53 Hasluck to Evatt

Cablegram UN108 NEW YORK, 8 February 1947, 1.39 p.m.


The following impressions of this week's private talks on disarmament are submitted for what they are worth.

1. Disarmament resolution developed in Assembly from political contest and implementation is also part of political contest.

2. The United States has been less explicit than usual either in discussions or in private conversation regarding their objective, but my impression is that for the time being, they are less interested in Security Council action to carry out Assembly recommendations than in obtaining a clear over-all picture of future relations with the Soviet and there may be some undisclosed reason why, at this moment, they are exceptionally suspicious of Russian intentions. One straw in the wind is current allegations before Congress committees and in press regarding Communist spy plots.

3. Marshall's press statement emphasising that (a) collective security (b) atomic energy control with effective safeguards and (c) conclusion of peace settlement must precede disarmament is completely confirmed by line taken by Austin throughout disarmament talks.

4. One possibility is that the United States may be planning for a show-down at Moscow [1] talks and I personally doubt whether there will be any real progress either in the Atomic Energy Commission, or in general disarmament until there has been a show-down.

5. The Soviet appears equally unwilling to move until they have deprived United States of present advantage of possessing atomic bomb. Great number of Soviet actions, both during the Assembly and since, could be explained as serving that objective, partly because of old resentment at lack of confidence in them and partly because, relying so much on power themselves, they feel at a disadvantage arguing against greater power.

6. Private talks held under Australian initiative succeeded in as much as five differing resolutions were reduced to single resolution containing only one point of dissension. Doubtless it would be possible to obtain majority of Council for resolution, but even so, it is unlikely we would see much progress either in Atomic Energy Commission or new Disarmament Commission [2], until Soviet-American issues have been settled. Major question for Australia is whether we can do anything more to help or compel them to come together.

7. United Kingdom did not participate in the private talks, but I kept closely in touch with Cadogan throughout informing him of the progress. British were instructed to support original Australian resolution with minor modifications and I understand they find new resolution acceptable.

1 The reference presumably is to a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow in March.

2 On 13 February, the Security Council (with Poland and the Soviet Union abstaining) agreed to the establishment of a Commission for Conventional Armaments comprising representatives of all members of the Council.

[AA : A1838, 854/12, i]