141 Cablegram from Mission to the United Nations to Department External Affairs

New York, 5 June 1968

UN 967. Confidential Immediate

Non-Proliferation Treaty

We called today (5 June) on Mrs Myrdal,1 leader of the Swedish delegation, to discuss Sweden's position on Article V (explosions for peaceful purposes). Following were the main points of the discussion.

2. Swedish dissatisfaction regarding Article V derived from three principal considerations. First, it was essential that where countries were jammed together, as in Europe, there be strict international control of nuclear explosions, both to maintain safety and to protect the economic and defence interests of neighbouring countries. Failure to establish international control would lead to the nuclear technique becoming a focus of acute international conflict.

3. Secondly, it was important that the nuclear explosive service be available on an equitable basis. This seemed to be provided for in Article V, but in fact the actual explosive device, which was to cost as little as possible, would be only part of the total cost. Only the richer countries would be able to afford the service unless it was organised and financed on an international basis. (This would involve examination of, and decisions to accept or reject projects.)

4. Thirdly, Sweden saw the non-proliferation treaty in the wider context of disarmament and was deeply concerned to avoid the treaty's provisions prejudicing the progress towards disarmament.

[matter omitted]

8. [matter omitted] Sweden would meantime be working in the ENDC for a complete test ban and for prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.

9. We said Australia had little enthusiasm for moves that would limit the nuclear capacity of the sponsors of the treaty but not that of states outside the treaty. We had been rather disappointed that some of the non-aligned countries that were pushing disarmament in the debate had not called on China and France to adhere to the treaty. Perhaps this could be one of the important political moves at the non-nuclears' conference. Mrs Myrdal explained that Sweden as a consistent advocate of Peking's membership of the United Nations did not feel it proper to make such a demand. (However, in her speech later in the day, she did call for adherence to the treaty also by states outside the United Nations).

10. In general comment in the debate and future prospects, Mrs Myrdal said Sweden would now support the treaty and hoped that its adherence would attract others who had been wavering. She considered a vote of 90 to 100 in favour probable. Whether all these would sign and ratify could not yet be assessed. For the Europeans, she believed perceptible progress in the ENDC or at the least 'the right mood' would be essential to signature.

11. She asked that we keep in touch.

[NAA: A1838, 680/10/2 part 6]