214. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance and the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Warnke) to President Carter1


  • Comprehensive Test Ban Negotiations

With the CTB negotiations now in recess, it is appropriate that we review our approach and take decisions which will allow us to move ahead when the negotiations reconvene. We believe that our review should be guided by these three objectives:

—We should seek to preserve the momentum of the negotiations and to capitalize on the Soviet leadership’s current readiness to work out an agreement along the basic lines we have proposed.

—We should strengthen the chances of wide adherence by non-nuclear states by providing for their involvement in the negotiating process, but we should choose a form of involvement that does not run the risk of unraveling the results of the trilateral negotiations.

—We should avoid submitting a CTB treaty to the Congress at a time when that might complicate ratification of either SALT or CTB.

We have devised a strategy which we believe satisfactorily reconciles these objectives.

—First, we would proceed expeditiously in the trilateral talks to resolve the remaining substantive issues. The Soviets have seemed eager to complete the talks and have continued to move toward our positions on all major issues, including our approaches on national seismic stations, on-site inspection procedures, and peaceful nuclear explosions. Prospects are good for settling outstanding issues during the next round. But rather than terminate the trilaterals at that time, we would plan to hold a final round at a later time, aiming perhaps for late spring or early summer 1979.

—Second, before this final round, we would undertake an extensive series of consultations with other states. We would begin with key Allies (France, FRG, Japan) and then proceed to other Allies and pivotal non-aligned countries (for example, India, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Sweden, Mexico, Nigeria). The purpose would be to explain and build support for the trilaterally negotiated text. We would expect to receive a number of suggestions for changes, and we, the Soviets, and British would decide whether any of these were acceptable when we got back together for the final round.

—A final decision on whether the treaty would go to the Geneva Disarmament Committee would be taken during the last trilateral [Page 537] round. From the preceding consultative phase, we would gain a better understanding of how strongly others felt about taking the treaty to this multilateral body and how much difficulty we might have in protecting our interests there. We would make our decision based on gaining maximum international support, consistent with our own requirement for a realistic CTB.

The principal advantage of this approach is that it would enable us to nail down agreement with the Soviets soon without having either to proceed directly with ratification or to delay the process artificially. We would have the flexibility to decide how best to maximize other nations’ support, and to adjust CTB timing to the SALT schedule.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–81–0202, Box 2, unlabeled Folder. Secret.