387. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission in Geneva and the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

234386. Subject: Bartholomew/Bessmertnykh Meeting on NPT Issues. Refs: A, Geneva 11751;2 B, Geneva 11698.3

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1. Confidential—Entire text.

2. PM Director Bartholomew called in Soviet Embassy Political Counselor Bessmertnykh on September 3 to discuss developments at NPT Review Conference. After referring to past record of US/Soviet cooperation on NPT issues in general and particularly on key arms control issues which come within purview of Article VI, Bartholomew conveyed substance of following points:

—We have been following very closely the state of play at the NPT Review Conference and want to share our views with you.

—Nuclear disarmament issues in Article VI,4 and particularly CTB, are major questions which go to the very heart of our respective national security interests.

—Considerable progress in trilateral negotiations, has been made in CTB, and the basis has been created for building upon this to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion.

—Unlike other CD issues, such as CW and RW, CTB matters should in the first instance be resolved by the three interested NWS, and not negotiated prematurely by states not possessing nuclear weapons. Such a situation would encourage states whose interests are not directly concerned to make extreme demands of the trilateral negotiating partners.

—We therefore continue to believe that it would be inadvisable to have multilateral negotiations on CTB prior to completion of the trilaterals. We are concerned that such a development could set back prospects for the very progress which our countries and so many others desire in the talks.

—On other CTB-related issues we do not feel that there should be either a deadline for completing trilateral negotiations or a testing moratorium pending completion of an agreement—even if such a moratorium is conditioned on participation by all NWS.

—We hope you will look carefully at this situation and gauge the potential damage to our mutual interests in permitting multilateral negotiation of a CTB. We believe that, working together along with our respective allies, we can find ways to meet multilateral concerns on this and other major issues at the NPTRC, ways which protect the essential interests of all concerned.

3. In reply, Bessmertnykh said that he was unaware of developments reported Reftels since Soviet Embassy here is not regularly informed of events in Geneva. Bessmertnykh said that he personally agreed with Bartholomew’s points and agreed to transmit substance of démarche to Moscow immediately.

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4. For Geneva: NPT Delegation should inform SovDel of Bartholomew/Bessmertnykh meeting without characterizing Bessmertnykh’s response; and reiterate points contained in para 2 above.

5. For London: You should inform FCO of meeting and convey substance of démarche.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800420–0217. Confidential; Immediate. Sent for information Immediate to Moscow. Drafted by Napper (EUR/SOV) and Steiner (PM/DCA); cleared by Palmer (PM/DCA), Combs, Jr. (EUR/SOV), Bohlen (EUR/RPM), McGaffigan (S/MS), and Jones (ACDA/MA); and approved by Bartholomew (PM).
  2. Telegram 11751 from Geneva, September 3, reported on the September 2 Trilateral NPT Review Conference talks. The U.S., UK, and Soviet Delegations “decided the conference President should be pressured to break the impasse on the language of the final declaration. The Soviets indicated that they would be willing to take public positions on key Article VI issues which they will attempt to present as concessions and indications of flexibility. These positions would include acceptance of: “a deadline for conclusion of trilateral negotiations on a CTBT (1982), a CD working group on CTB (but only if all five NWS participate), and a nuclear testing moratorium (again, only if all NWS participate). (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800419–0331)
  3. Telegram 11698 from Geneva, September 2, reported that “prospects can hardly be considered good for consensus outcome” of the NPT Review Conference, “and there is a real possibility for a divisive conference result that would be portrayed by many as demonstrating that the NPT has not served the interests of its non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS) parties and that non-proliferation efforts are losing ground.” The Mission also warned that “over the last week or so, the more militant Non-Aligned Delegations, primarily Yugoslavia, Sri Lanka, and Mexico, have strengthened their grip on the Group of 77, and have taken assertive and uncompromising positions on key conference issues, especially in the area of arms control.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800417–0402)
  4. See footnote 5, Document 211.