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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3038

FIGHTING IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/10/1973

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 3038

NQ DATE
M/ 144 13 October 1973
FIGHTING IN THE FMIDLE EAST
8 The Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Mr. Whitlam, referring to his statement of 7 October on the
renewed outbreak of fighting in the Middle East, said today
that the Australian Government was deeply concerned at the
continu,, tion and extension of the conflict since that date.
Il Mr. Whitlam said it was particularly regrettable
that innocent civilians had become victims of the fighting.
The conflict, he said, not only meant tragic loss of life
for the countries directly involved, but also had farreaching
implications for international peace and security.
In this situation, the Australian Government
continued to believe that a ceasefire should be put into
effect at the earliest possible moment, so that a renewed
international effort could be launched to resolve the
long-standing problems which lay behind the repeated
outbreaks of hostilities in the Middle East.
Mr. Vhitlam stressed the key role which the
United Nations had to play in bringing about a ceasefire and
in subsequent moves to find a lasting settlement in the
Middle East. The Security Council, as the United Nations
organ charged with primary responsibility for the
maintenance of international peace and security, should
be the major centre of this activity.
The Council had already . met but had so far
been unable to find a basis of agreement to permit a
call for an iL-Iediate ceasefire. / 2.

-2-
The Council menibers were, however, maintaining
continuous urgent consultations in an endeavour to reach
agreement, and Mr. Whitlaua was pleased that the Australian
Representative, Sir Laurence Tlclntyre, as President of' the
Council for October, was playing a key role in these
consultations. MYr. Whitlam said it was vital that these consultations
should succeed and that the Council should be able to
discharge its crucial responsibilities to restore peace to
the Mliddle East. He urged all parties to the conflict and all
members of the Security Council and of the United Nations,
to give their wholehearted support to these efforts.
M~ r. Whitlam said he fully endorsed the statement issued
by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 11 October,
in which the Secretary-General appealed to all countries
involved in hostilities to turn the tragic conflict into a
starting point for a new effort at a real settlement.
Mr. Whitlan said that Australia itself would continue
to follow its neutral and even-handed policy in the Middle
East. Ref erring to some overseas reports about his reply in
Parliament on 10 October to a question about Australian nationa@
volunteering to fight in the Middle East conflict, he reiteratect
that holders of Australian passports were free to travel to
whichever countries they wished to visit0
This policy, he said, did not in any way imply approval
or encouragement of Australian citizens volunteering for
military service in the forces of any foreign country.

Transcript 3038