419. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Nonproliferation and Nuclear Assistance

State does not believe that there are any important decisions pending in this area. On nuclear proliferation, we are awaiting a more propitious time—probably after INFCEP discussions in October—for our consultations with Brazil and Germany. State and NSC recommend that you continue to pursue Tlatelolco with Argentina, Chile, and Brazil (either directly or by the Vice President).

Representative Paul Findley (Rep. Ill.) had an article in the Washington Post on Thursday, September 1,2 urging Argentina and Brazil (and indirectly, you) to agree to bilateral, on-site, nuclear verification agreements as a way to check the advance of both countries toward a full fuel cycle. The problem with his proposal is that Argentina and Brazil could conceivably collude to cheat, and thus it is probably better to stay with the original strategy.

[Page 1056]


Paper Prepared by the Department of State and the National Security Council3



No policy decisions on Latin American non-proliferation questions appear to be required at the present time.


1. Nuclear Cooperation

We have indicated on several occasions—in the President’s April 14 OAS speech,4 at the April meeting of OPANAL5 (the Treaty of Tlatelolco implementation organization), and at the July meeting of the Inter-American Nuclear Energy Commission (IANEC)6—that we are in favor of expanding our nuclear cooperation with Latin American states, not only on a bilateral basis and through the IAEA, but also through Latin American regional institutions.

Few Latin American states have significant nuclear energy programs. While we have supplied power reactors to Brazil and Mexico, our bilateral cooperation to date has largely involved the transfer of research reactors and fuel to a limited number of recipients, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela, and no requests for the transfer of power reactors are pending. We would be prepared in the future to conclude agreements for cooperation with additional Latin American states, provided they can accept the non-proliferation constraints that will be required by pending legislation. Future cooperation with Argentina and Brazil will be influenced by the outcome of current disagreements with both countries over their desire to acquire sensitive fuel cycle technologies and their failure to adhere either to the NPT or the Treaty of Tlatelolco.7 (Our strategy for dealing with Argen[Page 1057]tine and Brazilian problems, which the President has approved, is outlined in Ambassador Smith’s July 22 memorandum to Secretary Vance, a copy of which was sent to you.)8

We have not expressed any preference regarding which institution or institutions should be used for promoting regional nuclear cooperation, and have indicated that we would be prepared to go along with any clear preference that may develop among the states of the region. Some states, particularly Venezuela and Argentina, have favored the revitalization of IANEC, an OAS subsidiary organ, while others, notably Mexico, support giving OPANAL a role in the peaceful nuclear energy field. We have been neutral on this question (supporting both a study of OPANAL’s future role in nuclear cooperation and a two-year, $400,000 plan of action for IANEC), and for the time being plan to remain so in the absence of a clearer Latin American consensus than exists at present.

2. Treaty of Tlatelolco

Aside from US ratification of Protocol I, remaining requirements for full entry into force of the Treaty of Tlatelolco are Cuban and Argentine ratification of the Treaty, French adherence to Protocol I, and Soviet adherence to Protocol II. Although Brazil and Chile have already ratified, they have so far chosen not to waive the conditions for bringing the Treaty into force for themselves.9

We have begun to implement a strategy for bringing the Treaty into full force, and will actively continue our efforts during the next several weeks. We have not approached Cuba directly, but have encouraged key Latin American supporters of the Treaty (e.g., Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Peru) to urge adherence by the holdout states. We have also asked the USSR to encourage Cuba to join the Treaty. In the case of Argentina, we have raised the issue directly with the Argentine leadership, and have also relied on efforts by other Latin American states. The visit of Latin American leaders to Washington next week will provide an opportunity to continue these efforts. Moreover, the proposals we plan to make to Argentina and Brazil in the hope of resolving the current disagreements include acceptance by those states of fullscope IAEA safeguards, which could be accomplished through Tlatelolco adherence.

With respect to non-hemispheric holdouts, we have already raised the question of Protocol II with the Soviets at several levels and they [Page 1058] have told us they would reconsider their position. In addition, we plan to raise Protocol I when French Prime Minister Barre visits Washington on September 15. We do not believe there are realistic prospects for securing Soviet and French adherence by the time of the Panama signing ceremony.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Subject, Treaty of Tlatelolco, Box 66, Brazil, 3–12/77. Secret. Sent for action.
  2. See Paul Findley, “Chances for a Latin American Agreement,” Washington Post, September 1, 1977.
  3. Confidential.
  4. See Document 410.
  5. See Document 411.
  6. Not found.
  7. Brzezinski discussed the issue of trying to get Argentina and Brazil to sign the Treaty of Tlatelolco or the NPT in an August 3 memorandum to Vance. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron, Box 5, Brazil, 9–12/77)
  8. Smith’s memorandum is Ibid.
  9. An unknown hand underlined “Cuban,” “Argentine ratification,” “French adherence to Protocol I, “Brazil,” “Chile,” and “waive the conditions” in this paragraph and wrote “specific conditions” in the right-hand margin next to this paragraph.