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Transcript 6723


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: 16/09/1985

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 6723

WATSCN: Mr Hawke, what is Australia's response to Mr Mitterand's
invitation to you and other South Pacific leaders to go to Mururoa?
PM: I simply want to say to President Mitterand what I have
said recently and that if he wants to invite the countries of
the region to come to Mururoa so that he can show us how
absolutely safe the tests are then I suggest to the President
that he organise the picking up of all the testing equipment
and taking it back to France and undertake in metropolitan
France this testing which he assures us is so safe.
WATSON: Well, how do you see this invitation?. Is it a
propaganda stunt? Is it contemptuous? How do you see it?
PM: I don't want to talk about contempt. But it seems to me
that the government of France is discerning the truth and that
is that there is a growing pressure amongst the people in the
countries of the Pacific region that we find absolutely
unacceptable, almost obscene, the fact that a metropolitan
European power comes and conducts its nuclear tests in our
region. And at the same they are doing it says that it is
absolutely safe. As I repeat, if it is absolutely safe let
them go and do it their own region.
WATSON: France is not likely to go and do that, though is it?
In fact it is almost certain to stay at Mururoa?
PM: Yes, well one can't be certain just what happens. I know
that early in the 1970s when I assumed the presidency of the
ACTU, when they were conducting atmospheric nuclear testing,
they said they were going to keep on doing that. Well, we led
a world-wide protest on that. And we were told then that that
protest had accelerated the move the underground testing. Well,
I would hope that they would come to understand , the strength,
the growing strength, of the attitudes on this matter.
WATSON: The President's office has said that anyone who opposesI
French interests in the region will be considered to be advers/ f..
How do you react to that?
PM: Well I understand that the French attribute themselves,, to
themselves a great capacity for logic. This is introducing
something quite new into the language and the reasoning of

PM cont: international relations. I ask people to contemplate
what is the logic to what President Mitterand appears to be
saying, that is if you oppose the policy or action of another
nation you are therefore its foe. Now I would suggest to the
President of France and the government of France that they don't
really insult the intelligence of the people of either my country
or the people of the countries of this region by attempting to
introduce that sort of nonsense into the dialogue between nations.
WATSON: Mr Lange doesn't seem to mind being cast in that
adversary role or being considered a foe. How do you feel
about it?
PM: Well, I don't go around looking for enemies and Mr Lange's
reaction is for Mr Lange. I have expressed the reaction of
my Government.
WATSON: Finally then sir, how would you at this moment describe
Australia's relations with France?
PM: Well they are like the curate's egg. In parts good, but in
parts bad because together with the nations of the region, the
signing recently of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty
have made it clear, and we have been for some time, that we
simply do not approve of the actions of the French in this
regard. And so that in that area our relations are not good.
But that doesn't preclude us from being able to have the
cooperation with France and the people of France in other
WATSON: Would you be prepared to go Paris, as Mr Lange says
he would be, for dicussions with President Mitterand?
PM: Well, I have already done that. I did that in 1983.

Transcript 6723