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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 11, 1977

TELEGRAM FROM ROMANIAN EMBASSY IN VIENNA TO DEPUTY MINISTER VASILE GLIGA AND CORNEL MIHULECEA, 'REGARDING: THE NEW WORKING PRINCIPLES REGARDING THE IAEA’S TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM'

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    The IAEA committee for technical assistance discusses new principles and rules regarding the agency’s assistance to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
    "Telegram from Romanian Embassy in Vienna to Deputy Minister Vasile Gliga and Cornel Mihulecea, 'Regarding: the new working principles regarding the IAEA’s technical assistance program'," December 11, 1977, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Folder 3882/1977. Translated by Eliza Gheorghe. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134930
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Telegram 083290

From Romanian Embassy in Vienna

To comrades Vasile Gliga & Cornel Mihulecea

Date: December 11, 1977

Classification: Secret

Regarding: the new working principles regarding the IAEA’s technical assistance program

At the recent meeting, the IAEA committee for technical assistance began examining, based on the proposals forwarded by the organization’s secretariat with the participation of an experts’ group, the new principles and rules regarding the agency’s assistance to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

From the start, the US, USSR, and other developed states with strong nuclear industries tried to make things strictly technical and extend the process of formulating new technical assistance principles.

Also, they sought to use the talks to promote their own nonproliferation policies and strengthen the safeguards program through the technical assistance offered by the IAEA.

The Romanian delegation focused the debates on fundamental issues, related to the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the IAEA’s technical assistance program, so that adopting new principles lead to qualitative and quantitative improvements in the agency’s activity.

Other developing countries’ delegations acted along similar lines, especially the ones who have nuclear programs (such as Brazil, Pakistan, etc.)

Using ideas from comrade Ceausescu’s message from the Jubilee session of the General Conference of the IAEA, the Romanian delegation introduced more amendments, meant to bring a new political content to the set of principles that govern the technical assistance program, in line with the needs and interests of developing countries.

Therefore, our delegation proposed some ideas regarding: assuring all countries’ free access to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy; each country should develop research programs, producing and using atomic energy for peaceful purposes; promoting cooperation in this respect; facilitating each country’s access to technology, equipment, and nuclear material for peaceful purposes; carrying out IAEA’s technical assistance activities while respecting states’ sovereignty.

Delegations from other countries, especially from developing countries like Mexico, Argentina, India, and Egypt, have introduced dozens of amendments.

Since several developed countries (the US, the FRG, France, Italy) showed that they are not able to approve changes to the secretariat’s proposal because they lacked a mandate from their leaderships, so it was agreed that the committee’s discussions should be semi-official.

All Romanian amendments as well as other proposals were semi-officially examined by the committee, therefore getting the preliminary approval of the participating delegations.

The Soviet delegation tried to introduce an amendment giving preferential treatment in IAEA’s technical assistance program to the states that signed (and ratified) the Nonproliferation Treaty, which lead to a hesitant reaction from Brazil, Argentina, India, Egypt, the USSR’s representative having to withdraw his proposal.

More so, India’s delegation tried to distinguish between producing nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices for peaceful purposes, the Indian attempt being clearly rejected by the US, the USSR, Canada, Australia, and other states.

It was unanimously decided that the President of the Board of Governors  (Malaysia) should unofficially consult the missions from interested states in order to reach a consensus on a draft and present it to the Board’s meeting in February 1978. We are in touch with the Board’s President, other states’ representatives, and the competent members of the IAEA’s secretariat, in order to make sure that our country’s position is reflected clearly.

Gh. Florescu