• Short Summary

    IN THE WAKE OF REMARKABLE EVENTS IN INDO-CHINA, ALL OF US - LEADERS IN MY CALLING, COMMENTATORS IN YOURS - ARE IN PROCESS OF REASSESSING BASIC POLICIES AND RELATIONS.

  • Description

    IN THE WAKE OF REMARKABLE EVENTS IN INDO-CHINA, ALL OF US - LEADERS IN MY CALLING, COMMENTATORS IN YOURS - ARE IN PROCESS OF REASSESSING BASIC POLICIES AND RELATIONS. FOR THE UNITED STATES IN PARTICULAR, THIS IS BOUND TO BE A DIFFICULT AND PERHAPS A PAINFUL PROCESS. IN THAT REAPPRAISAL THE LAST THING THE GOVERNMENT OR PEOPLE OF UNITED STATES NEED ARE SERMONS AND HOMILIES FROM AN AUSTRALIAN. IT IS TRUE THAT I HAPPEN TO LEAD A POLITICAL PARTY WHICH STRONGLY OPPOSED THE INTERVENTION IN INDO-CHINA; IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT I AM THE PRIME MINISTER OF A NATION WHICH FOR MANY YEARS SUPPORTED THE INTERVENTION AND ENCOURAGED THE ESCALATION OF THE WAR. WHATEVER RECRIMINATIONS WE MIGHT HAVE AT HOME, IT IS NO ROLE FOR AN AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER TO LECTURE THE UNITED STATES.

    IT IS, HOWEVER, VERY NECESSARY THAT WE SHOULD PREVENT THE CREATION OF NEW MYTHS ABOUT WHAT WENT WRONG. AND TO DO THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO LOOK AT PAST MISTAKES - MISTAKES IN WHICH BOTH COUNTRIES SHARED. THE GREAT DANGER IS THAT IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF DEEP EMOTION AND RECRIMINATION ENGENDERED BY THE SUDDENNESS OF EVENTS IN INDO-CHINA, WE SHOULD FASTEN UPON EXPLANATIONS AND SELF-JUSTIFICATIONS AND OVER-SIMPLIFICATIONS WHICH WOULD ENSURE A RETURN TO, A REPETITION OF, THE GREAT MISTAKES OF THE PAST. WE HAVE, IN PARTICULAR, TO RESIST THE SAME SORT OF MYTHS WHICH DEVELOPED AFTER THE REVOLUTION IN CHINA. THOSE MYTHS, THOSE DISTORTIONS OF REALITY, PERVERTED OUR RELATIONS, WITH CHINA FOR MORE THAN A GENERATION. THEY LED DIRECTLY TO THE DEBACLE IN INDO-CHINA.

    WE SHOULD HAVE NO TRUCK WITH ANY NEW VARIATION OF THE "STAB IN THE BACK" THEORY - THAT THE WAR IN VIETNAM WAS LOST NOT IN SAIGON BUT HERE IN WASHINGTON.

    IT WAS NEVER TRUE THAT THE HONOUR AND PRESTIGE OF THE UNITED STATES AND HER ALLIES WERE BOUND UP WITH THE SURVIVAL OF THE SAIGON REGIME, ANY MORE THAN IT WAS EVER TRUE THAT THE HONOUR, OR PRESTIGE, OR SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES WERE BOUND UP WITH THE FATE OF CHIANG KAI-SHEK.

    WHEN I SPOKE TO YOU LAST I SPOKE OF THE "SECOND OPPORTUNITY" WE HAD GAINED BECAUSE OF THE MOVES TOWARDS RECONCILIATION WITH CHINA AND WITH THE SIGNING OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT IN JANUARY 1973. I SAID; "FOR TWENTY YEARS I HAVE BEEN APPALLED AT THE DAMAGE WE OF THE WEST HAVE DONE TO OURSELVES AND TO OTHER PEOPLES BY OUR WESTERN IDEOLOGICAL PRE-OCCUPATIONS, PARTICULARLY IN SOUTH EAST ASIA. WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE READILY FORGIVEN FOR THROWING AWAY THE CHANCE WE HAD FOR A SETTLEMENT IN INDO-CHINA IN 1954 AFTER KOREA, AFTER GENEVA. WE HAVE NOW BEEN GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE, IT MUST NOT BE THROWN AWAY," UNFORTUNATELY MY HOPES, THE HOPES OF THE WORLD, WERE NOT FULFILLED AFTER JANUARY 1973. THE GROSS BREACHES OF THE PARIS AGREEMENTS BY BOTH SIDES - POLITICAL BREACHES, MILITARY BREACHES - MADE IT INEVITABLE THAT THE FINAL SETTLEMENT IN INDO-CHINA WOULD BE REACHED BY THE ARBITRAMENT OF WAR.

    YET IN THE WIDER SENSE THAT SECOND OPPORTUNITY, THAT SECOND CHANCE OF WHICH I SPOKE, STILL REMAINS, THE QUESTION NOW IS: WHAT ARE TO BE OUR RELATIONS AND OUR CONDUCT TOWARDS VIETNAM - WHETHER THERE BE ONE GOVERNMENT OF VIETNAM OR TWO? ARE WE TO TREAT VIETNAM AFTER 1975 AS WE TREATED CHINA AFTER 1949? THROUGH FEAR OR FRUSTRATION, BECAUSE OF OUR FAILURE TO IMPOSE THE WILL OF THE WEST ON INDO-CHINA, ARE WE TO TREAT VIETNAM AS THE NEW PARIAH, THERE NEW UNTOUCHABLE AMONG NATIONS? NO ONE SUPPOSES THAT IT IS GOING TO BE A SIMPLE OR EASY TASK TO ESTABLISH MEANINGFUL RELATIONS WITH VIETNAM, A VIETNAM EMERGING FROM THIRTY YEARS OF CIVIL WAR PROLONGED AND DEPENDED BY FOREIGN INTERVENTION. IT IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT TASKS FOR STATESMANSHIP, FOR THE COUNTRIES IN OUR REGION AND FOR THE UNITED STATES.

    THIS IS VERY MUCH A TIME FOR A REALISTIC ASSESSMENT OF OUR STRENGTHS AND OPPORTUNITIES - AND FOR A GOOD DEAL OF CONFIDENCE IN THOSE STRENGTHS AND OPPORTUNITIES, THERE ARE THOSE WHO FEEL THAT BECAUSE AMERICAN POLICY SUFFERED A DEFEAT IN VIETNAM, WE SHOULD BE PESSIMISTIC ABOUT AMERICAN POLITY ELSEWHERE, AND IGNORE AMERICAN ACHIEVEMENTS ELSEWHERE, DANGEROUS AND DIFFICULT AS THE MIDDLE EAST PROBLEM UNDOUBTEDLY IS, TAXING AS IT IS FOR WESTERN STATESMANSHIP, IT SHOULD NOT BLIND US TO THE WIDER STABILITY AND SECURITY ACHIEVED IN THE WORLD DURING THE PAST TWO DECADES. WHO WOULD DENY THAT THE WORLD IS A SAFER PLACE TODAY THAN IT WAS IN THE AFTERMATH OF WORLD WAR II? WHO WOULD DENY - REMEMBERING BERLIN, REMEMBERING GREECE, REMEMBERING KOREA, REMEMBERING CUBA - THAT THE THEREAT TO PEACE TODAY ARE LESS MENACING THAN THOSE POSED BY THE CRITICAL FLASHPOINTS AND MONOLITHIC CONFRONTATIONS OF A DECADE OR A GENERATION AGO? I HOPE WE SHALL KEEP A SENSE OF PERSPECTIVE AND REALITY IN THESE MATTERS, KEEPING IN MIND THE REAL PROGRESS WE HAVE MADE TOWARDS A SAFER WORLD, AND NOT ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE PANICKED OR DISMAYED BY LESSER PROBLEMS THAN THOSE WE HAVE SURMOUNTED BEFORE.

    TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO - ON 22 MARCH 1775 - EDMUND BURKE SAID: "MAGNANIMITY IN POLITICS IS NOT SELDOM THE TRUEST WISDOM". IT WAS HIS GREAT SPEECH ON CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. HE WAS ADVISING ANOTHER MIGHTY NATION WHICH WAS ABOUT TO SUFFER HUMILIATION AT THE HANDS OF ANOTHER SMALL BAND OF REVOLUTIONARIES - NOT BECAUSE THAT NATION WAS WICKED OR WEAK BUT BECAUSE IT WAS COMMITTED TO POLICIES DOOMED TO FAIL. MAGNANIMITY IN THE FACE OF FAILURE IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT THAN MAGNANIMITY IN VICTORY. THE PRESENT PROSPERITY OF WEST GERMANY AND JAPAN ATTESTS AMERICA'S UNPARALLELED MAGNANIMITY IN VICTORY. THE OTHER, MORE DIFFICULT, RESPONSE LIES AHEAD - IN INDO-CHINA.

    IN THE SPECIFIC MATTER OF VIETNAM, I AM NOT GOING TO BE PANICKED BY AN OUTCOME ACHIEVED MILITARILY IN 1975 WHICH MIGHT HAVE COME ABOUT POLITICALLY IN 1954. I AM INTENT UPON REACHING A MODUS VIVENDI - A MEANINGFUL, CONSTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP - WITH VIETNAM IN 1975, AS WE WOULD ASSUREDLY HAVE HAD TO DO SOME TIME BETWEEN 1954 AND 1975, AND AS WITH SUCH NEEDLESS AND DAMAGING DELAY WE HAVE DONE WITH CHINA. I ASSERTED IN CANBERRA THAT IT WAS NEVER MATERIAL TO THE SECURITY OF AUSTRALIA WHO RULED IN SAIGON. I ASSERT IN WASHINGTON THAT IT WAS NEVER MATERIAL TO AMERICA'S SECURITY WHO RULED IN SAIGON.

    IT IS NOT, HOWEVER, BY FOCUSING EXCLUSIVELY UPON VIETNAM OR EVEN UPON INDO-CHINA THAT WE CAN GET THE TRUE PERSPECTIVE OF OUR REAL STRENGTHS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE REGION - AUSTRALIA'S OPPORTUNITIES, OR AMERICA'S STRENGTHS. THERE CAN BE NO SUGGESTION OF WANTING TO SHRUG OFF THE EVENTS IN INDO-CHINA. ON THE CONTRARY THERE ARE GREAT LESSONS TO BE LEARNT. NONETHELESS, LET'S COOLLY ASSESS BOTH THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE.

    IF WE LOOK AT THE PACIFIC BASIN AREA WHAT DO WE FIND? THE MOST DEVELOPED AND SOME OF THE STRONGEST OF THE DOZEN OR SO MOST SIGNIFICANT NATIONS UPON OR AROUND THE FOUR PACIFIC CONTINENTS OF ASIA, AUSTRALIA, NORTH AMERICA AND SOUTH AMERICA, ARE FLOURISHING DEMOCRACIES, THE UNITED STATES' MOST IMPORTANT FRIENDS IN THIS VAST AREA, COUNTRIES LIKE CANADA, MEXICO, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA AND ABOVE ALL, JAPAN, HAVE NEVER BEEN STRONGER - STRONGER IN THEMSELVES, STRONGER IN THEIR BASIC FRIENDSHIP TOWARDS THE UNITED STATES. THE ASEAN NATIONS - INDONESIA, THE PHILIPPINES, THAILAND, MALAYSIA, SINGAPORE - ARE WORKING CLOSELY AND SUCCESSFULLY TOGETHER TO PROMOTE THEIR COMMON INTERESTS IN A NATURAL AND VIABLE REGIONAL GROUPING. THESE COUNTRIES HAPPEN TO BE THOSE CAST BY THE THEORISTS IN THE ROLE OF THE DOMINOES. NOT ONE OF THEM WILL GIVE ANY THANKS FOR BEING CAST IN SUCH A ROLE. EACH OF THEM WILL WORK IN ITS OWN WAY TO ACCOMMODATE ITSELF TO THE NEW POLITICAL REALITIES IN SOUTH EAST ASIA. EACH RECOGNISES THAT IT IS PRIMARILY ITS OWN INTERNAL STRENGTH AND RESILIENCE WHICH WILL SAFEGUARD IT AGAINST EXTERNAL THREATS. EACH RECOGNISES THAT THE PRIME GUARANTEE OF NATIONAL INTEGRITY AND SECURITY LIES IN DEVELOPING THE FORMS OF GOVERNMENT BEST SUITED TO ITSELF AND ENSURING THAT GOVERNMENT IS IN TUNE WITH NATIONAL NEEDS AND POPULAR ASPIRATIONS.

    THERE IS A FURTHER CAUSE FOR CONFIDENCE. ON THE PACIFIC SIDE OF THE ASIAN REGION, MALAYSIA, SINGAPORE, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, FIJI, WESTERN SAMOA AND TONGA, AND ON THE INDIAN OCEAN SIDE, INDIA, SRI LANKA AND BANGLADESH, ARE ALL MEMBERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS. I HAVE BEEN MEETING THEIR LEADERS IN JAMAICA THIS WEEK. IN THIS REMARKABLE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONS NOT ONE HEAD OF GOVERNMENT IS COMMUNIST, YET NOT ONE HEAD OF GOVERNMENT WAS PLUNGED INTO DESPAIR BECAUSE OF EVENTS IN INDO-CHINA. IN OUR COMMUNIQUE ISSUED ON TUESDAY THE NATIONS OF THE COMMONWEALTH SAID THIS: "HEADS OF GOVERNMENT WELCOMED THE END OF THE PROLONGED CONFLICT IN INDO-CHINA, URGED COUNTRIES IN A POSITION TO DO SO TO CONTRIBUTE TO INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE FOR THE URGENT TASKS OF REHABILITATION AND RECONSTRUCTION AND LOOKED FORWARD TO THE NEW GOVERNMENTS OF THE REGION PLAYING THEIR FULL PART IN THE COMMUNITY OF NATIONS." NO PANIC HERE, NO DESPERATION; YET AS I POINT OUT, MANY NATIONS OF THE COMMONWEALTH ARE THE VERY NATIONS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE LIKELY VICTIMS OF THE FALLING DOMINOES. THE TRUTH IS THAT ALL OF US HAVE GREAT PROBLEMS OF ONE KIND OR ANOTHER. YET EACH OF US IS BASICALLY CONFIDENT OF SURMOUNTING THOSE PROBLEMS IN OUR OWN WAY. NOR WAS THERE THROUGHOUT OUR MEETING IN JAMAICA ANY DISPOSITION TO KNOCK THE UNITED STATES, TO RECRIMINATE AGAINST HER OR TO SUGGEST THAT THE UNITED STATES WILL NOT BE A GOOD ALLY OR A TRUSTWORTHY FRIEND. INDEED, WITH THE WAR IN VIETNAM OVER, MANY NATIONS - AND AUSTRALIA IS ONE - WILL HAVE EVEN GREATER CONFIDENCE IN AMERICA AS AN ALLY, FOR WE KNOW THAT AMERICAN RESOLVE, AMERICAN CAPACITY, AMERICAN RESOURCES WILL NO LONGER BE WEAKENED OR DISSIPATED IN A FRUITLESS CAUSE.

    PRESIDENT FORD WAS ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED IN REMARKING TWO WEEKS AGO, THAT BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES' POLICY AND NOT SUCCEEDED EVERYWHERE IT SHOULD NO BE ASSUMED IT HAD SUCCEEDED NOWHERE. THE POLICY FAILED IN INDO-CHINA BECAUSE IT WAS FOREDOOMED TO FAILURE; THE POLICY SUCCEEDED IN JAPAN AND IN EUROPE BECAUSE IT HAD THE NECESSARY INGREDIENTS OF SUCCESS - A REALISTIC APPRECIATION OF AMERICA'S OWN INTERESTS AND THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN AND WESTERN EUROPE. IT FAILED IN INDO-CHINA BECAUSE THE POLICY THERE WAS BASED NEITHER ON AMERICA'S TRUE INTERESTS NOR ON ANYTHING THAT WAS POSSIBLE OR RELEVANT AS FAR AS THE INTERESTS OR ASPIRATIONS OF THE PEOPLES OF INDO-CHINA WERE CONCERNED. BUT THE GREAT AIMS OF AMERICAN POLICY CAN NOW CONTINUE UNDIMINISHED AND UNDETERRED, FREE OF THE IMPEDIMENTS AND DISTRACTIONS AND DISTORTIONS OF INDO-CHINA.

    THE GREAT THRUST OF THAT POLICY RESTS UPON THE DETENTE WITH THE SOVIET UNION AND WITH ASSOCIATING CHINA IN A WIDER DETENTE. NOTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN INDO-CHINA WOULD WARRANT THE UNITED STATES BEING DEFLECTED FROM THAT GREAT GOAL. FOR THE ESSENTIAL MEANING OF DETENTE IS SIMPLY THE PREVENTION OF WORLD WAR, OF WORLD NUCLEAR WAR. IT IS PRECISELY BECAUSE THIS IS THE HIGHEST RISK THAT MANKIND HAVE EVER FACED - THE DESTRUCTION OF CIVILISATION ITSELF - THAT THIS IS THE HIGHEST GOAL A NATION COULD EVER SET FOR ITSELF.

    I DO NOT ASSERT THAT DETENTE AS IT NOW EXISTS IS COMPLETE. BUT I DO ASSERT THAT IT MUST BE MADE COMPLETE IF ANY OF US ARE TO SURVIVE.

    WE CAN BEGIN BY ENSURING THAT REGIONS OF THE WORLD STILL LARGELY UNTOUCHED BY GREAT POWER RIVALRY CONTINUE TO REMAIN FREE OF IT. IN THAT CONNECTION, AUSTRALIA HAS LENT HER VOICE TO THE MAINTENANCE OF A ZONE OF PEACE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN. ALL OF US WHO SUPPORT SUCH PROPOSALS, ALL OF US WHO SUPPORT DETENTE, KNOW THAT THE DIFFICULTIES IN THE WAY OF ACHIEVING DETENTE ARE DAUNTING INDEED. BUT CERTAINLY, UPON OUR SUCCESS OR FAILURE TURNS THE FUTURE OF MANKIND. AND IT IS BECAUSE OF THIS THAT THE UNITED STATES REMAINS THE TRUE LEADER OF THE WORLD AND, AS MUCH AS SHE USED TO BE, "THE LAST, BEST HOPE OF THE WORLD". FOR IT IS TO THE UNITED STATES THAT THE WEST CHIEFLY LOOKS FOR MEANINGFUL LEADERSHIP IN THAT DIRECTION. IF DETENTE IS TO SUCCEED, IT WILL CONTINUE TO REQUIRE AMERICAN INITIATIVES, AMERICAN COURAGE, AMERICAN LEADERSHIP.

    FOR MANY YEARS TO COME, PEOPLE LIKE US, AMERICANS, AUSTRALIANS, POLITICIANS, JOURNALISTS, WILL BE EXAMINING IN ARGUMENTS, IN ARTICLES, IN SPEECHES, IN BOOKS, WHAT HAPPENED IN INDO-CHINA. THIS IS AS IT SHOULD BE; FOR SO GREAT A DISASTER, SO GREAT A MISTAKE, SO GREAT SUFFERING, CANNOT BE EASILY DISMISSED OR EVER FORGOTTEN. WE SHALL ALL HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES. YET EVEN SO, WE HAVE TO GO ON TO THE FUTURE. IN THE TWO YEARS SINCE I LAST SPOKE TO YOU AMERICA HAS UNDERGONE A VAST DOMESTIC, AS WELL AS A VAST INTERNATIONAL, CATHARSIS. WITH THOSE PROFOUND TRAUMAS BEHIND YOU, WITH THEIR BITTERNESS AND MISERY BEING PURGED AWAY, WHAT BETTER TIME TO PROFIT BY EXPERIENCE AND BUILD ON THE TRUE STRENGTHS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AND AMERICAN IDEALISM?
    HERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY - NOT JUST FOR AMERICA BUT FOR ALL OF US - TO END OUR LONG PREOCCUPATION WITH MILITARY ALIGNMENTS IN ASIA, OUR IDEOLOGICAL CONFRONTATIONS, OUR COLD WAS HANGUPS, AND OPEN A NEW CHAPTER IN WESTERN CO-OPERATION. LET THE DEEPER ISSUES OF POVERTY, OVERPOPULATION AND MAL-DISTRIBUTION OF THE WORLD'S WEALTH ASSUME THEIR PROPER IMPORTANCE IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS. THESE ARE THE REAL PROBLEMS OF ASIA. THESE ARE THE REAL PROBLEMS OF THE WORLD. THESE, I TRUST, WILL BE THE REAL CONCERNS OF THE UNITED STATES, WITH YOUR GREAT TRADITION OF MORAL LEADERSHIP, YOU UNEXAMPLED GENEROSITY, YOUR VISION, YOUR ENERGY, YOUR SHEER ZEST FOR ACCOMPLISHMENT, YOU WILL FIND NEW INSPIRATION IN THIS TASK - A TASK IN WHICH AUSTRALIA WILL BE A READY AND A WILLING PARTNER.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVACZTICKV3A2CKLHFOBX9M7HPAK
    Media URN:
    VLVACZTICKV3A2CKLHFOBX9M7HPAK
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    08/05/1975
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:04:29:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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