95 Savingram from Tange to Department of External Affairs

New Delhi, 18 August 1967

66. Confidential

Nuclear Weapons and a Nuclear Guarantee

During a call on the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Chagla) about which I reported in my Savingram 65,1 the discussion on China led on to the question of protection against nuclear threats from China. Chagla said there was now talk of China testing a delivery system across India into the Indian Ocean and China was completely unchecked and uncontrollable. She could not sign any non-proliferation treaty. I asked the Minister what India was doing about the non-proliferation treaty and how he saw the relationship between that treaty and the question of a 'nuclear guarantee' by the two major nuclear powers.

2. Chagla said he had just received a revised text which he had been told would be tabled in Geneva later this month.2 There had been some adjustments to the clause dealing with amendments and other changes. But the Minister gave me to believe that India still opposes the fundamental discrimination in the treaty against the present non-nuclear powers. He said the nuclear powers want to keep their monopoly of nuclear weapons. India cannot agree to them keeping a monopoly of nuclear technology. He said that India considered the question of a nuclear 'guarantee' as separate from what went into a non-proliferation treaty. The main question about a so-called nuclear guarantee was whether it would be credible. To put it bluntly, would the United States or Soviet Union act in the event of an attack upon India and thus risk an attack upon themselves? I remarked that this was not a new question and it was one which all countries (including Australia) had to answer for themselves. There was no such thing as an absolute guarantee or absolute security. Mr. Chagla asked whether Australia had any guarantee from the United States and I described Article IV of the ANZUS Treaty3 which did not go beyond an undertaking by the United States 'to act' in accordance with its constitutional processes. Australia had considerable confidence in this generalized language. As regards the non-proliferation treaty, I said Australia was still examining its position.

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