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Tuesday, 30 September 1958


Mr Ward d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Is the United Kingdom obliged to make all its nuclear weapon secrets available to Australia or does it do so voluntarily?

2.   If it is obliged to do so, how will this position be affected by the latest agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the terms of which provide that the United Kingdom cannot share these secrets with the other Commonwealth countries without the permission of the United States?


Mr Menzies - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The United Kingdom is not obliged to make all its nuclear weapon secrets available to Australia, nor does it in fact make all of them available. It does, however, provide voluntarily to Australia a considerable amount of such information as is consistent with requirements.

2.   Not applicable in view of 1.


Mr Ward d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Was Australia consulted prior to the completion of an agreement between the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Japan, whereby the last-named nation is to be provided with nuclear reactors and fuel?

2.   If so, what was the nature of the opinion expressed by the Commonwealth Government?

3.   Is it a fact that, in the case of a highly industrialized nation like Japan, this assistance substantially advances her progress on the way to becoming a producer of atomic and nuclear bombs?

4.   Is his faith in the goodwill of Japanese leaders so great that he does not regard the latest developments as a threat to the future security of this country, particularly as the present ruling class in Japan is the same that proved such a ruthless enemy in the last war?


Mr Menzies - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   No.

2.   Not applicable in view of 1. 3 and 4. It is a well-known general proposition that there is a great difference between having nuclear reactors and having the technical and financial resources to produce atomic weapons. Other important considerations apply in the particular case of Japan. The people and government of Japan, far from displaying any wish for Japan to have nuclear weapons, have shown an intense opposition to such weapons. The Japanese Government has been most active in efforts to bring about an end to all nuclear weapon testing. This attitude is given expression in the basic Japanese law regulating the use of nuclear fuels and atomic reactors which limits the application of atomic energy in Japan to peaceful purposes. There is provision for rigid government inspection to ensure the observance of this limitation. Moreover, the agreements with the United States and the United Kingdom are concerned entirely with the peaceful uses of atomic energy.







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