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365. Letter From Ambassador-at-Large and Special Representative for Non-Proliferation Matters Smith to President Carter 1

Dear Mr. President:

In Europe for the IAEA Board of Governors meeting, I also talked with Chancellor Kreisky and Foreign Ministers David Owen (UK), de Guiringaud (France) and Simonet (Belgium), several EC Commissioners and PermReps, and a number of atomic energy officials. I was the first American allowed to inspect the French military gaseous diffusion plant (Pierrelatte) and the huge civil enrichment plant under construction (Tricastin).

I got the following impressions:

1. There is respect for INFCE which is a “going concern”, but INFCE is being used as a rationale to try to defer hard decisions—like EURATOM’s agreeing to renegotiate its supply arrangements with the U.S. (Under the nonproliferation legislation, EURATOM must so agree in order to avoid a U.S. embargo on nuclear exports.) I think EURATOM will agree. But there are feelings of resentment at what is seen as U.S. duress and a breach of international obligations by domestic legislation.

2. Europeans are used to depending on the U.S. for nuclear deterrence but they seem determined to keep to a minimum their peaceful nuclear energy dependence on the U.S. The British and French emphasized their disagreement with our policy to defer reprocessing and fast breeder commercialization. Europeans don’t want to give us a veto over reprocessing of U.S.-origin spent fuel because that would place decisions as to their energy programs in our hands. Expect long, tough negotiations over this issue, since energy dependence is a lively fear in Europe (and Japan).

3. The non-weapons states are especially sensitive to signs of American discrimination in its nonproliferation policy in favor of the UK and France.

4. Kreisky is hurting politically because his government cannot find a way to assure Austrians that reactor spent fuel can be securely stored. I explained your foreign spent fuel storage policy and stressed [Page 933]its numerous conditions precedent.2 He asked me to tell you of his full support for your nonproliferation policy.

5. Conversation with the Argentine Governor at IAEA indicates that they are not about to fulfill the agreement reached last November with Secretary Vance to ratify Tlatelolco.

Respectfully,

Gerard Smith 3
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Country File, Box 1, Argentina: 1–9/78. Confidential. At the top of the page, Brzezinski wrote “Mr. President, A concise and informative report from Gerry Smith. Given your interest in the issue, it might be useful to have him call on you. Zbig.” Carter underlined the words “call on you,” drew an arrow pointing to them, and wrote “not now. C.”
  2. Not found.
  3. Smith signed the memorandum “Gerry Smith.”