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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 10. 1965.

Not Obliged To Send Troops—Nash

Not Obliged To Send Troops—Nash

Salient Reporter

Speaking on New Zealand's role in South Vietnam, Sir Walter Nash stated that in terms of the SEATO treaty New Zealand was not obliged to send troops.

According to the treaty the country suffering from aggression could only expect to receive aid from the member countries if they requested it from all. He claimed that the South Vietnamese Governments "sounded out" the SEATO member countries and only invited those that were prepared to send military aid.

"There is no evidence that South Vietnam has presented their case in the manner as outlined in the SEATO treaty."

Condemning the USA's willingness to intervene in Vietnam, he said that in 1954 the USA offered to help the French defeat the Viet Minh — "At that time the USA were offering their assistance to France, not to the people who wanted to be set free"

He added: "If every country in the world has the opportunity to step in and say what form of government should be in a country, then every country in the world would be subject to attack from the outside. There is no government good enough to say how a country should govern itself."

He urged the USA to stop attempting to restrain China and said the sooner they realised they couldn't, the better it would be. "If they (the Chinese people) think that Communist government is the best … then they will continue to advocate it."

Sir Walter then dealt with the hypothesis that we are fighting in South-east Asia to defend ourselves. "To me this is a horrifying position. Is it because 'Asian lives are cheap?' Why should Asians die so that we may be saved?" (Loud prolonged applause).

In conclusion he stressed that his own personal experience had shown that the most talked about political aspect of Vietnam amongst the Vietnamese was unification. He questioned how any negotiations to unify the country (as requested by the South Vietnamese as a communique) could proceed with President Johnson's unwillingness to discuss the subject with the Viet Cong.