The Australian Foreign Minister, Mr William McMahon, told the General Assembly of the United Nations yesterday that it was not to its credit that it had never properly debated Vietnam.
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TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: MCMAHON: "It is an unhappy reflection of the failure of the United Nations in its primary role of keeper of the peace that the Vietnam situation has never been properly debated here let alone considered as to possible action.
"Everywhere else, of course, the Vietnam was has been for five years and more one of the great divisive issues of our time.
"It is understandable that the world's conscience should have revolted against the fearful losses and hardships that the people of Vietnam have suffered almost without interruption since well before the United Nations came into being.
"It is less understandable, in the view of the Australian Government, that the people of South Vietnam, who are manifestly the victims of aggression in its most naked and ruthless form, and the elected Government of South Vietnam, which has demonstrated beyond doubt that it reflects the wishes of the great majority of the people, should have had to undergo so much biased and totally unfair criticism.
"The outrages they have been compelled to endure from their internal and external aggressors, acting in complete defiance of the Geneva Agreements of 1954, need to be precisely stated. Intimidation, kidnapping, extortion and assassination have the same meaning in anybody's language, whatever devices are employed to present them under the guise of liberation.
"The day may come -- we all hope it will -- when the people of North and South Vietnam can be reunited. In the meantime there is a well-marked boundary between the north and the south. Both halves of Vietnam could begin to achieve the economic stability and well-being of some of their neighbours if only the regime in Hanoi could be persuaded to give up its hopeless struggle and withdraw behind the demilitarised zone."
Initials JON/BHH/ES. 1445 JON/BJJ/ES.1509
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Background: The Australian Foreign Minister, Mr William McMahon, told the General Assembly of the United Nations yesterday that it was not to its credit that it had never properly debated Vietnam. Everywhere else, he said, it was one of the great dividing issues.