98. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission in Geneva1

42041. Subject: USUSSR Chemical Weapons Negotiations, Round Nine: Guidance. Ref: (A) 78 Geneva 138492 (B) 78 Geneva 64923 (C) Geneva 25114 (D) State 20148.5

State Message No. 2

1. This message provides general guidance for round nine. Detailed responses to the questions posed Ref A are being provided separately in the guidance package.6 Highlights are outlined in para 5 below.

2. During round nine the Delegation should: (A) actively seek Soviet views in areas where the Soviets have not yet responded to US questions and proposals, (B) seek to clarify and resolve as many of the remaining issues as possible, and (C) seek to clarify and consolidate areas of agreement through drafting agreed language for a joint initiative.

3. In addressing remaining issues the Delegation should devote particular attention to trying to resolve the issues cited Ref B, which are listed below:

[Page 216]

(A) required international on-site inspection of destruction of stocks and disposition of facilities.

(B) Declaration of stocks and facilities.

—General declaration of stocks prior to entry into force of the convention.

—Declaration of facilities.

(C) Destruction of facilities.

(D) Rights and functions of inspection personnel and host state personnel during challenge on-site inspection.

4. We continue to believe it is important to resume drafting of agreed language in order to nail down general points on which the two sides appear to agree and to specify the more detailed points which are essential to make agreement on the general points meaningful and effective. For these purposes we believe that language which is more detailed than that discussed in round six is necessary. In drafting, the Delegation should be guided by the format and formulations contained in the position summary,7 which is being provided separately, and in the set of “expanded key elements,” which will be provided when it is completed.

5. Key points in the guidance package:

(A) A summary of the US position is provided for transmission to the Soviet Delegation, as agreed at the end of round eight.

(B) With regard to declared facilities, the Delegation is authorized to explore the concept of conversion under appropriate safeguards. Modified tactics for presenting the US position regarding mandatory on-site inspection of facilities are outlined.

(C) Guidance is provided for responding to Soviet proposals regarding non-transfer and declaration of previous transfers, non-circumvention, the list of “important” precursors, and conditions for entry into force.

6. In our view the convention would completely preclude stockpiling of Chemical Weapons, regardless of any reservations to the Geneva protocol. The backstopping committee will study whether or not the US should propose a specific restriction on use in order to make this point completely clear. Depending on the conclusions of the study, further guidance may be provided.

7. Ref C reports Soviet view that question of a role for CD in CW should be taken up during USUSSR bilateral negotiations. The Delegation should seek to delay this discussion until guidance concerning CD Delegation suggestion of technical working group on toxicity [Page 217] measurement is received. The Delegation should continue to oppose the creation of CW negotiating working group as premature before a USUSSR joint initiative has been formulated and presented (Ref D). Should the Soviets propose a joint initiative to get the CD involved now in negotiating the text of a CW convention, the Delegation should oppose it. (Because a comprehensive CW prohibition is so complex, and its parts so closely interwoven, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate individual key elements separately. The interrelationship is apparent in the US position summary. We think it would facilitate consensus on a multilateral convention if a common approach were developed by the two states with the largest Chemical Weapons stocks before the CD takes up its work. The USUSSR joint statements to the CCD (CCD/PV. 788, 9 May 1978, and CCD/PV. 802, 22 August 19788 also refer to the complexity of CW issues.) The Delegation should not discuss such a Soviet suggestion in detail, but rather report and seek further guidance.

8. The Delegation should cable verbatim translation of the Soviet position summary as soon as it is available.

9. The Delegation should continue to brief allied representatives in Geneva during the course of the negotiations. In addition an offer should be made to hold consultations with the UK, FRG and France at the end of the round.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790077–0233. Confidential; Priority. Sent for information to Moscow, London, Bonn, Paris, and USNATO. Drafted by Robert Mikulak (ACDA/MA/AT); Robert Strand (ACDA/MA/IR), Roger Booth (ACDA/MA/AT), (Merle MacDonald (OSD), Harry Goodall (JCS), [name not declassified] (CIA/OSR), Les Denend (NSC), David Carlson (PM/DCA), Michael Matheson (L/PM), and [name not declassified] (CIA); and approved by Lawrence Finch (ACDA/MA).
  2. See Document 90.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 88.
  4. In telegram 2511, February 14, the Mission in Geneva informed the Department of State that after “canvassing allied and a few key non-aligned delegations” to the UN Committee on Disarmament, it had concluded that chemical weapons “is the most logical—if not the only—one suitable for active consideration” in the UN since chemical weapons “affected all countries having a chemical industry.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790070–1085)
  5. Telegram 20148 to the Mission in Geneva, January 25, included general instructions of the UN’s Committee on Disarmament. Regarding chemical weapons, the Department told the Delegation that it expected “the US and USSR to be subjected to considerable pressure and criticism on the chemical weapons issue,” in particular a proposal by “the nonaligned and some US allies to establish a CW negotiating work group.” The Delegation, the Department said, “should continue to oppose the creation of such a group as premature before a USUSSR joint initiative has been formulated and presented.” The joint initiative, the Delegation should stress, “will ban a complete spectrum of weapons which have been used in the past.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790038–0326)
  6. Not found.
  7. Not found.
  8. The first statement is available as “Joint Statement by the United States and the Soviet Union to the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament: Negotiations on a Chemical Weapons Ban,” May 9, 1978 and the second statement is available as “Statement by the U.S. Representative (Fisher) to the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament: Chemical Weapons Ban,” August 25, 1978, in Documents on Disarmament, 1978, pp. 284–285, 543–544.