180 Cablegram from High Commission in London to Department of Foreign Affairs

London, 25 October 1971

19582. Confidential Priority

Uranium Enrichment

Your 52921 to Washington.

  1. The FCO says that Britain will strongly support the participation of Australia in the European Group, and will urge other Europeans to agree to this. One or two Europeans (Italy and Belgium) have expressed some doubts about non-European attendance, but the FCO feels that general agreement to attendance of Australia and others is likely. They hope that this will be decided before EEC - United Kingdom - Commission meeting in Brussels on the 10th November.
  2. At the same time, it is expected that Britain would probably be represented by an observer at the Pacific group meeting (whether 1st or 2nd November or 5th and 6th November), but the FCO does not consider that an expert British team could be made available for this meeting because of numerous calls on experts' time.
  3. A full British team will be available for the European group meeting scheduled for the 16th and 17th November, and in the British view this will clearly be the major of the two meetings, insofar as expert representatives of countries other than the United States with experience in uranium enrichment will be present. The British hope, therefore, that Australia will also be able to send a full expert team to this meeting.
  4. The overall British view, in spite of the American insistence on two group meetings, is that the question of the supply of enriched uranium for the 1980's is a global problem which can only be usefully considered in a group embracing all the major interested countries (with the exception of the Communist countries and, for the time being at least, countries such as South Africa and Brazil which have not yet signed the NPT).
  5. It also seems clear that the British approach to this matter involves an important element of combating, for commercial reasons, a presumed attempt by the United States to ensure that its diffusion process is applied (in two major plants to be set up in the Pacific and in Europe) rather than the British-sponsored centrifuge process.

[NAA: A1838, 919/10/5 part 35]