PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2346

COMMONWEALTH PRIME MINISTERS' CONFERENCE - STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA, MR 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: 12/01/1971

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 2346

FOR PRESS: PMI No. 3/ 1971
COMMWONWEALTH PRIME MINISTERS' CONFERENCE
Statemen~ y the Prime Minister of Australia,. Mr. John Gorton
It is significant that the first Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference
of the seventies is taking place in South-East Asia.
As the first Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meeting ever held in this part
of the world, it should lead to a better understanding of the problems and aspirationis
of those Commonwealth members who live in the Asian and Pacific regions.
It is also appropriate that the Leaders of the Commonwealth a multi-racial
organisation whose members have inherited democratic traditions should meet iz
Singapore, a country which has made a sustained and admirable effort to build a
multi-racial, democratic society.
This meeting is being held in the centre of the area in which A.'. stralia is
situated; the area in which we are seeking to play a constructive role directed
towards the evolution of a peaceful, progressive and stable Asian region in which
we desire to play a co-operative part.
I hope that this Asian setting will give an Asian focus to this meetii--, g and
enable us to have full and useful discussions of the complex and important situation
in this part of the world. The continuing search for a just and durable peace in
Vietnam, which will permit the people of the South to determine in peace their ovin
form of government, and the related quest for security from communist aggressio-n
in Cambodia and Laos are among the Asian issues which the meeting might usefully
consider. I hope also that this meeting will cover a wide range of matters of importance
and not becomre too involved in any particular issue. Naturally, Aocian countries
tend to be preoccupied with Asian problems, African countries with African problems,
and the countries of the Caribbean with Caribbean problems. This is natural. But
I hope too that we can also deal with the broad political issues of the day, which
affect us all, such as the quest for security and stability.
While Heads of Commonwealth Governments will be meeting at a time when the
Commonwealth is under some strain, it has proved a flexible and durable organization
and I hope its cohesion can be preserved. a / 2

2.
This is the second Conwmowealth Heads of Government Meeting I have attended.
Successive Australian Governments have attached importance to the Commonwealth.
So does my Government.
Naturally, we see the development in the Asian arid Pacific region of a peaceful
community of stable, developing nations as an objective of p1rimary importance for us.
But we take a wider view. The Commonwealth provides a forum for wide-ranging and
valuable contacts with other leaders.
We see the Commonwealth as a free, multi-racial association of 32 countries
representing about one quarter of the world's population; a forum with a common
language, larger than it was but still more intimate and manageable in size than the
United Nations and more broadly based than regional organisations. We see a
continuing value in such an association exchanging ideas and discussing problems
of common interest without intruding into each other's domestic policies, or seeking
to dictate courses of action to any member.
SINGAPORE 12 January 1971
( This statement is released in Singapore to coincide
with the arrival of the Australian Prime Minicter).

Transcript 2346