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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 10. 1963.

French Embassy Push Students Out

French Embassy Push Students Out

A Delegation from the Victoria University Students' Association visited the French Embassy recently to try to find out something of the French policy on Nuclear Testing. After ten minutes in his office, the First Secretary asked them pointedly to leave.

Among the delegation were Students' Association President Peter Blizard, Secretary Brian Opie, P.R.O. Robin Bell, and Cultural Affairs Officer Murray Rowlands.

Blizard, speaking first, intimated that questions would be short and to the point. He stated that the Students' Association was disturbed about the apparent indifference of the French to world opinion. Was France, he asked prepared to go ahead with testing of Atomic weapons regardless of circumstances?

The answer amounted to a "no comment." The secretary simply told the delegation to read Prime Minister Holyoake's recent press statement on the subject. He repeated this suggestion in answer to several other questions.

Blizard pointed out two probable effects of a French continuation of testing:
1.It would have a discouraging effect on the present test-ban discussions in Moscow.
2.Tests in the Pacific area would be likely to endanger the life and health of persons resident in the area.

The Secretary merely re-iterated that atomic weapons were necessary for the West as a deterrent to Russia.

Questions continued:

Blizard: Would not French testing in the future provide an excuse for other powers to continue testing, despite any agreement that might be made by them?

Secretary: We cannot answer for the others. In any case we have not tested recently. How do you know we are going to do so?

Bell: Preparations are going ahead in Tahiti and in the Gambia Islands. Do you mean to say that the French are going to considerable expense for no reason? It seems unlikely.

Rowlands: Have the population of the Gambia Islands been evacuated as yet?

Secretary: Not yet.

Blizard: What would be the French attitude to an agreement signed between the three powers at Moscow?

Secretary: No agreement has yet been signed.

Blizard: Thank you.

Blizard, continuing, asked whether France had any consideration for the opinion of the peoples in the testing area.

Secretary: The Americans tested at Bikini and the British at Christmas Island without any such consideration.

Bell: There was little knowledge of the danger when the Americans tested in 1947 and 1948.

Secretary: Oh, well!

Blizard: In any case, the fact that others have tested without consideration is no excuse for the French to do so.

Secretary: If you think that you had better leave my office!