87 Cablegram from Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Washington, 14 April 1967

1489. Secret

Non-Proliferation

In a very useful discussion today, Kranich1 (ACDA) told Booker that the U.S. was still having consultations and had 'gone a long way' in its discussions with its European allies, but that there were still basic concerns (on the part of the FRG2 and Italy) that could only be ironed out over a period of time.

  1. The basic concern of the FRG (hidden under a lot of technical and general difficulties) was that, both within and without the government, there were those who questioned the wisdom of the FRG settling its nuclear status in a non-proliferation context. These people felt that West Germany's nuclear status should be settled in the context of a European settlement. They felt that it was a strategic blunder for the FRG to weaken its bargaining power for a European settlement by renouncing nuclear weapons at this stage. These critics realised that a federated Europe could succeed to the nuclear status of one of its members, but they felt that this was a distant prospect.
  2. The FRG however, was consulting closely with the U.S. because it appreciated that it had little option but to sign a non-proliferation treaty if a majority of the nations in the world supported such a treaty. The FRG realised that the Russians would make them the villains of the piece if the treaty were blocked and that this would hinder a détente. The U.S. too could have 'domestic problems' in the continuation of nuclear fuel supplies to the FRG if there were no non-proliferation treaty. In realising that there would be tremendous pressures to sign, the FRG wanted to exact as much as it could as its price.
  3. The question was raised with Kranich as to the reactions of Asian countries (i.e. India and Japan) to the signing of a non-proliferation treaty. He said that the U.S. had put passages in the preamble (e.g. reference to non-discrimination in peaceful uses, need for wider disarmament etc.) in order to make the treaty more acceptable to non-nuclears. It was clear of course that there would be a basic imbalance between nuclear and non-nuclear powers in the military implications of the treaty, but this was just 'the nature of the beast'.

[matter omitted]

  1. The question of security assurances for India and Japan was raised. Kranich agreed that the German issue etc. was rather remote for India and Japan. He said that the problem of Communist China was the crux for Asia. The U.S. had tried to answer difficulties on this account in two ways. Firstly, the countries could accept a non-proliferation treaty for the prospect of joint security assurances by the U.S. and USSR. If there were a non-proliferation agreement, the prospect of getting joint security guarantees was much greater. A nonproliferation treaty would be a step towards d├ętente. There would then be a prospect of moving to joint guarantees. The U.S. had been willing to give India a far-reaching security guarantee, but it would not accept. India wanted a joint guarantee from the U.S. and USSR, so that it could retain its neutral status. The second U.S. approach was that, if non-nuclears went nuclear, they would not threaten the great nuclear powers such as the U.S. and USSR (which had such a head start in nuclear weaponry). At a very high economic cost, they would only threaten one another.
  2. Kranich said that the U.S. had recently received indications from the Indians that they had raised the question of joint security guarantees with the Russians and that they believed they detected some change in the Soviet position. A year ago, the USSR would not talk about security guarantees but a lot of (Chinese) water had flowed under the bridge since then. The Indians were hopeful that they could make some progress with the USSR. The U.S. encouraged them to keep trying with the Russians. The Indians wanted something more meaningful than a U.N. resolution on security. The USSR had indicated that a U.N. resolution might perhaps be appropriate, but it might perhaps be seriously considering the possibility of separate declarations on a security guarantee by the two major nuclear powers. (Kranich also mentioned in this context that it was important to distinguish between India and Japan. The U.S. had a close understanding with Japan, whose fundamental security rested on the U.S.)

[NAA: A1838, 719/10/6 part 1]