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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 1464

FOR PRESS: PM 2/1967 - U THANT'S JUDGMENT ON VIET NAM - COMMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR HAROLD HOLT

Photo of Holt, Harold

Holt, Harold

Period of Service: 26/01/1966 to 19/12/1967

More information about Holt, Harold on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/01/1967

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 1464

FOR PRESS : 61/ 021 P. M. No. 2/ 1967
U THANT'S JUDGMENT ON VIET NAM
Comment by the Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Holt
While U Thant, speaking at his first full-dress press
conference since his re-appointment, did so with the authority of the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, his comments, challenging the
contention that Viet Nam is strategically vital to Western interests and
security are those which derive from his personal judgment. There will
be many in positions of authority who do not share this judgment and this
certainly includes my own Gove-i ment. We consider that the outcome in
Viet Nam is vital to the security of the countries of South-East Asia and the
Pacific and indeed of Asia generally.
VWe are convinccel that other free countries of this region
also believe this. I would include in this list Korea, the Republic of China,
Thailand, the Republic of Viet Nam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore,
New Zealand and Australia. It is my own belief that this view is also
widely held in Japan, India and Indonesia.
The issue in Viet Nam is a basic factor affecting the
prospects for peace, prosperity and progress and true national independence
in this area of the world. It has been justly asserted that peace and
prcolperity are each indivisible. An issue which affects directly or indirectly
the well-being of so many of the world's people must be vital in any
realistic sense to the western world.
17 communist expansion in South-East Asia had been allowed
to proceed unchecked, I personally question whether the overthrow of
communism in Indonesia would have occurred. With much of Asia under
communist control and the sub-continent of India under threat, could the
western world have remained inactive? But for massive and effective
military and civil assistance from friendly countries outside the region,
the countries of South-East Asia would either have to carry a crippling
defence burden, frustrating to their plans of development and social improvement,
or live under constant threat of external danger or internal subversion
and terrorism. The free countries of this region want the western world
to know that we regard the contribution made in particular by the United
States to the security and progress of this area as fundamental to our
prospects of security and national growth.
It is our judgment that in accepting these burdens, the
United States is also performing a service vital to the prosperity, security
and well-being of the entire free world.
CANBERRA, 12th January, 1966

Transcript 1464