Australia: Signature of Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

Action type
Government of the United Kingdom
27 February 1970
"The Government of Australia:
Supports effective international measures to counter the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.  In April 1968 when the Treaty to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons was introduced in the United Nations General Assembly, Australia supported the resolution commending the Treaty for the consideration of Governments. Is conscious of the fact that in the long run the security of the world as a whole will depend upon effective measures to control the nuclear arms race and to bring about general and complete disarmament.  The Government therefore welcomes the call in Article VI of the Treaty for negotiations to achieve these ends.
Hopes that the Treaty will be effective in its operation and will lead to improved relationships and enhanced co-operation between the nations of the world, and in particular between the nations of the Asian and Pacific region.
Believes that a condition of an effective Treaty is that it should attract a necessary degree of support.  Some progress in  this direction has been made but the Government will nevertheless want to be assured that there is a sufficient degree of support for the Treaty.
Regards it as essential that the Treaty should not affect continuing security commitments under existing treaties of mutual security. Attaches weight to the statements by the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and the Soviet Union declaring their intention to seek immediate Security Council action to provide help to any non-nuclear weapons state party to the Treaty that is subject to aggression or the threat of aggression with nuclear weapons.  At the same time the Government reaffirms its adherence to the principle, contained in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, of the right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.
Notes that Article 10 of the Treaty provides that any party has the right to withdraw in circumstances that jeopardised its supreme interests.
Notes that the Treaty will in no way inhibit and is in fact designed to assist non-nuclear weapon states in their research, development and use of nuclear energy and nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes either individually or collectively;  nor must it discriminate against any state or states in their peaceful pursuits in nuclear activities.
Considers that the safeguards agreement to be concluded by Australia with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with Treaty Article III must in no way subject Australia to treatment less favourable than is accorded to other states which, individually or collectively, conclude safeguards agreements with that agency.
Considers it essential that the inspection and safeguards arrangements should not burden research, development, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; that they should not constitute an obstacle to a nation's economic development, commercial interests and trade;  and that they should be effective in ensuring that any breaches of the Treaty would be detected.
Attaches importance to a review of the IAEA safeguards system and procedures to clarify those issues of importance to Australia. Welcomes the fact that the Treaty in Articles 4 and 5 provides for international co-operation for the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the peaceful applications of nuclear explosions;  notes the assurances that under the Treaty the supply of knowledge, materials and equipment would not be denied to any party;  and considers it important that no nuclear development should be prohibited except when such activities would have no other purpose than the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
Will co-operate closely with other governments in seeking clarifications and understandings in relation to those matters which must be resolved before Australia could proceed to ratification, being convinced that a Treaty which was truly effective in preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons would be a major contribution to the security of the world as a whole."
By a Note of 29 August 1985 the Government of Australia stated that the above Declaration no longer accurately reflected Australia's position:  the said Declaration was not intended to have any further application after Australia's ratification of the Treaty on 23 January 1973.
For treaties where the Secretary-General of the United Nations is not the depository, the records in this database rely on information provided to the United Nations by the depository States of those treaties. Some resources listed and/or hyperlinked on this page may be from individuals, organisations and entities other than the United Nations and are provided for information purposes only. The hyperlinking of outside resources is not an endorsement by the United Nations of the views expressed therein nor does the United Nations have control over the content or accuracy of information provided. No editorial comment is implied by the omission of a resource or website.