230. Letter From Secretary of State Rusk to the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Seaborg)1

Dear Glenn:

Your letter of March 15, 1968 enclosed a draft letter to Euratom and asked me to agree that such a letter should omit any reference to the potential relevance of the NPT.2

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I agree that it would be wise to omit the reference to the NPT and thus avoid the political repercussions of such a reference at least until the negotiation of specific long term supply contracts. I would appreciate it, however, if you would consult the State Department and ACDA before undertaking such contract negotiations.

In my view, the omission of any reference to the NPT makes it desirable to make certain modifications in your draft letter designed to remove any basis for Euratom to claim that the letter itself constitutes a commitment to supply additional fuel or that it contains a complete list of the conditions under which such fuel will be supplied. A marked copy of the draft letter indicating such modifications is enclosed.




Dear Mr. Spaak:

As you are aware, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission recently received statutory authorization, through an amendment to the Euratom Cooperation Act permitting the transfer to Euratom of up to a maximum of 1,500 kilograms of plutonium (an increase of 1,100 kilograms over the previous authorizations) and up to 215,000 kilograms of contained uranium 235 (an increase of 145,000 kilograms). In this letter, I would like to describe general arrangements4 that we would consider applicable to the transfer of this material. These conform to the proposals that I outlined to you in our meeting in Washington on January 25.

With this new statutory authority, the Commission will be in a position to transfer or to approve the transfer of additional quantities of plutonium and uranium 235 to the Community within the newly authorized amounts.5

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Of the 1,000 additional kilograms of plutonium to be made available, acquisitions from private operators in the U.S. would not exceed at any time 50 percent of the total plutonium which the Community has obtained or has commitments to obtain from the United States. Further, no more than 75 percent of any one private operator’s plutonium would be so made available to the Community. The remainder of the plutonium to be supplied under the new authorization would be obtained from the USAEC. The price for the AEC material would be the Commission’s established price in effect at the date of delivery, which currently is $43 per gram of fissile isotopes in the form of plutonium nitrate.
The research and development work to be performed with the additional 1,000 kilograms would be covered by appropriate information exchange arrangements under which the USAEC would obtain the information derived from the use of the material.
Any transfer of such additional plutonium would, of course, be subject to the provisions of our Additional Agreement for Cooperation, as amended.

We would appreciate receiving as soon as practicable your best estimates concerning the quantities and quality of plutonium desired by the Community, including a schedule of anticipated deliveries.

Enriched Uranium

Insofar as the additional quantity of enriched uranium is concerned, it is our understanding that your estimates for the next five years include the entire additional 145,000 kilograms of U-235 that has been authorized. We would appreciate receiving confirmation from you to this effect. Upon receipt of such confirmation, we will consider 215,000 kilograms of U-235 as the new ceiling quantity transferable under our additional Agreement for Cooperation, and pursuant to the necessary contracts.6 The five-year period contemplated in Article I of the Additional Agreement would commence for the additional quantity on the date of your written reply.
The supply of the uranium 235 would be in accordance with the current AEC “net amount concept” which was the basis used by Euratom and the USAEC for calculating the U-235 increase. A definition of the “net amount concept” is appended to this letter.
The AEC normal mode of supplying the enriched uranium to the Community for power reactor applications would be through toll enrichment while comparable services are made available to licensed [Page 564] users in the U.S. The Additional Agreement contains wording broad enough to encompass toll enrichment. Accordingly, it would provide a basis for the performance of such services in connection with projects within the scope of that Agreement, including joint program projects to the extent that both parties wish to employ toll enrichment. In conformance with its current policy,AEC sales of the newly authorized quantities of enriched uranium to Euratom would take place only on a single transaction basis rather than through long-term contracts.

All of these terms regarding the availability of enriched uranium are fully consistent with U.S. supply policies which have been discussed in public in recent months.7

We look forward to receiving confirmation from you that the understandings set forth in this letter are acceptable to the Community.

Sincerely yours,

Myron B. Kratzer 8
Assistant General Manager for International Activities
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-6. Confidential.
  2. Seaborg’s March 15 letter to Rusk is reproduced in Seaborg, Journal, Vol. 16, pp. 222-224. An unedited version of the March 4 draft letter to Spaak is ibid., pp. 225-228.
  3. This draft attachment is an edited version of the draft cited in footnote 2 above. The final text of the letter, which was sent to Cancellario D’Alena (not Spaak) on May 1, is scheduled for publication in volume XXXIV.
  4. The original text of the first part of this sentence reads: “In this letter, I would like to delineate the general conditions that we would consider applicable to the transfer of this material.”
  5. The original text of this paragraph continues with: “under the conditions set forth in this letter. The following paragraphs summarize the general conditions which, in accordance with AEC policy, will be applicable to the transfer of the additional plutonium and enriched uranium to the Community.”
  6. The original text of the latter part of this sentence reads: “Agreement for Cooperation, subject to the various terms of the Agreement for Cooperation including the conclusion of the necessary contracts.”
  7. The original text continues with an additional paragraph which reads: “The transfer of the plutonium and the enriched uranium referred to in this letter will be subject, of course, to mutually satisfactory safeguard provisions in accordance with the terms of the Additional Agreement for Cooperation.”
  8. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.