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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 2. 1969.

External Affairs entry criteria under question

External Affairs entry criteria under question

Criticism of the criteria employed to determine entry into the External Affairs Department has been made by Victoria University students.

This criticism has been attracted by the appointment of a political science honours graduate, Mr Paul Kelly, to the department as a diplomatic trainee.

Mr. Kelly was responsible for a controversy in Salient's corespondence columns last year when he wrote a letter which is reproduced on this page.

The letter excited considerable comment from students for several issues.

The staff officer at the Department of External Affairs, Mr Lynch, was invited to comment on the letter, and the entrance qualifications required by the department.

Mr Lynch said it was "inconceivable" that a member of the department could make comments such as those contained in the letter.

"The opinions expressed were made in a personal capacity," he said.

Mr Lynch agreed that officers were given an opportunity during the recruitment process to express their views on certain subjects.

He said he did not personally interview Mr Kelly and had no idea whether the letter was taken into consideration when Mr Kelly applied for employment.

"But I would not think whatever views a person may have expressed before entering the department would count against his appointment," he said.

"The essential point is the necessity for every officer to accept the fact that there may be an alternative point of view to a particular problem."

Mr Lynch said the political position of the officers of the department must be "loose".

"Broad policy guidelines are laid down by the New Zealand Government." he said.

"But within these guidelines a free exchange of ideas is permitted."

Mr Lynch said discussion on any subject was not prohibited or inhibited in any way.

He said he would not expect an officer to go outside the department and expound, in public and private, views that were contrary to department policy.

Mr Lynch re-emphasised the necessity for officers to have an open mind.

"The process by which policy recommendations are made is one in which all officers can participate," he said.

"Officers can cast into the wind any recommendation they like."

"Whether they are accepted is another matter."

Mr Lynch said the letter showed "forthrightness".

"It shows a willingness to state a view and defend it," he said.

Asked whether he thought the letter was a fair and logical and rational one, Mr Lynch replied he had written many letters in his time and he wasn't sure whether they were all logical and rational.

He said the subject matter was "very sensitive", and one on which opinions were often "black or white, for or against"

"There is not much of an area of grey," he said.

Dear Sir,—How long must we permit Asian and Indian students to roam around this university ? Certainly, there is considerable apathy on the part of the New Zealand Government as regards this situation, as these students are actually encouraged to come to this country and attend a New Zealand university. With this position one is forced to wonder why governmental apathy should be readily inculcated in the student body which seems quite prepared to tolerate the inclusion of Asian and Indian students into university sports, their sharing of tables with white students both in the library and the cafe, their perpetual chattering in languages that in no way resemble English. I have attended Victoria for three and a half years, and during this time have noticed that there has been little open defiance against these Asian and Indian students whose arrogance has increased accordingly. The time has now come when every serious-minded white student must openly declare his views, hitherto held privately, as to the utter exclusion or even segregation of these above-mentioned alien students.

Your sincerely,

P. J. Kelly.