81. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1

[Omitted here is material unrelated to India.]

8. India: Nuclear Question: With the Tarapur shipment on the way, our nuclear discussions with India move into a more intensive phase. Joe Nye will be in India with ACDA and ERDA colleagues August 1–3 and plans to follow up the points in your July 15 letter to Prime Minister Desai.2 In the meanwhile, Desai has publicly declared his opposition to further testing, including PNE’s, and his stand has triggered opposition criticism and the charge that he is bowing to U.S. pressure to obtain fuel supplies for the Tarapur reactors.3 There has also been increased Indian press discussion of the comprehensive safeguards issue and support for continued Indian opposition to accepting IAEA safeguards on indigenously produced nuclear facilities.4 When pressed on this issue in parliament, Desai stated only that he would never accept a discriminatory arrangement. Comprehensive safeguards will be the main problem in our nuclear negotiations now that Desai has ruled out further testing.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 18, Evening Reports (State): 7/77. Secret. Carter initialed the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the memorandum.
  2. See Document 80.
  3. See Document 78.
  4. Telegram 10155 from New Delhi, July 18, summarized editorial commentary in the Indian press regarding safeguards and Desai’s renunciation of PNEs. On July 16, the independent Indian newspaper Statesman argued, for example, that the United States might eventually insist that all nuclear facilities be placed under international safeguards. The paper warned: “That would be too heavy a price to pay even for the future of Tarapur, which is dependent on American fuel supplies.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770256–0414)