187. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State1

1993. Exdis USCTB. Pass to DOE. Subject: CTB Negotiations: USUK Bilateral Meeting, February 8.

CTB Message No. 123.

1. Summary. US and UK Delegations met on February 8 to discuss issue of UK role in USUSSR separate agreement on verification. US Alt Rep (Neidle) reviewed principal reasons why, in US view, verification agreement should be bilateral in nature with UK association. He outlined US proposals for specific features of UK role as per instructions. UK Delegation was generally receptive to US approach which acting UK Rep (Edmonds) said was consistent with formulation used in UK December 16 plenary statement (agreement between US and USSR with UK association)2 and with general guidance issued by UK ministers. On specific features of UK role, UK Deloff (Fakley) said that, from standpoint of technical requirements for giving UK confidence that Western security interests are protected, US proposals corresponded to what UK Delegation had in mind. End summary.

2. US Rep outlined reasons why, in US view, agreement should be bilateral in nature, particularly because straightforward, bilateral arrangement that did not appear to be subjecting Soviets to unequal verification burden would serve overriding Western interest of getting the USSR to accept detailed and effective verification provisions. At the same time, he said US welcomed association of UK in such a way as to permit benefits of UK expertise and participation, and to give UK a higher level of assurance regarding Soviet compliance than would be available to the non-nuclear parties to the treaty (see full text of talking notes, para 8). Drawing on Del’s instructions,3 he outlined proposed nature of UK association, as envisaged by US, i.e., inclusion of UK personnel on US on-site inspection teams operating in the USSR; possibilities for USUK consultations in event of UK concerns about Soviet behavior; UK right to receive all data from internal stations in USSR; UK participation in US seismic station installation teams on Soviet territory. On legal form, he said US had in mind an exchange of notes between US and UK which would specify US intentions with regard to in[Page 444]clusion of UK personnel in carrying out certain functions. He said US envisaged frequent bilateral consultations with UK, as well as possibility of ad hoc trilateral consultation when this seemed appropriate and noted that UK would have option of requesting OSI on Soviet territory independently of US under multilateral treaty.

3. UK Rep noted that HMG had made political decision that UK should be associated with bilateral US-Soviet verification agreement, consistent with formulation in UK plenary statement of December 16, but had not thought out details of association. He indicated UK Delegation’s views on best form of association would influence London’s thinking. He said US approach seemed consistent with UK December 16 formulation and acknowledged the importance of proposing an arrangement that was capable of achieving Soviet support for effective verification provisions.

4. UK Deloff, in supplementary comments, stressed UK requirements that a separate agreement provide assurance of treaty compliance and ensure USUK cooperation. He said, from technical point of view, US proposals were what his Delegation had in mind. Stating that there was no justification for independent British OSI capability, he said UK would favor integration of UK personnel in US OSI inspection teams. On ISIs, access to regional seismic data from stations in USSR satisfied UK requirement. On installation of ISIs, he said UK envisaged involvement in three phases: (1) site selection; (2) installation and station checkout; and (3) maintenance. He said this was extent of UK technical involvement envisaged.

5. US Rep responded that US concept of site installation did not exclude site selection. We had not suggested UK involvement in site maintenance, since this might be conducted infrequently with very limited number of personnel, and would probably be more of a chore than anything. But he said we would be prepared to discuss this. Fakley said basis for UK desire to be included in maintenance phase was that it would be only available basis for continuing UK involvement after initial installation of stations. US Rep noted that explicit references to UK association in body of bilateral agreement would establish basis for working out extent and details of UK role. UK Rep expressed agreement with this concept and stressed that UK wanted UK participation to be a positive, not a complicating factor.

6. UK Rep raised issue of procedure for consultations. US Rep noted, as practical matter, that in many cases, US and UK would presumably want to consult promptly in the event of a suspected Soviet violation. Tripartite consultations might on occasion be deemed desirable as well, but in view of wide range of possible scenarios, it would not seem appropriate to make them obligatory.

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7. UK Rep said he would report discussions back to London and would receive instructions in the near future.

8. Text of US Rep’s talking notes follows: Begin text:

—The overall Western objective for the separate agreement should be to ensure effective verification of the USSR without undercutting our goal of obtaining broad non-nuclear weapon state adherence to the treaty.

—We thus have an interest in making effective verification procedures as palatable and negotiable as possible to the Soviets. Our judgment is that we are more likely to achieve Soviet acceptance of such procedures if we make the arrangements as simple as possible and do not in any way appear to be subjecting them to double jeopardy.

—We also have an interest in avoiding the perception of discriminatory verification arrangements. In our view, the separate agreement will be more palatable to the non-nuclear states if it is perceived to be based on such factors as special mutual security concerns (such as those between the two super-powers) and geographical considerations (large land masses with locations suitable for evasive testing).

—We both also have certain domestic considerations to take into account. We understand that the form of British association could be of some importance to you, and that there will be other questions, including, for example, the costs that may be involved. For us, it is important that the separate agreement be seen as capable of operating in a streamlined and prompt manner.

—For these reasons, we believe that emphasis should be given to the bilateral, as opposed to the trilateral (or nuclear weapon state), aspects of the agreement.

—At the same time, we recognize and welcome the UK’s interest in being associated. We believe it is important for the measures contained in the agreement to benefit from UK expertise and participation. And as a leading nuclear weapon power, and the only other nuclear power to join the treaty from the start, the UK should be able, through a practical form of association, to obtain a higher level of assurance regarding Soviet compliance than would be available to the non-nuclear parties.

—Taking these factors into consideration, we have devised an approach to UK association that we believe would meet overall Western objectives. The agreement we have in mind would be bilateral, with the US and USSR as its parties. At the same time, the agreement would be developed on a trilateral basis, with the UK playing an active role in the negotiations.

—The agreement, under our suggested approach, would apply to activities on US and Soviet territory. As far as OSIs are concerned, it [Page 446] would cover US requests for OSIs on Soviet territory and Soviet requests for OSIs on US territory. In the event that a US request was accepted, the agreement should permit US to include UK personnel on US inspection teams. Moreover, if the UK had concerns about Soviet behavior, the two of us could discuss the matter and, on the basis of those discussions, the US might make an OSI request under the agreement. On the other hand, the UK might wish to raise the matter with the Soviets independently and to make a UK OSI request, as it would be entitled to do under the multilateral treaty. Either option would be available.

—As far as the possibility of Soviet inspections on UK territory is concerned, we believe this could be handled under the multilateral treaty. We doubt that the Soviets would insist on dealing with this contingency under the separate agreement, and we see no reason to anticipate their concerns.

—As far as internal stations are concerned, we also doubt that the USSR would desire such stations on UK territory and therefore see no reason why this possibility should be offered to them.

—With respect to internal stations, we believe the UK should have the right to receive all of the data from internal stations in the USSR. In addition, the UK might want the right to participate in US installation teams on Soviet territory. These rights could be provided for explicitly in the bilateral agreement.

—With respect to consultations, we would naturally plan to consult bilaterally with you frequently and on all aspects of the separate agreement. There may also be circumstances when ad hoc trilateral consultations would be desirable.

—As far as the legal form of UK association is concerned, we have in mind an exchange of notes between the US and the UK. The US note would express how we intended to exercise our rights under the agreement to include the UK in carrying out certain functions and our intention to share all internal seismic data. The UK note would express your readiness to cooperate and participate in implementing the agreement. The signing of the notes could take place simultaneously with the signing of the bilateral agreement. End text.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780061–0359. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Sent for information Priority to London and Moscow.
  2. The UK statement is in telegram 12360 from the Mission in Geneva, December 17, 1977; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770471–0209.
  3. Not found.