1 Cablegram from Addison1 to Chifley2

London, 15 November 1945

466. Top Secret Most Immediate

Following is the text of a statement issued to the Press to-day.


The President of the United States,3 the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom4 and the Prime Minister of Canada5 have issued the following statement:

  1. We recognise that the application of recent scientific discoveries to the methods and practice of war has placed at the disposal of mankind means of destruction hitherto unknown against which there can be no adequate military defence and in the employment of which no single nation can in fact have a monopoly.
  2. We desire to emphasise that the responsibility for devising means to ensure that the new discoveries shall be used for the benefit of mankind instead of as a means of destruction rests not on our nations alone but upon the whole civilised world. Nevertheless, the progress that we have made in the development and use of atomic energy demands that we take an initiative in the matter, and we have accordingly met together to consider the possibility of international action:
    1. To prevent the use of atomic energy for destructive purposes; and,
    2. To promote the use of recent and future advances in scientific knowledge, particularly in the utilisation of atomic energy for peaceful and humanitarian ends.

[matter omitted]

  1. We have considered the question of the disclosure of detailed information concerning the practical industrial application of atomic energy. The military exploitation of atomic energy depends in large part upon the same methods and processes as would be required for industrial uses. We are not convinced that the spreading of the specialised information regarding the practical application of atomic energy before it is possible to devise effective reciprocal and enforceable safeguards acceptable to all nations would contribute to a constructive solution of the problem of the atomic bomb. On the contrary, we think it might have the opposite effect. We are, however, prepared to share on a reciprocal basis with others of the United Nations detailed information concerning the practical industrial application of atomic energy just as soon as effective enforceable safeguards against its use for destructive purposes can be devised.
  2. In order to attain the most effective means of entirely eliminating the use of atomic energy for destructive purposes and promoting its widest use for industrial and humanitarian purposes, we are of the opinion that at the earliest practicable date a commission should be set up under the United Nations to prepare recommendations for submission to the Organisation. The Commission should be instructed to proceed with utmost despatch and should be authorised to submit recommendations from time to time dealing with separate phases of its work.

[matter omitted]

[NAA: A5954, 1384/2]