335 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram UN236 NEW YORK, 28 June 1946

Atomic No. 113.

In addition to the summary given in telegram from Australian Legation Washington No. 848 [1] the following are the main points in statements at the meeting on 25th June by Delegates to the Atomic Energy Commission from France, Poland, Netherlands and Egypt, and Doctor Evatt's statements of our position and his recommendations as Chairman.

Mr. Parodi of France emphasised the part the Country has played in the development of nuclear physics and the assistance it gave in the early stages of production of atomic energy, and stated that the French Government is now organising a great institution for research in nuclear physics, pure and applied, but only for Pacific purposes. His Government regards the Baruch plan as the most generous and the most broadminded which could be proposed by the Country which is the only one capable at the present time of manufacturing the atomic bomb. He considered that there was sufficient harmony between the plans submitted by the United States and the Soviet to enable satisfactory agreement to be reached. He considered, however, that a covenant eliminating the atomic bomb should include not only the characteristic of a solemn agreement as suggested by the U.S.S.R. but should ensure that its strict application be absolutely guaranteed. He emphasised that we would run the risk of compromising the success of the Commission's work to demand at the outset from any country that it should place before the public the results of several years of prodigious effort without guarantees involving the adoption of an effective system of international control. He suggested the establishment of a single working committee composed of a delegate from each of the nations with experts, with the possibility of establishment of two sub-committees, one composed of scientific and legal experts to examine a convention to eliminate atomic weapons and other methods of mass destruction, the other to collect and furnish to the working committees scientific and technical information.

Dr. Lange, Poland, spoke generally in favour of an approach to the problem as proposed by the Russian Delegate [2], in particular the establishment of two committees, one for the exchange of scientific information, the other for an examination of the establishment of international agreement on the outlawing of atomic weapons.

Dr. Van Kleffens, Netherlands, described the American plan as bold, realistic and imaginative, but as yet only presented in outline, the Russian ideas as following more traditional lines and with a different emphasis. These two plans he believed provide the Commission with the necessary starting point for its work, and emphasised the need to begin on a specific draft of proposals as soon as possible. He suggested leaving thorny subjects such as the veto till later. He referred to the help of publicity but stated that those who call into question the intentions of a greater or smaller number of us, and those who bandy about unsubstantiated accusations incur heavy and dreadful responsibility. He was obviously referring here to the recent attack on the United States by Pravda.

The Representative for Egypt [3] stated that the American plan provides an excellent basis for discussion and that his delegation agrees in principle with what it prescribes.

At this stage Dr. Evatt presented the views of the Australian Government and concluded with a practical proposal for a working committee. The following are the main points of Dr. Evatt's statement:-

(1) The problem should be considered as a whole;

(2) From this point of view the plan submitted by the U.S.A.

Representative offers a sound basis for planning;

(3) Mr. Gromyko's suggested draft international agreement outlawing atomic weapons can be added into the general plan employed in the United States proposals. The Soviet proposals do not, however, sufficiently recognise the essential inter-relations between all the various parts of the one great problem;

(4) Even if, for the time being, one or a few countries alone possess the facilities for the manufacture of radioactive substances, all countries should be able to secure on reasonable terms their fair share of such substances;

(5) Precautions to insure that no materials will be diverted to military purposes need not give a whole army of official inspectors the right to delve into the activities of a nation in the sphere of general mines and engineering;

(6) The essential relation of the international atomic energy authority, with which Australia agrees in principle, to the United Nations requires detailed consideration, especially with regard to the application of the so-called veto;

(7) The veto power relates solely to the particular method of voting in reaching decision of the Security Council. It is erroneous to apply the term 'right to veto' to the decisions of the United Nations generally. The possession of such a right in the Council does not give any claim to a similar vote in respect to the operation of any international authority. To some extent the recommendations of the Commission which is now meeting will require review by the Security Council. But within the Commission itself no veto is exercisable. None of the facts relating to atomic energy are sufficient for applying the special voting rule of the Security Council to the decision of a new international authority.

(8) The Commission should proceed to establish a working committee composed of one representative from each of the countries on the Commission to consider the various proposals made and to prepare a drastic draft of the principles of a comprehensive international agreement.

The results of the meeting of the working committee held on the 28th June were cabled in United Nations cablegram 232. [4]

1 Document 329.

2 A. Gromyko.

3 Hafez Afifi Pasha.

4 Document 334.

[AA:A3195, 1946, 1.16722/723]