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335. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to the Deputy Secretary of State (Christopher)1

SUBJECT

  • The Future of the London Suppliers Group

I am very concerned at the evolution of the proposal to expand the London Suppliers Group to include “threshold” states, from the status of a suggestion we were willing to study in order to make progress in the German-Brazilian talks, to a proposal whose implementation we are now apparently studying.2

In my view, there are several compelling reasons for not expanding the London Group, to wit:

—The London Suppliers Group has been a powerful and effective instrument for achieving concerted supplier policies. It is the only such instrument available.

—Brazil may have two reasons for wanting entrance: status and the ability to disrupt the suppliers club through an expanding membership of recipients (if Brazil is admitted, many other nations will demand equal treatment). Thus their motive might be not only to become one of the big guys, but perhaps to destroy the only really effective anti-proliferation forum in the process.

—We clearly have to deal with the growing antagonism among the non-supplier LDCs toward the ability of the suppliers to set policy both in the London Group and in the IAEA. However my understanding was that this was precisely the function we were envisaging for the Fuel Cycle Evaluation Program which would be open to any nation which wished to join.

—However, if both the London Group and the Fuel Cycle Evaluation are open to recipients, we are left with no forum in which the suppliers can agree on tough anti-proliferation policies.

—Expanding the Suppliers Group would be an enormous price to pay for . . . what? We have no indication so far that Brazilians would give up the sensitive parts of the FRG deal as the quid pro quo for admittance. Even if they were to accept this condition, however, this plan

[Page 847]seems like short sighted policy. What are we going to offer to the next nation—Pakistan and the others which will follow—which will already be members because of the expansion.

—In an expanded group the Soviet Union would gain direct access to Western supplier relations with Western consumers. It could be expected to take a hard line—and then sit back and watch us try to pick up the pieces with Brazil and others.

I believe that this is a very important decision, and one which has not been seriously enough studied. I note that it has been discussed with several parties, including the Russians. My feeling is that we should make clear to the Germans and to others who may ask, that the U.S. position is that the expansion is a proposal—one among several—that we are willing to consider and to study, but no more. Anything beyond this I believe would require the President’s direct approval. I would welcome your thoughts on this matter.

Zbigniew Brzezinski 3
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 32, London Suppliers Group: 3–6/77. Secret. At the top of the memorandum, an unknown hand wrote “[illegible] Sent 4/1/77 [illegible].”
  2. Not found.
  3. Brzezinski signed the memorandum “Zbig.”