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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 11. 22 July 1970

Indo-China forum number two

Indo-China forum number two

A second Teach-in in the current Indo-China series was held on Thursday, 9 July. Speakers included Mr Thomson, Minister of Defence, the Reverend Father T. Peterson, Rod Alley, Political Science Lecturer at Victoria, and John Kennedy, Editor of the Catholic magazine Tablet.

Mr Thomson and Mr Kennedy spoke supporting New Zealand's military involvement in South-East Asia; Father Peterson and Mr Alley opposed our participation.

The Rev. T. Peterson said he did not aim to speak in a political capacity, but to criticise New Zealand's involvement in Vietnam from a Christian point of view and to denounce the myths of diabolical communism and the 'Yellow Peril' He said "Let's not justify butchers by giving it the vestments humanist Christian aid. Lest we forget, the majority of suffering in the world is inflicted upon other people by our way of life."

Photo of John Kennedy

John Kennedy. Editor of the Tablet.

Mr Thomson discussed the history of New Zealand's defence activity and the present Government's "fully rehearsed defence policy." He said that New Zealand did not want isolation, but did want to enter into a relationship with South-East Asian states South-East Asia, he said, was a vital part of the world. He described forces sent to the area as acting, as part of a collective security organisation against communist aggression. The Vietnam war was "an exciting challenge for the peoples of South-East Asia." Mr Thomson continued: "The problem of communism is only one of the problems of S.E. Asia. Thank goodness the United States' interests run so parallel to those of New Zealand."

Rod Alley commented on Mr Thomson's speech, saying that it had said nothing about the Government's present or future policy in South-East Asia. He said that the crisis in Cambodia was more important than any development to date, and that New Zealand's presence in Vietnam was now unanswerable. Public opinion has had some effect, but an independent stance must be taken up by New Zealand regarding Indo-China.

Mr Kennedy said that Cambodia was the key to the situation in Indo-China. He predicted that military operations would continue there because they were begun too late to achieve their desired effect. He said that he was aware of American mistakes and that the Americans would have to leave South Vietnam. He said that he expected a major Communist offensive in Laos at the end of this sear and that the aim of North Vietnam is the domination of all Indo-China.

Photo of student protest

No confidence . . .

Photo of student protest

No, confident . . .

Photo of meeting at SUB

And, now for the rest of the agenda.