321. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France1

24240. Subject: Letter to Foreign Minister. Ref: Paris 3187.2

1. Please deliver the following letter from Secretary Vance to de Guiringaud.

2. Begin text: Dear Mr. Foreign Minister: I am sure you are aware of the high importance we attach to the avoidance of nuclear proliferation. I wish to confirm personally to you that I share my predecessor’s [Page 791] sense of the importance of our increasing cooperation in the non-proliferation field, as conveyed in his last letter to you before leaving office.3 We look forward to continuing our nuclear policy consultations later this month, as we indicated to your ambassador, so as to further align our nuclear policies. Presently we are in the process of reviewing US policy and, in this regard, I would expect to confirm the continuity of the basic policy directions announced in the October 28th Presidential statement.4

In the meantime, we have decided to move into official channels in the contacts regarding sensitive nuclear projects in Brazil, about which we have kept you informed. I anticipate high-level consultations with both parties beginning next week, following up FRG State Secretary Hermes’ visit to Washington and Vice President Mondale’s trip, and we would look forward to discussing with you any progress as soon as possible thereafter. This would afford us an opportunity to exchange further views on the approach most likely to forestall enrichment and reprocessing in Brazil, taking into account the important principles of assured nuclear fuel supply and no commercial disadvantage raised with you by Mr. Kissinger and pursued by US with the FRG.

As you know, President Carter attaches the highest importance to removing nuclear proliferation risks in both Brazil and Pakistan, as well as worldwide. I am encouraged by the progress we have made with Prime Minister Bhutto and reported to you.5 I also believe that the formula of a joint decision by France and Pakistan to indefinitely defer Pakistan’s reprocessing plant, and substitution of French reactors, fuel and perhaps a fuel fabrication plant, will facilitate a successful solution of this problem.

In view of the forthcoming Pakistani elections I am indicating to Prime Minister Bhutto that we might resume negotiations in March, unless he prefers to open these earlier. In the interim, however, we are making clear to him the seriousness and depth of our desire that he forego his reprocessing plans, and this period will also give you and me time to exchange views on the most desirable negotiating package from our respective standpoints. I would therefore welcome any further thoughts you can convey to me as to how best to proceed.

I greatly look forward to working with you in my new capacity, and to contributing to a deepening of the important relationship between our two countries. Sincerely: Cyrus R. Vance: End text.

[Page 792]

3. In delivering letter, please confirm that we would anticipate specific exchange on sensitive nuclear issues with France prior to more general consultations later this month, although latter would not exclude further informal discussion of sensitive issues, if desired. You should also seek GOF confirmation that it does not plan to transfer any reprocessing technology or equipment to Pakistan pending further consultations with US, in conformity with understanding previously reached between former Secretary Kissinger and de Guiringaud at their December 10 meeting in Brussels.6

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850056–1667. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by John Kalicki (S/P); cleared by James Lowenstein (EUR), Terence Todman (ARA), Alfred Atherton (NEA), Gelb (PM), Denis Lamb (D), Tarnoff (S), Lake (S/P), Donald Tice (P), Leo Reddy (S/S), and Edward McGaffigan (T); and approved by Christopher (D).
  2. Telegram 3187 from Paris, February 11, reported that Pakistani Chargé Iqbal Riza had said that regarding nuclear proliferation, “the principal problem arose because it was difficult, because of nationalistic sensitivities, for Bhutto to indicate any change in the GOP position on the contract for the French nuclear processing plant before the elections.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770036–0102) The Pakistani elections were scheduled for March 7.
  3. Kissinger’s January 17, 1977 letter to de Guiringaud is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–15, Part 2, Documents on Western Europe, 1973–1976, Document 343.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 317.
  5. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XIX, South Asia.
  6. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–15, Part 2, Documents on Western Europe, 1973–1976, Document 342.