225. Memorandum From the Acting Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Fisher) to Secretary of State Rusk1


  • Situation Report—NPT

Upon my arrival back from Geneva I can report on the NPT situation as follows.

There have been no speeches at the ENDC by the non-aligned since the new text was presented on January 18.2 All speeches to date have been by US or Soviet allies which wished to register prompt support for new text. It is highly possible there will be no speeches at all at the next plenary on January 30. Two things seem to account for this: lack of time to obtain considered reactions from capitals and the opening of UNCTAD meeting in Delhi next week, which will take several prominent non-aligned delegates to ENDC away from Geneva temporarily.

I believe the slow pace at the ENDC in the next few weeks has certain advantages for us. (1) It will give us an opportunity to make special representations on behalf of the new draft in the capitals of the Eight non-aligned members of the ENDC. (2) It will give us more time to work out the security assurances problem with the Soviets before non-aligned views start to jell in Geneva. (3) The non-aligned, and not we and the Soviets this time, are under pressure to state their positions before the March 15 deadline for a report to the UNGA.

The non-aligned will wish to put some stamp on the treaty. It is recognition of this which may have motivated the Soviets to refuse to agree to include a provision on periodic review conferences in the January 18 draft. I believe the Soviets will probably agree to such a provision but that they will not agree to loosen up the duration clause further.

It thus seems to be in our interest to canalize non-aligned activities to getting a periodic review provision into the treaty and perhaps also to include the original Italian suggestion of relating the purposes of the preamble to provision for review conferences. This would have the effect of giving the non-nuclear countries periodic opportunities to assess what progress is made on further arms control measures and thus help to [Page 549] meet the argument that the NPT is not sufficiently balanced with regard to obligations of the nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states.

We are expecting a representation from the FRG regarding “flexibility.” I think we should from the outset discourage the Germans from expecting any change in the duration clause, pointing out there seems to be a definite relationship between it and Soviet acceptance of the November 2 formulation for Article III. However, I would recommend telling the Germans that we shall seek to make the treaty more flexible through pressing for a provision for periodic review. At the same time I think we should avoid giving the Germans the impression that we shall insist on changes in the January 18 draft, since in any event such changes are unlikely to satisfy Strauss, who apparently is Kiesinger’s main problem with the NPT.

Adrian S. Fisher
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA/D Files: FRC 77 A 52, Memoranda to the Secretary of State, 1968. Secret. A handwritten notation on the source text reads: “Secretary saw.”
  2. For Fisher’s detailed statement on the revised treaty draft of the NPT to the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, January 18, see Documents on Disarmament, 1968, pp. 11-17.