160 Note from Shann to Booker

Canberra, 10 February 1970

Non-Proliferation Treaty

Mr Thomas of the Atomic Energy Commission telephoned me this afternoon. The Commission, as you know, has always had difficulty in sorting out who is responsible for what in the atomic energy field in this Department.

2. He informed me as follows:

(1) The full Commission met yesterday afternoon and instructed Thomas to call me today in order to inform the Department that the Commission felt that the time was appropriate and strongly urged that Australia should sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

[matter omitted]

(3) In signing Australia should enter certain reservations and its draft in this regard will be sent to the Department tomorrow morning by special delivery. (I told Thomas that this communication should be addressed to you and I asked him what sort of reservations the Commission had in mind. He says that the reservations collected together everybody else's reservations and add a few of their own.)

(4) The Commission is strongly of the view that Australia should sign the Treaty before the 24th February.

(5) They believe that this course will help the position of Australia generally, both in the political field and in the international atomic energy field.

(6) While I do not think that Thomas would wish to be quoted on this, he said that the Commissioners had strongly in their minds the possibility that signing the Treaty would be of considerable assistance over the next few months in the negotiations that are going to take place with a number of countries over tenders for the Atomic Power Station at Jervis Bay.1

[NAA: A1838, TS919/10/5 part 21]