Cablegram United Nations 591 NEW YORK, 31 October 1946, 7.42 p.m.
The introduction of the Soviet resolution  on regulation of
armaments (see Assembly 53 ) the United States reply  (see
Assembly 59) and the various statements which have been made by
other Delegations on the Atomic Energy Control makes ...
imperative a consideration of Australian objectives in connection
with disarmament and the relationship between the general problem
and the work of the Atomic Energy Commission.
2. It is apparent from the terms of the Soviet resolution, and the
challenge issued by Molotov to other Delegations to express their
attitude, that the U.S.S.R. intend to make this a leading issue.
The resolution appears to be an attempt to secure support both in
the Assembly and from World opinion [for] the Soviet draft
convention outlawing atomic weapons, and to undermine the Baruch
plan for enforceable safeguards. The resolution also attacks the
Australian-American proposals by its assumption that the Security
Council should be the body to provide for the practical
achievement of atomic energy control as well as of general
reduction of armaments. The significance and danger of this
manoeuvre may not however be evident to Delegations unfamiliar
with the tactics adopted by the U.S.S.R. in the Atomic Energy
Commission. It seems desirable that we should be prepared to take
the initiative when the Soviet resolution comes up for debate.
3. Our broad objectives would appear to be:-
(a) To secure from the Assembly a reaffirmation of the position
inherent in the resolution of 17th January  that the control of
atomic energy is not merely a disarmament problem but should also
include consideration of development for peaceful purposes.
This is essential in order to maintain the predominant position of
the Assembly in relation to atomic energy.
(b) To secure confirmation of the terms of reference already given
to the commission. The factors of 'control' and 'safeguards' must
(c) To ensure that any recommendation to the Security Council in
relation to the Military Staff Committee doesn't imply a waiver by
the Assembly of its right to consider the general principles
governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments.
4. We have already urged in our opening statement that the
Security Council and Military Staff Committee make an early
beginning with the formulation of plans. This may help to counter
the suggestion that the U.S.S.R. are the sole champions of general
disarmament, but elaborating our views on general regulation of
armaments we should not lose sight of principles which we are
advocating in the Atomic Energy Commission.
5. In order to give as little material as possible for Soviet
propaganda we feel that it would be advisable to work by way of
amendment to the Soviet resolution. This might be along the
(a) No change in paragraph 1.
(b) Paragraph 2 omit all words after 'primary objective' and
insert 'the expeditious fulfilment by the Atomic Energy Commission
of its terms of reference as set forth in the General Assembly
resolution of 17th January, 1946'.
(c) Paragraph 3 to read 'The General Assembly recommends' to the
Security Council that it proceed, with the assistance of the
Military Staff Committee, to formulate plans for the establishment
of a system for the regulation of armaments. Such plans should be
coordinated with the recommendations which are made from time to
time by the Atomic Energy Commission and should pay due regard to
the need for adequate safeguards to protect complying states
against the hazards of violation and evasion.'
6. The possibility of some such amendment has been considered at a
low level by the United States, United Kingdom and Canadian
Delegations and subject to further soundings of the position we
feel that the formula we have suggested would receive support.
Austin's statement in his opening speech that Baruch's policy is
the policy of the President and the Secretary of State and that
there must be safeguards in any system for the regulation of
armaments tends to confirm this impression.
7. We might at the same time suggest the appointment of sub-
committee to draw up statement on general principles of
disarmament for submission during current session.
8. We would appreciate the earliest possible guidance on the
general issues and your views on terms of the amendment if course
we have suggested recommends itself to you.'