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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November, 1948

DRAFT DIRECTIVE ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A QUOTA SYSTEM FOR ATOMIC PRODUCTION

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    A directive for the Soviet delegation, providing instructions and guidelines on handling a proposed quota system for atomic production. The Soviet position is that the quota is not useful unless a prohibition of atomic weapons occurs, in contrast to the Anglo-American opinion.
    "Draft Directive on the Establishment of a Quota System for Atomic Production," November, 1948, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 111, ll. 0009-0010. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/209740
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DRAFT DIRECTIVE

The Soviet delegation needs to be guided by the following on the question of the establishment of a quota system of atomic production:

1. The Soviet delegation should not refuse to discuss the question of a quota for mining atomic minerals [syr’ye] and the production of atomic energy. However, the Soviet delegation should bear in mind that agreement to a discussion of this question does not mean that the Soviet Union thereby already agrees to the establishment of quotas for individual countries in the field of atomic production. For ourselves, we should proceed from the fact that at this stage the question of quotas might be raised only in the form of a preliminary, so-called exploratory [issledovatel’skoe], discussion of this problem, in the process of which the Soviet delegation should strive to clarify the position of the other powers and in the process show that quotas by no means remove the main question, the question of the prohibition of atomic weapons.

2. Until a prohibition of atomic weapons the establishment of quotas in the field of atomic production makes no sense at all, since a quota system does not touch on the question of the use of atomic energy for military purposes. Therefore when taking part in a discussion about quotas the Soviet delegation should not agree that the main question, namely the question of the prohibition of atomic weapons, be replaced by the question of establishing quotas in the field of atomic production before the conclusion of a convention on the prohibition of atomic weapons. Moreover, the establishment of quotas provides an opportunity to demand the institution of an international control body, which would give the Anglo-Americans an opportunity to make a case for [pretendovat’] the establishment of control in atomic matters with respect to the USSR, but this provides nothing vital to the Soviet Union inasmuch as this monitoring body [Translator’s note: inserted by hand: in the absence of a prohibition of atomic weapons and the Anglo-Americans have a large quantity of atomic bombs] will certainly be turned into a tool of the Anglo-Americans against the USSR.

3. It is a mistake to think that the establishment of quotas for individual countries in atomic production is something constructive from the point of view of the USSR, or that this proposal might serve for us as some means of fighting the Anglo-American plan of setting up an international control body with respect to atomic minerals and atomic production with proprietary rights.

This is incorrect, firstly, because the adoption of a proposal about a quota system does not remove the question of the institution of an international body with the indicated proprietary rights, and therefore does not achieve the goal as a means of fighting against the institution of such a body.

This is incorrect, secondly, because the adoption of a proposal about quota system before a prohibition of atomic weapons by no means binds the Anglo-Americans in the use of atomic energy for aggressive military purposes and only serves [inserted by hand: as a means] of distracting peoples’ attention from the main task, the prohibition of atomic weapons as a weapon of aggression, which was the main goal [inserted by hand: of the policy] of the USSR and all peace-loving peoples.

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