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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2187

SIGNING OF NUCLEAR NON-PROFILERATION TREATY - STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR JOHN GORTON

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Gorton, John

Period of Service: 10/01/1968 to 10/03/1971

More information about Gorton, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 18/02/1970

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 2187

FOR PRESS: PM No. 30/ 1970
SIGNING OF NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY
Statement by the Prime Minister, Mr. John Gorton
Cabinet this morning gave full consideration to
the question of whether Australia should sign the Nuclear Non'-
Proliferation Treaty. We have decided that it would be in Australia's
interests to sign but with reservations. Signature will enable
us to join with other like-minded signatories,, such as West
Germany and Japan to achieve those interpretations, assurances,
and qualifications which we regard as important.
We have always supported the proposal for a
Treaty designed to limit the further spread of nuclear weapons
among the nations of the world.
But we have wished to be satisfied that such a
Treaty was effective, and did not damage Australia's interests.
We do not believe that as yet sufficient nations
have signed or ratified the Treaty to render it fully effective.
But the recent signatures with reservations of Japan and
West Germany have undoubtedly made it possible for the Treaty
to be much more effective than it was.
Further, although the questions of inspection and
the safeguard provisions of the Treaty have not yet been resolved
to our satisfaction progress has been made towards a solution.
It is clear, too, that the Treaty will not inhibit
but will assist the application of atomic energy for peaceful
purposes in Australia. In these circumstances the Government believes
that the time has come to sign the Treaty and hopes that this
action will encourage other couDig to do the same.

* Ourd ecision . san-expxressio-no f -oure ar nest Jiope
that a fully satisfactory Treaty can be achieved. It is also an
expression of our desire to help and above all not to hinder
such an achievement. However we wish to make it plain that our
decision to sign is not to be taken in any way as a decision to
ratify the Treaty, and of course, the Treaty is not binding
on us until it is ratified. As was the case with Japan and West Germany
our signature will be accompanied by a statement of our
reservations and we do not propose to ratify the Treaty until
the matters of concern to us have been clarified to our
satisfaction. 18 FEBRUARY 1970

Transcript 2187