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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6887


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 17/04/1986

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 6887

q? 1el
17 April 1986
This is an unedited transcript and should be checked against
what goes t6 air.
LAKE Prime Minister, thanks for joining us. First to Libya.
What did you talk about with President Reagan.
PM1 Well, we didn't talk a great deal of time talking about
it, although apart from talking with President Reagan I did
receive considerable briefing on the subject. I merely, in
the discussion with President REagan, reflected what we had
said publicly both in Canberra before I left Australia and
what was said by Ambassador Woolcott on our behalf in the
Security Council. I
LAKE: How strongly did you put that view again to him?
PMi Well, we simply made the point that it is the future
that is important and that we had taken the view that all
available * venues that identified in Article 33 of the Charter 33
of the United Nations, should be looked to try and find
a basis fox a peaceful resolution to this matter. And as I
said in Canberra before I left, and as Mr Hayden has said
in Austral3a on behalf of the Government and as Ambassador
Woolcott s~ id, the essential conditions for achieving the
peaceful resolution is that Libya must repudiate the use of
terrorism as a tactic of policy.
LAKE: Was this as confined as the speeches that you had
already ma~ e or were those conversations more lose, if you
like, about Libya?
PM: I am never lose in conversations.
LAKE: But you know what I mean. Were you able to talk freely
with him, as if you had really given him an idea of how Australia
feels abou this? / 2

PM: Yes. Not only to President REagan but I have obviously
also had discissions witbhSecretary of State George Shultz,
a friend of mine of long-standing, and our position is clearly
understood. LAKE: But did you give them the impression that Australia's
solution or idea of a solution isn't necessarily bombing Libya?
PM: As I said, my conversation with President Reagan and
Secretary of State Shultz reflected, both conversations reflected
our public statements. We have said that force cannot resolve a
situation of a conflict of positions. And particularly, we said
in that terrorism must be repudiated and I believe that the
United States accepts that there must be some other way ultimately.
And I repeat that the United States has invoked Article 51 which
gives the right of self-defence and that that article itself
goes on to say until the processes of the Charter are invoked and
that is what ust be done. We have got to now try and say to
Libya and the United States, let's get to the position where we
can sit down and in some way talk through so that there will be
recognition tIat terrorism is not acceptable and to the extent
therefore that there are differences let's try and work a way
through. Becuse there is no other way which is not going to
involved not only danger to those immediately concerned by
ultimately grave risk for the whole of the world.
LAKE: But what did they say to you in terms of trying those
parties, Israel, the Arab states, the PLO, together. I mean,
did they to you that they would try to do that?
PM: conversations with George Shultz, he gave me a very
detailed rundqwn of some of the work in which the United States
is currently engaged in in trying to find a way through the
central issue in the Middle East, that is a resolution of the
problems between Israel and the Palestinians. And the UNited
States, I bel eve, has been ceaseless in trying to find a
way through, the President has taken initiatives, he has
encouraged initiatives by King Hussein of Jordan by Prime Minister
Peres. I don t believe anyone with any basic can accuse the
United States! of not consistently addressing itself to this
central issuer
LAKE: But haven't they jeopardised that by their action in Libya?
PM: Well, thpy have taken the decision which they felt necessary
in regard to protect their interests in circumstances of what
they had of cpmpelling proof of an intention by Libya to direct
acts of terrorism against their citizens abroad. Now that, I
believe, has pot meant that the United States has ceased
to address itself to the central issues that you have raised
and properly raised. And I have no reason to believe that
the United Sttaes will not continue to try and deal with what
now for so many years has proved an intractable problem. And
certainly I idicated on behalf of the Government and people of
Australia that we will do whatever we can, we don't overstate our
position, we will do whatever we can to play a part in trying / 3
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5~ 5(/ 3.
PM cont: to ideal with that central core problem.
LAKE: Does i concern you that White House officials now are
trying to put Ia complexion on your departure speech when you
left the Whit House that Australia supports what American in
Libya. PM: As I sai4 in the Press Conference in the last hour, what
I and Mr Hayden on behalf of the Government of Australia and
we have a responsibility of expressing the positions from the
very moment w4 became aware of this, what we have been about
is to state the position as we see it, both in terms of what
has happened and more particularly as to the future. Now, I have
had a situati'n already where there is a range of interpretations
about our position. Mr Howard has said we don't the Americans.
The Libyans said we support the Americans. And other people
have different interpretations. I am not getting into the
business, the auction, if you like, of interpretation. That
can be for ot1ers. clear as to what we have said and
particularly our concern for trying to find a way in the future
to deal with tIhis problem.
LAKE: You don't think you could have made it any clearer?
PM: I could have made what any clearer?
LAKE Your attitude to what has happened in Libya as far as
the American ction is concerned. And where Australia stands
on the issue.: different conclusions from it perhaps it could
have been clegrer?
PM: No, I don't believe we could have stated any more explicitly
our interpretation of what has happened and what the task of the
future is. As far as what happened and that links to the future
we have made . t quite clear that the central issue must be the
repudiation by Libya of thetacticof terrorism. And in those
circumstances there is a possibility of using the processes
envisaged by Article 33 of the United Nations Charter. And I
must say I find somewhat annoying that I am a passive man, I find
somewhat anno'ing, where do you put this statement on scale of
support or non-support. What people should surely be concentrating
upon is what s the process available, what are the processes
available, into the future to try and resolve this.
LAKE: Prime i4inister, slightly away from that subject but in
defence matters, what other talks did you have today which touched
on other area of defence?
PM: Well, we talked about ANZUS. And I confirmed to the President
that if, in txe event of New Zealand legislation of its
current posit. on, that there is an end then to the commitments
by the Unitedi States under ANZUS as far as New Zealand is concerned.
And we have sid that the treaty should be left in existence, there
should be an ñ nterchange of letters between the President and myself
to ensure that the treaty remains operative as far as Australia and
/ 4 w

PM cont the United States is concerned. And we got a positive
response from the President to that.
LAKE: putting pressure on New Zealand
PMt not rom day one sought that and I believe that they
have not sought that for two reasons. One, they don't believe
that it would be appropriate and secondly they wouldn't insult
my integrity and intelligence by asking to be a messenger boy
in that sense, they know that that would be repugnant to me.
But we both take the view that New Zealand is a sovereign
independent nation. We disagree with their position. But they
are entitled to work that through themselves. The other area
which I did talk about was the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone.
And I stressed upon the President the fact that the signing and
ratification of that treaty is totally consistent with the
continuation of our obligations under the ANZUS treaty. And
I pressed the view upon the President that it was in our interests
and I believe the interests of the United States that they should
adhere to the ' three protocols of that treaty.
LAKEt Star Wars, American Bases, were they topics?
PMt No, therl has been an indication, I didn't specifically
go to that wi1h the President. There has been efforts
George Shyltz as there was with Secretary of Defence W6inberger
in Canberra lst week, they know precisely our position on the
issues of Star Wars. As far as the bases are concerned, I
indicated in the discussion with the President that we remain
committed to our joint involvement in the bases which I emphasise
again, are there for the purposes of verification and mutual
deterrence. And not there for offensive purposes.
LAKE: Now for your real reason for being here, agriculture.
Tell me, what do you know about it, about the farm deal, what
is happening, that you didn't know before you came here.
PM: Well, I don't know any more about the farm deal now because
I think I kney all there was to know about the farm deal before
I got here. What I do know now that is that I have enlarged
and streathenqd commitment from the President and riaht through
the administration and importantly on the Hill, to a process of
discussion and preparedness on the part of the United States to
take into acccunt our concerns. Now, that doesn't mean that
we 0on't perhaps at times be heard, but we have a complete
preparedness on their part to let our concerns be put into
their system and we will be doing that. And secondly, I now
have an unqualified undertaking from the President that the
United States: will take a leading role in trying to ensure
that in the multi-lateral trade negotiations that commence later
this year, that they with us, will be trying to ensure that
international'trade in agricultural products is right up
there on the agenda. And not pushed aside as a subsidiary
issue. A. ti] t " f
, ij! c,,

LAKE: Your ipecific talks have been able to elevate that?
PM: Let me pay to the preliminary work that was by Mr Dawkins
here earlier in the year. I have been able substantially to
build upon that.
LAKEs and yet a spokesman, a senior White House official,
said as far sB the White House was concerned there was not, or
he couldn't tell us one single new outcome or agreement that
came out of today's talks. Would that be fair?
PMs No, I believe not. You have a position where the President
of the United States has given a commitment to the Prime Minister
of Australia! that the process of access to Australia for discussions
with the United States on these issues as far as Australians is
concerned is' there. That is new.
LAKE: What would it mean though for farmers. The trade talks
that go on, and they are often not necessarily inter-government
anyway are they.
PM: Elements of the decisions that concern trade are necessarily
always involving governments. But the essential framework is
created by governmental decisions. We will continue and our
putting of the interests of Australian farmers in the United
States as the decisions are taken about how they implement
their program, we will be continuing to discuss these issues
and involve the farmers organisations in Australia so that
when we are putting the case of our farmers we will be doing
it on the basis of full consultation with them.
LAKE: But if a farmer or farmers who are involved in trying
open up a trade avenue or protecting an existing trade avenue
and an American organisation decides no they want that market,
is it going to help just because you have spoken to Reagan
about it?
PM: Not only because I have spoken to Mr Reagan. But let
me answer your hypothetical in a hypothetical way, If we were
to find a s tuation where an Australian interest had been
ignored in the implementation of part of the united States
farm program, I believe we would be in a very much stronger
position now to go to the President and to the Secretary of
AGriculture and look you have taken that decision, you didn't
take account of our interests, that is not consistent with the
undertaking4 that we have received from you. Now, I think the
fact that we have that capacity now makes it more likely that
sort of thing is not going to happen.
LAKE: Finally, what are the prospects of a Reagan visit to
Australia in ' 88?
PM: I have renewed the invitation, and he has expressed a very
real intere t. I hope it comes out. Because if you look at the
200 years of Australia's history, the relationship between our two
countries has been extraordinarily close in peace, importantly,
L 7

PM cont: extraordinarily close in the second World War.
Australians and Americans owe a great deal to one another.
We at time are dependent a great deal on one another.
There is a c witment by both countries to certain basic
democratic va ~. Use and it would be appropriate that in the
year of our b centennial celebrations that the leader of
the United States should at some part of that great year be
with us.
LAXEs Mr Hawker thank you very much.
PM: Thank you.
ando E SF,

Transcript 6887