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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 3. 14th March 1973

Mr Kirk Says:

page 12

Mr Kirk Says:

Prime Minister Wellington New Zealand

Dear Mr Wilkes,

New Zealand crest

I have considered your letter of 19 January and the suggestions it contained concerning the United States military presence in New Zealand.

United States military detachments operate in New Zealand on the basis of intergovernmental agreements and other formal written approval. As you know some of these exchanges are published while others dealing with administrative matters or containing classified information remain confidential to the two parties. The arrangements have been entered into freely and can be terminated by either party.

The Government's policy on scientific projects and supporting activities carried out in New Zealand by agencies of foreign governments will have regard to a number of factors. We shall consider the intrinsic worth of the project and make an independent assessment of possible end uses of data collected. - We shall also take into account whether or not the foreign government proposes or has proposed to share the fruits of research, and whether New Zealand has been invited to participate directly in the project, if this is desirable and feasible. Naturally, in the case of a United States project we shall have regard to our close relations, including defence associations, with that country. Finally, and most importantly, we shall decide what is best for New Zealand.

I do not consider the United States military presence in New Zealand to be inimical to our interests; nor do I think it will create the servile relationship suggested in your concluding remarks. But I am concerned that the unwarranted fears and suspicions which have been aroused concerning the purpose and function of certain United States installations should be dispelled, and that people should be provided with the means to conduct objective and well-informed discussion of these matters. In consultation with the United States authorities the Government is considering ways of doing this, for example by making, where possible, further factual information available to Parliament and to the public on the exact function of certain installations.

Yours sincerely

Mr Owen Wilkes,

P. O. Box 2258, Christchurch