The First General Conference of the International Atomic
Energy Agency will open in Vienna on October1 and last some
three or four weeks. The Conference as its first task will elect
ten members to the Board of Governors of the Agency, to join the
thirteen countries already designated for membership by the
Agency's preparatory Commission as provided in the Agency's
statute. (Canada by reason of its extensive atomic programme and its major production
of uranium, has already been designated for the first category of membership on the Board of
Governors of the Agency as one of the five most advanced atomic powers.) The Conference will
then determine, on the basis of recommendations from the Preparatory Commission and the
Board of Governors, the programme, budget, and establishment of the Agency for its first year's
operations. It will also be asked to confirm the nomination to be submitted by the Board of
Governors for the first Director General of the Agency.
I wish to recommend26 that the points set out below should serve as the general directive for
the Canadian delegation to the Conference. They are based on what has been the Canadian
position throughout, namely that the Agency is an important and can be a useful organization.
The assistance it will provide will be financed by charges against the recipients, except to the
extent that member governments may decide to make voluntary contributions to its programme.
As a point of direct interest to Canada, it is likely to facilitate the development of markets for
uranium and assist in ensuring that our uranium exports will not be diverted to clandestine
military uses. These general instructions proposed below would of course be supplemented by
more detailed guidance from Ottawa on particular points as they arise.
The delegation should support the adoption of an imaginative, vigorous and realistic initial
programme for the Agency.
It should support arrangements which will ensure that adequate funds will be available to
permit the Agency to take effective initiatives, while providing for sound and responsible
management of these resources.
It should endeavour to arrange that the Agency will promptly establish on an effective basis
the machinery, for which provision is made in its statute, for ensuring against diversion of
Agency assistance to military use.
The Canadian delegation should make known Canada's readiness to make uranium
available to the Agency in substantial quantities, subject of course to the Agency's safeguards
and on terms and at dates to be agreed. This statement should be prudent as far as precise
commitments are concerned, but should be sufficiently specific to make it clear to the Agency
that Canada is in the uranium export business on a serious and substantial commercial basis.
The delegation should declare Canada's willingness, to the extent her facilities and her own
requirements permit, to allot places to students from other countries for training in the various
institutions concerned with studies on the peaceful uses of atomic energy. While specific
reference to financing of such training should be avoided, the delegation should indicate that
Canada will deal sympathetically with this question. (Ministers should be aware that there is
being considered, for possible use at the Mont Tremblant Conference of Commonwealth Finance
Ministers, a somewhat more specific and generous statement on provision of training than that
The delegation should seek to ensure that places on the staff of the Agency commensurate
in number and status with Canada's relatively advanced position in atomic energy shall be
available to qualified Canadian candidates.
The delegation, to the extent that it may find itself involved in negotiations concerning the
selection of the personnel to fill important posts (e.g. the most senior officials of the Agency's
staff and the officers of its Board of Governors) should seek to ensure that the policy interests of
the western powers are adequately protected and that the individuals chosen are well qualified
personally for their positions.
In all of these various matters the delegation should maintain close contact with friendly
delegations and particularly those of the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and other
countries of the Commonwealth, with a view to harmonizing their various positions to the
maximum extent consistent with Canadian interests. In general, the delegation should join with
other western countries in opposing undesirable or obstructive initiatives by the Soviet bloc if
these should appear, while encouraging as much real co-operation as possible among all
participating countries in support of the Agency's objectives.
26 Le 1 octobre 1957, le Cabinet noted with approval ces instructions.
On October 1, 1957, Cabinet noted with approval these instructions.