171 Cablegram from Embassy in Washington to Department of Foreign Affairs

Washington, 18 June 1971

3237. Secret Eclipse Priority

Uranium Enrichment Sharing

Zook1 (Director, Atomic Energy Affairs, State Department) stressed to us on 17 June that it was up to Australia, Canada, and Japan to register their interest with the United States authorities if early progress is to be made towards a decision by the United States to share its uranium enrichment technology.

  1. Zook said he made this point because several important members of the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Atomic Energy had told the United States Atomic Energy Commission (USAEC) and the State Department that they have misrepresented the interest of Pacific Basin countries in sharing in United States nuclear enrichment technology and that such interest exists largely in the minds of the USAEC and the State Department.
  2. In this connexion, Zook wondered whether Mr Swartz during his visit here would be willing to consider drawing to the attention particularly of joint committee members Australia's genuine interest in cooperating with the United States, Canada, and Japan to build and operate an enrichment plant for the Pacific area, and that this interest is shared by Japan which, if only for strategic reasons, is committed to the establishment of a source of nuclear fuel in the Pacific basin and outside the United States.
  3. In subsequent discussion Zook said that as to prospective sites for such an enrichment plant, Australia and Canada had equally strong claims, since both possessed extensive reserves of uranium as well as power and water. His impression was that Japan would prefer to see the plant set up in Australia, but he considered that if Australia had not by then ratified the nuclear non-proliferation treaty this would count against it when the time came for the United States administration and Congress to make the necessary decisions about sharing enrichment technology.
  4. Please ensure Zook is fully protected particularly in discussions with United States officials.

[[NAA: A1838, 720/4/9 part 1]