190. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission in Geneva 1

151197. For Foster from the Secretary. Subject: NPT Safeguards article. Following is for your use in the consultations which you will be conducting on your current trip.2 Aside from European successor state problem, principal remaining NPT issue troubling Europeans is Article III on safeguards. Believe we well on road to providing effective explanations of many of technical issues raised by our proposed article. Unresolved are political issues raised by Article III which are concentrated on Euratom and its members.

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A variety of factors lie behind US objective to establish a worldwide system of safeguards. Such a safeguards system will be more attractive to the potential nuclear powers outside of Europe who will see in an exception designed to take care of Euratom a special concession not granted to other countries of the world. Soviets objection to acceptance of Euratom safeguards on basis it involves allies inspecting allies has basis in principle; they could not accept unless they were in a position to create a Warsaw Pact mirror image of Euratom, something they might not now be able to do and which would not be in our nor FRG interest for them to do.

U.S. nevertheless has accepted Euratom inspection as workable and effective and recognizes that question may be raised as to why necessary to impose additional inspection by IAEA and fear that nuclear version of Gresham’s law may develop and drive out Euratom safeguards.

U.S. sees, however, as more important issue the political issue growing out of feeling of discrimination resulting from inspection system contemplated Article III among Euratom members. Whereas Euratom safeguards apply to peaceful activities in all Euratom states, Article III safeguards would be applicable to only five of six members. Since France will be excluded from IAEA safeguards, some believe France will then become choice location for all nuclear research and development within Euratom community.

In addition, from foregoing flow questions of continued life for Euratom and future of European unity if equality among Community members is impaired.

FYI: While one may question rationale of some of this argumentation, fact is that discrimination argument is one France can play to her advantage and against us and our interests, and is subtly doing so now.

Also clear from what Germans and Italians have told us Article III as presently drafted and in present state understandings between us not acceptable to them. We also know others in and out of Euratom have problems of sufficient magnitude as to invite opposition to inclusion present language this article in any draft NPT. End FYI.

Because NPT provides an unparalleled opportunity to move forward on achieving an internationally accepted safeguards system, we wish to obtain maximum support of our allies before pushing forward.

In considering text of a safeguards Article U.S. prepared to redraft it to take into account three suggestions allies have made. First would be to establish overall substantial transition period of three years for entire article. Second, to rewrite the provision relating to safeguards on the exports of non-nuclear materials or equipment to make it clear that it is only the fissionable material used or produced with these items, and not the items themselves, which are subject to safeguards. Third, to insert a statement that the purpose of the article is to prevent diversion of materials to nuclear weapons development or manufacture.

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You could point out that these last two changes should reduce their fears that safeguards could be a basis for communist espionage or for interference in peaceful industrial endeavors. In addition you could point out following two points that we could make outside the agreement which should alleviate FRG and others concerns. First, we can assure them that they will not have to accept Soviet inspectors from the IAEA by getting the FRG to understand that this is the case under the present IAEA rules, provided this interpretation is given FRG in writing and we assure them of our support in case their rejection of Soviet inspectors is challenged in the IAEA. Second, we can assure them that U.S. will continue to assure adequate fuel supplies for their peaceful nuclear program, including reactors which they export. Latter assurance will be dealt with more detail septel.

FYI: Congressional consultation placing broad range of U.S. peaceful nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards proceeding favorably but not yet at point where Presidential decision appropriate. However, if your discussions with allies take a turn where it appears that concern over discrimination and potential industrial espionage is really based on fear of competitive disadvantage with U.S. in reactor sales, you could ask if this is the case and indicate we can take appropriate action to allay such concerns. End FYI.

You should also indicate desire to Euratom countries to consider with them following changes in safeguards article which might be discussed with Soviets after this phase allied consultation completed. Indicate that we have no draft to propose of such a revised article but prepared to consider idea of Article III requiring IAEA safeguards or international safeguards accepted by IAEA under verification procedures mutually agreed with Euratom. We wish to describe ideas which might be incorporated so that they can be considered. This approach, like that of the Article we have been discussing would provide for a transition period of three years and if the IAEA and the agency administering the other international safeguards system (in this case Euratom) did not come to an agreement during that time, then IAEA safeguards would apply to the countries concerned. The U.S., however, feels strongly about effective safeguards article in NPT and would appreciate allied reaction to these ideas or any other ideas allies have which would produce a similar result. In this context allies should be aware that if the new element in the approach, verification of regional systems by IAEA, should prove non-negotiable with USSR we would have to consider other approaches, including those along the lines of a redrafted Article III that has been the subject of our recent discussion.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-6. Secret; Limdis; Immediate; Priority. Repeated to Bonn. Drafted by Fisher (ACDA/DD); cleared by Leddy (EUR), Rostow (M), and Walsh (S/S); and approved by Rusk.
  2. ACDA Director Foster visited several European cities March 9-16, including Bonn, Rome, The Hague, and Brussels to consult with NATO allies on the non-proliferation treaty.
  3. See Attachment 1, Document 189.