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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2401


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 08/04/1971

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 2401

FOR PRESS: PM No. 43/ 1971
Statement ty the Prime Minister, Mr. William McMahon
The Prime Minister, Mr. McMahon said in Brisbane this afternoon that
President Nixon's statement at mid-day clearly indicated the growing capacity
of the Republic of Vietnam to provide its own defence.
It was this growing capability and the success of the total Vietnamisation
programme which had enabled President Nixon to announce the continuing
withdrawals of United States' military personnel.
Mr. McMahon said that this same progress by the people, Government and
armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam had made it possible for him to announce
on 30 March, the withdrawal of 1, 000 Australian servicemen from Vietnam
beginning next month.
Mr. McMahon said that the President had sent him advance notice of the
decisions. They would be taken into account by the Australian Government in keeping
continually under review the problem of future arrangements about Australian
forces in Vietnam.
Mr. McMahon said that the people and Government of Vietnam deserved
praise for all they had done to make Mr. Nixon's announcement possible.
But it must be remembered that when Mr. Nixon had taken off ice he had been
under enormous domestic pressure, as he still is, to end United States' involvement
in the War by an immediate withdrawal of United States forces. Instead, President
Nixon had taken the courageous and difficult course of reducing the United States'
commitment only as the increasing capability of the South Vietnamese Government
and forces made ir possible to do so, without conceding to the North Vietnamese
and Viet Gong all that had been so far achieved.
The President recognised that, the War would not necessarily end simply
because United States' forces were being reduced. He had taken the view that the
United States' responsibility extended not only to the citizens of his own country,
but also to the people of the Republic of Vietnam who had suffered so much and who
had called upon the United States for assistance against North Vietnamese aggression.
The Prime Minister warmly endorsed Mr. Nixon's call for an end to the
barbaric use by the enemy of prisoners of war as pawns in negotiation.
8 APRIL 1971

Transcript 2401