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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 13, 1985

MEMORANDUM FROM THE ARGENTINE GENERAL DIRECTORATE FOR NUCLEAR AFFAIRS AND DISARMAMENT, 'COOPERATION WITH BRAZIL IN THE FELD OF PEACEFUL USES OF NUCLEAR ENERGY'

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    This memo from the Argentine General Directorate of Nuclear Affairs and Disarmament to the South America Directorate proposes a joint Argentine-Brazilian declaration on the peaceful use of nuclear weapons. Rejecting the establishment of IAEA safeguards, the memo instead suggests a "mutual guarantee mechanism" based on cooperation and inspections on a case by case basis.
    "Memorandum from the Argentine General Directorate for Nuclear Affairs and Disarmament, 'Cooperation with Brazil in the Feld of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy'" May 13, 1985, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, CPDOC Archives, Rubens Barbosa collection. Obtained and translated by Fundação Getúlio Vargas. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117518
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MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS AND CULT[URE]

MEMORANDUM NO. 279

For the information of: South America Directorate

Produced by: General Directorate for Nuclear Affairs and Disarmament

Buenos Aires, May 13 1985

Subject: COOPERATION WITH BRAZIL IN THE FIELD OF PEACEFUL USES OF NUCLEAR ENERGY  

I) With regard to the interview between the Foreign Ministers of the Argentine Republic, Dante Caputo, and of Brazil, Olavo E. Setúbal, scheduled for the 20th and 20th of this month, this General Directorate considers that the most important aspect to be addressed on cooperation in the application of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy during the meeting is the possibility of implementation of a mutual guarantees regime about the exclusively peaceful utilization of materials, equipment and nuclear facilities in both countries.

II) A system of this kind should not follow the existing model of safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency, because:

        1) it would entail mutual release of information on design and other relevant technological data of important economic value, which works against the protection of industrial secrets;

        2)  it would represent a high cost by including regular and periodic inspections as well as containment and vigilance over materials, facilities and equipment that by themselves are not useful for the production of nuclear weapons. These costs are not adequately compensated by efficacy.  

III)  Instead of a safeguards system of the IAEA kind, the proposed system could be part of the cooperation agreements in force, contemplating the following aspects:

         1. A Joint Declaration about the exclusively peaceful character of the nuclear programs of the parties.

         2. Periodic meetings for the disclosure of nuclear activities of the parties within the framework of the existing Cooperation Agreement, with a double objective:

                 a) exchange of information on relevant nuclear facilities, their purpose, etc.;

                 b) to make an updated analysis of the possibilities for cooperation.

         3. A commitment to keep mutually informed about new facilities and significant changes in existing ones.

         4. Possibility of visits to the facilities of the other party, subject to previous agreement on the conditions on a case by case basis, with the aim of complying with the objective of this agreement and at the same time protecting the technological development of the parties, having in mind the characteristics of the facility concerned.

         5. This proposal would be implemented through an Additional Protocol to the framework agreement on cooperation in the application of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in force with Brazil.

IV) This idea corresponds to an Argentine initiative based on a political decision adopted in 1984. Once the concerned areas of the State were consulted, the first unofficial contacts with authorities of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry were started. Those authorities expressed interest in the project.

V) The aspiration is to craft, through an eventual agreement with Brazil, a mutual guarantee mechanism, capable of countering arguments about a supposed nuclear arms race between Brazil and Argentina.

VI) The Brazilian side expressed interest in the Argentine proposal but up to the moment has not given a concrete answer. The General Directorate considers convenient to take advantage of the visit by the Brazilian Minister of External Relations to continue conversations on this issue.