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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5256

PRESS OFFICE TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW AT FAIRBAIRN 12 FEBRUARY 1980

Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/02/1980

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 5256

PRESS OFFICE TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW AT FAIRBAIRN 12 FEBRUARY 1980
Question Prime Minister will you stop an Olympic Gamnes teams going from
Australia? Prime Minister
I have said that I do not think that anyone in this country or any
other will be withholding passports from athletes. But certainly
we are seeking to persuade, and we will seek to persuade as hard
as we can in relation to that. I have had a good deal to say about
the Olympic Games over the last day or two in response to questions
and I do not really want to add to it. But what I would like to do
is to remind everyone that the issue is not the Olympic Games, the
issue is the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, a nonaligned
country and one that had every right to believe that it
would be allowed to work out its own future in its own way, making
mistakes if it was going to. But that would have been their business.
It had every right to believe that it would not be invaded by a
large and overwhelmingly powerful neighbour. Now if the independence
of countries is to be respected, we have to try and establish the
circumstances where this kind of event cannot occur again. I have
been encouraged by what I have seen in the United States where there
is a sense of determination and a sense of unity of a kind which
many people told me they had not seen since 1945. And I was also
encouraged by what I found in Europe about the ultimate strength
of the Atlantic Alliance and the determination that what has happened
in Afghanistan will not be repeated. That determination was common
to all the people I spoke to.
Question Prime Minister, with respect on the Olympic Games again; you didn't
answer my question.
Prime Minister
No look at the moment there are discussions and people can become
too preoccupied with an issue that is important and I'. have spoken
strongly about it and if it is necessary will repeat what I have
said. But I have also said that nobody is in the business that I
know of, certainly not the United Kingdom, not Australia, not New
Zealand, of withholding passports. Now there are questions of
negotiations and discussions that are going on in relation to that
and it is not necessary to say more about that at the moment. And
it is easy,, and. I can understand it, because everyone has got a
sympathy. Everyone would have preferred to have the circumstances
in which the Games could go ahead as Games and not a political
event and be. a significant sporting success. But the Soviets
have politicised the Games they have said so in their own terms
and I have used the quotes on more than one occasion and you will
be by now familiar with them. But they say the awarding of the Games
to Moscow is a mark of support for their foreign policy and that
kind of statement, which has been propagated very widely in the
Soviet Union, I would believe makes it difficult for -national
olympic committees and for individual athletes. But again let us not
be diverted into thinking that a discussion about what happened to
the Olympic Games is the essence of the issue before the international
community at the present time. It is not. The Soviet invasion of 2

Afghanistan is the issue. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan
is the issue. and the increased tensions and dangers that come as
a result of that.
Question Surely we have got to do more than to show our displeasure
at the Soviet action?
Prime Minister
Well we have done a great deal more.
Question ( inaud)
Prime Minister
Well let us see what happens. I believe that we are in for a long
haul, M colleague, Andrew Peacock said that it's not a return to
the Cold-' ar and it is not. But it is not detente either. I do
not know who will be coining the phrase or the words that will
depict the new period that the world is entering. But it. will be
a period for some time of increased tension and increased difficulty
and that will impose increased costs on nations that are determined
to preserve their national independence, the integrity-. and safety
of their own people. And that ultimately is the most important
and vital obligation on any government and especially on a democratic
government.
Question Will this mean defence cuts?
Prime minister
Well it certainly does not mean defence cuts. I would have thought
and I have made it quite plain.. I have recalled for reports. The
Defence Department and the Minister will be putting matters to us
and there are increased obligations that we have already accepted in
relation to the Indian Ocean. It is my belief that we-will need to
be on a higher plateau in general defence capacity and preparedness.
But the Government has finally to determine precisely what should be
done. 000---

Transcript 5256