47 Makin to Evatt

Cablegram 490 LONDON, 23 January 1946, 11.25 a.m.


Assembly 16.


1. On 21St January [General Assembly] Committee One by 46 votes to 0 with one abstention (Philippines) adopted the resolution presented by the Big Five and Canada setting up an Atomic Energy Commission.

The text of the resolution [1] is identical with the text agreed upon at the Moscow Conference.

2. There was little discussion of the terms of the resolution but objection was raised in various quarters to- (a) limitation of membership to members of the Security Council and Canada and (b) provisions under which the Security Council decides what reports of the Atomic Energy Commission shall be transmitted to the General Assembly and other organs of the United Nations.

An overwhelming majority of the Committee felt, however, that agreement between the Great Powers with a view to ensuring international control of atomic energy was so important and the possibility of amending the Moscow resolutions was so remote (particularly in the existing political situation here) that the resolution as presented would have to be accepted despite these objectionable features. Having in mind- (i) Australia's primary interest in securing a seat on the Atomic Energy Commission by virtue of her seat on the Security Council and (ii) The delicate political situation which has developed in relation to Russia- I decided it would be unwise pressing at that stage the arguments set out in your telegram UNO.204 of 12th January. [2] The Chairman had indicated that opportunity would be given for general observations at the next meeting. At today's meeting I made a speech emphasising the central and basic position of the General Assembly, the need for free selection of members of bodies set up by the Assembly and the right of the Assembly to receive information and the right to discuss all matters. I added that the action of the Committee One in accepting Moscow Agreement constituted an act of faith which would be reciprocated by all members of the Security Council and the Atomic Energy Commission, whether great powers or small powers. I said that, so far as Australia was concerned, she would do her utmost as a member of the Security Council and the Commission to ensure that within the limits of security, the work of the Commission was made public and that reports of the Commission which should be dealt with by other organs of the United Nations were in fact transmitted to them. I also made a passing reference to view that atomic weapons are to be regarded as 'facilities'. The speech appeared to be well received and has been distributed to the Australian and other press. [3]

1 i.e. the text given in Document 14.

2 Document 24.

3 Resolution 1(I), establishing the Atomic Energy Commission, was adopted unanimously by the Assembly in plenary session on 24 January.

[AA:A1068, A47/1/3/6]