228. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Comprehensive Test Ban


  • State
  • Secretary Cyrus Vance
  • Jerry Kahan Dep Director, Bureau of Politico/Military Affairs
  • Defense
  • David McGiffert Asst Secretary for International Security Affairs
  • Energy
  • Secretary James Schlesinger
  • Duane Sewell Asst Secretary for Defense Programs
  • JCS
  • General David Jones
  • General Edward Giller
  • ACDA
  • General George Seignious
  • Spurgeon Keeny, Deputy Director
  • Herbert York (CTB Delegation Chairman)
  • White House
  • David Aaron
  • NSC
  • Reg Bartholomew
  • Ben Huberman
  • OSTP
  • Frank Press
  • John Marcum
  • DCI
  • Dr. Robert Bowie
  • [name not declassified] Chief, Nuclear Energy Division

The purpose of the meeting was to review the status of the negotiations and develop guidance for the resumption of the talks on February 5. The main issue for decision was whether we should change our position on the CTB review conference provision.

In beginning the meeting, David Aaron welcomed Herb York as the new CTB Delegation chairman and asked George Seignious for an update on the negotiations. Seignious briefly summarized the results of the Fall session, noting that although the Soviets had agreed to a three year duration and a 10 station NSS network, little progress had been made on the detailed verification issues. In his view the main task now was to nail down effective NSS provisions and a new review conference provision could be helpful in this regard.

[Page 564]

Aaron stated without objection that there was agreement on how to proceed on the other issues. This would involve continuing to defer discussion of permitted experiments in the negotiations, maintaining our positions on the OSI and NSS verification issues, and responding positively to the Soviet proposed NSS network in the US.

There was also general agreement with Cy Vance’s observation that a long period of negotiations lay ahead and that it was clearly undesirable to go to the Hill on CTB before SALT is ratified. He noted that major differences remained on NSS issues such as the location of stations, equipment design and who would manufacture it, as well as data transmission. Similarly difficult OSI issues remained and in the best of all worlds, he could not see winding up trilateral agreement until sometime approaching early Fall.

Aaron noted that the review conference issue should be considered in the context of the burden of proof or presumption regarding extension of the treaty, and the relationship of the review conference provision to other nuclear weapon states, particularly the Soviet effort to use the provision for leverage in France and China. He then asked for views on the three options developed by the Working Group. There was agreement that the formulation selected should end with the phrase “taking into account all relevant factors” to attempt to get the Soviets to drop their linkage of extension to whether France and China continue testing.

Seignious favored an option which referred explicitly to “extension” of the treaty. However, Frank Press noted that in his view a more neutral formulation, “to consider the question of whether there should be future treaty arrangements” was more consistent with the President’s objective of providing a credible opportunity to resume testing. Bob Bowie stressed that in the long term [less than 1 line not declassified] was somewhat concerned about any reference to extension.

Dave Jones, noting the Chief’s concerns about both verification and reliability, preferred to stick with our current position, but could support the “arrangements” approach if a shift was needed for policy reasons. Dave McGiffert and Jim Schlesinger also favored the “arrangements” approach.

Cy Vance supported Seignious’ position but offered a compromise formulation using the term “renewal” instead of “extension.” Aaron suggested that “modification” also be included and a near-consensus was reached on “to consider the question of renewing its provisions and any modifications.” Schlesinger and McGiffert were willing to accept this as a backup to the “arrangements” approach, but Dave Jones was concerned that the compromise changed the tone of “whether there should be arrangements.” He reserved his position and asked for [Page 565] more time to study the language. (Jones subsequently informed the NSC that the JCS recommend against this compromise.)

Aaron concluded the meeting by confirming that the “arrangements” approach was acceptable to all though some preferred going beyond this and others preferred our current position. He stated that this would be reported to the President along with the compromise formulation, noting that some preferred this approach while others could either support it as a backup or had reserved their position. At their request, he also agreed to note that Vance and Seignious preferred the “extension” formulation.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 101, SCC 128, CTB, 2/1/79. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room.