Primary Sources 50 stories from 50 years of the Archives

Postcard from the CIA

Following the constitutional crisis of November 1975 which saw the removal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) by Governor-General Sir John Kerr and the appointment of the Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister, there were many questions about the involvement of the USA's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Allegations made by Christopher Boyce, who worked for a CIA communications contractor, claimed that the CIA wanted Whitlam removed from office because he threatened to withdraw Australian troops from Vietnam and close the US military bases in Australia, including Pine Gap. Boyce further alleged that Kerr acted with influence from the US government in the dismissal of Whitlam and that he was referred to as 'our man Kerr'.

So concerned was the US administration about the security of the 'shared' intelligence military bases in Australia that after the 1974 re-election of the Whitlam Government, Richard Nixon was said to have ordered a review of the US alliance with Australia. However in 1977 Warren Christopher, US Deputy Secretary of State, related the assurance of US President Jimmy Carter that there would be no improper interferences from the USA in the Australian political process.

The Campaign for International Co-operation and Disarmament (CICD) was established by the Victorian Peace Council and other groups at the international Peace Congress held in Melbourne in 1959 following the World Congress in Stockholm in 1958. The CICD has since actively campaigned against foreign bases, armed conflict and nuclear weapons, and advocated for disarmament and peace. It was a central organising force during the anti-Vietnam war protests during the 1970–1972 moratorium campaigns.

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