106. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France1

21764. Subject: Allied Consultations on Chemical Weapons (CW) Negotiations. Ref: A. State 002066,2 B. State 020775.3

1. (C—Entire text).

2. This message provides guidance for the US Delegation participating in bilateral (US-France) and quadrilateral (US-UK-FRG-France) CW consultations in Paris on January 28 and consultations with the Japanese CD Delegation in Geneva. Guidance on the subject of a CD working group on CW will be provided septel.4

3. US-French consultations.

A. The purpose of the bilateral consultations is to discuss the reported use of Chemical Weapons in Laos, and Kampuchea and to consider possibilities for diplomatic action (see Ref A). We would also at that time discuss our concerns relating to Afghanistan.

B. The Delegation should brief the French on the reported use of Chemical Weapons in Laos, Kampuchea, and Afghanistan, drawing on intelligence data provided separately, USG statements issued on the [Page 232] subject and the background package on Southeast Asia (contained A–0020)5

C. The overall message of the briefing with regard to Southeast Asia should be that:

(1) While we do not have absolute proof, the results of USG investigations support the conclusion that some chemical agent or combination of agents has been used in Laos as part of the Lao Government’s effort to bring the H’mong Hill tribes under its control;

(2) There is also limited evidence that it has been used in Kampuchea; and

(3) The US is very concerned by the reports and believes concerted international diplomatic action could contribute to a resolution of the problem.

D. The Delegation should also seek to draw the French out on relevant intelligence and other information available to them on use of CW in Southeast Asia.

E. Possibilities for further diplomatic action which should be discussed include:

—Démarches by France, UK, FRG, and possibly other interested countries, similar to those already made by the US to the governments of Laos, Vietnam, and the Soviet Union regarding use of CW in Southeast Asia;

—Efforts to have an investigation by an impartial international body (e.g., the International Committee of the Red Cross);

—Expressions of concern and any appropriate action in international political bodies (e.g., the UNGA, Security Council, Committee on Disarmament); and

—In conjunction with requests from concerned states, possible action by French as 1925 Geneva protocol depositary to convene a meeting of protocol parties to consider the issue.

F. For briefing on Afghanistan, Delegation should draw on Ref B.

4. Quadrilateral consultations.

The Delegation should consult with the allies on:

A. The USUSSR bilateral negotiations on a CW ban (guidance para 5);

B. The role of the Committee on Disarmament (CD) on the CW issue; and

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C. The reported use of Chemical Weapons in Laos, Kampuchea and Afghanistan, including possibilities for further diplomatic action (guidance para 7).

5. Bilateral Negotiations.

A. The Delegation should begin by giving our reasons for having rescheduled the start of CW round eleven.6

B. The Delegation should review at an appropriate level of detail the state-of play in the bilateral negotiations, drawing on the wrap-up cable from round ten (79 Geneva 14533).7

C. During round eleven the US will:

(1) Continue to give priority attention to major unresolved issues, particularly verification; and

(2) Continue drafting in order to nail down points thought to be agreed.

D. In view of past allied interest in these topics, the Delegation should indicate to the allies that the round eleven guidance authorizes the Delegation:

—To discuss possible mutually agreed procedures for mothballing declared facilities. Our objective is to facilitate verification by eventually specifying which actions can and cannot be taken.

—To be prepared to agree to a scaled-down version of the Soviet proposal on declaration of past transfers. We will attempt to trade US agreement on this proposal for Soviet willingness to accommodate the US proposal for exchange of information on CW protective activities.

—To explore, in the event the current US effort to keep safe riot control agents and herbicides out of the convention entirely is rejected, the possibility of adopting legally binding constraints consistent with our policy on permitted uses in return for more explicit recognition of those permitted uses.

E. The US Delegation will continue to brief allied representatives in Geneva during the course of the negotiations. In addition, we would be willing to hold consultations with the UK, FRG and France at the end of the round.

6. The role of the CD on the CW issue. Guidance on the question of a working group will be provided septel. In connection with the discussion of the working group proposal, Delegation might also explore briefly allied views on the Australian proposal to hold small informal technical seminars on CW to acquaint working level members of inter[Page 234]ested Delegation with some of the technical complexities of the issue. Delegation may tell the allies that, as we understand the proposal, such seminars would serve as a technical foundation for any future CD efforts on CW. (One possibility for a US presentation might be a briefing on destruction of stocks). Del may indicate US willingness to participate in such seminars and encourage our allies to do so as well.

7. Laos, Kampuchea and Afghanistan.

The Delegation should briefly review the situation for the allies and seek their views on further diplomatic action. In this discussion US reps may draw on the guidance (para 3 above) for the US-French consultations and on the results of those consultations.

8. US-Japanese consultations.

In line with past practice, US reps should seek an early opportunity to meet in Geneva with Japanese CD Delegation. At the meeting US reps may draw upon guidance for Paris consultations (paras 3–6 above).

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800044–0544. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Robert Mikulak (ACDA/MA/AT); and approved by Flowerree (ACDA/MA), Oplinger (NSC), Ronald Lorton (NEA/PAB), (Merle MacDonald (OSD), Steven Steiner (PM/DCA), Edmund McWilliams (EA/VLC), M. Christine Vick (EUR/RPM), and Manuel Sanches (JCS). Sent for information to London, Bonn, USUN, USNATO, the Mission in Geneva, Moscow, and Vientiane.
  2. Telegram 002066 from the Department of State, January 4, described the discussion that had occurred in December in Washington between PM Deputy Director Kahan and the French Ambassador to the CD, De la Gorce, about the reported use of chemical weapons in Southeast Asia. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800008–0872.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 104.
  4. Not found.
  5. Not found.
  6. Telegram 4614 from the Department of State, undated, asked for the postponement of the talks until February 6. (Telegram 14321 to Moscow, January 19, 1980; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800032–0105)
  7. Not found.