PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2615

VISIT TO INDONESIA, SINGAPORE AND MALAYSIA BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA, THE RT HON WILLIA, MCMAHON CH MP - SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF SINGAPORE MR LEE KUAN YEW AT STATE DINNER - 9 JUNE 1972

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: 09/06/1972

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 2615

VISIT TO INDONESIA, SINGAPORE AND MAPLAYSIA
By the Prime Minister of Australia, the
Rt. Hon. William McMahon, M. P.
SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF SINGAPORE
MR. LEE KUAN YEW
AT STATE DINNER 9 JUNE, 1972.
Mr. Prime Minister, Your Excellencies, Gentlemen,
My colleagues and I extend you a warm welcome on this your first
visit to Singapore since you became Prime Minister. You are no
stranger to us, and we recall with pleasure your presence here during
the 1971 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
In the eighteen months since then, there have been momentous
political changes in the world. President Nixon's visits to Peking
in February, and to Moscow in May, made most countries re-examine
their positions, to assess what changes the future will now have in
store for them. The easy assumptions of cold war politics are no
longer valid. But it does not necessarily follow that there will be
any immediate or precipitate change in the political and security
climate which has so far kept South-East A-Isia, outside of Indo-China,
an area of relative tranquility.
Change there must be. For my own part, I would prefer the dust
stirred up by all these dramatic events to settle, before coming to
firm conclusions on which to base any changes in policies. Certainly
it is not necessary to start changing our friends, though nothing
is lost by making new friends of old adversaries of cold war days.
The recent series of accords between America and Russia reinforces
the trend towards the acceptance by the super powers of their desire
and now their declared policy to avoid confrontation against each
other. They have accepted the division in Europe, since the second
world war, as a fact of life for the foreseeable future. By the
recent series of agreements between the West Garmans and the Russians,
West Germans and the Poles, the agreements in Moscow and Berlin
Four Power Agreement, the Europeans have substantially cut down the
dangers of conflict in Europe itself. ./ 2

Unfortunately, there have been no such accords over Asia. One
probable result of President Nixon's earlier discussions in Peking
is to lessen the likelihood of a collision between America and
China. There are other major powers with long term interests in Asia
and in the Indian and Pacific Ocean. They were not present at the
Peking discussions. Further, they have not yet reconciled their
different views of the shape of things to come. America, China, Japan
and Russia may take some time to agree what are the limits of their
respective capacities to influence events in the different countries
of Asia. Nor is it clear how much naval power can add to their
economic and political influence on the littoral states of Asia
adjoining the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and on the island nations
lying off the Asian continent..
Meanwhile, the war in Indo-China grinds on. We must hope there
can be a negotiated settlement that will enable American forces to
withdraw and not in disgrace, that the South Vietnam these forces
leave behind can be allowed to sort their future out by themselves
without external interference by forces. If this could happen, then
a confident Thailand will act as a buffer for Malaysia and Singaeore.
Then we can have more time to adjust ourselves to the changing forces
acting on Asia, the Pacif c and Indian Oceans.
Your visit, Mr. Prime Minister, comes at a time when this whole
region is preparing to adjust to the altered situations consequent
upon the dramatic changes in policy of the great powers. It is still
not altogether certain what these changes will be. There is nothing
alarming about uncertainty, provided the future is not placed in
jeopardy by hasty reaction.
Amidst all these uncertainties, it was a source of satisfaction
that we were able to maintain steady co-operation between Australia
and Singapore. They contributed to the climate of confidence which
helped us ride through some difficult times in the last few years.
Such progress as we have made, despite the adverse turn of events in
1965 and 1968 was due, in part, to the quiet understanding and
support of our friends, of which Australia was one. And the defence
arrangements of the Commonwealth Five have provided continuing
stability to an area important to us, the people who live in it,
and perhaps to you, in Australaqia. And there is no reason why we
should not make further progress in regional co-operation, to
consolidate the present stability of the region. With a little luck,
South-East Asia should be able to withstand drastic changes in the
Indo-Chinese situation. In these matters, we have common interests.
And now, Your Excellencies, Gentlemen, I ask you to rise and drink
a toast to the health of Her Majesty The Queen.

Transcript 2615