134 Cablegram from Shaw to Department of External Affairs

New York, 9 May 1968

UN 764. Secret Priority

Non-Proliferation Treaty

I took Pritchett and Cawsey to visit the Belgian mission, represented by Ambassador Schuurmans,1 Mademoiselle Dever,2 M. Denorme3 and M. Willot.4

2. I said that the Australian delegation was undertaking bilateral discussions on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, about which the Australian Government had some doubts and difficulties. It supported the principle of the treaty and was not leading the way for postponement and amendment, but would like to know precisely what the treaty meant. No doubt the Belgians had a similar position. We wished to discuss the sort of understandings and procedures that might be adopted between Euratom and the IAEA and how these could be established at this stage.

3. Ambassador Schuurmans said that the Belgian position was similar. Though in favour of non-proliferation, they would not be co-sponsors at this stage. They would insist on knowing how the treaty would look and the cornerstone was Article III. This was their main concern. They could enter into no agreement in relation to the treaty in which a single provision conflicted with the provisions of Euratom. This point will be made in the committee and Belgium had already warned the US and USSR. It would therefore be in the interest of the big powers to ensure that interpretations agreed or Euratom would not sign the treaty. There would be further formal contact with the United States and then with the United States and the USSR together to insist on some interpretations, especially in relation to safeguards.

4. A basic principle in Euratom regarding safeguards was that there were already effective safeguards and that there should be no duplication. These controls should remain and only second degree checks be made by the IAEA. This point they wanted clarified.

5. At this point Schuurmans tabled five principles which Euratom countries have defined:

  1. Safeguards under the NPT must be applied to source and special fissionable material and not to facilities.
  2. There should be no misunderstanding that as far as EA member states are concerned, safeguards under NPT will be applied on the basis of an agreement to be concluded between EA and IAEA.
  3. This agreement should be based on the principle of verification of EA safeguards by IAEA. The implementation of this principle shall be negotiated between the two organizations.
  4. Pending the conclusion of the agreement between Euratom and IAEA, EA member states concerned wish to stress that there should be no misunderstanding, that the obligations with regard to Euratom entered into by any party to the NPT shall not be affected by provisions of Article III dealing with supply.
  5. Euratom member states concerned, determined to act in common, have to be sure that the position of Euratom when negotiating to arrive at a satisfactory agreement with IAEA will not be prejudiced by any eventual provision of Article III, as for example on a time period'.

[matter omitted]

[NAA: A1838, 680/10/2 part 5]