86 Record of Discussion between Japanese and Australian Officials

Tokyo, 31 March 1967


Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty


Mr H. Kitahara, Director, European & Oceanic Affairs Bureau

Mr G. Hattori, Director, United Nations Bureau

Mr H. Kira, Deputy Director, Asian Affairs Bureau

Mr H. Kaya, Chief, British Commonwealth Section

Mr M. Takahashi, British Commonwealth Section (Rapporteur)

Mr M.R. Booker, First Assistant Secretary, Department of External Affairs, Canberra

Mr R.J. Percival, Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Tokyo

Mr P.F. Peters, First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Tokyo

Mr Hattori opened the discussion by outlining Japan's basic position on the proposed nuclear non-proliferation treaty. He said that as Japan saw it, the general purpose of such a treaty should not be to serve as a means of perpetuating the monopoly of states with nuclear weapons. There must be an equitable balance of responsibilities between the nuclear powers and the non-nuclear nations. Japan believed that nuclear disarmament was a necessary obligation on the part of the nuclear powers, and that they should indicate clearly their intention to disarm— both as far as nuclear and conventional weapons were concerned. Mr Hattori added that Japan was also concerned with the question of peaceful uses of nuclear explosions. There should be no discrimination between the nuclear powers and non-nuclear states in this regard. At the same time, effective international safeguards should be applied to nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes. The nuclear powers would not accept such safeguards. Japan had acceptedthe I.A.E.A. safeguards and had also concluded safeguards agreements with Canada and the United States. Japan believed that the nuclear powers should also accept such safeguards.

[matter omitted]

  1. Mr Booker said that Australia would agree that the major points Mr Hattori had outlined were the most important aspects of the proposed treaty. However, it was his personal belief that the treaty was not likely to cover satisfactorily these points. It would probably merely carry an exhortation for a reduction of armaments and would not apply safeguards to the nuclear powers. He felt it was no more than being realistic to contemplate being asked to sign a treaty which did not meet these points. Such a treaty would not basically improve our security. Also, Communist China would not be a party to it.

[matter omitted]

  1. Concerning Mr Hattori's remarks about preserving the nuclear powers' present monopoly, Mr Booker thought that this surely could be described as the object of the treaty. This was the inescapable nature of the present situation. There seemed little more that could be hoped for beyond an exhortation in the preamble of the treaty for the nuclear powers to take steps to reduce armaments.
  2. Mr Hattori referred to the problem of providing adequate security for non-aligned countries, such as India. He thought some special consideration should be given to this problem. Mr Booker remarked that the proposed treaty was not likely to make any provision to cover this. Mr Hattori added that from a security point of view he could see advantage in the participation of as many countries as possible.
  3. Mr Booker said that Australia was interested in the question of peaceful uses of nuclear explosions. There was a distinct possibility that Australia might be able to use nuclear explosions to develop, for example, its deserts and harbours. We would not want the treaty to make it more difficult for Australia to apply nuclear explosions to some of its developmental problems. Perhaps our interests would be covered if we could be assured that countries having nuclear devices would make them available. There should be no problem about accepting international safeguards in such circumstances. In reply to a question, Mr Booker said that Australia had no intention to develop its own nuclear explosive devices. Australia had been contemplating developing nuclear power, particularly in its northern regions. However, more recently sources of gas and oil had been discovered and this probably meant that there would be a delay in developing nuclear power production. On the question of safeguards he commented that the Europeans now seemed somewhat reconciled to the proposal to transfer nuclear devices under I.A.E.A. inspection.
  4. Mr Hattori asked whether it was thought that after the E.N.D.C. recess the United States and the Soviet Union would be able to reach agreement and present a draft to the E.N.D.C. Mr Booker replied that Australia was not, of course, a member of the E.N.D.C. and what we knew was second-hand. However he thought we would be wise to prepare our minds for a situation where we were presented with a treaty. Mr Hattori observed that what Japan feared most was that the United States and the Soviet Union would reach agreement and then present a treaty to other countries on a 'take it or leave it' basis, without providing any opportunity for countries like Japan with reservations to present them and have them discussed. Mr Booker thought that it seemed that this might well happen and wondered whether Japan would nevertheless sign under these circumstances. Mr Hattori was unable to say how Japan might react. Mr Booker added that there would be an expectation by Australia's major allies that Australia would sign. But if, say, Japan, India and Western Germany refused to sign this could affect our position.

[matter omitted]

[NAA: A1838, 919/12/7 part 1]