359. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

4402. USIAEA. Subject: 32nd UNGA: Non-proliferation—Visit of Deputy Under Secretary Nye to USUN. Ref: USUN 4350.2

1. Summary: In Nov 3 visit to USUN, Deputy Under Secretary Nye met with 19 representatives, mainly from developing countries to describe our non-proliferation objectives and review purpose and goals of the INFCE conference. In addition, he discussed the draft res on “Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy for Economic and Social Development” in bilaterals with Yugoslavs and Pakistanis (Reftel, paras 4–7). Mission and Disarmament Del believed Nye visit was timely and valuable, enabling us to explain our policy in greater depth to UN Dels and also providing opportunity for them to express their concerns and aspirations directly to Nye. Comment by participating Delegations has been uniformly favorable. End summary.

2. In afternoon session at US Mission, Nye presented a summary of US non-proliferation policy to 19 UN Delegations including a question and answer period. The following states attended: Algeria, Australia, Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sweden, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.

3. Nye briefly outlined the origins and general philosophy of our non-proliferation policy, emphasizing our concerns to maintain an appropriate balance between the objectives of non-proliferation and access to nuclear materials and technology for peaceful purposes in developing countries, and the complexities created by the emergence of new nuclear technologies since the 1950’s. The Carter administration, he said, was committed to stopping both vertical and horizontal proliferation. He outlined the purpose and goals of the INFCE conference: Indicated our interest in opening up the London Suppliers Club to other participants.

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4. Nye also stressed the importance of balanced UNGA resolutions on peaceful uses of nuclear energy, noting that the Congress and US public opinion could be expected to react adversely to virtually unqualified UN endorsement of transfer of nuclear technology to developing countries. A major US objective at INFCE was to develop new safeguardable technologies which would be both proliferation-resistant and economical. UN actions and decisions should be closely coordinated, he said, with the INFCE and IAEA work in this field.

5. The questions, asked mainly by the reps from Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, and Yugoslavia, reflected many of the concerns raised in the first committee by the developing countries. They included the following: (A) Why has the London Club not been opened to recipients and what will happen to it during the INFCE? (B) Are the developing countries expected to postpone their nuclear programs based on old technologies pending the outcome of the INFCE? (C) How long will it take to develop and prove the new technologies? (D) What will be the implication of these new technologies for our commitment to nuclear disarmament? (E) Is the US prepared to consider stopping its R&D for weapons development, or is it only asking NNWS to accept more stringent safeguards while going ahead with its own program? (F) If a CTB is attained, will nuclear safeguards apply to nuclear weapons states as well as to nonnuclear weapon states? (G) Will comprehensive safeguards in the US be retrospective or applied only to new facilities?

6. At the end of the one and one-half-hour program, Argentina Perm-Rep Ortiz de Rozas expressed on behalf of the group appreciation to Nye and his hope that the Carter administration would indeed move ahead in positive spirit to finding viable answers acceptable to both developing and developed countries in reconciling the objectives of non-proliferation and energy for development.

7. In the late afternoon Nye met separately with Yugoslav and Pakistani UN Dels to discuss the non-aligned draft resolution on “The Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy for Economic and Social Development”. While indicating US readiness to seek to work out an acceptable text he highlighted our difficulties with the latest version. He emphasized our concern that only safeguardable nuclear technologies should be transferred to developing countries as well as our doubts about a UN conference (Reftel).

8. We believe Nye visit provided timely and useful opportunity for US to restate and clarify our non-proliferation objectives to a number of important UN Delegations. Moreover, we believe that Nye was able to convey our concerns to Yugoslavia and Pakistan in constructive spirit while highlighting the implications for their own interests in an unbalanced UNGA resolution. The Mission and Disarmament Del expressed their appreciation to Nye for his efforts.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770431–0609. Confidential. Sent for information to the Mission in Geneva and Vienna.
  2. Telegram 4350 from USUN, November 4, reported that Non-Aligned countries planned to introduce two resolutions in the UN General Assembly. The first would amend a Malaysian, West German, and Czechoslovakian draft resolution “inviting IAEA to increase the representation of developing countries on its board of governors.” The second would “table Yugoslav/Pakistani draft resolution (with additional co-sponsors) ‘on the peaceful use of nuclear energy for economic and social development.’ After statements by 10–12 countries, consideration of both resolutions will be deferred pending further consultations and negotiations.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770406–0432)