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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3843


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: 11/08/1975

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 3843

, A U Si IHAL IA Press Statement No. 43W-$ 4
11 August 1975
Following his discussions with the Chief Minister of
Papua New Guinea, Mr Michael Somare, today, the Prime Minister
said that he wished to make crystal clec-r the Austral. ian Goverrnent's
position in relation to Bougainville.
The Prime Minister recalled that, in advising Mr Somare
on 19 June that the date of 16 September for independen~ ce
nominated by the House of Assembly was acceptable to the
Australian Government, he had taken the opportunity to reaffirm
that the Australian Government's policy was that Papua New Guinea
should come to independence as one country in accordance with
the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Papua New Guinea's
elected representatives. This remained Australia's firm policy.
The Prime Minister also recalled that he had informed
Mr Somare on 19 June that the Australian Government would give
no sympathy, aid or support in any form to any group in Papua
New Guinea working to undermine their country's unity. This
remained the firm Australian position.
The Prime Minister said that he had today advised Mr Somare
that a unilateral declaration of independence, if given effect,
would be an illegal act. It could not by itself alter in terms of
the law of Papua New Guinea the authority of the Government of
Papua New Guinea over the whole of the territory of Papua New Guinea.
Nor could it detract from Australia's international rights and
duties under the Trusteeship Agreement.
Austral. ian policy was to regard 13apua New Guinea as
to tho-COv~ rnmenht 6E Papiua NOw C.., iinea. ii + his-i, siituatifoh Atistralla
tr i d, 0 ,1 diir. dl rIns o'il Lu~ r-Ct on oby~ o~ i~
c Ion t, howevor Lhal FillY Ili;'' Vco o~ I. lDicaktI l. J lIi i
inidependott be. tcro 16 Sc pLi:' bc* woU! d Jt~ ki. drO 11ot ofliy tha finant
of the Governnhunt of P. apua NOW ( Thiii': a bjut-clso that ot the Aitralian
Government and the United Nationg. Tihe Aus -trtlian Government would
not a., 3surit nor, in the PIm. ie M. i .' iiste:' s 2 uO~ gemvet, would. the
United ' Nati. ns, / 2

The Australian Government naturally remained interested
and concerned about developments in Bougainville. The Prime
Minister and Mr Somare had agreed to keep in the closest touch.
The Prime Minister said that he had given Mr Somare
renewed assurances of Australian support and had every
confidence that the move to independence on 16 September of a
united Papua New Guinea would proceed smoothly. He understood
that the way was open for further discussions between the
central government and the Bougainvilleans. He hoped that all
concerned would use their best endeavours to find an amicable
and enduring solution.

Transcript 3843