july memories / 12

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

12th July, 1962 : A report presented to the United Nations urges that New Guinea be given self-government by 1964. Debate on the future of the Australian-administered territory began in the UN Trusteeship Council today. The report was made by a mission that visited Papua, which is an Australian possession, and the New Guinea Trust Territory. The mission said a Parliament with 100 members should be elected by universal suffrage in two years, that Australia should aim to have 100 university graduates a year to provide an administrative “cadre” and that the World Bank should establish what was needed for development. The political plan has been rejected by some figures in the territories as “ridiculous”.

The Australian representative to the Council, Dudley McCarthy, when asked if a deadline had been set for the independence of Papua and New Guinea, said that would be up to the local people to decide, when they were “in a position to do so”. The Australian Government is concerned about the fate of Dutch West New Guinea, which is claimed by Indonesia, and how events there could affect the Australian-administered parts.

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