188. Memorandum From the Acting Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Fisher) to Secretary of State Rusk 1


  • NPT Safeguards Article: Action Memorandum

Attached (at Tab A) is a draft revision of Article III which, in accordance with our discussions of a few days ago, specifies the possibility of IAEA verification of Euratom safeguards. The draft article contains three other changes which should be helpful to our Allies. In response to concerns expressed to us, the new draft makes clear that there is the same substantial transition period for all undertakings in the article. There is no longer a provision requiring safeguards on the exports of non-nuclear materials or equipment. And there is a statement that the purpose of the article is to prevent diversion of materials to nuclear weapons manufacture. These last two changes could be quite helpful to gain FRG assent since the FRG, as you know, has feared that the present article might be a [Page 455] basis for communist espionage or for interference in peaceful industrial and scientific endeavors.

The key question is whether we put an article along these lines to the Soviets before we discuss it with our allies. We feel strongly that we should. However, there is difference of view on this question. I would, therefore, recommend that you hold a meeting to discuss the issue, to which you might want to invite Mr. Rostow, Mr. Kohler, Mr. Leddy and myself.

I believe that the case for proceeding with the Soviets first rests on the fact that, while the chances of the Soviet’s acceptance of the revised Article may be great enough to justify proceeding with it, we will have considerably greater difficulty in selling the revised Article III to them than we will to our Allies. If we have developed the Article with our allies first and are unable to negotiate it with the Soviets, we have started a chain of events which may result in our inability to obtain any effective safeguards Article at all.

We believe the Russians may fear that under the proposed article the US and its influential Western friends in the IAEA will fight strenuously for IAEA acceptance of Euratom safeguards with only a minimum of IAEA verification. They may thus want to avoid a situation in which they might be forced to utilize obstructionist tactics in the IAEA to ensure what they believe would be reliable IAEA verification of Euratom. The Soviets have also emphasized with us that safeguards must be exactly equal for Soviet allies as for US allies. The Soviets may not wish to place themselves in a situation in which, for whatever reason, they may feel compelled to establish parallel regional safeguards in Eastern Europe. It is of course clearly in our interest to avoid this also.

If our doubts about negotiability with the Soviets should prove correct and if we should have proceeded with our allies first, we would then face a very difficult and possibly unmanageable situation. We would have far less prospect of a safeguards article for inclusion in the treaty, and we might have lost a month or more of valuable time.

I also attach (at Tab B) draft talking points which we could use with the Russians when presenting this article for their consideration on an urgent basis within the next day or two.

We would of course try to get an answer from the Russians as quickly as possible. But even on the assumption that no answer came back before Foster held his talks in Bonn, he could still have valuable safeguards discussions with the Germans. Among other things he could:

Explain to the Germans some possible amendments which we think in any event would be sellable to the Soviets, i.e., making clear that purpose of the article is to prevent manufacture of nuclear weapons, deletion of requirement for safeguards on exports of non-nuclear materials and equipment, and specification that there is a substantial transition period on all undertakings in the article;
Ask the Germans if it would be helpful for the US to undertake IAEA safeguards on a large segment of its peaceful nuclear facilities (assuming, of course, that Presidential approval for the offer is obtained);
Tell the Germans that we fully support the principle that non-nuclear countries should be inspected by IAEA inspectors of non-nuclear nationality (this is possible under existing procedures of the IAEA);
On verification of IAEA by Euratom, tell the Germans that we are in fact pushing with the Soviets the concept of IAEA verification of Euratom but we cannot be certain whether this can result in a change in the safeguards article;
Undertake with the Germans to give prompt study to any possibilities of developing additional automatic means of inspection, e.g., “black boxes.” As Director of ACDA, Mr. Foster might state the willingness of ACDA to launch an immediate research program with ACDA funds.


That you hold a meeting with Messrs. Rostow, Kohler, Leddy, and Fisher during the weekend or on Monday morning to discuss Article III.2

Tab A 3

ARTICLE III (Safeguards)

For the purpose of providing assurance that nuclear materials used or produced in peaceful nuclear facilities are not diverted to the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, the Parties agree upon the following provisions. Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to this Treaty undertakes to accept, on all its peaceful nuclear activities, the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency or international safeguards the operation of which that Agency accepts and verifies as equally effective. Each State Party to this Treaty undertakes not to provide source or fissionable material for peaceful purposes to any non-nuclear-weapon State unless the material is subject to such safeguards. The safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency shall be applied as soon as practicable but no later than three years after the entry into force of this Treaty, except with respect to activities or materials [Page 457] to which other international safeguards are being applied that meet the foregoing requirements of acceptance and verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Tab B 4


Revised Article III To Be Transmitted to Soviet Union

New article contains changes which we believe will greatly increase chance its final acceptance by US’s Western European allies. However, amendments do not lessen fundamental effectiveness of article.
Article now requires IAEA safeguards or international safeguards the operation of which the IAEA accepts and verifies as equally effective. If the IAEA does accept and does verify as equally effective any regional system of safeguards, we believe this will provide reliable assurance to the IAEA and its members that effective safeguards are being applied. As practical matter, Soviet Union should take into account that IAEA countries subject to IAEA safeguards will not permit IAEA to accept any other safeguards as equally effective unless agreed verification arrangements with the IAEA are in fact reliable.
New article provides for transition period of three years from entry into force of treaty. Soviet representatives have previously informed US that transition period could be one, two, or three years.
New article states that purpose of article is to provide assurance that nuclear materials are not diverted to manufacture of nuclear weapons. We do not believe this changes any basic assumptions, but it will be helpful for many of our allies who wish reassurance that safeguards will not be used as basis for intervening in peaceful nuclear activities having no relationship to manufacture of weapons.
The article no longer contains requirement that exports of non-nuclear materials or equipment will be subject to safeguards. We believe this is not a significant change since there remains clear requirement that all peaceful nuclear activities of non-nuclear weapon parties will be subject to safeguards.
US remains strongly committed to negotiating an effective safeguards article in the NPT. We believe changes described above should [Page 458] meet all concerns expressed to us in the past by the Soviet Union and could result in widespread acceptance by the Western European countries, whose acceptance of the article is essential.
We request the Soviet Union to provide us its acceptance or comments on the new article as rapidly as possible since we are anxious to submit it to our allies. If a favorable response can shortly be received from the Soviet Union, we would be hopeful of including such an article in a co-chairman’s NPT text to be submitted in the near future at the ENDC.
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA/D Files: FRC 77 A 52, Memoranda to the Secretary of State 1967. Secret. The source text was submitted under cover of a March 4 memorandum from Mildred J. Asbjornson (S) to the Secretary informing him that “Mr. Gene Rostow has asked if you would meet with him and Messrs. Leddy, Kohler, possibly this afternoon on the trilateral talks.” The handwritten initials “DR” next to an approving line indicate that Rusk agreed to meet at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon.

    A handwritten notation on the source text reads: “Sir: A dissenting memorandum from EUR is at Tab C.” This attachment, not printed, consists of two parts. The first, undated telegram drafted by George S. Springsteen (EUR), cleared by Leddy (EUR), Hinton (EUR/RPE), Baker (EUR/RPM), Fisher, and Rostow, and approved by Rusk, expresses EUR’s principal view that alternative suggestions should be considered to gain our Allies agreement on Article III which could then be broached to the Soviets. Specifically, Springsteen wrote, “We are prepared to take account of two suggestions they [the Europeans] have advanced. One would concern compatible treatment of transition period throughout draft and other would deal with definitional problem of special materials and equipment.” Part two is a March 4 covering memorandum from Leddy to Rusk.

  2. This sentence, along with the preceding word “Recommendation,” has been inserted by hand on the source text.
  3. Secret.
  4. Secret.