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21 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram United Nations 269 NEW YORK, 11 July 1946, 5.29 p.m.


Atomic 20.

1. At today's meeting of sub-committee 1, Dr. Evatt informally reviewed the work to date. He plainly presented members with the question whether they wanted to establish atomic controls with or without prior amendment of the Charter and stated that Australian documents had been based on the assumption that the Charter would not be amended. He also clarified discussions regarding veto and after recalling the Australian attitude at San Francisco regarding the Security Council voting on enforcement measures', drew a distinction between voting on matters that concerned the Security Council and on administrative questions with which an Atomic Authority would have to deal. Although no amendment of the Charter was necessary, there would have to be a new treaty inasmuch as the jurisdiction of the Security Council did not allow it sufficient powers to control all questions relating to atomic energy and there was no direct executive authority in the Charter except to the limited extent in Chapter 7.

2. Dr. Evatt then suggested that at the meeting of the Working Committee tomorrow he should propose the establishment of the following committees- (a) Co-ordination Committee;

(b) Committee on Control and Inspection;

(c) Legal Committee, which would have the double function of assisting other Committees on legal questions and drafting and considering relationships between Atomic Energy Control and United Nations Organisation, and ultimately prepare drafts of conventions.

(d) A Scientific and Technical Panel, which would also deal with problems relating to the development of peaceful uses of atomic energy and exchange of information.

3. This suggestion found general acceptance from the British, American and French representatives but Gromyko made a deliberate statement that the question of an autonomous organ to deal with atomic energy would not be accepted in any circumstance by the Soviet Union. The responsibilities for handling atomic energy and the responsibilities of the Security Council were closely intertwined and he also considered it impossible to divide sanctions into those applicable by Atomic Energy Authority and the Security Council respectively. The Soviet could not accept a proposal which deprived the Security Council of its authority.

4. Gromyko, however, accepted the general idea of creating technical committees for further work although he proposed some modifications of Dr. Evatt's suggestions.

5. Answering Gromyko, Dr. Evatt pointed out that the extent of the autonomy of an Atomic Energy Agency would depend on the terms of the treaty. The Security Council would retain its present jurisdiction but it had special functions and was not suitable for deciding administrative questions relating to atomic energy.

Similarly, the enforcement measures mentioned in Chapter 7 were not all applicable to atomic energy questions.

6. The Working Committee will meet tomorrow afternoon when Dr.

Evatt, as Retiring Chairman, will report on his own responsibility on matters discussed and submit recommendations for creation of technical committees.

1 The Australian delegation had argued at San Francisco that the veto should apply only to voting on enforcement action by the security Council to preserve peace or put down aggression.

[AA:A1838 T184, 720/1, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History