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308. Telegram 226692 From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union, December 17, 197112

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  • Venting of Underground Explosions


Department of State 226692

17 DEC 1971



US Mission IAEA Vienna




1. Acting Assistant Secretary Springsteen called in Soviet Charge Vorontsov on December 16 to give him the following Aide Memoire, drawing on its substance for his accompanying remarks.


The United States collected outside the Soviet Union radioactive material directly associated with the Soviet nuclear explosion of September 27, 1971.

In view of Paragraph 1(b) of Article I of the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Underwater, the United States wishes to draw the attention of the Soviet Union to this matter, and [Page 2]to the importance of due precautions to insure compliance with that treaty. The United States considers this incident to be most regrettable because of the relativity large quantity of radioactive material collected and the fact that this was the sixth Soviet nuclear explosion within one year from which radioactive material has been collected outside the Soviet Union. The United States Government would welcome any pertinent information the Soviet Government could make available about this incident and the increasing frequency of occurrences of this nature. END QUOTE

2. Springsteen added that he hoped the Soviet Government will respond to our request for information regarding this event. He noted that the Soviets had made a statement regarding their test of March 23, 1971, in response to our previous approach.

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3. Vorontsov replied that he would bring the matter to the attention of his authorities, and that he hoped he would get a response to our request for information.



  1. National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–1973, DEF 18–8. Confidential. It was repeated to USUN, USMission IAEA Vienna, USDelegation to SALT, and AEC. Drafted by Kadilis (EUR/SOV); cleared by Matlock (EUR/SOV) and Davies (EUR) and in substance by Handyside (PM/AE) and Long (ACDA/ST); and approved by Davies.
  2. Springsteen gave Soviet Chargé Vorontsov an aide mémoire on the venting of radioactive material from a Soviet underground explosion on September 27, 1971.