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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 1664

EXTRACT FROM PRIME MINISTER'S LUNCH-TIME STREET MEETING AT GLADSTONE (QLD) - 21ST SEPTEMBER 1967

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: 21/09/1967

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 1664

4 OCT 1967
EXTRACT FROM PRIME MINISTER'S LUNCH-TIME
STREET MEETING AT GLADSTONE,( QLD.)
21st September, ,167
Now before I conclude, I will turn quite briefly to those other
aspects I mentioned, because while we do concentrate our attention upon
our own forward progress, at the same time, we cannot ignore the hazards
that we face as a nation or the state of the world around us.
That is why the central issue in the last general election
campaign was the issue of the security of the nation and our attitudes
towards our participation in Vietnam and towards the alliance we have with
the United States of America.
No matter in my lifetime has meant more to the future
security of Austral'a than the negotiation of the ANZUS treaty. That treaty
between Australia, New Zealand and the United States, under which the
security of the other was virtually guaranteed f we came under attack at
any time nothing means more to us today for our security in a country of
this size with so few people than the knowledge that should we be threatened
at any time, the mightiest power in the world is there to come to our defence.
I am glad to say that I found no wavering at any time in the attitude of the
public men of the United States, successive Fresidents, their spokesmen,
and others. Cnly in the last few days, Admiral Johnson, Chief of the
United States Pacific Fleet, who came out for the opening of the North-V. iest
Cape Communications Station where I performed the official ceremony last
Saturday morning, reiterated their determination to remain in this area of
the world to contribute to security.
Ncw our involvement in Vietnam is wrapped up in this as it
is in other things. In the first place, we don't believe in small countries being
attacked by more powerful countries or more : owerful influences. have
gone to war twice in two world wars to resist aggression against small powers.
Secondly, we believe that if Vietnam were to go under, then the security of the
whole of South-East Aeia would come under threat, and finally the security of
Australia itself. Thirdly, as I have just pointed out to you, we believe that
unless we are willing to join with our allies in the time of need of others,
then we can place little reliance on them coming to our aid should we ever
be in that state of need.
It is not so long ago that we were troubled by what was going
on in Indonesia. There are 1CC million people there and they were pursuing
a policy of confrontation against Malaysia and Singapore. Well, matters have
quietened down there, and I hope we shall always be able to live in peace and
co-operation with the people of Indonesia.
But we cannot take any of these things for granted. And as
we build up our own defences, and we have more than doubled expenditure on
them in the last four as we build up the strength of our
services and they have never been at a higher levelof efficiency nor strength
at any period in which we have not been involved in total as we do
these things, so also must we keep our alliance strong.

-2-
Now, does anybody in their senses imagine that you can
keep that alliance strong if the policy of the Labor Party on this matter
were ever to be given effect? And the present policy and in substance
it is the same as the policy that the Austral. an people rejected in the last
election the present policy is that unless the Americans accept conditions
which the Labor Party must know to be unacceptable to them, then we will
be pulling our troops out of Vietnam. V. e will be deserting as was the
policy put forward by Mr Calwell at the last election we will be deserting
our allies in a time of military operation. Well, I know the Australian
people would never agree to that. They did not agree to it last November
and I don't believe you are going to agree to that in the vote that you cast
this time.

Transcript 1664