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281 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram UN922 NEW YORK, 6 December 1946, 11.51 a.m.


Assembly No.347.

1. Disarmament Sub-committee [1] debate commenced 5th December
using United States proposal (Assembly 301) [2] as basis for
discussion. Spaak was appointed Chairman.

2. First sentence of United States draft, which is substantially
the same as paragraph one of Australian draft [3], was accepted
without change.

3. On second half of first paragraph Molotov questioned need of
reference to 'international treaties and agreements'. He was
answered effectively by Connally who referred to Article 26 and
again stressed the fact that plans formulated by the Security
Council must be submitted to member states for ratification.

4. We pointed out that not only must plans be submitted to member
states but all members must have an opportunity of expressing
views before a convention be finally drafted. We stressed that
Council could not simply prepare a convention and ask for
immediate adoption by states not members of the Council.

5. We were supported by Canada who suggested that after
consideration of plans by all member states an international
conference should be called to draft the necessary conventions
which would then be open for ratification.

6. Sub-committee eventually adopted amendment suggested by Spaak
to delete words 'pursuant to international treaties and
agreements' and adding new sentence at end of paragraph as
follows. 'The plans formulated by the Security Council shall be
submitted to member states for ratification in accordance with
Article 26.' Before accepting this amendment we made it clear that
we were doing so on the express understanding that 'ratification'
included all the necessary steps up to ratification. China made a
similar declaration.

7. The United Kingdom delegation have circulated a revised draft
of paragraph 2, amending the last sentence to read as follows.

'The General Assembly further recommends that in the light of such
proposals as the Atomic Energy Commission may make within its
terms of reference the Security Council expedite consideration and
preparation of a draft convention to be submitted to the Assembly
for the prohibition of atomic and other weapons of mass
destruction and for the establishment of the system of
international control and regulation referred to in paragraph 3
hereof.' This will be considered by sub-committee when it resumes
6th December.

1 On 4 December Molotov had stated that 'the rule of unanimity in
the Security Council has nothing to do with the work of control
commissions', thus modifying the U.S.S.R. position on the subject
of the veto; a sub-committee of twenty members, including
Australia, was then established with a view to reaching agreement
on a commonly accepted draft on disarmament.

2 Proposals on the general regulation and reduction of armaments
submitted by the representatives of Australia, Canada, France, the
Soviet Union, and the United States, had been referred to the
subcommittee; it would also consider proposals from the Soviet
Union, Argentina and Egypt relating to the presence of armed
forces of U.N. members in foreign territories and the question of
information from member governments on their armed forces and

3 See Document 228.

[AA:A1838/2, 852/10/4]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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