26 Memorandum from Tange to Chilton1

Canberra, 28 June 1957

Top Secret

[matter omitted]

I should like you to consider whether the processes of consultation between this Department and your own (and related Defence machinery) could be so organized as to ensure access by this Department to scientific knowledge as well as to 'military' knowledge and advice. What I have in mind is that there has been introduced into international disarmament negotiations the concept of controlling not merely weapons as such but also scientific experimentation in the nuclear field and the production of fissionable material. What is required, in my view, is not only the correlation of political and military information and views, but also a joint assessment of the relevance of a wide range of scientific facts and possibilities which I would suppose can only be explained by persons with knowledge of the relevant technical advances. These advances are constantly changing the diplomatic positions being taken by the Foreign Offices of the United Kingdom, United States, France and Canada in international discussion of nuclear tests and weapons. At the diplomatic level we are constantly faced with the necessity to decide whether the diplomatic positions of these Governments are well founded upon strategic requirements in the military-scientific fields. What I hope to see is an Australian system of dissemination of information, and co-ordinating advice, which would give this Department analogous assistance in establishing an Australian national position which might or might not be identical with that of the United Kingdom or United States. This is the more important as differences arise between the United Kingdom and the United States; and it is quite clear that international discussions in this field have assumed an element of greater seriousness than has hitherto prevailed in Soviet-Western negotiations.

I would welcome any observations which you might care to make upon this question of domestic organization of consultation.

[matter omitted]

By way of supplement to the normal channels of written or telephone communication between my Defence Liaison Branch and your appropriate officers, I would welcome an opportunity for my officers who have the responsibility of handling the international presentation of Australian attitudes in the field of nuclear tests and nuclear controls to have the benefit of a general discussion on the fundamental scientific developments which are affecting Western strategy and Western positions in disarmament discussions. This aspect of the Department's responsibilities is under the control of our Assistant Secretary, Mr. W.D. Forsyth. If you could make available such an officer and are able to agree with my request, I wonder whether it would be possible for him to pay a visit to Canberra, thus enabling the four or five of my officers who are concerned with this subject to have the benefit of the background information which he would be able to convey.

[NAA: A1838, TS852/10/4/2]