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April 12, 1968

Memorandum, Permanent Mission of Hungary to the U.N. to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

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

Today I had conversations with Soviet Mission Secretary Stashevsky, Yugoslav Secretary Pavicevic and Romanian Secretary Nicu on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. During these conversations, the following standpoints were expressed:

The Romanian standpoint may be summarized as follows: the treaty is desirable but in need of further improvements [emphasis in the original]. If we regard the text to be submitted to the General Assembly as final, what is the point of discussing it in the General Assembly? It is absolutely certain that India will not sign the treaty. Consequently, Pakistan will not join, either, and Japan, in all probability, will make its own decision dependent on India's. If we also add that Israel and the Arab countries, distrusting each other, will not join the treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty will not be of full value.

In the Yugoslav opinion, the treaty is necessary and they do support it, but the non-aligned countries are making numerous and well-founded objections to it [emphasis in the original]. Against these it is difficult for Yugoslavia to support the current draft [emphasis in the original]. Many [countries] object to the fact that the Soviet Union, bearing in mind the West German threat – in which the African and Asian states are not interested, has made too many concessions to the United States (the question of the atomic weapons stationed at American bases, and other issues). Others, such as India, regard the S[ecurity] C[ouncil] procedure on guarantees as worthless [emphasis in the original]. They do have a point there, because it cannot be expected that the three participating nuclear powers of the SC will adopt a common standpoint if any of their allied states faces nuclear attack or a threat of it. They understand the Soviets' haste [emphasis in the original], because after the elections, the United States will hardly be as interested in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as it is now, and the majority of the so-called “near-nuclear” states are Western countries.

In the Soviet opinion, the United States is still strongly interested [emphasis in the original] in signing the treaty, because it intends to create, as soon as possible, such conditions under which the United States will not have to be afraid of being drawn into a nuclear conflict. In addition, Johnson wants to occupy a place in history by signing the treaty. The treaty must be signed right after the spring session of the General Assembly, because any delay might become dangerous. For this reason, the Soviet Union is opposed to any further modifications on a matter of principle [emphasis in the original].

The treaty is directed against the FRG [emphasis in the original], and even if we suppose, just for the sake of debate, that India or Pakistan or another neutral country might manage to obtain nuclear weapons, this would not cause any serious international tension. In contrast, the FRG's nuclear weapons would definitely evoke the danger of World War III. A lot of additional issues related to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which ought to be discussed, might be raised later, but these should not be discussed at the spring session. There is no [Soviet] objection to the subsequent signing of separate agreements or protocols on peaceful utilization [of atomic energy], underground tests or other issues. Some of these issues might be discussed at the conference to be held in Geneva in August, but, as the General Assembly resolution on the subject also indicates, the [conference's] task is not to negotiate about the treaty itself but to discuss those related questions in which the non-nuclear powers are interested and to put the treaty into practice.

The overwhelming majority of the small countries have no conflicts of interest with what the treaty comprises. The members of the two military alliances are protected by the alliances in the form of the nuclear umbrella, and the issue of guarantees is raised only in the neutral countries, but even there, as the example of India demonstrates, this appears to be more a political problem – that is, a problem of domestic politics – than a military one. For this reason, [the Soviets] hope that Yugoslavia will not adopt a neutral standpoint during the debate over the treaty but rather assist them in persuading the non-aligned countries.

It is their impression that due to American pressure, Israel will sign the treaty, which will also render it possible to [persuade] the Arab countries to join.

Other issues of discussion:

Concerning the organization of the General Assembly, it seems that the questions of South West Africa and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will be discussed by the plenum and the 1st Committee, respectively. Certain non-aligned countries suggest that one of these should hold its sessions in the mornings, where the other in the afternoons. The date of the SC debate on the guarantees to be provided by the Security Council has not been specified yet.

It is said that certain African countries create a linkage between the two questions to be discussed in the General Assembly by [declaring] that they will not support the Non-Proliferation Treaty unless the Great Powers support their ideas with regard to the South West African question. It also belong to this issue that some of the latter intend to present such an argument that if South Africa does not join the treaty, the African countries, in defense of their security, should also keep away from it.

Endre Zádor

Memorandum of conversations between Hungarian delegate to the UN with Soviet, Yugoslav and Romanian counterparts on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Document Information


Hungarian National Archives (Magyar Országos Levéltár, MOL). XIX-J-1-j Multilateral international treaties, 1968, 107. doboz, 00617/26/1968. Obtained and translated for NPIHP by Balazs Szalontai.


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