367. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • EURATOMIAEA Safeguards

PARTICIPANTS

  • US
  • Philip J. Farley, S/AS
  • William R. Salisbury, EUR/RPE (notetaker)
  • USSR
  • Alexander Bessmertnykh, Counselor of Soviet Embassy in Washington
[Page 935]

SUMMARY: Farley handed Bessmertnykh US reply (attached)2 to the March 3 Soviet text3 on this subject. Farley stressed US belief that EURATOM members are working in good faith toward an acceptable implementation arrangement. Bessmertnykh said that this is not primarily a technical issue but a political one, and that EURATOM members should set a better example for others. End summary.

Mr. Farley handed Counselor Bessmertnykh the attached text and went over its points orally. Bessmertnykh thanked him for the presentation, agreed that the US and USSR are largely in accord on non-proliferation issues, but noted that we seem to disagree on the analysis of the EURATOMIAEA situation. All the information available to the Soviets indicates that the FRG in particular is doing its utmost not to have strict IAEA safeguards made effective within EURATOM. Bessmertnykh said he agrees with our assertion that EURATOM acknowledges as a general matter the necessity of IAEA safeguards, but that the point is how those safeguards are applied in practice. The Soviets had not been sure where the US stands on this, since when Morokhov raised it in Geneva with Warnke as a bilateral matter there was no substantive response, only a promise to forward it to Washington, and the US was silent at the February IAEA Board meeting on this issue and on the necessity of an April Board meeting to resolve it.

Bessmertnykh said he was pleased that our March 15 text concluded with an assurance that we would continue to urge completion of the EURATOMIAEA arrangements. The Soviets do not see this as basically a technical issue but a political one which raises particularly serious concerns in the context of such events as FRG-Brazil nuclear cooperation. For this reason, the Soviets see a need for more effort on the part of like-thinking nations in the non-proliferation field.

Farley agreed that there were currently difficult situations regarding non-proliferation, and that developments in Latin America were one. But we do not see the same kind of problem in Western Europe, and see no indication that the FRG or others in EURATOM are trying to evade IAEA standards. We think the EC is moving in good faith toward a satisfactory solution, and that the problems have been essentially technical in nature.

On the procedural question of US channels for discussion, Farley noted that Warnke is not directly involved in these safeguards issues [Page 936]but that Ambassador Smith—who, of course, is the US Representative to the IAEA—is the primary source. Either he or Farley will go to the April meeting of the Board, and would be happy to talk with the Soviets if they wish. We do hope to see this issue resolved in April.

Bessmertnykh said that, while Farley may be right in saying that the situation in Western Europe on non-proliferation is different than that elsewhere, EURATOM should not be setting a bad example for others, but on the contrary should be out front in accepting a maximal IAEA role. Farley noted the high degree of nuclear energy development in the EC, the preexistence of EURATOM safeguards and the technical complexities involved, and expressed doubt that others could credibly point to the EURATOMIAEA situation as a precedent for national situations elsewhere.

The two agreed to stay in touch on non-proliferation issues, particularly where IAEA-related.

After the meeting, Bessmertnykh told Salisbury he agreed that EURATOMIAEA arrangements were nearing a satisfactory conclusion, but repeated that he is concerned at the precedential effect, and at the prospect that general US-Soviet agreement on non-proliferation goals will diverge in specific cases because of “other factors” present in such cases.

  1. Source: Department of State, Chronological Files, Speeches, and Papers of Lucy W. Benson, Lot 81D321, Box 8, EURATOM 1978. Confidential. Drafted by William Salisbury (EUR/RPE). The meeting took place at the Department of State.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. The note relayed Moscow’s concern about “the especially active opposition of the FRG to the control by the IAEA of its nuclear activities. We would like to know what steps the US Government has in mind to take to help the IAEA in solving that problem.” The complete text of the note is in telegram 57425 to Brussels, March 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780101–0744)