PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 1682


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: 12/10/1967

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 1682

_ rC
17 OCT 19617
18 RA O
Speech by the Prime Minister, Mr Harold Holt.
Mr Prime Minister, Your Excellen cies, Gentlemen:
It's a great pleasure on behalf of the Australian Government
and people to welcome our distinguished visitor, and shortly I shall be
proposing a toast to him. We welcome the Prime Minister and the very
distinguished official party which has accompanied him, and perhaps since
we are eating in a parliamentary dining-room, I can be permitted to give a
special welcome to Mr Nishimura, who leads the Prime Minister's party
in the Diet, and as a Prime Minister myself, I recognise the importance
of paying tribute to those who support us, Prime Minister. There are other
members of the Diet, members of the House of Representatives and
Councillors as well as the official party. They are all very welcome indeed.
This is the third visit to Australia by a Prime Minister from
Japan, and each of thEse visits has been a notable, and indeed historic
occasion. The first was by Mr Kishi who, appropriately and aptly enough
was the Pk~ ime Minister's brother, and I am glad to see the family tradition
maintained by him. He came in 1957. We welcomed Mr Ikeda in 1963, and
now we. have Prime Minister Sato.
He has been Prime Minister since 1964 but before then, he had
a very distinguished public career in a variety of capacities. Both he and I
had the dubious pleasure of being Ministers of Finance in our respectiVe
countries which estaliishes a bond of sorts between us. He was Minister
in Charge of Olympic Affairs, just to show how widely his activities have
ranged, and he has, of course, held many other high offices.
We speak to him on this occasion which is for us another notable
and historic occasion, because his visit comes at a very sigrdficant period in
the relations between our two countries. The past istbhind us; the present
is a period of mutually beneficial trade and growing co-operation in the
institutions of Southi-East Asia and the Pacific, and the future is an exciting
prospect of growing co-operation with a significant role for each of us in
the affairs of what is becoming an increasingly important and significant
area of the world. There has been almost daily awareness between our countries
of the increasing range of contacts. They range over matters of international
affairs, of trade, of aid, of sports, and in the cultural field, and so we do
find it especially pleasing, Prime Minister, to have another visit from the
Head of Government of your country after a four-year gap. 1 hope that as
the years go on, the intervals will become briefer. I look hopefully to a time
when it may be possible for me to return this visit, and I acknowledge
publicly with great appreciation the invitation you extended earlier to me today
and in which you indicated that the Emperor of Japan had personally joined.
It is a compliment which I value and I hope to find an occasion when it will
be mutually convenient for you to receive me.
I was in Tokyo myself for the International Bank and Monetary / 2

Fund Meetings in 1964 and I recall then the impression of great growth and
activity which was so evident in your capital city at that time.
There are, of course, many reasons for the increasingly close
links between our two countries. We have broadly similar political systems
much closer, when I study them than I had earlier realised.: We have a
concern that we share together for the wellbeing of the region and its economic
progress. We have ourselves increasingly important and economic trade links.
We co-operate in the field of aid, particularly in this area of the world. We
have cultural links; we are drawing increasingly ourselves upon the traditional
and distinctive cultures of Japan. Our economies are, to a remarkable. degree,
complementary. We do compete in certain fields perhaps, but the notable
thing about the economies of our two countries is the way in which we can each
help the other. We are both democracies. You have an hereditary Emxperor we
an hereditary monarchy. We both have written Constitutions. There are two
Houses in both the Japanese Diet and the Australian Parliament, and I have
no doubt, Prime Minister, you have your problems with each of them.
Our Cabinets are formed of members from the Parliament. We share a
concern, as I have said, for the region. You lie at the north of it Australia
and New Zealand lie at the south of the Pacific Region.
Inevitably, and naturally, and most desirably, we are both, as prospering and
rapidly-developing countries, concerned with the wellbeing of our neighbours.
By 197C you may rank as the third industrial power in the world.
You are certainly on the ascendant all the time. You have, I think, the highest
rate of growth of national product of any industrialised country in the world.
We, for the time being at any rate, enjoy a higher per capita income and one of
the world's highest living standards. You apply a hig her proportion of your
gross national income to investment, but we rank, we understand, about second
to you, and we are at this time devoting a higher proportion of our gross
national product to international aid an~ d to the services of defence.
So all these similarities I have mentioned and our common int erests
in the past decade have brought our two countries increasingly close together
in many ways, We are co-operating in the Asian and Pacific Council. We
frequently discuss together in the United Nations matters in which we find we
share attitudes on many of the significant issues. We are both greatly
concerned with the stability of Asia because for us peace in Asia is a
prerequisite for our own wellbeing as indeed it is for the wellbeing of those
countries with which we are in neighbourly condition. Any State in Asia
that regards a high degree of instability and political chaos either in the rest
of the world or in any of the neighbouring countries around us as advantageous
to its inte rests represents a common problem for our two countries.
We, like you, hope most ardently for a peaceful settlement of
the conflict in Viet Nam, and we, like you, have regretted that a series of
peace initiatives has not been successful. More than forty in number have
been attempted from many and varied sources, and for our part, as I know
from yours, we will do what we can to promote a successful peace negotiation
for a just and enduring peace in the area. It is in the national interests of each
of our countries as it is in the interest of the wellbeing and security of the
people most directly concerned.
When the Government of North Viet Nam appreciates the
determination of the Allied effort and understands the price to be paid from / 3

aggression, perhaps there will be real hope of successful negotiations
guaranteeing the independence of South Viet Nam.
You can claim-to rank at this time as the world's sixth trading
nation and you are on the move up in the ladder of international trade.
Last year you were Australia's best customer in terms of the value of
goods imported from us, and as you pointed out in our discussions in
Cabinet this morning, if you had not been, you would soon be in that position
because of the incmasing part that Australian production will be playing in
your own economy.
You are the largest buyer of our wool and our coal, of our iron
ore and concentrates, of our non-ferrous ores and concentrates, of our
unwrought copper, and our second largest market for sugar, mutton and
lamb and butter. You are the largest supplier of yarns and textile fabrics
to this country, cf-our iron and ste4 of fish products, and a major supplier
of motor vehicles and electrical machinery.
The ten-year-old trade agreement with your country, to which my
colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister made such a notable contribution, was
one of the earliest of our post-war agreements and surely the most
successful. Apart from facilitating important flows of trade in each
direction, the agreement provides for regular, and in our view, most
valuable discussions and consultations between traders and our governments,
and it is a happy circumstance that here with us today we have so many
members of the Japan/ Australian Business Co-operation Committee who are
making their contribution to this success.
Our countries are clearly bound to continue to have close economic
relationships, and by 1970, we confidently expect you to have the third
largest economy in the world.
Our many co-operative links in the aid field include shared
membership of the Development Assi stance Committee, shared membership
of the International Bank and Monetary Fund, shared membership of the
Foreign Exchange Operations Fund for Laos; we are members of the
International Bank's Co-ordinating Group for Aid to Malaysia and Thailand
and of its Consultative Group on Ceylon. Vle both have a very considerable
interest in the wellbeing of Indonesia which you visited so recently. We
are both members of the Colombo Plan organisation, both members of
ECAFE and both members of the Asian Development Bank. Your contribution
was extremely generous $ 20 million. We ferl that while this ranked with
that of the United States, Australia with a commitment of $ 85 million has
shown its goodwill with a contribution out of all proportion to our population
and national wealth.
It is important that the countries in our region should evolve
co-operatively. Aid is an important way of co-operating. We give aid,
in the words of the late President Kennedy " because it is right not because
we are looking for repayment or because we are looking solely to the
material benefits that can come to our countries". It is a gesture of
international -goodwill, and we believe it is accepted on that basis.
One of our great problems in making effective contact with you is
our language. You have done much better in that respect than we have, Prime
Minister. I have been somewhat humbled to find that you can communicate
with me in my language certainly to a very much greater degree than I could

ever hope to communicate with you in yours. But increasingly Japanese
is being learned at Australian schools and universities, and I hope this
process will continue. Only today two new scholarships for Australians
to go to Japan are being announced one, the Australian/ Japan Business
Co-operation Scholarship is being sponsored by the Business Co-operation
Committee to which I have referred, and will permit a scholar at a
Japanese university to study there for one year. The Salonju-Hamersley
Scholarship will also provide a year's study for an Australian graduate.
And I hope this process will expand and increase because It is by having
well-trained, well-educated people from our two countries come to know
closely the circumstances of the other that our understanding will be
enriched and mellowed.
We appreciate your cultural contributions in Japanese films;
Japanese art and Japanese backgrounds are being used increasingly in.
cultural settings in this country. Increasingly we are becoming aware of
the richness of Japan's cultural heritage. The 1970 World Exposition is
to be held in Osakca and it is a matter of particular pleasure for Australia
to be represented there. We are sure that you will be able to draw on
many countries to support you, and this will be one of the notable events
in the cultural and economic development of our region of the world.
Your theme will be progress and harmony for mankind. We look forward
to participating in the exposition and we feel that the expositbn theme is
a fitting statement of our common purposes.
It is our firm object, and youars also, I am sure, to work together
with all men of goodwill towards the pr ogress and harmony of mankind.
We have a special contribution, each of us, to make in this region of the
world, and let us hope our friendship, our co-operation and our collaboration
will make a notable advance in the history of mankind in the countries around
us who are looking for the kind of leadership and assistance that we are
able to contribute to them. We could work for no better aim and we could
leave ourselves no better heritage.
And it is in that spirit, Mr Prime Minister that we welcome you
here. I ask my colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister, who has, as you
will be so well aware personally, done so much to promote good relations
between our two countries, to support me in the toast I am shortly to
propose, and then we will call upon the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition
to demonstrate to you that in the sentiments that we express, we are united
in the Parliament of this nation.

Transcript 1682