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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 12. 1967.

SCM-PM Exchange

SCM-PM Exchange

The Student Christian Movement sent the following telegram to the Prime Minister on July 27.

"The Annual General Meeting of the Victoria University Student Christian Movement deplores the present trend of the Governments policies on, the war in Vietnam and we urge the Government to take positive preventative action against the manufacturing and sale of poisonous defoliants for military use in Vietnam. We consider the use of such defoliants repugnant."

The Prime Minister sent this reply, dated August 3:

"I am not sure what present trend' in the Government's policy on Vietnam it is that your members deplore. I can only say in reply that the Government's essential objective remains unchanged: that is, to help the people of South Vietnam resist the imposition on them by force of a regime they have fought so long to withstand.

"I am informed that there is no current interest on the part of the American Government in purchasing supplies of defoliants from New Zealand. On the wider question of the use of defoliants in Vietnam. I would point out that selective defoliants—and spray of this kind are commonly used in New Zealand agriculture— are not being employed to poison or main personnel, but to deprive North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces of means of concealment and local food supply sources which help them to sustain their aggression against South Vietnam.

"As the United States Government has already pointed out. action is being taken to ensure that civilians and non combatants are warned in advance of such action and are resettled and fed by the Government of South Vietnam "

Keith Holyoake