8 Minute from UN Division , Department of External Affairs, to Burton1

Canberra, 19 June 1947

The Delegation in UN5952 has suggested that in view of recent developments in the Atomic Energy Commission, an assessment of Australia's position is desirable. The Committees of the Commission have been considering possible functions of the proposed International Agency.

The Report of the Atomic Energy Commission

During the first year's work the Commission fully considered the extent of the safeguards which would be necessary to ensure the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. These powers were laid down in general terms and ranged from inspection, including aerial surveys, to supervision, management and licensing. Nowhere was it suggested that the Agency should own either ores, mines or plants.

[matter omitted]


As the Commission is now dealing with more specific powers to be given to the Agency, it is suggested that the Delegation should be instructed to press for detailed powers within the scope of the Commission's report. In this connection the suggestion of the U.K. with provision for frequent or continuous inspection seems quite satisfactory.

There seem to be no reasons why the Agency should not have sole powers of research on atomic weapons.

On the question of sanctions it is suggested that the Commission should determine as wide a range of sanctions as would be possible for the Agency itself to exercise. Voting in the Agency could, on policy matters, be by two-thirds majority and on normal administrative matters by simple majority. There would be no right of veto.

Control by the Security Council should be restricted essentially only to cases involving Articles 34 or 39 of the Charter.3 The Council should not be given powers proposed by the U.K. to exercise supervision over decisions of the Agency on normal policy or administrative matters.

[NAA: A1838, 720/1 part 2]