186. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter 1

SUBJECT

  • Report for the Soviets on US PNE Experience

In your Fall meeting with Foreign Minister Gromyko,2 you offered to provide the Soviet Government with an account of our PNE experience. Shortly thereafter, we briefed the Soviet CTB Delegation in Ge[Page 442]neva on our experience and the SCC Working Group prepared a detailed PNE paper for transmittal to Gromyko. As a result of Brezhnev’s offer of a PNE moratorium on November 2,3 we deferred transmittal of our PNE paper to Gromyko pending Soviet elaboration of their new PNE position in the December round of the CTB negotiations.

Although the main PNE issue is settled, it is clear from those discussions that considerable work remains on the issue of duration of the PNE Protocol and its linkage to the CTB treaty. The Soviets have informally indicated in Geneva that, due to the size of their PNE program, any provision for extension of the PNE moratorium poses difficult bureaucratic problems for them. As a result, it would be useful to forward our PNE report at this time to demonstrate good faith in continuing PNE discussions and keep the Gromyko channel open in the event it is needed for resolution of the remaining PNE issues.

In an earlier comment on a Weekly Report item,4 you indicated that you wanted to read the PNE paper, and a brief summary is attached for your review at Tab A.5

RECOMMENDATION

_______ That you authorize transmittal of the PNE report to Gromyko.6

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Agency File, Box 1, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency: 8/77–2/78. Confidential. Sent for action. Carter initialed the memorandum.
  2. See Document 168.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 176.
  4. Not found.
  5. Attached but not printed is a paper entitled “U.S. Perspectives on Peaceful Nuclear Explosions.”
  6. Carter wrote a check mark authorizing the transmittal of the PNE report to Gromyko. Underneath this sentence, Carter wrote “use ‘private industry’ vs ‘industry’,” referring to page one of the PNE report that noted that “Experimental programs (including nuclear experiments) have been conducted jointly with U.S. industry on the most interesting ideas and there have been careful evaluations of both technical feasibility and cost effectiveness.” Despite twenty years of such programs, “no application has been identified by the United States where PNEs offer important, clearcut advantages over alternative approaches, and the United States no longer funds any PNE activities.” Vance sent the PNE Report under cover of a February 14 letter to Gromyko. (National Archives, RG 383, Records of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Accession #383–98–0120, Box 1, US Perspectives on Peaceful Nuclear Explosions, February 1978.