331. Telegram From the Department of State to the White House1

67973. For Dr Z Brzezinski only. Following tel sent Action Bonn, Brasilia, Brussels, Berlin, The Hague, Islamabad, London, Moscow, New Delhi, Ottawa, Paris, Prague, Rome, Stockholm, Tehran, Tokyo, Warsaw, Info NATO, EC Brussels, IAEA Vienna, USUN New York, USDel Secretary from State March 27:

Quote Secret State 67973 Tosec 30017. Eyes only for the Ambassador; Moscow for Secretary Vance. Subject: Presidential Nuclear Policy Statement.

[Page 834]

1. In the very near future, the President intends to announce certain policy decisions concerning nuclear non-proliferation.

2. You should approach host government at high level—Foreign Minister, Prime Minister, or equivalent—and advise host government in strictest confidence of forthcoming Presidential statement, indicating that U.S. is consulting only small number of important states in advance. You should explain that we envisage announcement will present U.S. domestic policy decisions, within context of strong U.S. desire to develop effective international arrangements to meet global energy needs, while minimizing risk of spread of nuclear explosive capabilities.

3. For your use in briefing host government, you should use the following talking points, which may be left behind as a Non-Paper.

Begin text:

(A) The United States is mindful of global energy needs, and the desire of individual countries to gain a secure source of energy supply. At the same time, the U.S. is deeply concerned about the consequences for all nations of a further spread of nuclear explosive capability. It believes that these risks would be vastly increased by the further spread of sensitive nuclear technologies. The United States views sensitive technologies and facilities as those which involve direct access to plutonium, highly enriched uranium, or other weapons useable material.

(B) The United States has made a thorough review of nuclear fuel cycles, bearing in mind all relevant factors. It has concluded that the overriding dangers of proliferation and direct implications for peace and security—as well as strong scientific and economic evidence—militate for a major change in U.S. domestic nuclear energy policies and programs.

(C) Accordingly, the United States has reached the following domestic decisions which will be announced in the very near future. The United States will:

(I) Indefinitely defer the commercial reprocessing and recycling of plutonium in the U.S.;

(II) Restructure the U.S. breeder reactor program to emphasize designs other than the plutonium breeder, and to defer date for possible commercialization;

(III) Redirect funding of U.S. nuclear research and development programs, to concentrate on development of alternative nuclear fuel cycles which do not involve access to weapons useable materials; and

(IV) Increase U.S. production capacity for nuclear fuels.

(D) These U.S. domestic decisions have implications for other nations. Accordingly, the United States wishes to consult closely with a limited number of interested nations on the international implications of its domestic decisions, and on the best way for it to proceed in con[Page 835]cert with these other nations to promote the objective of developing effective international arrangements to meet global energy needs and minimize the risk of proliferation.

(E) The United States would like to discuss a wide range of international approaches and frameworks, that will permit all nations to achieve their energy objectives while reducing the likelihood of a further spread of nuclear weapons. Among other things, it wishes to explore the possibilities of an international nuclear fuel-cycle evaluation program, aimed at exploring (I) alternative, non-sensitive fuel cycles; (II) a variety of international and U.S. measures to assure access by all nations to nuclear fuel supplies and spent fuel storage.

(F) The United States is committed to strengthening the non-proliferation regime: by encouraging the widest possible adherence to the NPT and to comprehensive international safeguards; by strengthening and improving the IAEA; and by enforcing sanctions against the violation of nuclear agreements with the U.S.

(G) The United States seeks comments and suggestions on this approach, as part of developing a multilateral framework to resolve issues raised above. Initial comments and questions would be welcome in advance of announcement of U.S. domestic nuclear policies and programs. These comments and questions may be given to the U.S. Ambassador for referral to Washington, or directly to the State Department through embassies in Washington. We would welcome receiving initial comments and questions by April 1.

(H) Following announcement of U.S. domestic programs, the United States will continue the closest possible consultations with other governments, seeking ways to meet in an international framework the various problems and issues involved. End text.

4. For Brasilia and Islamabad. On an urgent basis the Department would value advice you may have to offer in connection with briefing host government. Christopher. Unquote.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Papers of Walter F. Mondale, Box 84, National Security Issues—Nuclear Policy, 2/1977–4/1979. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room.