434. Telegram From the Embassy in Mexico to the Department of State1

6639. USIAEA. Subject: Treaty of Tlatelolco—Ratification Prospects.

1. OPANAL General Secretary Gros Espiel gave visitors from National Defense University and Emboffs a good rundown of present state of play on pending ratifications of Tlatelolco Treaty in meeting at OPANAL HQ on April 21.

2. Argentina. Gros indicated paramount importance of Argentine ratification inasmuch as it was most nuclearly advanced country in region, and he believed some of Argentine military wanted to retain right to make nuclear weapons. Gros cited Vance-Montes joint communiqué [Page 1089] statement that Argentina would soon ratify, as U.S. would Protocol I. Gros thinks Argentina is waiting for U.S. Protocol I ratification, but would then ratify (without waiver) in next 2–3 months. He believes Argentine internal politics now such that it will wish to improve U.S. attitudes toward it and will want to uphold its commitment to Vance, once U.S. has done its part.

3. Brazil. Gros noted that he had tried in vain for several years to point out that Brazil, as signer and ratifier, must respect Treaty. In last year, Brazilians have stated three times that they would, under Vienna Convention,2 not do anything contrary to Treaty. This was stated (1) in a letter from Silveira, (B) by a Brazilian Rep at the 1977 OPANAL meeting in Caracas, (C) in the Geisel-Lopez Portillo Joint Communiqué. Gros has “off the record” info that Brazil would become a full party if the USSR would sign and ratify Protocol II.

4. Chile. Gros says he has a recent telegram from the Chilean Foreign Minister that indicates that Chile would waive the entry into force requirements if the USSR would ratify Protocol II.

5. Cuba. Gros cited Guantanamo as the most fundamental problem preventing Cuba from signing and ratifying. He thinks that negotiations with Cuba will become much easier once the U.S. ratifies Protocol I, although this will not solve the problem completely. Cuban adherence, he says, is also connected with the USSR attitude toward Protocol II. Once this and U.S. Protocol I ratification are accomplished, he believes fruitful negotiations with Cuba can be accomplished.

6. Guyana. Gros says Guyana wants to sign, but has been prevented from doing so by Venezuelan opposition under Article 25.3 He says intense negotiations have been underway with Venezuela, and he thinks a “formula” has been found which will be acceptable to both countries. He therefore expects Guyana to become a party “in the coming months.”

7. United States. Gros thinks that the wait in seeking Senate consent to Protocol I was justified as the ratification of the Panama Canal treaties paves the way for Protocol I.4 He views the Canal zone as now [Page 1090] denuclearized by the new Canal Treaty (except for transit rights) and notes that, through this treaty, Panama has accepted transit rights.

8. France. Gros says he has “unofficial information” that the French may announce their intent to sign Protocol I during the SSOD.

9. USSR. Gros believes there are “indications” of a change of position on the part of the Soviets toward Protocol II. When Lopez Portillo visits Moscow in mid-May, he will raise the question with the USSR on behalf of all of Latin America. The timing will also nearly coincide with the SSOD in New York. Thus, while there is no assurance, Gros thinks a favorable Soviet announcement is “very possible.” He added that the Soviet Ambassador told him April 20 that there were “possible signs” of a change of Soviet attitude.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780180–0823. Limited Official Use; Priority. Sent for information to Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Caracas, the Mission in Geneva, Georgetown, the Interests Section in Havana, Moscow, USUN, Panama City, Paris, Santiago, and Vienna.
  2. Reference to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
  3. Article 25 of the Treaty of Tlatelolco states that “Unless the Parties concerned agree on another mode of peaceful settlement, any question or dispute concerning the interpretation or application of this Treaty which is not settled shall be referred to the International Court of Justice with the prior consent of the Parties to the controversy.” (http:://www.opanal.org/opanal/tlatelolco/tlatelolco-i.htm)
  4. Reference to the fact that Article IV of the Panama Canal Treaty states that “since Panama is a signatory to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the United States shall not install any type of nuclear armament on the territory of Panama.” The Carter administration therefore needed to gain Senate ratification of the Panama Canal treaties before submitting the Treaty of Tlatelolco to the Senate. The Senate ratified the first Panama Canal Treaty on March 16 and the second on April 18.