435. Memorandum From Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Your Question About the Treaty of Tlatelolco

I have obtained the relevant portion of Brezhnev’s statement2 on signing Tlatelolco, and it does not appear that he intends to sign it with any reservations—at least he did not refer to any reservations in that statement. The statement follows:

In accordance with its principled line of reducing the threat of nuclear war, the Soviet Union has also adopted a decision to become a party in a relevant form to the International Treaty on Banning Nuclear Weapons in Latin America. Thus we, like the other states possessing nuclear weapons, will take upon ourselves the obligation not to help in the acquisition of nuclear arms by Latin American states, and also not to use such weapons against the states that are parties to the treaty.

[Page 1091]

Where Brezhnev says that the USSR will become a party “in a relevant form” ACDA and I interpret that as meaning he will be signing the Protocol II. With regard to the President’s note on Vance’s night reading on Tlatelolco,3 I have spoken to Bob Hunter and to officials in ACDA to make sure that they touch base with the French before the SSOD to make clear our desire that the French adhere to Tlatelolco. Furthermore, I have been in touch with ARA requesting that they cable relevant posts about the Soviet announcement and ask those countries which have not yet signed, ratified, or permitted the Treaties to come into force, to do that. We have just received a cable from our Interests Section in Havana4 which speculates on whether the Cubans will follow the Soviet example, and concludes that they may not.5 The cable also makes the point that acceptance of Tlatelolco by the Soviets is a public confirmation of their private 1962 and 1970 assurance to US not to deploy nuclear weapons in Cuba.6

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 45, Latin America, 12/77–7/78. No classification marking. Sent for information. Copies were sent to Hunter and Tuchman.
  2. See “Address by President Brezhnev [Extract],” April 25, 1978, in Documents on Disarmament, 1978, pp. 256–258.
  3. Not found.
  4. Telegram 1097 from Havana, April 27; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780181–0611.
  5. On May 4, Vance told Mexican President José López Portillo that Mexico could be “very helpful” in persuading Cuba to sign the Treaty of Tlatelolco. If Cuba refused, however, he warned that the Treaty could not be implemented. (Memorandum of Conversation; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Country File, Box 28, Mexico, 3–7/78)
  6. On Soviet private assurance of 1962, see footnote 4, Document 404. On October 6, 1970, in response to accusations that the Soviets were constructing a nuclear naval port at Cienfuegos, Dobrynin informed National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger that the Soviet Government “would like to reaffirm once more that the Soviet side strictly adheres to its part of the [1962] understanding on the Cuban question and will continue to adhere to it in the future on the assumption that the American side as President Nixon has reaffirmed, will also strictly observe its part of the understanding.” (Memorandum of Conversation, October 6, 1970; Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XII, Soviet Union, January 1969–October 1970, Document 224).