253. Telegram 19915 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Belgium1 2


  • Message for Minister Lefevre


  • Brussels 237

Embassy is requested to pass following message from Under Secretary Johnson to ESC President Theo Lefevre:

Dear Minister Lefevre: I was pleased to receive your letter of January 21, 1971, outlining several questions which you and your colleagues wish to discuss in connection with the proposed cooperation in the post-Apollo program. I look forward to discussing these questions with you, and I would propose that we meet here at the State Department beginning at 10:30 a.m. on February 11. I am confident that with the cooperative spirit which prevailed at our meeting last September, we will succeed in arriving at an understanding.
In order to be able to be responsive from the U.S. side on the six points raised in your letter, I would hope at the [Page 2] start of our discussion to obtain elucidation from your delegation on several matters. Among these are: (a) We are uncertain just which [Page 3] “international procedures” you had in mind in drafting the first point dealing with the purchase of U.S. launchers for use outside the United States, and (B) We would appreciate knowing whether your second point concerning access to American manufacturing licenses is limited to launch vehicle technology, or whether a broader range of space technology may be involved.

In addition, you will recall that an important part of our discussions last September centered on the availability of U.S. launches, both before and after the development of the new space transportation system. Our formal position on this point is summarized in paragraphs 1-6 and 11-15 of my letter to you of October 2, 1970, where we affirm our willingness to assure launch services, on a reimbursable basis, “for any peaceful purpose consistent with relevant international agreements.”

[Page 4]

As applied to the launch of telecommunication satellites within the meaning of Article XIV of the definitive arrangements for INTELSAT, we offered an assurance of launch services for those who participate substantially in the post-Apollo program “in those cases where no negative finding is made by the appropriate INTELSAT organ, regardless of the position taken by the U.S. in the vote.” This assurance remains unchanged.

However, since our meeting in September I have found that the generally accepted interpretation of the application of Article XIV is somewhat different from that which we discussed. It is now my understanding that the interpretation, which was implicit in the INTELSAT negotiations, and is supported by the U.S., is that the failure of a positive recommendation to achieve a two-thirds vote automatically constitutes a negative finding.
In this situation, it seems to me that, from your point of view, more important than a theoretical discussion of this issue would be an indication from the United States as to the position it would take on the practical questions of European telecommunications satellite proposals, separate from INTELSAT, which may become subject [Page 6] to consideration under Article XIV. Therefore, in our discussions I propose to suggest that we arrange for the European Space Conference to describe to the United States the international public telecommunications satellite systems for which the ESC may wish to obtain U.S. launching services in the period prior to the coming on line of the new space transportation system. The U.S. would then undertake to determine, with reasonable dispatch, the position it would take in the INTELSAT Assembly were such specific proposals to be put forward.
I am looking forward to meeting you and your colleagues on February 11, and I trust you will find the thoughts [Page 7] and suggestions summarized above helpful in establishing a basis for discussion of some of the topics which we will wish to consider.
Please confirm delivery.


U. Alexis Johnson
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SP 10 US. Immediate; Limited Official Use. Drafted by Baker and Webber on February 3; cleared by S, Intelsat, EUR, E, OTP, L, in substance by Behr and EUR/FBX, and in information by Frutkin; and approved by U. Alexis Johnson.
  2. The telegram contains a copy of a letter from Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Johnson to ESC Chairman Lefevre asking the Europeans to prepare responses to specific U.S. questions about the Europeans proposed involvement in the post-Apollo program.