449. Telegram From the Embassy in Ecuador to the Department of State1

2714. Subject: (U) Opening Session of OPANAL.

1. Entire text confidential.

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2. At OPANAL opening session statements were made by several observer nations and organizations including China, US,2 France,3 Great Britain, the Soviet Union, Finland, Poland, the OAS, and messages from the General Secretary of the UN, and the Director General of IAEA. While most of the statements were general comments reaffirming support for the principles and objectives of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the statements of China and the Soviet Union deserve particular attention. Note that report of Chinese and Soviet statements is based on informal translation.

3. China was supportive of the idea of denuclearized zones and emphasized the need for the superpowers to recognize the serious menace represented by the arms race. China also stated that it favored the total prohibition, destruction and non-use of nuclear weapons. In specific reference to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the Chinese called for two particular developments:

—Dismantling of all foreign military bases in Latin America and no future establishment of new bases in this region and

—Prohibition of all types of nuclear weapons carriers from both sea and air space of Latin America.

4. The Soviet Union reiterated its reservations as stated in its initial signature of Protocol II in May 1978. They reaffirmed their statements that transit of the zone would be incompatible with the Treaty and that the Soviet Union reserved the right to review its adherence under any of these circumstances. However, the Soviet Union also called for action by Argentina, Brazil and Chile to complete their adherence to Tlatelolco and emphasized the contribution of the NPT to the peaceful use of nuclear energy through international cooperation. They also stated policy similar to that of the US on preference for Tlatelolco parties. In discussions following the session, Soviet Delegate Shelepin reiterated the importance of adherence to the Treaty by Argentina, Chile and Brazil and of the possibility of our two countries working together not only to achieve this, but also to encourage NPT adherence and in the area of the Tlatelolco preference policy.

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5. In discussions with the Mexican Delegation, by far the largest and most influential, Mexican Delegates inquired about the status of the instrumented fuel rods, and whether the US was still waiting for a formal note from the Foreign Ministry. Would appreciate current status on these issues. ASAP.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790189–0869. Confidential; Immediate. Sent for information to Mexico City.
  2. On April 24, Ambassador to Ecuador Raymond Gonzalez spoke to OPANAL. He said that the Treaty of Tlatelolco “represents a unique pledge by Latin American nations to forego the acquisition of nuclear weapons, and sets an example for all nations to follow in the pursuit of world peace.” President Carter, he noted, considered the Treaty “a particularly important component of world-wide efforts to inhibit nuclear proliferation, as well as a central measure to the maintenance of the security of the entire hemisphere.” (Telegram 2735 from Quito, April 26; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790194–0426)
  3. During a state visit to Mexico, French President Valery Giscard d’ Estaing signed Protocol I of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. (Telegram 3926 from Mexico City, March 9; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790107–0379)