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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 1757

FOR PRESS: PM.NO 7/1968 TALKS WITH MR THOMSON ON BRITISH WITHDRAWAL STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, SENATOR JOHN GORTON

Photo of Gorton, John

Gorton, John

Period of Service: 10/01/1968 to 10/03/1971

More information about Gorton, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/01/1968

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 1757

FOR PRESS ~ E'o'b 2 4 JAN 1968 ~ PM. No. 716
t"-ALKS WITH MR THOMSON ON BRITIH
WITHDRAWAL
Statement by the Prime Minister, Senator John Gorton
The Right Honourable George Thomson, British
Secret ary of State for , Ommonwealth Affairs, today told the Australian
Government of British proposals for speeding up the withdrawal of
British forces from Singapore and Malaysia.
The precise proposals will not be disclosed partly
because the British Cabinet has not yet, as we are told, made final
decisions, and partly because we hope that these proposals may be
modified in the light of the views expressed by Australia, New Zealand,
Malaysia and Singapore. However, It can be said that the proposals amount to
drastic alterations of previously understood arrangements as to the
continuing availability of British forces In the region
Australian Ministers expressed their keen concern at
the proposals and made it clear without In any way becoming involved
In rancourcr reedination that they were not resigned to the proposals
and oould not accept them without protest.
They stressed that questions of security are global
questions and that It was vital not to damage the security system of the
South-East Asian region. They expressed the view that a continued
presence of British forces In Malaysia and Singapore could provide a
greater contribution to peace and security than the deployment of those
forces in the European region, and that if economic considerations led
the British Government to their present proposals, it might be preferable
to make savings In some other area than thux of Malaysia and Singapore.
They also stressed that Australia and New Zealand did not have the
capacity to take over the role which British forces had been playing in
that area. Mr Thomson will bring Australia's views before the
British Cabinet before a final decision is made.
CANBERRA, 12 January, 1968

Transcript 1757