65 Cablegram from Plimsoll to High Commission in London

Canberra, 16 June 1965

2980. Confidential

Disarmament

Telegram 2901 to you from Washington states that Rusk will provide the Prime Minister with a list of countries which, while pressing strongly for disarmament, were continually seeking themselves to purchase arms abroad.2

  1. The following comment is offered without knowing the background of Rusk's offer and hence which of several possible arguments the figures are intended to demonstrate.
  2. The fact that a country is simultaneously pressing for disarmament and seeking arms is not by itself evidence of hypocrisy or double standard. A government might genuinely want world disarmament and at the same time realize that it cannot itself become disarmed unless there is a world disarmament system with adequate measures for inspection enforcement and control.
  3. See my talk with R.K. Nehru (formerly Secretary-General of Indian Ministry for External Affairs) on 26th March, 1964 (copy dated 31st March was sent to External Affairs Officer London from New Delhi).3 In para. 14 Nehru and I discussed the problems of countries like Australia and India which in the past had kept their defence expenditure to a minimum and had threatened no-one, but which were now obliged to rearm and which, therefore, could not accept disarmament proposals calling for a uniform percentage cut in defence expenditure as assessed at some unacceptable date.

[NAA: A1209, 1965/6117]