65. Telegram From the Department of State to the United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization1

89099. Subject: NATO Disarmament Experts April 21–22: Instructions for USDEL. Ref: USNATO 1134.2

1. Following are instructions for the US Representative to the NATO Disarmament Experts, Spring 1977 meeting. Talking points are arranged according to agenda items as listed Reftel:

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to chemical weapons.]

IV. Chemical Weapons

—The U.S. is currently reviewing CW arms control issues. We expect this review to be completed in the near future and, after consultations with our allies, possibly to provide the basis for a proposal to the U.S.S.R.

—A second round of consultations at the expert level on CW was held with the Russians in Geneva during the period April 1–April 8.3 These consultations were pursuant to the agreement to consider a joint initiative reached at the July 1974 summit, but the US Del was not authorized to begin negotiations on a treaty. The Soviets are clearly impatient and appear anxious to begin preparing a joint initiative. The tone of the consultations was courteous and businesslike.

—The consultations focused on technical questions related to CW arms control, particularly in the areas of scope of prohibition and of verification. In this respect the consultations represented an extension of the first round, which was held in August 1976.

—Little new ground was broken in the consultations. Because our review has not been completed, the U.S. was not in a position to present a proposal. For their part, the Soviets reiterated their well-known views [Page 152] on verification and maintained their negative position on technical exchange visits. Overall, progress was slight.

—During the consultations, the U.S. suggested that any joint initiative take the form of agreed key elements of a CW agreement, rather than a draft treaty text. (If asked: the preliminary reaction of the Soviet side was that while a full treaty text was not necessarily required, they preferred to have the key elements in treaty language.)

—It was agreed to continue the discussions, although no date was set. We have indicated to the Soviets that further discussions could be held before the CCD summer session, which begins July 5. This will however depend upon the state of our review and subsequent consultations with allies.

—During Secretary Vance’s recent visit to Moscow,4 it was agreed to establish a U.S.-Soviet working group on CW. No decision has yet been made on how to proceed with this group, although it is likely that this group will provide the forum for continuation of the bilateral consultations already underway.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to chemical weapons.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770138–0156. Confidential; Immediate. Sent for information to the Mission at Geneva, USUN, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, and the Department of Defense. Drafted by Michael Congdon (ACDA/IR); cleared by Lyall Breckon (PM/DCA), Flowerree, Thomas Hirschfeld (S/P), John Hawes (EUR/RPM), Giles Harlow (DOD/ISA), Jon Glassman (EUR/SOV), and Margot Mazeau (ACDA/GC); and approved by William Stearman (ACDA/IR).
  2. In telegram 1134 from USNATO, March 2, the Mission notified the Department of State that NATO’s spring disarmament experts meeting would meet on April 21 and 22. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, [no film number])
  3. Telegram 2635 from Geneva, April 6, and telegrams 2660 and 2674, from Geneva, both April 7, relayed the U.S.-Soviet CW discussions. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770120–0582, D770122–0124, and D770123–0073 respectively)
  4. See Document 64 and footnote 1 thereto.