna might still be sitting if Talleyrand had to look over his shoulder at the votes of French farmers or if Castlereagh had to take into account the

consequences of the international operations of ICI. But, while in the past it may have been possible to keep these areas separate or to keep one function of our overseas

relations distinct from another, there is today no way of avoiding a spillover. Whereas, for instance, it was once maintained that.our treatment of Australian aborigines was a matter exclusively of domestic concern, or that foreign

trade should operate unregulated by governments, no

Australian government would now credibly be able to maintain such positions. Just as exploitation of our resources has become at home a matter in which any government must interest itself, so international trade in these resources has become too important a

matter, for buyers and sellers alike, to be left solely to private companies»

The context in which Australia's foreign relations are conducted has therefore become much more complex and demanding. Merely in order to see the implications of this, the first duty of Government is to recognise and comprehend the world as it

actually is, not as we might conceive or wish it to be. That is a cardinal principle of the way this Government has approached foreign policy. Australia, if it is to serve national interests in an effective manner, can no longer afford to impose on

international events interpretations at variance with the facts. As an example of what can otherwise happen, I believe that for too long unreasoning fear was encouraged to play too large a part in Australians' perception of,.and response to, international

events: so too was the desire not to appear to differ with our allies, even when we may have had private views of our own. Successive Australian Governments were led by some such combination of extraneous factors to deny the reality of the existence of the Peoples' Republic of China, to exert disproportionate efforts and

resources to prevent China taking its rightful place in the community of nations, and to commit and retain forces in a remote civil war in Viet Nam. An era was based on those particular false perceptions and we are a healthier, a saner people for its passing.

In order to give effect to this principle - in order, that is to say, to be sure that we are seeing the world whole, and seeing it unblinkered by glasses of rosy or another tint - a very great part of the Government's effort has been and will be expended

on getting for itself its own information on which to base its policies, and its own wide range of sources and contacts with other countries from which that information can be derived. We must, that is to say, be self reliant as far as information is concerned: we must wherever practicable be self reliant as to our representation

overseas: if we are neither, we do not even have the prerequisites for a policy that is informed and independent, I would like to make a few remarks under each of these heads to show why it is that the Government has devoted so much of its efforts to ensuring self

reliance in these spheres.


Until recent years Australia was content not only to let others think that this country was at best a pale reflection, at . worst a client of our great and powerful friends, but itself to think and react like those with which it was allied. We suffered

doubly from this situation. Internationally Australia was seen to have little distinctive identity or personality of its own, while at home our whole outlook on regional and international affairs became coloured by the perceptions and information we tended to accept to unquestioningly from our friends. However, much Australia might intuitively have reacted the same way as its allies, the

constant stream of information originating from these sources inevitably reinforced the common approach and inhibited divergent

assessments. I am not suggesting that the abundant foreign intelligence to which we had access was so slanted that its objective value was compromised or that Australia failed to make use of its own diplomatic channels to keep informed of trends and

developments abroad. We welcomed then, as we do now, the flow of ' data received from friendly overseas sources, but our evaluation of this information is now more searching than ever before and

less prone to uncritical acceptance. But the most important requirement of all is to expand and intensify our information gathering activities so as to lessen our dependence on foreign sources and enhance our ability to assess situations in a manner best suited to Australian requirements and aims. Only by these means will it be possible for us to determine our own perceptions

of Australia’s place and role in international affairs in full knowledge of all the relevant facts and factors, without unconscious­ ly or subconsciously adopting the perceptions of others. There will of course be many occasions on which we shall continue to see eye to eye with our allies,, But we should now have the satisfaction of knowing that these shared positions are all the stronger for being based on an independently reached appreciation of all the salient factors. In areas of disagreement we shall be in a position to state our arguments in an informed, reasonable and logical manner. Therein lie the foundations of mutual respect between nations.

Representation and Recognition

To diversify and deepen our knowledge of what is happening internationally and how it affects Australia, the Government has embarked on an ambitious program to make our diplomatic representation overseas more geographically widespread and less dependent on ideological preconceptions. We have recognised and opened up diplomatic relations with a wide range of countries

in all parts of the world, especially in those continents which tended in the past not to receive a fair share of Australian attention, like Africa and Latin America: and we have tried also to give substance to those relations in appropriate ways. There are, however, some popular misunderstandings, if not misconceptions about the terms I have just used to signify our decision to enter

into official contact with other states.

For the Australian Government, recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations are neutral acts, implying necessarily neither approval nor disapproval of the Government of the country concerned. A decision to move towards this more formal

state of relations is initially a political, not a legal act, and the legal consequences which flow from these procedures are them­ selves subject to political evolution. It is possible to get bogged down in a great deal of nonsense about doctrines of recognition, about whom it is correct or indeed legal to deal with, and so on. These doctrines mainly lead to the kind of sterility of approach more suited to the study of palaeontology than the practice of

present day diplomacy. Our simple objective is to make such contacts as will enable us to be as well informed as possible of the policies, activities and likely impact on the course of events, particularly in Australia’s own region, of bodies and groups in a position to influence those events. Let me illustrate.


The Government has in the last eighteen months opened missions or accredited diplomatic representatives to no less than 21 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. These are the nations that satisfy the normally accepted criteria of

statehood. Yet even here significant gaps remain. We hope soon for example to be able to announce establishment of diplomatic relations with North Korea. Though Australia supports the ultimate objective of Korean reunification, we must realistically

accept that for the present there exist two independent states on the Korean peninsula, and that in the interests of stability in that area and eventual peaceful accommodation between them, the international community should be prepared to treat with both North and South Korea.

Guinea Bissau to the World Health Organisation and intends to treat that vote as defacto recognition of that entity. In so doing we have given expression not only to the fact that Guinea Bissau possesses the attributes of statehood but to our support for the legitimate aspirations of black Africans still denied their

inalienable right to self-determination and independence. Developments in the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique may make a similar course appropriate in their case, and we will be ready through the United Nations to assist them in achieving

their rightful place in the world community. It is true that admitting national liberation movements to international meetings and our informal contacts with, for example, the PRG in Viet Nam and the G.R.U.NK, do not necessarily entail approval of their

policies or the vay in which they have set about achieving them: still less does this require the Government to move towards official recognition. But to deny their existence altogether would be to put one's head in the sand and ignore the lessons of the past.

Commonwealth of Nations we have access to a wide range of views and experiences which are invaluable for keeping our policies relevant and contemporary, we hope to supplement that access through our already achieved observer status at meetings of the Organisation of American States and the Andean Pact, and through building up contact with the Organisation of African Unity (the next meeting of which I have asked our Ambassador in Nairobi to observe). For the

future, because of the growing interests in important areas like natural resources which we share with countries in the non-aligned movement, we are looking again at the possibility of gaining access

to the councils of its members. In that connection I have decided that Australia should seek to establish a resident mission in Algeria and to set up a High Commission in the Caribbean, where

at present we only maintain dual accreditation arrangements.

Affairs to embark on an ambitious program of participation in non­ governmental meetings in Australia and overseas, to profit from the consideration given foreign affairs at the academic, business and other interested levels. My presence here today and that of a

substantial number of Foreign Affairs officers is indicative of the importance we attach to this kind of contact.

Australia recently voted in favour of the admission of

Thirdly, while as members of the United Nations and

Finally, I have encouraged the Department of Foreign

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In what I have been saying up to now I have tried to show that the Government has striven mightily to provide itself with the equipment to look at and assess the world in which we live in such a way that it is possible for us to make independent,

carefully considered judgments about the courses Australia should follow. But as important as this is it does not constitute a foreign policy. What I would now like to turn to are the broad principles the Government brings to foreign policy making on the basis of the independent assessments we are now able to make„

. I suppose these are broadly summed up by saying that the Government still believes in the rather old fashioned and optimistic notion of the possibility of progress: in the idea that by co-operative effort men and nations can bring about a betterment in their circumstances and hence a more just and

equitable world. No theme recurs more often in the general principles laid down in the platform of the Australian Labor Party than the commitment to "promote justice and peace and political, social and economic advancement"; not just for Australians but

for mankind in general. I can hear the cynics and the hardheads saying to themselves what woolly and indeed wild propositions these are on which to base, by which to measure, specific courses of action in foreign policy. In place of those principles, it will be argued, we should put some tough-minded, hard-nosed, "realistic" - in a word, selfish - assessment of Australia’s national interests and use that as our touchstone. I must confess that it does not give me the least difficulty to be guided by the principle that

actions of the Australian Government should be such as to accord with a requirement that they advance justice and peace and promote political, social and economic progress. Indeed I do not think the policy of the Government towards what must be regarded as

three of the most retrograde and explosive features of international relations today, namely underdevelopment, colonialism in its various forms, and racism, can be understood except by reference to these principles. I confess too that it does not dismay me in the least to hear the Government criticised as "idealistic" for professing,

for pursuing, such objectives as these. Indeed I believe a Government which does not pursue such ideals does a disservice to a people whose attachment to the ideals of fairness, of justice and a "fair go", has in my opinion been consistently underestimated by those elected to lead them in the past.

From this general stance certain particular propositions follow. One is our opposition to segregation or discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, sex, creed or politics. That is a principle with which in the Government’s view no compromise is possible and by which all of our policies have been informed: you will all be familiar with the wide range of actions the Government has taken in pursuit of it. Another is the Government’s healthy

distrust of the idea that lasting solutions to social problems are ever found by force of arms, and especially not by the force of foreign arms. Still another is the conviction that Australia has a duty to share its wealth with other less fortunate peoples in

such a way as to promote their economic and social betterment and in turn a general advancement towards a world fit to live in.

In saying this I repeat that I am aware that many will say ours is a naive approach to considering some of the issues and interests we have been elected to protect and advance. Is not security about ships, divisions, guns, military alliances and wars?

Is not the Australian national interest to get rich quick, the. better to afford more planes and submarines to defend ourselves against those who got poorer quicker? I am aware there are more sophisticated ways of putting that sort of case, and I don't want

to be taken as saying what we have no intention of doing, that is abandoning in current circumstances the trappings of military security. But I do want to turn the accusation of naivete back upon itself, by saying that it seems to me the height of naivete

to imagine, in the world of the 19701s let alone the 1980's, that true security will ever be found without general and significant progress in the material and social wellbeing of the under-privileged world. We are not starry-eyed about the prospects of this: our

policies will be doomed to failure if they are not guided by realistic hopes and based upon realistic expectations. But we are equally clear that as sure a prescription for failure would be for Australian policies and attitudes to look backwards to the outdated and pesimistic assumptions of the Cold War period.

Now belief in the possibility of progress, that quaint conviction of socialists - and Americans - is an essentially optimistic doctrine, since it suggests that problems can be solved if only men of goodwill are prepared to try hard enough to find solutions. In the time that remains I would like to draw together some of the threads by mentioning briefly certain problem areas and issues which I should like to see in the forefront of our

foreign policy for the 70's , In some of these areas there are no easy or obvious solutions and the way ahead may not be clear. Nor do I imagine that Australia alone can produce the answers. But I believe we must Continue to pursue an "activist" but not meddlesome foreign policy - anticipating future needs and

developments instead of simply waiting until we can no longer avoid reacting to events or the views of others. .

A major challenge of this decade is the need to develop what might be called a system of collective economic security. The developing countries focused attention on this when they presented as the underlying theme of the recent Special Session

of the United Nations General Assembly the need to "restructure the world economy". This theme will almost certainly be one of our foreign policy preoccupations for the rest of this decade and probably for some time beyond that.

During the 1960's we used to speak of the need to reduce the gap between the developed and the developing countries. But we tackled the problem mainly if not entirely through development aid policies and by a marginal tinkering with existing tariff and

trade systems. This approach will no longer be adequate. I do not deny that economic aid will continue to have an important role but we must recognise that development assistance for its own sake provides no longer term solutions. We must reappraise and re-orient

our concepts of development aid. And we must reflect the fact that the developing countries want to focus primary attention on the question of terms of trade and the working out of a system which provides for a more equitable relationship between what they get for their raw materials and other resources and what they pay for manufactured imports.

8 .

A principal task for our foreign policy in the 708s is to work for the kind of machinery which will lead to an acceptable restructuring of the world economic order. Perhaps we should think more in terms of marrying development aid policies to

international trade and financial reforms. Australia is in a unique position here. We are among the few major aid donor countries which have a strong industrialised economy, a surplus of food over

our own requirements and a sufficiency of raw material. We shall have to make some concessions but we are also well placed to gain benefits from a new balance between the prices of raw materials and manufactured goods.

It goes without saying that we must continue to support the principles of the United Nations Charter and efforts to strengthen the United Nations family. The United Nations offers no instant panaceas for the solution of major problems like poverty, economic

inequality and the threat of war. But it has a vital role in maintaining the momentum towards acceptable international solutions.

One area where I believe there is scope for greater effort concerns international peace-keeping arrangements. The United Nations Charter provides specific guidelines for peace-keeping, but these have been rendered largely inoperative by the attitudes

of the major powers. I believe the international climate is now opportune for renewed efforts to work out realistic and acceptable guidelines for peace-keeping operations. The establishment of the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East tends to confirm this.

Another major challenge of this decade is to sustain and accelerate the progress towards the working out of international regimes in areas which are vital to the prosperity and peace of the international community. The Law of the Sea is among these areas:

indeed the reason I shall be unable to stay longer at your conference is that I am leaving Australia this evening to lead our delegation to the Law of the Sea Conference which begins in Caracas on Monday. Outer space is another such area. Yet another which

is receiving attention is disarmament, including the difficult problems of avoiding proliferation of nuclear weapons and achieving zones of peace. I do not wish to under-estimate the difficulties in the way of achieving an international order that will discourage and stabilise the arms race. But we have seen in the SALT talks

that ways can be found when the will is there. The new set of pragmatic accommodations in the world strategic order which we have come to call detente provides an opportunity and an obligation for renewed efforts in the disarmament field. All governments,

including middle powers like Australia, have a role to play here.

It is in this context that we have declared ourselves in favour of the eventual establishment of a zone of peace in the Indian Ocean and have urged on the two super powers the need for mutual restraint. It is in this context that we oppose nuclear

explosions for military purposes and the hazards of atmospheric testing. The difficulties are enormous and the different interests which need to be reconciled are seemingly poles apart. But ought that to mean that we are simply to throw up our hands? Our attitude

has been that all nuclear explosions including those held for peaceful purposes should take place within the framework of internationally agreed controls and not as a result of a unilateral decision by a particular power without regard to the interests and views of others. The atmosphere of world wide concern following

the Indian nuclear explosion does give us a new opportunity to work for the strengthening of the N.P.T. structure. I shall be exploring this possibility as a matter of urgency: indeed I have instructed the senior science adviser of my Department to visit New Delhi shortly to have discussions with Indian officials on

the implications of the recent Indian explosion. We must take all the measures we can to prevent the collapse of the N.P.T. structure. Otherwise we may well face the hazards of a proliferated world by the end of this decade. In this connection I have been struck by

the fact that the 26 member Conference of the Committee on Disarmament has no representative from our immediate geographical region, and it is my intention to put to early study the possibility of Australia associating itself more closely with the work of this important disarmament body.

Another area which I believe will loom large in foreign policy questions in the coming decade concerns human rights. Australia must be alert to issues of human rights in whatever context they arise. The point here is not simply to become known

as some sort of holier-than-thou "meddler" in what many countries would regard as their internal affairs. Rather it is to play what part we can in creating a climate of international opinion which will ensure that progress in these martens is more likely to happen than the reverse. Does anybody maintain that progress towards the elimination of racism throughout the world has not been

greatly assisted by the willingness of countries like ourselves to take what action we can - sometimes in unconventional ways but more often orthodox and private - to make clear their general views on this question? And can it be denied - to take a contemporary

example - that events in Portugal recently owe a great deal to the mounting voice of international opinion over the years in favour of self-determination for all dependent countries and peoples?

No one is more aware than I of the difficulties which beset any one country in trying to bring about progress in such areas as these. But the Government believes that we cannot simply elect to pass the issues by. Let me give one particular example

of what I mean. In the aftermath of the military coup in Chile, when large numbers of ordinary people were seeking asylum in Santiago, I was very concerned to discover how outdated and to my mind inadequate were the arrangements to alleviate the plight of

the unfortunate victims of those events. By "arrangements" I do not mean just the procedures Australia itself had been accustomed to follow, but the international conventions which governed the acceptance of persons seeking asylum, arrangements for safe conduct and so on. There are, as you will, certain South American regional conventions relative to asylum, of which the two best known are the Montevideo and Caracas Conventions, but these apply

only to South American States. I therefore had my Department look closely at the possibility of Australia proposing, on a world-wide basis, an international convention on asylum which would embody more humane principles of action on the part of countries in which upheavals had occurred and by States represented by missions in

those countries. It is clear that the negotiation of such a regime will be a delicate and difficult matter and will take a lot of time and effort. But I think the effort is worth making,

and I hope we will be able to make a start on it when I go to the next United Nations General Assembly in New York three months from

I have mentioned the United Nations and international efforts to develop arrangements in areas like the Law of the Sea, outer space and disarmament. But there is also much to be achieved through associations with more limited aims and membership. I do not want to dwell at length on the value which Australia attaches

to the concept of regional co-operation. But I should reaffirm here that I see an important role for Australia throughout this decade in encouraging and supporting co-operative arrangements among groups and countries with a common interest in the welfare

of their people. The aim of bringing the non-communist and communist states of Asia together in one community of interests has been a major purpose behind the Government's support for a wider and more comprehensive group than now exists. This proposal

has sometimes been misunderstood as an immediate objective: I would say rather that it is an important future goal of the Government that all the leaders of all the states in our region should be able to come together, in an atmosphere free from crisis

or necessarily accompanied by expectations of concrete results such as increased aid or trade. Perhaps this decade will see this aim fulfilled?

I hope I have said enough to indicate that for Australia the 705s will be a testing time for our foreign policies. Most of the areas I have mentioned are fairly general in scope. There are, of course, others where we have special interests and

responsibilities. A good example of the latter is our aim to see New Guinea achieve independence as a prosperous and united nation and to develop its own beneficial relationships with other countries and groups of countries. But particular or general, there is no

shortage of items on the Australian agenda for the 1970's .

Finally I would like to conclude by speaking a little about what I hope will be the manner of Australia's approach to foreign policy questions in the future.

In a great number of fields of endeavour, at home as well as abroad, even the best friends of the Government would not accuse it of taking an orthodox or conventional approach to the achievement of progress in solving the problems that face us. I suppose for example that one could have got odds of a hundred to one about the chances of a Labor Government introducing an across-the-board 25i° tariff cut, which logical as it may have been would in traditional terms have been regarded as a heterodox and unconventional solution. It seems to me that in international relations we must not allow the traditional forms of contact, the time honoured but now often irrelevant ways of going about things, to inhibit us in the search for solutions to problems which have simply become too pressing to be tackled in ways which have failed in the past. The Middle East is I suppose the most outstanding example of a present-day problem

of this kind, and like many people I have nothing but a most profound admiration for the way in which Dr Kissinger has gone about the daunting task of negotiating the first steps of a solution to it. But rather than simply have one's breath taken away by the constant

shuttling between Middle East capitals, for weeks upon weeks, of a United States Secretary of State who also happens to be Jewish, on a mission which all his predecessors have found intractable but which I hope and believe he can bring to a successful conclusion,

ought we not ourselves be thinking of ways in which we can bring more imagination, more daring, more inspired wisdom to creating a better world than resulted from the conventional wisdoms and blind

alleys of the past? If ever there were a time for new ideas, for heterodoxy if need be, that time is now: and it is my firm hope that Australia can, with other countries in a similar position, give

a lead rather than drag behind. I do not know what inspired ideas any of you may have about how we can go about our task in future: but what more encouragement could I give to this audience than to ask for them?

If Australia’s foreign policy is well informed, progressive and innovative, it will not only be in line with the times but well organised to meet the demands of the future. It will ensure that Australia never again allows itself to base its attitudes and

decisions primarily on the perceptions of other countries before identifying and serving the ideals and interests of Australians. It will ensure that· our foreign relations are neither extreme, nor selfish, nor isolationist, but directed in an imaginative way towards the mutually inclusive goals of national and international advance­ ment. Finally, it will ensure that future generations of Australians will be able to take pride in a standing and role in international

affairs that is at once independent, forward-looking, internationalist and distinctively Australian. If all that adds up to idealism, I am happy it is I who has been given the job of expounding and practising such policies on behalf of Australia.