PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5481


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: 09/11/1980

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 5481

Last Tuesday Americans electe d a new President. Governor Reagan
will be sworn in early in the New Year and with him a new
Republican administration will come into office. I have
congratulated President-Elect Governor Reagan, on behalf of the
Government and people of Australia. He has the good wishes of
all of us.
The job of the President of the United States is a truly onerous
one. The problems he faces concern his own country. They are
also of great significance to the democratic world. We have
common objective's and common ideals in wishing to preserve the
kind of freedom and liberty so important in a democratic societ~ y.
At this time in the transition of power in the United States I
would like to say something about the relationship between Australia
and our traditional friend and ally. There is a long tradition
of close ties between our two countries I ndeed, it will be my
objective to work for a continuing strengthening of that relationship.
Because of the unsettled world we live in, a strong relationship
between the United States and Australia and our regional neighbours.
is of continuing significance.
The United States is the unchallenged leader of the free world
and the cornerstone of the Western alliance. Its role is of the
utmost importance to the peace and well-being of the world and
to the security of Australia. In shouldering its world burden,
the United States made an enormous contribution to the recovery of
post-war Europe through what was called the Marshall Plan. It
also showed great generosity and wisdom in the post-war recons-truction
of Japan. For many years, it has provided large amounts of aid for
developing countries.
In our part of the world, for thirty years the United States has
been the largest partner in the Anzus Treaty, which is vital to
Australia's security. In the years following World War II the
United States was enormously strong by comparison with other
countries. Economically, militarily and in terms of political
influence, the United States was the predominant power in the world.
For many years, United States power and strength tended to be -taken
for granted. Because the United States was so strong, it was often
left to carry the burden of safeguarding the Tnterests of the free

However, over the last decade there have been important changes
in the position of the United States relative to other countries.
Within the NATO Alliance, the economic and political balance
between the United States and Western Europe has changed
substantially. Western Europe has resumed its position as one
of the major economic centres of the world. Japan's importance
has grown greatly. A number of developing countries, especially
in Asia are establishing a new strength. OPEC has emerged as an
important factor on the world scene, with great power to influence
the economies of industrialised countries through its oil pricing
policies. Thus the world has changed greatl~ y from that of the earlier postwar
years when the United States had unparalleled overall military
and economic power. Now Soviet conventional superiority is matched
by nuclear parity or as some judge even by nuclear superiority.
As a result of many events over twenty years, the United States'
confidence in its own special leadership role has been to some
extent eroded. It is important that it be re-established. As I
have indicated on other occasions it is important that the Western
alliance be strengthened. It must also adjust to the current
realities of world power and influence.
Europe is wealthier, Europe has more power and an undoubted voice,
quite different from the years when the alliance was first formed.
It is no. good enough for other countries to sit back and allow
the United States to carry -the burden of defence of the free world
alone. That applies -to the powerful countries of Europe. It
applies also to middle ranking countries such as Australia.
Without having any unreal view of what a country Australia's size
can achieve, there is much that we can do. We need to pursue
adequate defence policies as we are. But in addition where we
have shared objectives and concerns, a common understanding of the
problems and dangers in the worl. d, then we have an obligation and
responsibility to state our own views. If the course is difficult,
it is not good enough to leave it to the United States alone.
An American President needs the support of Congress and of people.
That can be more easily sustained if it is also known that there
are other countries with similar views, with shared objectives.
We do not support the United States simply because it is the
United States or because there is an Anzus Alliance. We support
the United States when we believe it to be right, when out of our
own analysis, our own judgement, we share United States' concerns
and objectives. In particular, with Soviet conventional and
strategic military power at an all time high, it is essential
that we have a strong and vital United States working in close
co-operation with her allies.
Over recent years there has been a very close relationship between
the United States and Australia. I established a close working
relationship with. Pre! sident Carter and I hope to do the same with
President-Elect Reagan. 3

It will be an advantage that his views on containing Government
expenditure, on giving people greater freedom to choose, and on
the paramount importance of reducing inflation views which
have been given such overwhelming endorsement by the American
people are also views which I and my Government have held and
pursued vigorously for the past five years with the support of
the Australian people. None of this means that we have similar
views to the United States on all things. Of course we do not
and we cannot. We have our own perspectives. And if there are
differences of view then they will be stated. But in recent
years we have developed a close identity of view on the main
challenges confronting free societies in the 1980s.
I look forward to working very closely with the new United States'
administration, building on the traditional strength and solidarity
of Australian/ American alliance. 000---

Transcript 5481