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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3152


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: 12/02/1974

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 3152

FEBRUARY 12, 1974.
The Prime Minister began by explaining the reason
for the delayed start to the conference.
Q: As you know, the scheme whereby Leyland's are seeking to
6ncourage Filipino migrants and mechanics to Australia
haass haasr ouysoeudr as trgornegat stdeaatle meonft si natbeoruets t Whiint -et hAe usPthrialliipapines
throughout this trip to South-East Asia but when this schemeA
was first rmoted in the Australian press a few weeks ago
it was noticeable that there was a very considerable degree.
of continuing opposition even to a scheme like this.
cIo wnotnindueirn gi f oypopuo sictouilodn gtihvaet uyso u shoamvee idtoe a fatchee n ino fy otuhre stand
against racism in Australia and perhaps a little analysis
of what do you think the reasons for these are?
A: The policy of the Australian Government and of the
Australian Labor Party which composes the Australian Governmt
is quite clear. Our immigration policy depends principally
on family union. We want to see that people who already ( i , Q
live in Australia are helped to have their relatives
their brothers or sisters or their sons and daughters
their mothers or fathers, their fiancees come to i:
Australia to join them. Subsidiary to this is the admission of
skilled persons whose skills are undersupplied in Australia.
taghenadot g rfaloparhswithc o, rm e-rsepemelpciltgo iyotmuhesen rteo r iissr ancaoiv-aadlii lsaocbrrliiegm iinin. na tAiNuoosnwt, r aaslt ihaer egaaanprdpd lsiicnation
by* Leyland's for skilled workers whom they can't find in
Australia whom they believe they can find in the Philippines. J
Officials from Australia are coming to the Philippines
to interview and counsel the persons who are willing to come
to Australia. The presentation of this issue by the company
concerned caused some initial misunderstanding or concern
because it appeared to be based on a form of employment
common in Europe of guest workers. The Australian migration
program does not provide for guest workers. It provides for
people coming to Australia who wish to settle in Australia.

page 2
Q: I believe you discussed the Asia Pacific
grouping or forum with President Marcos.--vc u-
Can you say what degree of common ground you found ith
him-on your proposal for a wider grouping of Asia-Pacific
powers and his for an Asia-Pacific Forum?
A: We are in complete agreement as to the objectives here.
We do realise, however, that there are some current
aspects which mean that it cannot be fulfilled immediately
and they are the fact that some countries.-in fact allthe
Asean countries,.-I believe only the Asean countries
do not have at this stage normal diplomatic relations
with the People's Republic of China. There is also I L
the impediment that there has been no peace settlement in
Cambodia and at this stage the peace settlement in Vietnaml V'LU
is not very effective.
Q: We understand that yguve been asked for supplies of
natural gas could you give us some details of that? I0C
A: This is a commercial matter which a Filipino citizen,
Mr. Borromeo, has been discussing wvith _ Mlpo. The present
Australian Government has introduced and is pursuing
the policy of permitting tho export of resources in two
circumstances. The first is where those resources are surplus
to Australian needs the 6ther is that they are being sold
at appropriate prices considering the prices being paid
for such resources in the world generally. Mr. Borromeo has
discussed this matter not only with Ampol. but with the
Australian Minister for Minerals and Energy, Mr. Connor.
I, myself, will be discussing it with Mr. Connor in the next few

page 3
Q: With the overtures that your Government is making
toward Asia, w-hat do you anticipate as the future of your
country toward the West, Europe and more particularly,
to Britain?
A: Australia has a political system and very largely, Ap'
an economic and industrial and social system derived from
Britain. Obviously, there would always be very close ties
between Australia and Britain. Ncve:---. heless, those ties are no
longer exclusive of ties with other countries, particularly
counrtries which are closer to Australia geographically
and * which are now more important to Australia economically.
Britain herself realises this because Britain has
chosen to as she is entitled to chose the European
Economic Community rather than the Commonwealth of Nations
as the focus of her economic thrust. Secondly, Britain has taken
stops to equate Australian citizens,'
who used to be British subjects, with citizens of other
foreign countries.
Q: Can you tell me is your Government concerned
at the continuation of martial law in the Philippines
and did you discuss this matter with President Marcos?
A: I think you have been told by President Marcos
that it was discussud there is no need for me to go ove g
the ground again -it was discussed in the context that I~~
this is one of the matters in the Philippines which aoss I
great interest in Australia and therefore, is an ingredient
in relations between the countries. r", t

page 4
Q: ( Indistinct) what are the plans of Australia and
the Philippines for the expanded Asia-Pacific Forum? * u
A: I would think it is inevitable that all the countries of i
Asean will establish normal diplomatic relations with the
~ People's Republic of China.. The Philippines is one of the two
(-Asean nations which reconises the Government of Generalisimo
Chiang Kai Chek as thie Governfent of China. Australia
* did so until December 1972 w-' hen my Government was elected.
As I said before the elecuion-: we would transfer Australia's
Embassy to China from Taipei to Peking. We did so. Within a
couple of woee-' s. It was easier fcr Australia to do it
than it is for the Philippines but nevertheless I am not
making a statement concerning internal politics of any
country; I am merely acknowlel: ging historic inevitabilityevery
country in this region will acknowledge that the Government
in Peking is the Government of Chi. na and the Government in
Taipei is not the Government of China, One has to recognise
either of those contending Governments as the Government of China.
Each of them asserts that it" is the sole, legitimate Government
of the whole of China, including the province of Taiwan. So
one just has to chose one o: r the other. It is inevitable
that it will be recognised. the Philippines
has been involved in a great number of regional associations,
many of them expired, others are in-their death throes....
there was ASA, there was Maphilindo there was the old SEATO
based on the Manila pact, there was ASPAC, and now there is
Asean. And of all of them Asean is the only one which has a
proper regional relevance, the only one which has a thriving
future. None of the Asean countries suggests, Australia
does not suggest, that Australishould join Asean.
But the Asean Secretary--General have agreed with the Australian
Government that there should cje. consultations on economic projects
between Australia and Asoan coll-c; ively.
, That was arranged in Bangkok a f ort_ c.-i ago
and there will be representative of the Asean countries coming
to Australia to pursue those arr. cements within the next few
weeks. No country has done more than-._ the Philippines to
recognise, to promote, the idea of regional arrangements.
You have in the capital of the Philippines one of the most
valuable organs for regional co-. operation the Asian ^ v
Development Bank which I visited this afternoon, -Neertheess,
it is quite clear we ought to have some arrangements as I said
in my speech in the University of the Philippines yesterday.

Q: I met you before, sir, when I was in Australia in 1972
and I asked your views about SEATO
A: We were right, weren't we Romulo and
Q: Is it the view of the Government of Australia that the membership
of Peking is necessary for any form of a loose Asian forum
to be valid?
A: Any organisation covering the western Pacific would
be inco plete grievously inadeq'uate if China were omitted
from it.
Q: What do you see would be the role of Australia in re1* aion
to Asian affairs in the future?
A: Historically, politically., socially Australia is Duropean
Economically, however, and geographically it is increasingly
or already part of Asian. Certainly of east Asia. and the
western Pacific. Now, already, the relations between Australia
jOr\ and all the countries of that region are expanding. The country
that buys more from Australia than any other country buys is
Z Japan; the country to which Japan sells than any other country
-exct the United States is Australia. Therefore Japan is
Australia's largest trading partner. But our trade with all
' ountries of the region is growing and inevitably it is going to
grow more. There are many other things, such as tourism, cultural
exchanges, education ( one of the greatest forms of exchange
it is quite seminal to our activities in this region). All these
things inevitably mean that the relations between Australia and
the countries of the western-Pacific are going to grow. / e need
each other. We are all there.
IQ, What about the political aspects, si., considering the fact
G-U( v4qthat right now there seems to be some withdrawal of American
presence in the Asian area. I wonder can Australia exert some
influence in this matter?

-a page 6
A: Australia has quite a considerable influence
with most of t1countries in the area. It has quite a
considerable influence-I expect, with the United States.
America's interest in the area is changing in so far
as she would no longer feel it appropriate to have
armed forces on the mainland of Asia. America, however, is
clearly the greatest naval and air power in the world.
o Q: I believe, Prime Minister, that you raised with
l( e UPresident Marcos the question of the continued
C detention of Senator Aquino. Are you encouraged by
this exchange to expect or hope that you will look
forward to a just and fair trial in due course?
( 1 Q , t.
A: I raised this matter in the same context, for the
same purpose as I raised the matter of the emergency.
You have thoroughly questioned the President on this matter.
I have got nothing more to say on it,
Q: As the prime advocate of an Asian-Pacific Forum
will your Government mount a diplomatic offensive
to facilitate the recognition by the nations of Jr
region of the People's Republic of China thereby
hastening the formation of an Asian-Pacific Forum?
0 y-* vcS v^ ) W
A: You said I was the prime person; President Marcos was
in fact the first. It is not my country's role
to launch a diplomatic offensive in these matters.
Bdt my views, and the vievs of my Government, are well
known in all the countries of the region. There has been
exchange of views during the lasu 16 days on the subject
between me and heads. of Government in alaysia, Thailand,
Laos, Burma, Singapore an: d nc.: the Philippines.
There had been., of course, exch. n. iges of views on this subject
with all of those men-othier than the new Prime Minister
of Thailand and the Chairman of the Burmese Government
neither of whom I had met before. Government
showed its attitude very early by switching its recognition
from one of the rival Governments to the other. New Zealand
did so at exactly the same time. Japan did so a few months
before. It is quite clear that the move is on. It was started
by Canada tJese y. ars ago.
I v

page 7
Q: You have spent time today in Corregidor and Bataani; I wionder
U could you commuent on your observations of the trip with the
President as your tour guide.
1 The first time I came here after the Wiar I was here
in the last few,-months of the War at that time it w., as not
yet safe to go to Corregidor and besides I did not have the
transport at my individual disposal. But ten years ago
when I first came hero as a Parliamentarian I wovnt over in the
hydrofoil the first time I had ever been in one
to Corregidor to see it. It is of very great significance
in this region. The delay that the Filipino and American
forces put up along Bataan*, and Corregidor was quite
crucial to the preservation of Austra-.-lia, in the early months
of the Pacific W~ ar before we could get under way and play
our considerable role in turning the tide. It would be,
theref ore, incomplcte for an Australiqn Prime Miinister to
visit Manila without visiting Corregidor. On this occasion
j. I appreciated very much that the President, the most
decorated Filipino ex-serviceman, accompanied me. He
also, of course, had several of his Ministers with him.
The Secretaries of Finance, Defence, Communications and the
Executive Secretary. It was-a pleasant occasion,
a nostalgic one, but also one in which a considerable amount of
business was discussed between us between his 11inisters
and the President himself and me and mny senior advisers
who have accompanied me. I have with me not only
-our Ambassador in the Philippines but also the Deputy Secretaries
of the Prime Minister's Department, Foreign Office, Overseas
V Trade and Defence Departments.
Q: What are your impressions of the Philippines? What has
impressed you most about the country and the people?
A: There are some pcrsonal . fecelings I have about the Philippines.
Of course, Manila was the ' first foreign capital I
ever visited and before that I had been in Leyte for a couple of
months. Accordingly I have had ever since some interest in
the political and economic developments* in this country.
There are some other matters which make the Philippines of
particular interest to Australia because it is one of the
countries the only one which is not in the Commonwealthwhere
English is spoken everywhere. Also, I don't stress this
matter, but it is the only country in the region
other than New Zealand which is prcfess * edly Christian.
The other thing I would point out, as I did at the university
yesterday, is that it is high time there -were more direct
links between these countries which have significant links in
common than have hitherto obtained passing, as those have
hitherto, principally through-the United States.*

Transcript 3152