UNGA 29: United States Statement of Non-Proliferation and Related Nuclear Issues in Disarmament Debate
Senator Stuart Symington, United States Representative in the First Committee on disarmament questions, made an important statement at the opening session of the disarmament debate on 21 October. The text is attached.1 The statement deals constructively with all the key issues; although it does not of course exactly correspond to our own attitudes on all of these issues.
- After outlining the basic and growing problem now being faced, Symington suggested seven 'tasks' which members of the world community should undertake. First, co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be continued. Second, the nuclear super powers should intensify their efforts for nuclear arms control. In this connection, Symington said the United States remains firmly committed to 'seek an adequately verified comprehensive test ban'. He noted the significance of the recent Threshold Test Ban Treaty2 in this regard.
- Third, he said, steps should be taken to ensure the widest possible adherence to the NPT, a treaty whose basic concepts and structure were sound and which continued to provide a valuable legal framework for dealing with nuclear energy. Symington quoted with approval a recent Swedish statement that it was in the interest of all countries that the NPT, despite its discriminatory nature, should be supported by the entire world community. He said the United States would welcome further suggestions for increasing incentives for NPT membership.
- Fourth, he said, thorough international consideration should be given to PNE. The commercial utility of PNE had not been proved. The United States stood ready to honour its obligation under Article V of the NPT to make benefits of PNE available on a non-discriminatory basis when and if their feasibility and practicability were established. Meanwhile, it supported steps taken in the IAEA context, and was willing to consider other suggestions concerning organizational arrangements for an international service. (The wording here is worthy of note.)
- Fifth, Symington referred to the need for stronger international safeguards against the diversion of nuclear materials and technology. He referred to the problem of the spread of uranium enrichment and chemical reprocessing services.
- Sixth, he said that steps should be taken to ensure physical security of nuclear facilities and materials against theft or diversion.
- Seventh, he referred to the development of regional arrangements which contribute to nonproliferation objectives. He said that while the NPT has played a central role, complementary tools should also be used. He cautiously welcomed the interest shown in nuclear free zones at the present Assembly.
[NAA: A1838, 919/10/5 part 43]