54 Addison to Australian Government

Cablegram D171 LONDON, 20 February 1947, 9.10 p.m.



In the light of recent resolution of the United Nations Assembly and present consideration of the matter by the Security Council we have broad principles which in our view should be agreed by the Disarmament Commission before it proceeds to discuss a practical plan of disarmament.

2. The nature of the subject is so highly complicated and controversial that utmost consideration must be given to it and the ground must be most carefully prepared. Any failure of international discussion would have most serious effect on international relations.

3. No attempt was made in the Assembly resolution on disarmament to examine relationship between international security and armaments. We feel strongly that it is only early strengthening of international peace and security which will lead to mutual confidence necessary for general reduction and regulation of armaments. Further discussion of the Assembly resolut[ion] on disarmament must proceed on the assumption that concord between the five permanent members of the Security Council will be achieved by the time that any plan for disarmament is recommended for adoption.

4. While the Assembly resolution includes establishment of an international system of control it does not give any direction that this system should be established before a reduction in armaments takes place. Our view is that a system of control must first be established and that a scheme for general reduction and regulation of armaments must be internationally agreed.

5. Our conclusion is that before proceeding to discuss a practical plan of disarmament it is essential that agreement is reached by Security Council on the following points- (a) The reduction and regulation of armaments and armed forces depends primarily on the establishment of international confidence; the converse argument is misleading and dangerous.

(b) Completion of the international security arrangements for collective security contemplated under Article 43 would contribute greatly to the desired establishment of international confidence.

These arrangements should therefore be completed before any practical measures to regulate or reduce armaments are adopted.

The study of armament can and should proceed concurrently.

(c) An effective system of international control and verification must precede the adoption of any system of regulation and reduction of armament.

6. The United Kingdom Delegation in New York has been informed of the above conclusions. They have been instructed to speak on the above lines and to table the points listed in paragraph 5 above before the Disarmament Commission. The United Kingdom representatives in Washington, Moscow, Paris and Nanking have also been instructed to do all in their power to secure agreement of Governments concerned to support adoption of these points by the Disarmament Commission.

[AA : A1838, 854/12, i]