‘How many lives have to be lost?’


“The suggestion that Moscow could only be an inappropriate place to hold the Games if there was total war is the greatest absurdity I have ever heard.”

Mr Fraser was speaking in Honolulu on his way home from consultations with American, British, West German and French leaders on Soviet moves in Afghanistan.

President of the Australian Olympic Federation, Mr. Syd Grange leaves after talks with Prime Minister Fraser in Melbourne. February 15, 1980.Credit:Staff photographer

Mr Fraser said he hoped very much that the AOF would support the position taken by the United States Olympic Committee, which will boycott the Games.

Moscow had said when it was awarded the Games that it regarded them as a mark of approval of Soviet foreign policy. Mr Fraser said. Soviet foreign policy included the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

“How can any Olympic athlete go to Moscow and allow his action to be interpreted as approval,” he asked.

“I know they don’t approve and say they don’t approve, but these statements, will not get across the air waves in Russia.

“I just hope no Australian will allow himself or herself to be put in that position.”

Mr Fraser said he could understand the feelings of athletes who had trained so hard to carry the Australian colours to victory.

“But we are talking of the lives and freedom of people.”

Mr Fraser said that no matter what had been said and done in Mexico City [where the Association of National Olympic Committees voted that the Games should go ahead in Moscow] an increasing number of governments were turning to the view that Moscow was not an appropriate place for the Games.

Mr Fraser was briefed yesterday on American and Soviet military strength in the Pacific and Indian Oceans by Lieut General F. Poston, Deputy Commander in Chief, Pacific.

Mr Fraser would not comment directly on his hour of briefing and discussion.

Despite the controversy and the pressure on competitors not to go, about 120 Australians attended the Olympics.

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