42 Cablegram from Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Canberra, 23 April 1959

871. Secret

Safeguards of Nuclear Exports

Your telegram 455.1

Schaetzel2 (Office of Special Assistant for Atomic Energy) told us on 23rd April that United States had agreed that COCOM3 should permit export of nuclear materials to Communist countries under I.A.E.A.4 safeguards. Reasons for this decision were:

  1. it would bring Agency in to greater prominence, which was in line with United States policy to do everything it could to increase effectiveness of Agency.
  2. it would provide channel of assistance to East European countries in form which might be acceptable to them.
  3. it was felt to be in free world's interest that East European countries should receive nuclear materials, subject to safeguards, rather than receive such materials from Soviet Union without safeguards. United States Representative on Paris group had been advised two weeks ago to inform other members of group that United States would waive Battle Act5 in Polish case, so long as Poland was prepared to accept I.A.E.A. safeguards.

[matter omitted]

5. The United States attached great importance to agreement among all suppliers to adopt uniform attitude on question of safeguards. If principal suppliers gave their active support to such system, as was evidenced at London meeting, there would be no difficulty about holding line and it would enable individual suppliers to stand up to pressures of their respective mining interests. Schaetzel commented, in this regard, that the South African Cabinet had decided to support, in principle, arrangements discussed at the London meeting.

[NAA: A4940, C2609]