417. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • The Vice President
  • Secretary of State Cyrus Vance
  • Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Ambassador Walter Stoessel
  • Ambassador Gerard Smith
  • Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs George Vest
  • Gregory F. Treverton, NSC Staff Member, Notetaker
  • Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
  • Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher
  • Ambassador Berndt von Staden
  • State Secretary Manfred Schueler
  • State Secretary Klaus Boelling
  • Assistant Secretary for Political Affairs Juergen Ruhfus
  • Assistant Secretary Dieter Hiss
  • Interpreter for Minister Genscher, Mrs. Gisela Niederste-Ostholt

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to nuclear non-proliferation.]


[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to nuclear non-proliferation in Latin America.]

The President said that if we can identify the problems, we can address them. Brazilian President Geisel had told Mrs. Carter that Argentina was building a reprocessing plant and he implied that Brazil would not if Argentina did not. Neither country has signed the Tlatelolco Treaty. The President felt that if we can assure autonomous fuel [Page 1054] supply arrangements, then progress can be made. The U.S. was unsuccessful in getting Argentina to sign the Tlatelolco Treaty. Brazil is not a party to the NPT. Brazil has signed the Tlatelolco Treaty, but it is not yet in force. The U.S. signed; it will not introduce nuclear weapons in Puerto Rico or the Canal Zone. We are pressing the Soviets and the French to sign.

The Chancellor said that the FRG’s view was that cooperation must be based upon equal status. He felt an amendment to the NPT would be difficult to achieve. It was better to work within the IAEA (which he labelled, jokingly, “a modern American four-letter word”).

The President said that the concern with non-proliferation had predated his Administration.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to nuclear nonproliferation.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 24, German Federal Republic, 4/77–3/78. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room. The conversation is scheduled to be printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVII, Western Europe. In an undated memorandum to Carter, Vance advised him to try to convince Schmidt to at least defer the transfer of nuclear materials to Brazil while simultaneously convincing Brazil and Argentina to implement the Treaty of Tlatelolco. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 24, German Federal Republic, 4/77–3/78) In a July 12 memorandum to Carter, Brzezinski called Schmidt’s visit “unusually important” not only because Schmidt’s political future was considered “extremely clouded” both domestically and within the Atlantic alliance, but because of U.S. pressure to abrogate the Brazilian nuclear deal. Brzezinski said that Schmidt considered fulfilling “his contractual obligations” a “matter of ‘honor,’ especially so with all the Third World watching. Nor can Germany afford to repudiate an agreement that encounters American disapproval. What is frustrating for the Germans is that they basically share your non-proliferation goals, but for the foregoing reasons, feel that the Brazilian deal allows for little compromise.” (emphasis in the original) (Ibid.)