Volume #26 - 474.|
Note du sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le premier ministre
le 11 mai 1959|
SAFEGUARDS ON NUCLEAR EXPORTS|
It has been the policy of the Canadian Government to sell uranium abroad only to the United States, to the United Kingdom, and to countries with which we have concluded bilateral agreements providing for safeguards against the diversion of nuclear materials to military uses. This policy, which has been developed in the closest consultation with the Governments of the U.K. and U.S.A. and is, of course, also followed by them, has been designed primarily to pre-vent the indiscriminate spread - or indeed any growth - of nuclear weapons' capacity.
2. However as the development of atomic energy and the discovery of uranium progress, more and more countries must agree to apply the safeguards system if it is to be effective. Our aim therefore has been to establish a universal system through the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Agency has been working on this question, and it is now to be discussed at the June meetings of its Board of Governors.
3. In the meantime, we have been trying, along with the U.K. and U.S.A. authorities, to evolve a common position on safeguards and to bind other principal producing countries to it. Our aim has been to ensure that no such country sells nuclear materials without provision for safeguards and that we all take a common position when the matter is discussed in the IAEA. To this end, we have met privately with U.S.A., U.K., South African and Australian officials intermittently since the fall of 1957, and somewhat more formal meetings of these five countries were held in Ottawa in November 1958710 and in London last February-March. These meetings reached certain basic conclusions. Although governments are not committed, it is now necessary to inform the other participants whether these conclusions are acceptable to the Canadian Government. This is necessary if we are to persuade the other principal suppliers of nuclear materials, particularly France, Belgium, Portugal and Germany, to agree to the same safeguards. A meeting of officials of the original five countries, mentioned above, plus the other main Western European suppliers is now tentatively arranged for May 27 in London.711 (France and Belgium have both been rather elusive on this question. We have just learned that Belgium is selling about 2 ½ tons of uranium to India and a similar amount to Japan without safeguards.)
4. It is therefore urgent to get all these countries to agree quickly or safeguards will be gra-vely prejudiced.
5. The following are the main conclusions reached in the five-power discussions:
(1) unless all significant Western suppliers maintain a common front in securing applica-tion of safeguards to their exports, each of the five would have to reserve the right to reconsider the safeguards to be applied to its own exports. It would also be necessary to take into account whether the Soviet Bloc becomes a significant exporter of nuclear goods to Western markets and whether there are any safeguards on Soviet exports;
(2) wherever possible, if agreed to by the recipient country, the administration of safeguards should be undertaken by an international authority. The International Atomic Energy Agency, Euratom and the OEEC Nuclear Energy Agency (ENEA) are all recognized as appropriate international organizations capable of administering adequate safeguards. (This takes much of the "sting" out of safeguards on exports to all of Western Europe since European organizations do their own safeguarding.)
(3) there can be no attempt to have a completely foolproof system, and the severity of application of controls against the possibility of diversion to military purposes must be rea-listically adapted to the size and nature of the assistance supplied or of the facility to be controlled;
(4) the items to be controlled are primarily natural uranium, fissionable material in all its forms, reactors, and isotopic enrichment plants. These are regarded as "trigger" items, export of which should require safeguards provisions. Minimum quantities for experimental purposes must for practical purposes be exempted from such controls.
6. These proposals would not involve a change in Canada's present policy.
7. We must recognize that willingness to relax safeguards on the part of our competitors in the world uranium market would force Canada also to reconsider this policy. I need not empha-size that the question of selling Canadian uranium is particularly urgent, because of the real doubt as to the amount of further sales to the United States after the expiry of the contracts with the United States Atomic Energy Commission. We are, of course, pushing ahead with the negotiation of bilateral agreements covering further major likely markets for our uranium; the Japanese agreement, recently under negotiation here, is perhaps the most important. The two delegations have agreed on the text which has now been referred to Japan for approval. These agreements permit exports under appropriate controls and are flexible enough to be adjusted to the competitive situation. Agreements have been concluded already with Switzerland and Germany, and negotiations are well advanced with Pakistan and with the Euratom Commis-sion covering all members of Euratom (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Federal Germany, Italy).
8. My recommendation (made with the concurrence of other Government Departments and Agencies concerned) is that for the time being we should inform the other participants of the meeting of five countries that Canada concurs in the summary conclusions reached in London, and that we should push very hard to have these safeguards generally accepted. If it becomes clear that important suppliers of nuclear material will not abide by these safeguards, we shall be free under the terms of the conclusions reached in London to consider whether it would be possible for example to withdraw natural uranium from the list of "trigger" items while maintaining the controls on the more directly dangerous items such as fissionable material, reactors and separation plants.
9. I would also suggest that our representatives in a number of key countries might be instructed to make it clear to the governments to which they are accredited, at a regular senior level, that Canada is very concerned to have effective international safeguards. The occasion for such approaches could be the need to prepare for the June meetings of the I.A.E.A.
10. The attitude of the USSR on this whole matter is also of great importance, and there is some evidence that they share our concern to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. It might be useful if I were to speak to the Soviet Ambassador. The Soviet authorities have not opposed safeguards, but have also not given any open support to them, no doubt in order not to offend under-developed countries such as India which are suspicious of safeguards. India is of course one of the countries we might approach in a further attempt to make clear our attitude that safeguards are not controls imposed by "advanced" countries on "under-developed" countries, but are a form a mutual insurance against the further spread of the menace of nuclear weapons.
710Voir/See Volume 24, Document 567.
711La réunion a eu lieu du 27 au 29 mai./The meeting was held from May 27 to 29.
712Voir Recueil des traités du Canada, 1960, no 15./See Canada Treaty Series, 1960, No. 15.
713Voir Recueil des traités du Canada, 1960, no 14./See Canada Treaty Series, 1960, No. 14.
714Voir Recueil des traités du Canada, 1959, no 22./See Canada Treaty Series, 1959, No. 22.
715Ce qui fut fait le 27 mai. Voir le télégramme d'Ottawa à Londres ET 719, 28 mai? MAE 14001-2-6.
716Robertson rencontra le haut-commissaire de l'Inde le 3 juin. Voir le télégramme d'Ottawa à Londres ET-774, 10 juin,? MAE 14001-2-6.
717 Note marginale :/Marginal note: