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Croatian Ustaše (clerical-fascists) in Australia?

Documents on the 1973 ‘raid’ at A.S.I.O., the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

I. Notes of Meeting at A.S.I.O. Regional Directorate, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
March 15, 1973

II. Notes of Meeting at A.S.I.O. Headquarters, Melbourne
March 16, 1973

[Apr. 21, 2008]

The notes from the meetings (‘raid’) on March 15 and 16, 1973, between the Australian Attorney General, Senator Lionel Murphy, and members of his staff, and officers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (A.S.I.O), posted on this page, were provided to Emperor’s Clothes by Kerry Milte, former Commander of the Central Crime Intelligence Bureau of the Commonwealth (now Australian) Federal Police, who attended the meetings as special security adviser to Senator Murphy. In his letter to TENC [1], Mr. Milte writes that the notes on the two meetings “were read by me into the transcript of the 1973 Senate Inquiry [into Milte's role in the meetings or, as the media put it, the ‘raid’] against the protestations of the Liberals.”

We have added some comments and clarifications, which are in brackets, and highlighted some revealing passages in yellow. For related articles see footnote [1].

– Samantha Criscione and Jared Israel


Clarification from Kerry Milte:

Concerning the transcripts of the A.S.I.O meetings in Canberra and Melbourne, posted below, Kerry Milte, who attended the meetings and provided the transcripts, writes: “The term ‘police’ in these transcripts most often refers to state police ‘Special Branches,’ which acted in conjunction with A.S.I.O. A.S.I.O. sponsored and funded them. Their relations with the  Commonwealth Police were not good because we (in the Commonwealth Police) were looking over their shoulders on corruption issues. So when you see the ‘police were doing this or that’ it was A.S.I.O.’s police appendages, not the Commonwealth Police.”


I. Notes of Meeting at A.S.I.O. Regional Directorate, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
March 15, 1973





The Attorney-General, Senator L. K. Murphy;
Mr C. H. Brown, Regional Director, A.S.I.O.;
Mr R. Hunt, Asst. Regional Director A.S.I.O. (Arrived at approximately 12.15 pm)
Mr K. L. Milte, Special Adviser to the Attorney-General;
Miss M. Barron, Private Secretary to the Attorney-General;
Mr N. Penny, A.S.I.O. Administrative officer was present in the building but was not present at interview.

Notes taken by Miss Barron.

After introductions the following conversation took place.

SENATOR MURPHY: What files do you have on Prime Minister when he comes here next week. Croats? There is a probability of an attempt on the life of the Yugoslav Prime Minister when he comes here next week.

MR C. H. BROWN: The expert on this is the section head who is in Melbourne helping out with the material for you which the Director-General (D.G.) is to bring tomorrow. He was at headquarters before he came here.

(Brown mentioned the name of Ron Hunt, Asst. Regional Director A.C.T. [Australian Capital Territory] Office)

MR C. H. BROWN: He has a more detailed working knowledge of the personalities than I and probably has a lot of the files we want in his cabinet.

SENATOR MURPHY: We are having a meeting in the morning with the President of the Senate. He wants to know what is happening about security arrangements for Parliament House. This has always been a great problem as we are not allowed to impose upon security arrangements. I will be responsible for seeing that the protocol is observed. I want to be in a position to let him know then what has been done. It is important that we have as much as we can.

Mr Brown telephoned Mr R. Hunt

MR C.H. BROWN: “The A.G. [Attorney-General] wants you to come in and discuss problems of mutual interest. Neville Penny is here already.”

(Discussion about Croats terminated pending the arrival of Mr Hunt. Mr Hunt arrived at 12.15 a.m.).

After introductions:

SENATOR MURPHY: I want to see the files dealing with Croatian organizations such as you have or Croatian clubs and any major personalities that you have and Mr Hunt does have. Are there any that you know of.

MR C. H. BROWN: Lloyd (?) at Parliament House.

SENATOR MURPHY: You may be aware of any Croats who are employed at Parliament House, permanent or casual. There are a lot of people brought in casually. Do you have any information on these people? Is there a file on Parliament House other than a file on that?

MR C. H. BROWN: I have no knowledge of any files on employees.

SENATOR MURPHY: Are there any of Yugoslav origin and do you have any files on them?

MR C.H. BROWN: We have done a short periodic check on staff. For casuals we have never done them. Only in the last year or two any files provided with the knowledge of the Speaker. I am not aware of any people to check jobs in Parliament House.

SENATOR MURPHY: Is there any check on people who may be barmen or who might apply for a job at a time like this? Has any request been made for this type of information?

MR C.H. BROWN: Not so far as I know.

SENATOR MURPHY: Nothing has been done about Parliament House?

MR C.H. BROWN: Yes. Whether the Commonwealth Police have I don’t know. As a result of the meetings which have been going on and which Hunt has attended he has worked in close co-operation with the police and subsequent to the main meeting has had a meeting each day with the Commonwealth Police and we are assisting the police overall. So far as what they are doing we do not know. Surveillance is being done by police and they will see tomorrow the targets they are to allot to us. We have no executive function, no right to lean on people. We are being given targets which are less likely to require action of a police kind. As soon as we get them we are going to set 24 hour surveillance as part of the overall plan by the police.

SENATOR MURPHY: What would happen if somebody is intent upon assassination? Has any survey been done?

MR C. H. BROWN: Police have done a round of all motels and they will do this each day from now on … We have put our heads together and pointed out the most likely characters who will require attention. We have no knowledge of an influx of people from interstate. The numbers given are superfluous. We think some will stay at private houses occupied by their own people, other than to hotels or motels and some to caravan parks. The police survey done today is designed to cover all these places where they are likely to be putting up.

SENATOR MURPHY: The cameras on top of Parliament House. Your organization requested the permission of the President and the Speaker and it has been given.

MR C.H. BROWN: There will be two photographers augmenting the police photographers who will be in with the crowd and a van with a camera set up on top in front of Parliament House. It may be very useful for evidence and also our own photographs of any organised Croatian group are getting out of date. We have not had an opportunity to photograph a group of Croatians for about 4 years and this will give us an opportunity to bring our photographs up to date. Last time was at Parliament House and it was useful in prosecutions.

SENATOR MURPHY: Any thought been given to other persons?

MR C.H. BROWN: To the best of my knowledge no.

SENATOR MURPHY: Mr Grassby [Minister for Immigration] was mentioned as a possible target. When will thought be given to that?

MR C.H. BROWN: It is a question of lack of resources.

SENATOR MURPHY: How many can we look after?

MR C.H. BROWN: We are spreading it very wide if we consider more than those in the immediate scene.

SENATOR MURPHY: Have there been any attempts at any of the conferences to discuss the protection of other Ministers in the event of them being foiled in their major targets? Any consideration given to the protection of people like James Cairns [Deputy Prime Minister] or Al Grassby?

MR C.H. BROWN: I don’t know of any discussion taken place to look after any Ministers who will not be at any of the functions. The concentration of physical protection is on the actual party itself.

SENATOR MURPHY: Except protection for the Prime Minister?

MR C.H. BROWN: That comes within the protection of the whole party, but apart from that, no. This is in the hands of the people who are doing the physical exercises.

SENATOR MURPHY: What about Jim Cairns? He might be considered a good substitute.

MR C.H. BROWN: There has not been any particular effort.

SENATOR MURPHY: You mean nothing has been done?

MR C.H. BROWN: No. The arrangement is for a heavy police guard around outside and the matter of bringing the visiting Prime Minister in through the Senate, if there is too much press or people around the front or any sign of demonstration, is intended to station police around the front as a decoy for the crowd and the route is flexible so that they go in the front or the Senate. The choice is to be made at the last moment.

SENATOR MURPHY: What about inside Parliament House?

MR C.H. BROWN: Police guards will be inside at vantage points. I do not know how many police will be inside. In fact, I am not too sure that at the meeting the decision had yet been taken. Details are still to be worked out.

SENATOR MURPHY: Has any proposal been made as to how many people should be inside? There are a lot of points of entry. When is it proposed to work this out?

MR C.H. BROWN: The police were still working on some details today. At the briefing when the physical arrangements were being taken, detail was gone into, but not in all areas. I do not know the full details of all their planning, particularly in the House. We are clear on the routes, but around Parliament House, no. Government House was fairly clear up to when they got the party in. Same applies to both Houses.

SENATOR MURPHY: Obviously this is not very advanced. The President and Speaker have not yet been consulted. Have you been invited to be there at 9.30? Has a check been made on Parliament House staff, permanent and casual?


SENATOR MURPHY: No one has requested permission of Parliament to have them looked through?

MR C.H. BROWN: No. The permanent staff is checked before they go on there.

SENATOR MURPHY: The check of the permanent staff would not be especially addressed to this point and check on casual staff is even more vital. I know the susceptibilities to Parliament House, but why was a request not made? It cannot be done in a few hours, can it?


SENATOR MURPHY: Why has it not been done?

MR C.H. BROWN So far as Parliament House is concerned, I do not know whether it has even occurred to someone.

SENATOR MURPHY: Is not it obvious to do this?


SENATOR MURPHY: He would have to come to close quarters? Why has no request been made as to the likely casual staff?

(SENATOR MURPHY gave a direction that a request is to be made for this to be done.)

SENATOR MURPHY: What has been done to check on people in motels?

MR C.H. BROWN: The staff has been checked for this purpose.

SENATOR MURPHY: Casual staff?

MR C.H. BROWN: Yes, the whole staff.

SENATOR MURPHY: What has been done about the replacement at the last minute?

Mr C.H. BROWN: The staff as it stands now has been checked and there is an arrangement now between the management to through anyone employed between now and then.

SENATOR MURPHY: Checking by names and photographs?

MR C.H. BROWN: The only particulars we can get are the name, address and birth date.

SENATOR MURPHY: Suppose a person changes his name. How can you check this?

MR C.H. BROWN: If the particulars are false there is no check.

SENATOR MURPHY: The name of the killer is of course false.

MR C.H. BROWN: This has always been a problem in any checking for any purpose. In time we may find out, but in the short term there is no way of proving they have committed a false statement in filling in a form.

SENATOR MURPHY: Do we have the photographs of all these suspected people, the real villains and all fanatical people, and shown these photographs to the managers of the hotels?

MR C.H. BROWN: No. We have not and I do not think anyone has. Photographs have been taken, but putting to the management of the hotels has not been done.

SENATOR MURPHY: Does not it seem an elementary step? Should this not be done?

MR C.H.BROWN: The police photographs are in the hands of the printer. We have not received them yet. We are expecting them tomorrow afternoon.

(At this stage SENATOR MURPHY handed a file to Mr Milte and indicated a page. Mr Milte handed it back to the Senator who showed it to Mr Brown and Mr Hunt. They both looked at the page, but no conversation took place. I learned later that the page referred to the note of a meeting which took place on March 2nd, 1973).

SENATOR MURPHY: Well then, what about moves in 1973 to create a revolution overseas, a possible incursion into Yugoslavia?


SENATOR MURPHY: Does it mean they are going out of here?

MR C.H. BROWN: Yes. There is to be an incursion in the European summer. This information is not only available here, but from France and Germany and there has been a group of 9 from Melbourne to work on that. They have a group which they are investigating. They left their place of residence in Footscray and Carlton. They are chasing them. Any group which we have had from overseas…. liaison forces. A group of 6 alleged to be part of the contingent. A source could give us nothing but names. We have been restricted by the embargo on French and German services. We have been trying to identify them from our own resources and also Immigration and so far have not been able to line them up. A Gabro Petricevic attended a meeting in Melbourne and claims to have attended some sort of training at a camp in Victoria, on a farm near Moe. He stated that all manner of weapons are held at the farm including sub-machine guns, machine guns, and even light artillery. The Agent is convinced that such a farm exists and he is telling the truth, but he expressed doubts as to their possession of light artillery.

SENATOR MURPHY: The suggestion of terrorists moving to Australia and the claims of them receiving training prior to leaving should be investigated.

MR C.H. BROWN: That is like so much of information these agents pass in.

SENATOR MURPHY: It is consistent?

MR C.H. BROWN: Yes, it is.

SENATOR MURPHY: When you look at the volume, it is pretty high.

MR C.H. BROWN: A lot is not as consistent as it might be. It is from the same source.

SENATOR MURPHY: There seems no doubt that the training camps exist.

MR C.H. BROWN: This particular training camp information has been sent to Melbourne for investigation.

SENATOR MURPHY: What were results?

MR CH. BROWN: None for us. The D.G. [Director-General of A.S.I.O Peter Barbour] would know what is happening in Melbourne. It is out of our hands and we are not made aware of results.

SENATOR MURPHY: It would be hard for you to follow up if you do not know what is going on?

MR C.H. BROWN: There is an evaluation system going which checks on the reliability and credibility of agents. They are graded.

SENATOR MURPHY: What does this mean? Les Shaw, P.R. A.C.T. intelligence report – non gratis FILE NO. NX134 77/70

MR C.H. BROWN: That is a report about Shaw.

SENATOR MURPHY: The report says: Shaw had warned all Croats to ‘lie low’ until after the elections. There is a belief in the Croatian community that the Yugoslav Embassy is ‘working in with the ALP [Australian Labor Party].’ ZLATKO LAZIC of the Embassy has alleged that with the coming elections ‘big things will happen to the revolutionary groups in Australia’.

And this –

FILE NO. K/1/140 No. 2 KOVAC ANTHONY (TONY ANTE). What about the reliability of agents?

MR C.H. BROWN: Agents materials checked alongside others. Their credibility may change from time to time. Often improves and could be regarded as very reliable. But we are ourselves unable to check on this man’s reliability.

SENATOR MURPHY: It says a member of a Croatian revolutionary group has approached a Croat for information on how to construct a bomb or where it can be obtained. Stated reason was for an attack on ZLATKO LAZIC of Yugoslav Embassy.

MR C.H. BROWN: Other information obtained indicates that two Yugoslavs have already made plans for such attack. However, the Croat seeking the attack was advised not to seek any further action along this line. The agent who reported this is one who is not of a high credibility rating.

SENATOR MURPHY: How far is this appraised to see what is in it?

MR C.H. BROWN: It is pretty specific in the sense that the idea was to bomb a particular person.

SENATOR MURPHY: Who is the Croat?

MR C.H. BROWN: It is hard to do anything. You cannot make them say anything they do not want to say. Our evaluation would indicate that it is second or third hand information.

SENATOR MURPHY: What about Shaw?

MR C.H. BROWN: LES SHAW is a person working with CSIRO [Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation]. He is a soil scientist and has taken an interest in the Croatian problem here. He has done some writing and articles have appeared in the press. He wrote something about Yugoslavian development and it was the subject of some litigation. There was an action for defamation 6 or 8 months ago. He is a peculiar sort of chap. He set himself up as a representative of a tribe in New Guinea. Selling artifacts. He has been looked at and interviewed several times.

SENATOR MURPHY: Has he attended Parliament House as a pressman?

MR C.H. BROWN: I would not imagine so.

SENATOR MURPHY: Is he a member of the press gallery?

MR C.H. BROWN: He is not a fully fledged pressman. He is more of a writer on the side.

SENATOR MURPHY: Now, FILE NO. 3/2/264 part 5 NXI34 25– second paragraph: He says ‘their methods and operators are however respected — police are stupid. It is known that the revolutionary groups are tending to lie low at this stage because of the change of government’.

MR C.H. BROWN: It is a report we have.

SENATOR MURPHY: What are your translator resources?

MR C.H. BROWN: A.S.I.O. A.C.T. has one linguist.
They have a backlog of several days tapes from the intercept and the girl started today and is working on this and doing current stuff as well.

SENATOR MURPHY: The tapes are to be done in ample time. It is imperative that they must be done.

MR CH. BROWN: They are being done as from today. She is working on several days backlog which will be cleared in the next few days so far as Canberra is concerned.

SENATOR MURPHY: What is the position about these? There is ample evidence. I am astonished at it, the existence of a revolutionary terrorist organisation in this country. Has somebody assembled it together in plain terms, no matter what it is called? Has someone got a document saying that there is an organisation of Croats and a reference to the evidence supporting it? There must be a file. Stamps, seals of organisations, constitutions, resolutions, behaviour, etc. Hundreds of statements through these and police documents. Has it been assembled?

MR CH. BROWN: Papers are produced on this at H.Q. [Headquarters] which bring in all the information that is found.

SENATOR MURPHY: Where are they?


SENATOR MURPHY: In these things, are there collated, noted?

MR C.H. BROWN: They are from time to time.

SENATOR MURPHY: Have you got a definitive report?

MR C.H. BROWN: I would imagine from time to time they had a review of the various organisations or groups and they bring out a desk paper. As far as I know that is still being done in Melbourne and they keep these there and if you would like me to ask the D.G. to bring this up tomorrow. It is the best I can do. We do not have any more in this place because it is not of specific local interest other than the personalities involved.

SENATOR MURPHY: When did the Yugoslavs first get upset and the Aide Memoire come through?

MR C.H. BROWN: Yugoslavs started about September or October – Yes on the 22nd September.

SENATOR MURPHY: The previous Attorney-General said there was no credible evidence to suggest that there is a Croatian terrorist organisation here.


SENATOR MURPHY: I want what you have in this place, and there seems to be a lot of it to deal with that proposition.

MR C.H. BROWN: An assessment was prepared by….

SENATOR MURPHY: I am not interested in the suggestions that appeared in that assessment. I would like the material which is available.

MR C.H. BROWN: It is being done in Melbourne and if I could check with them it would save a lot of duplication and time because they have better resources there.

SENATOR MURPHY: They seem to be a little overworked.

MR C.H. BROWN: (No answer)

SENATOR MURPHY: All right I think this is enough for tonight. Thank you Mr Brown for your assistance.

INTERVIEW CONCLUDED AT 1.00 a.m. (approximately)


II. Notes of Meeting at A.S.I.O. Headquarters, Melbourne
March 16, 1973


Clarification from Kerry Milte:

“The Melbourne visit document [posted below] consists of the cryptic notes taken by A/Inspector Bob Parsons. As you might expect there is a lot unsaid. Although the Attorney General spoke gently, his insinuation about the relationship between the DLP (Democratic Labor Party) and Liberals and the terrorists is quite serious.”



THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL [Senator Lionel Murphy]



5.45 a.m. Acting Inspector Parsons was directed to take notes of all conversations.

6.00 a.m.

Mr Cavanagh, at the direction of the Attorney-General, telephoned the contents of a telex message to the officer in charge, Victoria District, Commonwealth Police Force, that Commonwealth Police, in strength as required will immediately proceed to A.S.I.O. Headquarters in Melbourne. They are to seal all safes and containers pending the arrival in Melbourne of the Attorney-General. All Crime Intelligence personnel are to report immediately to Commonwealth Police Headquarters in Melbourne.

6.05 a.m.

The Minister contacted Mr Peter Wilenski, Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister (Hon E.G. Whitlam) and requested if possible, use of V.I.P. aircraft. So that he could proceed to Melbourne.

6.15 a.m.

Telephone call to A.S.I.O. Office, Sydney, requested the telephone number of Mr Ken Donovan, Regional Director A.S.I.O., Sydney. Home phone 02 918 2636. The Attorney-General spoke to Mr Donovan and instructed him to preserve all files in his office for the Attorney-General’s inspection. No files were to be removed, no papers removed from files, and any files out of the office to be returned intact, immediately.

6.25 a.m.

Telephone call from Wilenski to Attorney-General. The Attorney-General stated that he would like Wilenski to convey to the Prime Minister that the recent intelligence assessment on the proposed visit to Australia by [Yugoslav Prime Minister] Mr Bijedic was that there was a strong probability of an attempt on Mr Bijedic’s life and that it was a certainty that there would be major demonstrations. It was very important that the Attorney-General proceed to Melbourne. Transportation was arranged on T.A.A. Flight to Melbourne, at 8.00 a.m. Inspector Dixon conveyed to the Attorney-General that the Commonwealth Police Force element was a member of a disciplined body and should work under the Commissioner. Attorney-General accepted this and asked for Mr Davis’ number.

6.30 a.m.

The Attorney-General rang Commissioner Davis at his home. He expressed concern about the forthcoming visit and informed the Commissioner that he was proceeding to Melbourne with certain personnel whom he nominated to conduct certain inquiries. Mr Davis was told that the Attorney-General required the services of Inspector Dixon, Acing Inspector Parsons, Sergeant West and Mr Cavanagh.

7.00 a.m.

Sergeant Shea, instructed by Inspector Dixon, to be personally responsible for the safety of Mrs. Murphy, including her conveyance to the Airport and transport and security at the Sydney end. This included an escort to the airport and that Mrs. Murphy would advise him of her travel arrangements.

7.30 a.m.

Mr Milte at the Attorney-General’s request spoke to Inspector Charles Jones at the Melbourne Office of the Commonwealth Police. He instructed him to implement immediately the directions which he had received by telex (refer first entry). He was instructed that no officials from A.S.I.O. Headquarters were to have access to any documents at the Headquarters until the arrival of the Attorney-General who would then assume personal direction of the exercise.

8.00 a.m.

Party departed Canberra T.A.A. 495 for Melbourne; the group was joined by Sergeant P.V. West at the airport immediately prior to departure.

(Note: An A.S.I.O. officer (Mr Donald Marshall) was at Canberra airport with a briefcase which he handed to the Attorney-General)

9.00 a.m.

Party arrived Melbourne and proceeded directly to A.S.I.O. Headquarters.

9.35 a.m.

Party arrived A.S.I.O. Headquarters and was met by Mr P. Barbour, Director-General and Mr J. Behm, Deputy-Director-General. The Attorney-General told Mr Barbour that they were all facing a difficult situation with the visit of Mr Bijedic. Certain action was to be taken. He expected full co-operation from all concerned. He would give directions in certain instances and he wished to discuss certain other matters. He stated that he trusted that he would get co-operation which would enable light to be shed on certain matters. He further stated that he had come to Melbourne with those two objectives in mind and he requested their assistance. He stated that he wished to examine the building and that he had intended to pay a visit anyway. The Attorney-General mentioned that he had a luncheon engagement with Mr Barbour the following week.

Mr Barbour conveyed the Attorney-General and party to the auditorium where members of the staff were assembled. Senator Murphy addressed the staff along the following lines:

I thank you for assembling here and I am pleased to meet you all. You will all realize that there have been great changes in Government and in Government attitudes. I take it that the staff and the people of Australia will welcome this change. It is our policy to bring open Government to Australia. A.S.I.O. will of course remain as our own Security Service, as there is a need for us to maintain our own security. It must adhere strictly to its charter, hence the policies of the new Government. The Organisation will be brought under strict ministerial control. This is part of the democratic process. A.S.I.O. is part of that, as is the Attorney-General subject to direction from above. Ministerial control is as it should be. The present Government will co-operate with A.S.I.O. and are pleased to take part in anything which will ensure the security of Australia. The Prime Minister of Yugoslavia is visiting us and we see difficult days ahead. A.S.I.O. has a part to play in ensuring the security of the Government and of our visitors. A combined effort will be made to maintain Australia’s good name. The Attorney-General expressed his thanks for their future assistance.

10.00 a.m.

Certain files (or reports) held by Mr Marshall [i.e., the A.S.I.O. officer whom the Attorney General’s party encountered at the airport] and the Attorney-General were shown to the Director General. There appeared to be two files, one for the Director-General and one for the Attorney-General. [That is, troubling information had been removed from the file prepared for the Attorney General.] The Attorney-General requested the Director-General to produce the original file if possible.

10.17 a.m.

Mr Elliott, an A.S.I.O. officer, stated that the file in question was expected to be in an area on the 5th Floor. He explained that he would have seen any letter when it came in, but not since. Mr Magnay stated he was unable to locate the file. He said he did not recognise the document which was No. 59/6/1 and 53/1/4, No. 526 dated 5 March 1973.

10.20 a.m.

The Attorney-General received a telephone call from his Secretary, Miss Maureen Barron.

10.33 a.m.

Safe No. 16 was opened.

10.35 a.m.

A file was found which proved not to be the correct one although it appeared to be a Canberra file on Yugoslav activities.

10.40 a.m.

Safe No. 85 on the 7th Floor was opened and the file under discussion, complete with a copy of the document therein was discovered.

10.50 a.m.

The Attorney-General had a discussion with the Director-General in the Conference Room. Present were Mr J. Behm, Mr J. Elliott, Mr Magnay, Mr R. Cavanagh, Mr K.L. Milte and Mr D.R. Marshall and Mr R.E. Dixon. He told him (inter alia) that he would not wish to think that he was not being fully informed. He would want material to be fully and correctly informative and not simply consistent with that supplied to the former Attorney-General.

A.G. [Attorney-General] How was A.S.I.O. represented at a meeting which took place in Canberra on 2 March 1973?

D.G. [Director-General] By the Assistant Regional Director in the A.C.T. Mr R. Hunt.

A.G. What instruction was given to Mr Hunt concerning such a meeting and how did the meeting come about?

D.G. I understand that it is a standing group which meets ad hoc. Hunt is the A.S.I.O. representative in that group.

A.G. There seems to be abundant evidence of terrorist organisations in Australia, by documents. I have seen up to 100 documents which seem to supply ample evidence of this. I must not be put in a position where I receive reports which smother this evidence. I will not be placed in a position where I receive material only consistent with that supplied to the previous Government.

10.55 a.m.

A file was produced to the A.G. relating to Croatian terrorists and he stated he wanted the draft report immediately. Mr Magnay said that the report could not be supplied as it had not been prepared at that stage.

A.G. You saw me after 5 March 1973. Is there a reason why I was not told of such a meeting taking place and of any decision taken at that meeting?

D.G. The meeting was of a coordinated group which meets on ad hoc basis for the purpose of co-ordinating intelligence reports on matters involving terrorism and political violence.

A.G. Can you tell me the other members of that group?

D.G. Keith Edwards (First Assistant Secretary) from Attorney-General’s Department and Hunt. The Commonwealth Police Force is also represented on it, I am not sure of the others.

A.G. There has been pretty strong evidence recently concerning people with a tendency to go overseas to engage in unlawful terrorism activities. There seems to be an enormous amount of evidence. Has it ever been taken into account?

D.G. There is a lot of such evidence. It should have been taken into account. [Meaning, he is stating that they wrongly did NOT take  into account the “enormous amount of evidence” of Australian-Croatians “with a tendency to go overseas to engage in unlawful terrorism activities.”]

A.G. I should have been getting material which quite clearly showed the existence of terrorism. It is incredible that this statement should have been made.

The A.G. studied drafts of the statements.

A.G. In 1963 H.O.P [Hrvatski Oslobodilački Pokret or Croatian Liberation Movement, the name given by Ustaša fuehrer Pavelić to the Ustaša organization after WWII] disassociated itself from terrorism. They said this in a letter to the Prime Minister. They stated that they did not train terrorists nor had they. What was the extent of the (Australian) Army participation in the camp at Wodonga?

A.G. Was there a training camp?

MR MAGNAY: I don’t know.

A.G. Have you seen the film?

MAGNAY: I didn’t know film existed.

A.G. Why am I being advised by this office of a training camp when no one here has seen the film. Material which should have been made available has not been properly assessed. How much other material have you not seen? I feel that the previous Attorney-General in the eyes of his Government and certainly this Government did not reveal the true facts.

11.10 a.m. Phone call from Attorney-General’s Secretary Miss Barron.

A.G. Mr Elliott, I presume you read the reports from which you prepared this document? Was that the basis of your reply?

ELLIOTT: Your direction was my basis. Another report is being prepared.

A.G. Reference to [Croatian terrorist] Maric and passport. A.S.I.O. and C.P.F. [Commonwealth Police Force] both recommended against it. [I.e., against giving Maric a passport.]  Previous A.G. gave clearance. Immigration overruled it. Is Maric an extremist?

MAGNAY: He is a thug.

A.G. The previous A.G. gave a statement and it appears that on the evidence that mine will be different. The document states that the A.G. should not be at the variance with previous A.G. That is, there was no evidence of Croat terrorist activity in Australia. I find that a document was being prepared for me which was completely different to all statements made by me. This troubles me that this is in variance with the opinions you have stated and what the Police have reported. [Apparently the A.G. is referring, first, to the minute of a meeting in which officials conspired to withhold information about terrorism from him, so that he would maintain the terrorist-tolerant policies of his predecessor (Kerry Milte discusses this minute in a letter to TENC
[2] ), and second to a document, prepared for him, which was cleansed of information about terrorists.]

A.G. I am very disturbed Mr Barbour that you didn’t make me aware of this.

ELLIOTT: I presume that this document was being prepared by Messrs Curtis (First Assistant Secretary A[ttorney] G[eneral]’s Department) and Edwards. We are preparing a better document and you will have it by 4 p.m. today. Mr Magnay said that they had not reached that stage yet.

A.G. I am not interested in previous opinions by other Governments who presumably showed some tolerance. My desire is to produce the evidence on terrorism and I wish to show it to the Senate. The previous A.G. seems to have given a passport to a person described as a thug against wishes of both A.S.I.O. and C.P.F. I am not happy about things and want them rectified. Especially I wish to rectify this serious departure from Government policy. The Government’s attitude has been made quite clear but the meeting [Senator Murphy is again referring to the minute discussed in Kerry Milte’s letter; see footnote
[2]] stated that my statement should not be contrary or inconsistent to that of the previous Government. Could you indicate to me what is to be done and convince me that this will not happen again?

D.G. It is usual for each representative to consult his Minister. If this is not understood I will make it so. Both the C.P.F. and A.S.I.O. operate in the same area. Hence there is good reason to co-ordinate activities for maximum efficiency.

A.G. This seems to go further than neglect. It is quite serious when such a decision is made behind my back. The Government’s attitude is well known. On the first page – the Wodonga incident [a reference to the Australian Army training Croatian terrorists] is mentioned, you seem to brush it off. There has been no attempt to view the film. How is that?

MAGNAY: I didn’t know film existed.

A.G. How can I then rely on my intelligence?

D.G. I did not know. The C.P.F. has operated but probably neither knew full picture, I feel that this was undesirable. In 1963 A.G.’s directed talks between A.S.I.O. and C.P.F. The Police were directed to enter this field.

ELLIOTT: I have Sir Garfield Barwick’s (former A.G.) direction and our response.

A.G. I wish to see it.

D.G. In those days common for mutual interview of Yugoslavs to take place by each organisation.

A.G. I wish to raise the visit of the Yugoslav Prime Minister. You have seen the Yugoslavian representative. An assessment has been made for precautions by you as to the sufficiency of

D.G. Not a separate assessment. My deputy has been working with a joint group on this: Mr Mahoney (Deputy Secretary A.G.’s Department). My deputy could probably advise.

A.G. Are you satisfied that all precautions are being taken?

D.G. Protection is a Police responsibility. We are assisting within our capabilities.

A.G. Who is the Senior Officer of these combined efforts.

D.G. Mr Mahoney. Deputy Commissioner Davies.

A.G. What role is A.S.I.O. taking?

D.G. My deputy went to Canberra to liaise.

A.G. This is an important matter. Have I your assurance that in your opinion all precautions have been taken?

D.G. All the resources which we can apply have been applied.

A.G. Do you think that there is any precaution which has not been taken?

D.G. We have tried to think of everything I…..Mr Behm ?

BEHM: I was in attendance; a detailed plan has been worked out. We have taken every step. Intercepts and translations are being arranged.

A.G. Will they be completed before the visit?

BEHM: Instructions have been issued. We are looking at the operational stuff. Non operational material is to follow.

A.G. How many linguists?

BEHM: One; our targets are selected and co-ordinated with C.P.F. In Melbourne – Rover and Marincic.

A.G. Can you assure me that all necessary precautions have been taken?

BEHM: As far as we are concerned – Yes.

A.G. That is not the question. I want your assurance of overall necessary precautions.

BEHM: Yes sir. We have nothing to add to Tuesday’s plan.

A.G. (Reads correspondence) Sir Garfield Barwick seemed to take a strong attitude about terrorism.

ELLIOTT: He was talking about the Crimes Act.

A.G. Was overt surveillance carried out by A.S.I.O.?

ELLIOTT: Yes sir: By embarking on a series of interviews in conjunction with C.P.F. Ours was a minor role – co-ordination with the Commonwealth Police.

A.G. Was Sir Garfield Barwick’s recommendation that prosecution was a last resort?

MAGNAY: Not to my notice.

A.G. A.S.I.O. has no knowledge of any contemplated prosecutions?

ELLIOTT: From reports over years. No one is in a position to suggest this. There are stories but no evidence which would seem to support this.

A.G. Is that your best answer to whether Sir Garfield Barwick’s suggestions were carried out? Is it true that A.S.I.O. asked C.P.F. to back down from interviews [with suspected terrorists]?

BEHM: Not as a general rule – Perhaps on specific occasions.

A.G. There are gaps in your knowledge.

BEHM: C.P.F. and A.S.I.O. would cover this.

A.G. Was it not brought to your attention about….?

BEHM: There is no evidence to support an answer. Action was taken on recommendation to Immigration over citizenship and passports. People interviewed later suggest better assimilation.

A.G. Has there been an exhaustive assessment on all Croatian documents so far?


A.G. Where are the other documents?

ELLIOTT: The C.P.F. documents have not been forwarded.

A.G. Where else are there documents.

ELLIOTT: In the States but all available here.

A.G. How soon will supporting documents be available?

ELLIOTT: This morning.

A.G. Where are seals etc. taken at Wollongong? Is this organisation aware of these?

ELLIOTT: I can’t answer that. C.P.F. might have seized them. We have no film but only photos of the Wodonga camp. Full report and photos will be prepared this morning.

A.G. The Police took notice of the truth in the Aide Memoire. Do you agree?

ELLIOTT: Yes there would be a core of truth there.

A.G. I will leave you to work on it. There are serious gaps and I want you to work on it; not on the basis as set out in documents of 9 March. What happened about Dr Matic’s visit from Spain?

ELLIOTT: Details of Dr Matic – membership of Croat organisation.

A.G. This is an organisation dedicated to overthrow the Yugoslav Government?


A.G. Who sponsored him?

ELLIOTT: We will need to look at………

A.G. Where did he go and to which training camps?

ELLIOTT: It’s ready in draft form.

A.G. Where are the training camps?

ELLIOTT: I do not know; I will clarify by looking at file.

A.G. Is Matic mentioned in your report?


A.G. He is a recognised world leader of something.

MAGNAY: H.N.O. [Hrvatski Narodni Otpor, Croatian National Resistance, a Ustaša terrorist organization], Valencia.

A.G. Is he a world leader?

MAGNAY: I don’t know. I only heard of him yesterday.

A.G. Is he to be referred to?

MAGNAY: The reviewed draft was only finished at 10 p.m. last night.

A.G. Do you remember my specific request re Matic?

MAGNAY: He was subject of separate submission going to you this morning.

A.G. Is there some evidence of involvement of this group?

MAGNAY: Not here – this is an overseas group.

A.G. Within Australia have you dealt with associates of this group in connection with terrorism?

MAGNAY: Didn’t understand. We are not running sources.

A.G. Have you information as to how much money has been paid to informants in this organisation?

BEHM: I will ask Mr Elliott to supply that information. There has been only limited success in recruitment of sources. Any contact is only for intelligence gathering, not to sponsor their activities.

A.G. The papers carry a suggestion of friendly disposition by terrorists towards A.S.I.O. and this is noticed in documents.

BEHM: Which documents?

A.G. You will see them on file. When Matic came he met the Minister for Immigration, the Secretary [of the] Croatian Resistance Movement, KOKIC, Senator McManus and others. This does show the extent of facilitation of visit by the Australian Government. What is this man KOKIC. Make it easy for me. Tell me about people at the meetings attended by Matic.

ELLIOTT: Adolf ANDRIC – thug. Ambrose ANDRIC – thug.

(A.G. & ELLIOTT view file together).

A.G. Matic was described as being a War Criminal. How much was A.S.I.O. associated with him.

ELLIOTT: Overseas was our first contact – had been granted overseas visas – On strength of that he would get a visa.

A.G. What is the Tumby Umby Camp near Gosford. (Read from Report). Matic visited camp 22/12/65. Returned morning 23rd. – Croatian Command. Why did you not refer to this visit to the Command of this organisation’s camp.


A.G. Must I search every document? I want information on this and your man doesn’t mention it. All this information has the force of suggestion. Where is the material about this? I can’t go through documents. I suggest there were camps, that they were visited by people. I invite you to search documents and come up with all the information on some. The movement around Australia by football clubs. I’m not happy with the amount of work done. I want it done properly. No thoughts that A.G. reports should be consistent with those to previous A.G. If I have to go elsewhere it would be a grave reflection. Can you assure me?

BEHM: Yes. Can we have access to other material?

A.G. Yes. If necessary.

BEHM: We don’t have it all.

A.G. What material is this?

BEHM: Probably with C.P.F. and State Police.

A.G. Values and judgements over the years exist. The New Government has different values. Your reports indicate no change.

BEHM: May I have opportunity to call on C.P.F. and State Police.

A.G. I will assist you.

BEHM: How does this fit with our report?

A.G. I will give our thoughts later.

BEHM: What time do you want this?

A.G. By the middle of next week.

BEHM: We will provide you with all information on our files supplemented by other information which we can get.


16.00 hrs: Cavanagh, Dixon, Parsons, West return to Canberra.


Footnotes and further Reading

[1] Related articles:

* Kerry Milte's letter to Emperor's Clothes was posted Apr. 21, 2008, under the title “Croatian Ustaše (clerical-fascists) in Australia? Former Australian Crime Intelligence Commander Responds to TENC,” at

* “Croatian Ustaše (clerical-fascists) in Australia? So what else is new?” by Jared Israel, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Jan. 1, 2008, at

[2] In his letter to TENC Mr. Milte writes:

“Another salient point is that, just prior to Yugoslav Prime Minister Bijedic’s arrival in Australia, Murphy was informed of a secret memo, wherein a key Inter-Departmental Committee of public servants (including ASIO) resolved that the ALP [Australian Labor Party] government was to be fed only information that would force it to follow the policies of the previous Liberal government in relation to the Croatians.

The existence of that minute was recorded by the Deputy Commissioner of the Commonwealth Police and the Assistant Regional Director of ASIO. ”

See “Croatian Ustaše (clerical-fascists) in Australia? Former Australian Crime Intelligence Commander Responds to TENC,” Letter from Kerry L. Milte, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Apr. 21, 2008, at


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