138 Cablegram from Shaw to Department of External Affairs

New York, 17 May 1968

UN 833. Confidential Immediate

Non-Proliferation Treaty

Reference our telegrams 8091 of 14th May and 8172 of 15th May.

De Palma of U.S. delegation spoke to me today, 17th May, about implications of the leak of information concerning the United States aide memoire to ourselves. He said that circumstances in which other member states knew that the United States had given particular assurances to some other member state on a matter of common concern created a difficult situation. In other instances the United States had given copies of aide memoires addressed to one state to other interested parties, particularly in relation to Euratom and NATO matters.

  1. De Palma said that he wanted to give copies of their aide memoire of 13th May to ourselves to all member states of Euratom, together with Canada and Japan. The United Kingdom had been given a copy two days ago.
  2. I told De Palma that we regretted the situation arising from the leak about the existence of their aide memoire of 13th May. We were not responsible for it. I said that from the Australian point of view we saw advantages in having the widest possible acceptance among parties to the treaty of the sort of explanations and assurances contained in the aide memoire to us. I wondered, however, whether these United States assurances should not more correctly be conveyed to other states, not in the form of copies of their aide memoire to us, but in the form of notes simply setting out United States views.
  3. Mr De Palma said that this would not meet his point that other member states would want to be assured that Australia had not been given some articular assurances denied them and this point would be completely covered if they were given exact copies of the American note to us.
  4. I said to De Palma that I was not sure that we would be happy to have circulated a complete copy of the aide memoire of 13th May given by them to Japan, for example, containing as it did, the paragraph reading: 'The United States fully understands the concern expressed by the Government of Australia that it not be put in a disadvantageous position vis-a-vis other nonnuclear weapon states in Asia, and wishes to assure the Government of Australia that it will do everything it can to ensure that the NPT will have no such consequence.'
  5. De Palma accepted this point and then proposed that this particular reference be deleted from the copy of the aide memoire to be circulated to other members or, alternatively, for the United States to give us a version of the aide memoire to replace that of 13th May rephrasing this paragraph in a way to which we would not take exception. (From our point of view, however, it is useful to have the formulation phrased as it is by the United States to us.)
  6. I said that even if this were done I would wish to give you the opportunity to express your views. For example, paragraph 7 stated that Australia had raised several questions on the subject of safeguards. (These included reference to Article XII A5 of IAEA Statute.) Off the cuff I said that I saw no great difficulties and indeed circulation of the note might be considered as helping to consolidate the interpretations which we, ourselves, had sought.
  7. De Palma wished to proceed immediately as envisaged in paragraph 2 above and in addition later next week to give copies to all members of other NATO delegations in New York.
  8. Since dictating the above De Palma telephoned to say that he believed that in fact action had already been taken in capitals to convey copies of the aide memoire as addressed to us, but deleting paragraph contained in our paragraph 5 above.

[NAA: A1838, 680/10/2 part 5]