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May 14, 1985

Memorandum No 294/85 from Ambassador Saracho to the Secretary of State Jorge Sábato, 'Cooperation with Brazil on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy'

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)


Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship           Very Urgent

Memorandum No 294/85

For the information of: Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Worship

Produced by: General Directory for Nuclear and Disarmament Affairs     

Buenos Aires, May 14th 1985

Topic: cooperation with Brazil on peaceful uses of nuclear energy

I) With regard to the meeting between the Chancellors of Argentina, D. Danto Caputo and of Brazil D. Olavo E. Setubal, on the 20th and 21st of this month, this Directorate-General considers that the most important aspect to be addressed regarding cooperation for the application of peaceful uses of nuclear energy is the possibility of implementing a mutual guarantee regime for the exclusively peaceful use of nuclear material, equipment and facilities in both countries.

This idea corresponds to a 1984 political decision of Argentine initiative. Once the concerned governmental areas were consulted, the first unofficial contacts with official from the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were made, who expressed interest in the project. However, Brazil has not issued a final decision on the matter up to the moment.

That is why we should take the opportunity provided by the Brazilian Chancellor’s visit to understand their current position on the matter.

II) This eventual agreement with Brazil aims at:

a) Assuring both parties that neither is developing nuclear explosives.

b) Assuring both parties that industrial secrets developed or acquired by each country under certain conditions shall be protected as much as possible and that control mechanisms shall not inhibit technological and industrial developments for peaceful purposes.

c) Favoring a more integrated development of Argentine and Brazilian nuclear industries, with the purpose of gaining space in the Latin American market.

III) The purposes of this initiative are the following:

a) Effectively avoiding a nuclear arms race between Argentina and Brazil;

b) Eventually opening the system to other countries of the region;

c) Creating the foundation to support a system that can be used as model to the Treaty of Tlatelolco area;

d) To favor a more integrated development of both countries’ nuclear industries.


IV) While the ad hoc agreement, aforementioned on number II, is elaborated, the proposed system can be provisionally based on existing cooperation agreements. The suggestion is to propose to Brazil the adoption of the following measures:

a) A Joint Declaration on the exclusively peaceful purpose of the parties’ nuclear programs.

b) On the text, or on an annex to it, the establishment of periodic meetings to discuss both parties’ nuclear activities, within existing cooperation agreement, with a double purpose:

i. the exchange of information about relevant nuclear facilities, their purpose, etc.;

ii. Periodical analysis of the possibilities for cooperation.

c) A commitment to keep mutually informed about new facilities and significant modifications in existing ones, which is usually adopted.

V) Finally, the countries would declare that for negotiation purposes, the parties shall take into consideration that a system of this kind should not follow the current safeguard model applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency, because:

1) it would entail reciprocal information on designs and other technological information of significant economic value, which goes against the protection of trade secrets.

2) it would represent high costs by including routine and periodic inspections as well as containment and vigilance measures over materials, facilities and equipment that by themselves are no useful in manufacturing nuclear weapons. These costs are not adequately compensated by efficacy.

Adolfo Saracho

General Director for Nuclear and Disarmament Affairs


The memo produced by the General Directory of Nuclear and Disarmament Issues of the Argentine Foreign Ministry presents a strategy in regard to Brazil in the nuclear area, considering the meetings between Dante Caputo and Olavo Setúbal between 20 and 21 May 1985 in Buenos Aires. Argentina presented the regime of mutual inspections as the most important aspect.


Document Information


AMRECIC. Critical Oral History Conference on the Argentine-Brazilian Nuclear Cooperation, Rio de Janeiro, March 2012.


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