206 Cablegram from Embassy in Washington to Department of Foreign Affairs

Washington, 19 October 1974

6429. Confidential

Non-Proliferation and P.N.E.

On 18th October we discussed with Shea1 (Nuclear Weapons, and Advanced Technology Bureau) and with Givan,2 Black3 and Einhorn4 (International Relations Bureau), the present state of A.C.D.A.'s thinking on measures to contain nuclear proliferation. We had earlier talked to Bloom5 (Bureau of International Scientific and Technological Affairs, State Department) on the same subject.

[matter omitted]

  1. It is clear that considerable emphasis is being placed on measures to strengthen controls over the exports of nuclear materials and equipment. Concern is also felt that at present the controls over the export of technology, as distinct from materials and equipment, are even less satisfactory. The prospects in these areas are very much tied to the success of efforts to persuade other nuclear powers to co-operate in a common policy. The co-operation of the U.S.S.R. with the Zangger Committee was a hopeful sign and Kissinger would be discussing N.P.T. measures further during his forthcoming visit to Moscow. However, the success of such a policy was also very dependent upon co-operation by the French. Bilateral discussions were thought to be the only approach which offered any prospects in that direction. At this stage the United States was more interested in obtaining a consensus among the principal exporters than it was in setting up the formal machinery for enlarging the Zangger Committee.

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  1. A.C.D.A. saw Kissinger's proposal for the broadening of safeguards as covering both the extension of the scope of the safeguards system as well as providing inducements to additional countries to place their facilities under it. It is clear that the Americans are particularly concerned about certain types of facilities (e.g. the Canadian CANDU reactor which for technical reasons lends itself to diversion of material for weapons purposes far better than water cooled reactors). The Americans see enrichment plants and reprocessing facilities as being particularly sensitive areas. They would like reprocessing facilities established at regional centres and countries dissuaded from establishing their own independent fuel cycles. There would be economic sense in sharing expensive facilities and it would provide some safeguards against countries pursuing fully independent nuclear explosive programs. Ideally these facilities would be located in advanced and stable countries. The Americans agreed, however, with our suggestion that it was important not to create the impression that the nuclear powers were seeking to monopolise these facilities for their own commercial ends.

The Americans were also concerned about the detection problems which would be posed by the use of centrifuge enrichment technology, as opposed to more conventional methods, to cover the manufacture of weapons material.

[matter omitted]

[NAA: A1838, 919/10/5 part 43]