333. Telegram From the Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany to the Department of State1

5585. Department please pass Moscow for Secretary Vance. Subject: Presidential Nuclear Policy Statement. Ref: (A) State 67973;2 (B) Bonn 5498.3

Begin summary: After carefully reviewing talking points outlining substance of forthcoming presidential statement on nuclear policy and making several comments and inquiries regarding specific points, Chancellor Schmidt said outline would be studied immediately and [Page 840]comments would be given as soon as possible, in first instance orally to Secretary Vance when he visits Bonn March 314 however, Schmidt underlined in serious tone that he felt time limit of April 1 for comments on subject of such major significance to his country and to world as a whole was quite inadequate. Somewhat bitterly, he questioned whether this procedure reflected the nature of genuine consultations which should take place between allies. End summary.

1. Chancellor Schmidt received me March 29 for what developed into one and one-half conversation. Subject matters concerned forthcoming presidential statement on nuclear policy, FRG-Brazil nuclear deal, financial aid to Portugal and SOFO. (Latter three subjects will be reported Septels).5 Chancellor was accompanied by Chancellery Deputy Assistant Secretary Loeck; I was alone.

2. After listening to my presentation regarding presidential statement on nuclear policy and carefully reading Non-Paper which I left with him containing talking points, Chancellor commented that, at first glance, he felt US position as outlined was “not free from in-built intellectual conflict.” In this connection, he noted point (F) in talking points where it is said that US is committed to encouraging widest possible adherence to the NPT. He had no quarrel with this thought and indeed supported it strongly; however, Chancellor felt it would be more accurate if reference had been made to an “amended NPT,” since it seemed clear that US was not satisfied with NPT as it presently exists. Indeed, if NPT were to be re-negotiated, one could think of a number of changes which should be made in it based on experience of last ten years. Chancellor recalled his conversation in Bonn with Vice President Mondale in which he had stressed that FRG will adhere to NPT and to any other treaty to which it is a party;6 moreover, FRG will be ready to negotiate additional agreements in field of non-proliferation which would contribute to increased controls.

3. In present circumstances, however, Chancellor saw a discrepancy between US calling for wider adherence to NPT and our stand with regard to provision of nuclear technology to other states, as reflected in our attitude toward FRG-Brazil agreement. Here, he referred to Article IV of NPT providing for non-discrimination. I remarked that [Page 841]we did not believe that Article IV constituted an obligation for a state to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to a state not possessing it. Chancellor rejoined that this could be our interpretation and could be valid for US, but he did not see that, on other hand, Article IV constituted an obligation on the FRG to refrain from transferring such technology.

4. Chancellor inquired as to meaning of phrase “indefinitely defer” (para B.1 of talking points) in reference to commercial reprocessing of plutonium. He wondered if this meant that a firm decision had been taken to cancel all plans for commercial reprocessing; I said I did not believe this was the case and that the phrase should be taken as it stands, i.e., that further work on commercial reprocessing installations would be deferred for the indefinite future. Chancellor inquired if US had military reprocessing plants in operation and I responded affirmatively.

5. Chancellor noted wording in para F of talking points regarding sanctions against the violation of nuclear agreements with the US and inquired whether at the present time the US considered that any states with nuclear agreements with the US are in violation of those agreements. I replied that I did not believe that this was the case and that the wording was intended to apply to possible future events.

6. In this connection, the Chancellor referred to “reluctance” of US to deliver highly enriched uranium to EURATOM 7 and inquired whether this should be taken as a deliberate signal and a foreshadowing of the type of sanctions which the US would take against other states which might not agree with US views on nuclear policy. I said this was not the case and that the delay in approval of shipments of highly enriched uranium has been caused by bureaucratic requirements. (In this connection, see Reftel (B).)

7. Chancellor focussed on date of April 1 (para G of talking points) by which US would wish to receive comments and noted that this was extremely short timeframe in which to comment meaningfully on matter of such importance to FRG and to world as a whole. He said [Page 842]that, obviously, FRG would wish to give most serious consideration to statement of such “global strategic significance” but that it was clearly impossible to provide considered views by April 1. At this point, Chancellor queried whether Prime Minister Fukuda of Japan had been informed of forthcoming Presidential statement on a matter of such importance to Japan during his recent visit to the United States. I said I did not know but that Japanese Government, together with small number of other governments, was being informed at present time of proposed statement.

8. Chancellor noted Secretary Vance would be visiting Bonn March 31 and that preliminary FRG views could be conveyed to him orally at that time. However, and here Chancellor spoke in emphatic and serious tones, he wished to emphasize his personal view that, if indeed President’s statement is to be issued as soon as April 3 or 4, he would find it difficult to understand, since he did not feel that provision of such a limited time for consideration of a question of this magnitude was really compatible with the type of consultative procedures which should obtain between close allies.

9. Deputy Assistant Secretary Loeck, who escorted me out of chancellery after conversation with Schmidt, noted implications of Presidential statement for FRG’s program to develop reprocessing capability. He said FRG feels latter is essential to accomplishment of FRG’s nuclear energy program; in light of this, Loeck said, he anticipated that President’s proposed statement would be seen as having extremely serious impact on FRG’s situation.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840084–2207. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. See Document 331.
  3. In telegram 5498 from Bonn, March 29, Stoessel said “In the interest of our own credibility,” the United States should “expedite the issuance” of enriched uranium licenses to the FRG “in all cases where such action would not run directly contrary to our broader non-proliferation policy.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770107–0555)
  4. During their March 31 meeting, Schmidt handed Vance a Non-Paper detailing his government’s comments. (Tosec 30162/71504; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Global Issues, Oplinger/Bloomfield File, Box 43, Proliferation: Foreign Consultation, 3–4/77)
  5. Telegram 5766 from Bonn, March 31, contains information on the Vance-Schmidt discussions of the FRG-Brazil nuclear deal, aid to Portugal, and the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Field Office (SOFO) in Berlin. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850050–2334)
  6. See footnote 2, Document 398.
  7. Telegram 43 to Brussels, January 2, refers to a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requesting that exports of Highly Enriched Uranium for use in FRG nuclear reactors be denied. The NRDC claimed that since the FRG had refused to commit to “not export these technologies and ‘because the FRG has shown a willingness to export sensitive nuclear technologies,’ (apparently a reference to FRG-Brazilian cooperation), development of these reactor types by the FRG will inevitably lead to their spread to other countries.” The NRDC also cited “over a dozen alleged inadequacies in EURATOM safeguards system, including absence of various types of U.S. back-up safeguard rights, lack of physical security requirements, and inadequate U.S. knowledge of operation and inability to obtain information from EURATOM system.” Despite the petition, the Department of State reported that it expected that the export application, currently “under review within executive branch,” would “shortly be forwarded to the NRC with recommendation for issuance.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770001–1281)