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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973

Prime Minister Shifts Debate

Prime Minister Shifts Debate

Kirk was present at nearly every session of the conference after monopolising the debate at the Foreign Affairs remit committee to ensure that no remits opposing government policy were adopted. Three times he stepped in to suppress what he no doubt considered unhealthy debate.

On the first occasion it was to stifle a call for recognition of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on an equal basis with the Thieu regime in Saigon. This move was completely in line with the provisions of the Paris Peace Agreement signed by those three parties and the United States. It was therefore ironic when Kirk, in a piece of cheap demagoguery, accused the advocates of recognition of the P.R.G. and D.R.V. of "damned meddling" and "telling the Vietnamese what to do".

Quite correctly, Kirk accused the advocates of recognition of the P.R.G. in particular, of attempting to "add to the political opportunities of the P.R.G." But he did not, of course, draw from his own statement the most obvious conclusion: that only be recognising both parties in South Vietnam could New Zealand avoid adding to the "political opportunities" of one party over the other.