140 Cablegram from Shaw to Department of External Affairs

New York, 28 May 1968

UN 906. Confidential Immediate

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

There have been moves to resolve the deadlock which was developing in the debate in the First Committee as a result of the number of queries and proposals made by members critical of the draft treaty and the resolution to 'endorse' it.1

[matter omitted]

  1. Japanese delegation today asked us whether Australia would co-sponsor the amended resolution. They said that positions of Japan and Australia were important to the treaty cosponsors and Tokyo was considering whether it would co-sponsor the amended resolution. Australia's attitude would be important to Japan, especially in the absence of any other significant co-sponsor from the Asian-Pacific region.
  2. Japanese delegation here believe that the present prospect was that the Japanese Government would be unlikely to agree to co-sponsor, especially while apanese parliament was in session, but that this position could change. They regarded the amended resolution as unexceptionable and as largely meeting Japan's requirements. We said, off the cuff, that Australian co-sponsorship of the resolution would be unlikely since it might be considered that such a move could affect our freedom of action in relation to signature and ratification.
  3. We have not been party to any of the numerous informal discussions about possible amendments to the resolution or the text of the treaty. We have rested on the position contained in your instructions and reflected in our statement of 17 May.2 Your instructions would have enabled us to vote in favour of the earlier resolution to 'endorse' and consequently they will enable us to vote in favour of the resolution to 'commend' as re-drafted.

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