12 Note from Tange1 to Casey2

Canberra, 9 October 1951

International Control of Atomic Energy

Background

The Atomic Energy Commission established in January 1946, has been deadlocked for over three years now on the question of an effective system of international control. Two sets of proposals have been examined-the Majority Plan (the Acheson-Lilienthal Scheme)3 and a Minority Plan put forward by the U.S.S.R.4 The Majority Plan though endorsed by the overwhelming vote of the General Assembly, cannot become operative because of the Soviet veto in the Security Council. The substance of the two plans and their differences are outlined below.

[matter omitted]

Differences

4. The major differences between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. proposals are as follows:

  1. The US would not agree in 1948 and certainly not now to the prior destruction of existing atomic weapons. This is considered tantamount to depriving itself of the major weapon in its armoury. In any case, as has been pointed out, a convention on prohibition could give no guarantee:
    1. That nations which are known to possess atomic weapons would in fact destroy all or indeed any of them.
    2. That nations not known to have atomic weapons, but which might have them, would carry out their obligations.
    3. That nations would be prevented from manufacturing atomic weapons in the future.
  2. The powers and functions of the control authority under Majority proposals were to be continuously exercised, but under U.S.S.R. plan to be limited to 'periodic' inspection and 'special investigation'.
  3. Under Majority Plan no veto was permitted in central control agency or to prevent measures of punishment of violators to be employed. In U.S.S.R. proposals the control authority could only make recommendations to Security Council. Any member of the Council could veto any measure of which it disapproved.
  4. The U.S.S.R. claimed that Majority Plan created in the control authority a supranational body, which bypassed and usurped some of the Security Council functions. The U.S.S.R. claimed that the powers of this control authority would contravene national sovereignty.

[matter omitted]

[NAA: A1838, 720/1 part 4]