PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 1662

OPENING OF THE U.S NAVAL COMMUNICATION STATION AT NORTH - WEST CAPS, WESTERN AUSTRALIA 16 TH SEPTEMBER, 1967 SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR. HAROLD HOLT

Photo of Holt, Harold

Holt, Harold

Period of Service: 26/01/1966 to 19/12/1967

More information about Holt, Harold on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/09/1967

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 1662

ORLNING OF THE U. S. NAVAL COM.-UNICATION
STATION AT NORTH-.' BST CAP:, W2ETLSTZRN AUSTRLIA
16th SEPTEMBER, 1967
Speech by the Prime Yinister, Mr. Harold Holt
Mr. Premier; Your Excellencies; Admiral Johnson and
other distinguished United States Naval servicemen; the
distinguished servicemen of Australian Forces present here;
my Ministerial and Parliamentary colleagues and the representative
of the Opposition in the Federal and State Parliaments; and
the very many distinguished guests, much too numerous for me
to single out although no doubt the contribution which so many
of you have made woul. d justify that; and you, Ladies and
Gentlemen and Boys and Girls:
This is a notable and indeed a historic day in the
history of our young nation. The station itself is located in
an area which has already made some contribution to Australian
history because not only do we stand at the most north-westerly
point of our continent but Learmonth in the Second World War
saw a happy comradeship of Australian and United States
servicemen as our aircraft moved in and out into action from
the Learmonth airport.
And we recall here in Australia still with gratitude
indeed we commemorate that notable occasion annually the
critical Battle of the Coral Sea which virtually spared our
country from a hostile invasion, thanks to the assistance and
the might of the forces of the United States. And from the
comradeship and partnership of that ' World * 4r pa-rticularly
in this area of the world, although of course there had been
a comradeship cemented in the First Wdorld Wdar, but it was in
the Second World bbar that we came so close to each other as
nati-ons. And we learned to value the more fully the friendship
and the help that one could bring to the other. Flowing from
this came the ANZUS treaty that alliance between the United
States, Australia and New Zealand which, in my judgment, ranks
as the greatest single contributing factor to the long-term
security of this nation in the history of the Australian Federation.
I welcomed Admiral Johnson the comment you made your first
comment when you came here showing your own realisation of
the need for us to keep closely together in matters of security
through the future history of this region of the world.
And that happy community partnership which we now
find here in Exmouth itself flowing from this project is not
of course a surprising thing because we have in both our
countries a common heritage of British freedom and of British
democratic institutions. These have influenced our own national
growth although the composition of our countries in time becomes
affected, and affected richly to our advantage we have discovered,
by the influx into our respective country yours in very much
greater numbers than ours in the United States but we in turn
with 40 nationalities now making their contribution to Australian
growth and Australian strength. But we are finding that in this
richer community we still have a basic reliance upon the principles
of freedom and the democratic institutions which were part of
our common heritage.
Now, Sir, this ' Centre is, I may clearly say, a
sensible, practical, logical extension of the ANZUS spirit,
an application of the ANZUS spirit to a particular project.
In a sense it made history, because for the first time we
found here on Australian soil a project in which there were
established on a continuing basis the forces of another
country. But we do not think in terms of a foreign country

2.
with the United States. le have a basis of friendship, a
closeness of co-operation, an interdependence of interest
which has drawn both our countries very closely together.
Earlier this week and I say this in particular
to you, Mr. Premier I have been visiting some of the more
notable development projects in your State. It makes a rather
striking contrast to contemplate that here we have been seeing
great economic developments arising, from our extraction and
processing of minerals which have stood undisturbed through
the aeons of time and to come, as I did only yesterday, to
this project which is the modern, technical expression in
its most recent form, a matter for wonderment to laymen like
myself. Now Australians, although small in number and remote
geographically from other parts of the world, or those parts
where scientific development has proceeded most extensively,
have perhaps it may appear rather curiously to some shown
a very real interest in matters of radio physics, in astronomy,
in outer space research and items of that kind. There may be
some who think that because so many of us have experience of
vast lonely spaces and clear blue skies and more opportunity
of contemplating the constellations, the 1' ilky day than other
nationalities, that this has some bearing on it. There may
be a feeling that the very fact that we incorporate the Southern
Cross in our national flag is an expression of our interest
in these matters astronomical. Another cause, of course, which
has a very real bearing on this is that, geographically placed
as we are, Australia is able to make a contribution to space
research and to the study of the heavens which supplements
what is done in the Northern Hemisphere.
But be that as it may, we have developed our own
expertise in the tracking stations, in such places as Parkes
with a radio-telescope there and at 1doomera, where at the
present time we have a joint project with the United States,
the Sparta Project which is adding to our knowledge of matters
in which we have a mutual interest. And whether there is some
special significance in this or not, well I leave to others to
fathom. The fact is that it does exist and this, I think it
will be agreed, makes us worthy partners in this enterprise.
Perhaps it also would be not inappropriate to use in this
context the torin " wavelengths" because Australians and Americans
do seem to find it possible to get on a wavelength with each
other with far less crackling static than is usually found in
relations between one country and another.
Now the purpose of this station is to improve the
efficiency of our efforts to maintain security and peace not
only in this area of the world but as a contribution to peace
throughout the world as a whole. And I wonder how many people
pause to realise just what is the magnitude of thc American
contribution to the peace of the world at this time. Certainly
those of us who live in South-E~ ast Asia or the Asian region
have very good cause to know the magnitude of that contribution.
I wonder how many of my fellow countrymen know that if you
take the periphery of Asia running round from South Korea,
Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, South Vietnam itself, Thailand,
Australia and New Zealand, just to mention those in particular,
there has virtually been underwritten by this mighty power the
security of free p., eoples in those countries. , e realise it in
relation to ANZUS but I wonder how many of us recognise that
this is the order of dimension of the American undertaking and
the American contribution to the peace of the area. And we
honour you, Admiral Johnson, and all associated with you in
the contribution that you and your servicemen are making to
underwrite this guarantee of freedom.

3.
Now, here in this centre we are able by our joint
efforts to make a contribution. Frankly, I had not even through
all that I had read been led to prepare my mind for the v'qstness
of the enterprise. To think that there are those 13 towers
out there, all higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, all
constructed to withstand the cyclonic gales which occasionally
assail this part of the coast, and even the sight of them
leaves one unprepared for what one sees when you come close and
get inside the structures. It's almost bewildering and dazzling
to see the complexity and scale of equipment that goes into
the task that this centre will serve.
And so we express today as Australians, and I as
Head of an Australian Government, our appreciation to the
contribution this enterprise will bring to our s' uarity and
the security of other free peoples. Re also kn-. and we
will be saying perhaps something more on this at the ceremony
which follows later in -the township itself what this has
meant to this particular relatively isolated part of Australia
in terms of community development, and the happy partnership
which has been revealed under the stress of war is again
exemplified in the happy community spirit which you have
developed in this township.
I spoke earlier of the power of the United States
and we do well to reflect that this power is used for the
purposes of peace. I know of no action or policy decision
of a Government of the United States which is directed to
its own aggrandisement or the acquisition of additional
territory under its own control. It is there as a force for
freedom and peace in the world, and we in our dav and generation
have cause, as we go about our own task of developing our
nation and building up our security, to be grateful for the
security which is underwritten virtually for us by this great
power which has used its strength with so much restraint and
with such a high principle as its purpose.
This, the first United States' station on Australian
soil will, I hope, long continue as a symbol of the continuing
partnership between our two countries and al". tñ.. at this
partnership stands for in terms of happiness, security and
interdependence of free peoples in the life of the world as
it develops ahead of us. And so to me it is a particular
pleasure, as the Head of the Australian Government and people,
to be personally associated here today with a ceremony which
is both historic in itself and important in its symbolism.

Transcript 1662