47 Department of External Affairs to Australian Delegation, United Nations

Cablegram 5 CANBERRA, 6 January 1947, 5.05 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your Security 209-Disarmament.

1. In dealing with such a vital matter as disarmament, in which co-operation between all the Great Powers is desirable if at all practicable, it is important to avoid wherever possible line up of Soviet Union and Poland on one side and all other members of Council on the other. The fact that Soviet agreed to Assembly resolution suggests that, if given reasonable time and handled with care, they may be prepared to co-operate in substantial degree.

2. It seems to us that Soviet and United States proposals regarding procedure referred to in your Security 209 are not necessarily inconsistent. There may be some advantage in Soviet suggestion that Commission should be established to prepare and submit proposals to Council on particular aspects of disarmament.

Council itself, however, should proceed simultaneously with question of atomic energy, consideration of which is well advanced. Minister has pointed out on several occasions that while problems of atomic energy are of very great importance, they are not the only matters which require to be considered in connection with disarmament. For instance, speaking in the House of Representatives on the 8th November 1946, the Minister said 'It is not as if this particular weapon alone is the likely cause of war.

Many weapons of tremendous power were invented during World War II, and the atomic bomb is only one part of the supreme problem of preventing war.' See also Minister's speeches at Atomic Energy Commission.

3. As regards question of information on armed forces, you should keep in touch with United Kingdom. Our position is that, while we have no objection to providing information on troops overseas, we do not wish to embarrass United Kingdom or United States.

[AA : A1838, 854/12, i]