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

Cablegram United Nations 213 NEW YORK, 19 June 1946, 7.39 p.m.


Atomic II.

1. Dr. Evatt presiding over to-day's meeting of the Atomic Energy Commission proposed that as the starting point in the Commission's deliberations two days should be devoted to a general discussion of the problems before the Commission, and he hoped that members would indicate their reaction to the Baruch proposals [1] and also bring for-ward any modifications of the American plan or any suggestions of their own. At the end of this discussion he would endeavour to sum up the area of agreement and the Commission could then start consideration of measures for obtaining a preliminary draft of a charter and best method of organising its work.

2. Canada opened the debate by welcoming the American approach and supporting principles on which Baruch's statement was based. While supporting Baruch's statement regarding veto he suggested that the Commission should not bother unduly over procedure at this stage but concentrate on those other matters on which members must agree before any atomic energy authority could be brought into being. He referred especially to the need for mutual confidence and the value of specific proposals for an exchange of basic scientific information and for cooperation between scientists.

3. United Kingdom after referring to its participation in Washington and Moscow discussions on atomic energy also expressed general support for the United States plan. This plan would make great demands on mutual confidence and co-operation. It obviously involved risks and for that reason the United Kingdom approved proposals for penalties against violation of the proposed agreement. There were political and military problems as well as scientific. The United Kingdom was willing to take the American scheme as a basis for consideration and would not put forward alternative plan of its own, but apply its ideas in seeking modifications of American plan.

4. The Soviet representative made a long speech stressing that atomic energy could be used either for destruction or for human welfare. So far its destructive uses had been most obvious, and if the production of weapons of mass destruction continued distrust would necessarily increase. The Soviet then made specific proposals.

(a) For a convention for outlawing the production and use of atomic weapons for mass destruction and (b) For the organisation of the work of the Commission.

Developing his ideas under (a) he read the full text of a draft international agreement to forbid the production and use of atomic weapons proposing that the signatories should undertake (a) Not to use atomic weapons.

(b) To forbid the production and the keeping of existing weapons and (c) To destroy within three months of the signature of the convention all stocks of weapons.

5. Regarding the organisation of work of the Commission Soviet proposed the setting up of one committee to consider the exchange of scientific information including technological processes, methods of industrial production and forms, sources and locations of raw materials and a second committee whose main purpose would be to consider means of preventing the use of atomic energy to harm humanity. This second committee would consider, inter alia, the preparation of draft agreements such as that submitted by the Soviet to the meeting as well as methods for policing production, organising control and devising a system of sanctions.

6. Finally, Soviet made reference to the importance of unanimity without, however, explicitly dealing with the question of veto.

7. China, Brazil and Mexico all spoke in support of Baruch's statement.

8. Dr. Evatt then adjourned the meeting until next Tuesday afternoon when general discussion will continue and an attempt will be made to find an area of agreement and to establish committees necessary for the Commission's work.

1 See Document 312.

[AA:A1838 T184, 720/1, i]