116 Cablegram from Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Washington, 22 March 1968

1238. Secret Guard

Non-Proliferation Treaty

Your 803.1

Of the queries raised in your telegram, (e), the second part of (f) and (g) have been specifically covered in our earlier telegrams. The remaining queries raise two broad issues, namely

  1. the possible effect of the treaty on research and development and
  2. details relating to the 'new safeguards system'.
  1. The United States' position with regard to the first of these is dealt with in the United States' interpretations which we sent in our telegram 1117 of 16 March.2 Stillman3 (A.C.D.A.) said that having regard to those, and particularly the first interpretation, the United States would consider that since the draft treaty does not deal with research and development, these are not prohibited except insofar as specifically prohibited by the terms of Article I and II, the prohibition in these articles being read narrowly according to the strict words of the treaty. These words are, of course, further qualified and limited by the terms of Article IV, especially Article IV, para 1.4
  2. Stillman said that the United States would see the interpretations as applying to the matters raised in your queries. He agreed that there would often be an area in which what was being done could be directed to either peaceful uses or weapons. But in these cases it was necessary to look to the specific provisions of the treaty, and of course, to any other obligations which might apply, such as obligations assumed under the Test Ban Treaty.
  3. The second issue relates to the question of the safeguards system. Stillman emphasised that it is not appropriate to speak of a 'new safeguards system'. No new system, different from the present I.A.E.A. safeguards system must be brought into effect in order for the treaty to operate. Article III provides that the safeguards to be applied will be set forth in an agreement 'in accordance with the Statute of the I.A.E.A. and the Agency's safeguards system'. In the absence of the many amendments to the system, which must be effected in accordance with the I.A.E.A. Statute, the safeguards system embodied in individual agreements must be in accordance with the statute and the system, i.e. the present system. Stillman said that the treaty of itself will not require any new system, or any necessary variations from the present system, apart, of course, from the magnitude of the inspection task which would ultimately be imposed on the I.A.E.A. The answers which had been supplied to the questions earlier put to A.C.D.A. (our telegram 964)5 had been drafted on this basis.
  4. The terms of Article III had not been drafted to define any more closely the determining features of the safeguards system because it was not wished to create a situation in which amendments to the I.A.E.A. Statute of safeguards system necessitated amendment of the treaty. The provisions of the treaty have been left sufficiently flexible to permit amendment to the system in the ordinary way.
  5. Stillman did not, of course, exclude the possibility of amendment and development of the present system. He did emphasise, however, that any agreements negotiated must be negotiated in accordance with the I.A.E.A. system at the time, and he also pointed out that Australia, because of it prominent position in I.A.E.A. was well placed to exercise influence over any future amendments.
  6. We do not have the necessary detailed information here to be able to pursue this further with A.C.D.A., but we should appreciate your instructions on whether you wish it taken further. One point which occurs to us is that Article III, paragraph 1, extends expressly to 'source material' being 'produced', whereas in its reply to our queries A.C.D.A. stated that under present I.A.E.A. procedures uranium mines and ore processing plants are not inspected. It would appear that some extension must be necessary here at least.

[NAA: A1838, 680/10/2 part 3]