177. Memorandum From the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Warnke) to President Carter1

On Friday, November 4th, we held our last trilateral meeting on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty until December 5.2 Before leaving Geneva that day, I also had an opportunity to meet with Minister Semenov to discuss the status of our SALT talks.

In both negotiations, the Soviet Delegations have made significant moves to accommodate our views. Most dramatic, of course, was the presentation of a substantially revised Soviet position on the banning of nuclear tests. But on SALT, also, new provisions tabled by the Soviet Delegation come closer to our ideas on the definition of heavy bombers, including those which could be equipped with long-range cruise missiles, and on the testing of cruise missiles.

The breakthrough in the Comprehensive Test Ban talks began with the announcement by Dr. Morokhov, head of the Soviet Delegation, that he was returning to Moscow over the week-end of October 21 to 24. He had previously suggested some movement on the issue of entry into force of the treaty without adherence of France and China. On his return, on October 26, he said he had new positions to present on all subjects, including that of peaceful nuclear explosions. He explained, however, that this would have to await a speech by Mr. Brezhnev.

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On the morning of the Brezhnev speech, November 2, the Soviets presented a statement at our plenary meeting in which they offered a PNE moratorium as a Protocol to the treaty.3 The Soviet statement also agreed to entry of the treaty into force prior to the adherence of the other nuclear weapons states. On verification, though continuing to oppose the automated seismic installations and any mandatory on-site inspections, they agreed in principle to pre-arranged procedures for on-site inspections and to some additional national seismic installations with provisions which would assure the validity of the data.

The major remaining problem on CTB is the Soviet insistence that the parties to the treaty “should be relieved of their obligations” if all nuclear weapons states have not agreed to the treaty by the end of three years. This is unsatisfactory both from the standpoint of the stability of a test ban and because of the likely reactions of the French and Chinese to what they would regard as undue pressure.

I hope that we can put together an American package responsive to the Soviet proposals, but remedying the defects, to be tabled when our meetings resume on December 5.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to a comprehensive test ban.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Agency File, Box 1, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency: 1–7/77. Secret. In the upper right-hand corner, Carter wrote “Good. J.” On November 9, Ambassador Toon informed Vance of a meeting that he had had that day with Brezhnev, who “wanted to call special attention to his Nov. 2 statement of readiness to reach agreement on CTB including a moratorium on PNE’s. Speaking directly, Brezhnev said “it was not easy for us to take such a decision, as it directly affects our national economic plan, and we expect that the U.S. and the U.K. as participants in the talks which are underway will in the end respond with appropriate reciprocity’ so as to achieve agreement on this major issue.” (Telegram 16276 from Moscow, November 9; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840076–0378, N770007–0385)
  2. Warnke’s detailed analysis of this session is contained in telegram 9792 from the Mission in Geneva, November 4; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770407–0198.
  3. The November 2 offer from the Soviets is in telegram 9612 from Geneva, November 2; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770403–0404.