The widening war in South Vietnam and Indonesia's continued confrontation of the new state of Malaysia form a gloomy back-ground to the Ministers' Meeting in London.
The widening war in South Vietnam and Indonesia's continued confrontation of the new state of Malaysia form a gloomy back-ground to the Ministers' Meeting in London. In addition, there are divergences within the organisation itself. General de Gaulle recently declared his opposition to the American involvement in the Vietnamese war and France is only represented at this meeting by an observer. But before the plenary session got under way, the meeting heard a speech by Mr. Harold Wilson, in which the British Prime Minister warned his audience that the very success of SEATO had made open war and outright invasion too risky and that the threat to peace in South-East Asia now came through other means, which had to be resisted just as rigorously.
Mr. Paul Hasluck, Australian Minister of External Affairs, whose government announced last week that it was sending a battalion to Vietnam, warned that the war in Vietnam was no less fateful to the future of the world than the Berlin crisis and a statement the previous day, Mr. Konthi Suphamongkon, of Thailand, Secretary-General of SEATO said that Communist aggression must be stopped so that people can live in peace. He feared, however that guerilla fighting might also start up in Thailand within a year.
Because of the crisis in the Dominican Republic, Mr. Dean Rusk, the American Secretary of State, was unable to attend. The United States was represented by Mr. George Ball, Assistant Secretary of State. The meeting will end of Wednesday.