151 Cablegram from Embassy in Bonn to Department of External Affairs

Canberra, 29 August 1968

416. Confidential

Non-Proliferation Treaty - German Attitude

The Czech crisis has focused German attention on their security and has raised the level of anxiety with which it is discussed. Fears of a heightened vulnerability to attack and the need for strengthening of, and rethinking in NATO have been expressed from the Chancellor1 down.

[matter omitted]

4. [matter omitted] The Germans consider it vital that the NPT should not impair the operation of Euratom, that it should not hinder the peaceful use of atomic energy and that a united Europe should be able to possess atomic weapons. Even under the American interpretations, the NPT was a shaky instrument, whose effectiveness depended on good will. It was this basis which the Russians had now destroyed.

[matter omitted]

Comment

9. The Czech crisis has revived and strengthened all German doubts and fears about the NPT. These doubts are genuine and not unfounded, and the Dutch description of their attitude as 'mischievous' (Hague tel. 518 to Canberra)2 seems unfair. Brandt's3 presence in Geneva should assure that no 'mischievous' motivation will prevail from the German side, although German doubts will be expressed. The Foreign Ministry in any event argues that the NPT adds nothing to the guarantees Germany gave to NATO in 1954-55 not to produce atomic weapons, except that with the NPT they give a guarantee to the Russians, who leave the option of defining the guarantees as they wish.

10. But because of the heightened fear on security, the opposition to German signature of the treaty in the CUD4 has increased and the SPD5 have lost their enthusiasm for an early signature.

[matter omitted]

[NAA: A1838, TS680/10/2 part 7]