FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
AS A SYMBOL of the
Catholic Church's support for disarmament and efforts to achieve peace, Vatican representatives have signed a diplomatic agreement promising not to build up a nuclear arms cache.
Vatican Radio reported that Mgr. Oriano Quilici, the Vatican's permanent delegate to the international Atomic Energy Agency signed a diplomatic accord implementing the guarantees called for by the International Treaty for the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The accord, signed in Vienna June 26, is a follow-up to the Vatican's acceptance of the treaty itself at three separate ceremonies — in Washington, London and Moscow — in February 1971.
Sigvard Eklund. director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the signing of the accord has "a symbolic importance." He said that: "While all know that on the part of the Holy See there is no intention to acquire
nuclear arms, the solemn undertaking of such an obligation implies a recognition, at the highest level, of the principles of international security, disarmament and peace, which are the foundation of the non proliferation of atomic weapons treaty."
He added: "These are principles which His Holiness the Pope has repeatedly reminded us of, stressing their importance for the present and future well-being of mankind."
Mgr. Quilici said that the
Vatican recognised that "disarmament is an important road to peace, and the cause of peace is today more than ever the supreme good of peoples and that of mankind."
The Vatican representative
continued : "The Catholic Church desires to contribute to this cause all that is possible with the awareness of contributing a service which is both required and inspired by the spiritual mission which she develops in the historic context of the world.
"And Pope Paul dedicates to the cause of peace an untiring watchful and daily concern, consisting in prayer, teaching, pastoral action, educational promotion, official and confidential interventions and efforts on all levels with the governments of every nation."
In addition to being a visible sign of the Vatican's encouragement to nations to disarm. the signing of the international agreement was an expression of the Vatican's "sovereignty and exclusive jurisdiction over the Vatican City State," said Mgr. Quilici.
The Vatican diplomat pointed out that although the Vatican City State was very small, it was nevertheless a "territory which is always and on every occasion neutral and inviolable."
He also pointed out that the Vatican City was listed on January 18, 1960, on "the register of UNESCO for cultural goods under special protection in the case of armed conflict."