389. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State1

11804. For the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and ACDA Director. Subject: NPT Review Conference (60): Urgent Request for Contingency Guidance.

[Page 993]

1. (Secret—Entire text)

2. With respect to issue on NPT RevCon which we understand will be subject of discussion by principals this morning, following is input from US NPT RevCon Del.

3. We believe the NPT RevCon is in serious danger of ending in well-publicized disarray. The more militant G–77 Delegations, especially Mexico, Sweden, and Yugoslavia, are continuing to take an uncompromising line.2

4. It is our shared judgment that only hope for a satisfactory substantive outcome lies in a compromise final document retaining a number of constructive formulations on safeguards and peaceful uses, avoiding unacceptable language on Israel but reflecting various strongly held views on major arms control issues and going some way toward meeting main non-aligned objectives. In the latter category we believe we can within present guidance handle all but the:

(A) Moratorium on nuclear testing;

(B) Working groups in Committee on Disarmament on CTB and nuclear disarmament; and

(C) Interim compliance with SALT II.

Moratorium is clearly not acceptable and many non-aligned, even militants like Ambassador Fonseka (Sri Lanka), understand this. Nuclear disarmament working group is not of the highest priority according to Fonseka and might not be pressed if other desiderata are achieved. Although we obviously could not accept a formal interim commitment on SALT II compliance in final Conference document, this is an issue on which our position is strong because of our stated policy and because of adamant Soviet opposition to any commitment prior to ratification of SALT II. This leaves a CTB working group as the only conceivable area of US flexibility.

5. What we are requesting is contingency authority to accept—if necessary and sufficient to achieve an acceptable Conference outcome—language calling on the CD at its next session to establish an ad hoc working group, with an appropriate mandate, on the question of a CTB. Such language would make clear that the precise mandate or terms of reference for such a working group would have to be worked out by consensus in the CD, and would specify that the CD’s work should not interfere with the trilateral negotiations. Moreover, any such formulation would only be accepted if agreed to by the other tri[Page 994]lateral negotiating partners. In this connection British floated last night with US and Soviets a contingency formula which Soviets accepted with slight modification, reflected below:

“The Conference therefore believes that at its next session, the CD should draw up terms of reference for a working group on a nuclear test ban treaty. It considers that efforts in the CD on this subject and the separate trilateral negotiations by the NWS parties to the treaty are not mutually exclusive.” (FYI: Establishing “Terms of Reference” is tantamount to establishing the working group.)

This language was prepared as a draft of part of a possible compromise final document reflecting divergencies of views on many issues which might be used as a last minute Chairman’s draft. We have not indicated any ability on our part to accept this formulation. It has not yet been shown to anyone except a few members of Depositary Delegations.

6. We would not propose to use the authority we are seeking unless and until it becomes clearer than it now is that its use is necessary and sufficient to achieve an otherwise acceptable Conference outcome. We are not yet at the stage where this judgment can be made, but time is becoming so short that we need guidance on whether this bargaining tool would be available in the crunch of the final hours of the Conference. We will keep you advised of the situation and of our advice as to whether such contingency guidance need be drawn upon.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 6, Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB): 1/79–9/80. Secret; Flash; Nodis.
  2. In telegram 11709 from Geneva, September 2, the Mission noted “the G–77 has sought to broaden the issue” of the NPT to include prohibiting “even seemingly legitimate civil nuclear cooperation with South Africa and Israel” because “it ‘indirectly’ contributes to their nuclear weapons capabilities.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800417–0703)