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September 19, 1979

Memoraundum, Minister Saraiva Guerreiro, Information for the President, ''Nuclear Cooperation. Brazil-Iraq'

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






Date: September 19 1979

Subject: Nuclear cooperation



By Information no. 57 (item 01 of my 16th working meeting with Your Excellency, last  May 10), I conveyed to you a document jointly signed by myself, the Minister of Mines and Energy and the Secretary-General of the National Security Council, suggesting guidelines to be followed at conversations to take place with Iraq on nuclear cooperation, on the occasion of the visit to Brazil of the Vice-President of that country. You approved the suggested guidelines, which essentially consisted of:

a) we should be receptive to the Iraqi suggestion;

b) we would avoid, however, fo formalize a governmental agreement, without prejudice to our willingness to begin, in the near future, a concrete cooperation program;

c) we would avoid commitments in “sensitive” areas covered by the Brazil-RFA Agreement;

d) in case Iraq brings forth the issue of future uranium supply, we would not close the door to that possibility.

2.             As reported in Information no. 081, of May 16, the conversations with Iraq during Vice-President Marouf were good. Our interlocutors understood the Brazilian position and accepted our suggestion that the matter be taken up on the occasion of the meeting of the Joint Bilateral Commission. It was decided that the Brazilian delegation would be composed of representatives of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, NUCLEBRÁS and CNEN (besides Itamaraty) for further contacts aiming at defining specific forms of cooperation with a view to a prompt start of an exchange on the matter, while not yet with the signature of a Governmental agreement. A short document entitled “Minutes of the Brazil-Iraq meeting on cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy” was drafted to record that understanding.

3.            As decided by Your Excellency, it was agreed to send to Baghdad a delegation formed by Ambassador Paulo Nogueira Batista and representatives of Itamaraty, Ministry of Mines and Energy, National Security Council and Petrobrás to continue conversations on the nuclear field in parallel with the meeting of the Joint Bilateral Commission.

4.                 This Delegation – as we are making perfectly clear to the Iraqi side – would be completely independent from the Delegation to the meeting of the Joint Commission, which would be headed by Minister Camilo Pena, who was apprised of this by myself. It will be a Delegation specificaly accredited for understandings in the  nuclear field, which while taking place simultaneously with the meetings of the Joint Commission, will have absolutely no links with it.

5                   As a result of the understandings I had on May 17 last with Ministers Danilo Venturini and Otávio Medeiros, and based on contacts with Ambassador Paulo Nogueira Batista, I believe I can summarize in the following points my proposed guidelines for the Delegation:

                    a) to show receptivity to bilateral nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes;

                    b) To make clear our willingness to start promptly concrete, practical and effective  cooperation, within our possibilities and according to the needs and the chronogram of development of nuclear activities in Iraq;

                   c) to seek, including in order to mark the seriousness of the Brazilian readiness, to give a sense of program to the bilateral cooperation, so as to make clear at the outset that we are effectively ready to engage in this endeavor with a clear idea of the path to follow, the objectives to pursue and the procedures to be followed;

                     d) to make clear that this cooperation must be unrestricted, by appropriately disseminating to public opinion the realization of conversations in Baghdad and the substance of what is agreed therein; in this spirit, we would say that we intend to publish all agreed documents; it would be explained with loyalty and frankness, if necessary, that we will act in this way to avoid negative inferences and suspicions regarding bilateral cooperation and the programs of each country in the nuclear field;

                      e) to say in advance, also, that future documents containing commitments of a wider scope for the Brazilian Government as such might have to be submitted to the Legislative Power for approval; this would coccur especially in issues that require  safeguards;

                     f) to clarify that, in accordance with the obligations to which we are committed vis-à-vis the IAEA and bilateral agreements, and following our own general policy of external cooperation in this field, we shall ask for the relevant IAEA safeguards at the level of international practice by exporting countries whenever bilateral cooperation comes to involve material or equipment deemed to need safeguards;

                     g) to seek to obtain, according to Brazilian laws and practice, specific compensation for the cooperation provided by us; such compensation would take the form of supply by Brazil of equipment and components, which could also be of mutual interest;

                    h) in this round of conversations, the documents that may be agreed would be signed, preferably, at the level of NUCLEBRÁS and CNEN,while making clear the support of the Brazilian Government for their implementation; in case it becomes convenient, in case of an eventual show of high interest by the Iraqi side, we could even admit that such documents be initialed by the Head of the Delegation. In any case, it would be clear that it is only a question of initialing working documents which, once accepted by both Governments, would be formalized by exchange of diplomatic Notes.

6.                 The Delegation shall have in mind that it is impossible for us, at this stage of implementation of the Brazil-RFA Agreement, to enter into commitments regarding technology transfer, especially in the sensitive areas of the nuclear fuel cycle, such as enrichment and reprocessing. In these areas we cannot even envisage supplying engineering services or even equipment, since we would depend from formal consultation with our Western German partner, whose international commitments (London Club) oblige it to take a restrictive attitude from now on regarding exports in this sector. The Delegation shall have in mind, moreover, the convenience of linking uranium exports to its elaboration by Brazil, preferably under the form of fuel.

7                  The Delegation shall also have in mind, in the conversations, the global picture of the relations between Brazil and Iraq, in particular in the field of oil.

8.                  As for the documents that the Brazilian side may propose, these could be:

                        a) a convention between CNEN and the equivalent Iraqi entity for the formation of human resources; the convention could be implemented immediately, through an offer, right away, of a number of scholarhips and interships to Iraqi technicians and  scientists;

                       b) a document entitled “General lines of cooperation”, or an equivalent title to be agreed, that would list the areas for technical-industrial cooperation; technical assistance for prospection and mining of uranium ores, supply of conversion, enrichment and  manufacturing fuel services; supply of fuel  (including uranium concentrate already enriched; and supply of project engineering, assembling, construction and commissioning; this document would envisage additional understandings to be arrived at later, including with  regard to safeguards.

9.               If advisable by the circumstances of the negotiation, NUCLEBRÁS could go somewhat further and agree to documents with a more specific content, in which, besides what is described above, the subsequent negotiation of commercial contracts could be envisaged. In all cases a timetable would be set with the Iraqi side for the measures and actions needed to make the cooperation effective, which would necessarily reflect the width, depth and rhythm to be convened.

10.                A program of industrial cooperation, by its own nature, shall be developed according to longer delays, from 10 to 15 years, and would therefore run in parallel with the contracts of BRASPETRO/PETROBRÁS.

11.                    I submit to Your Excellency the composition of the Delegation:

Head: Ambassador Paulo Nogueira Batista;

Counsellor Roberto Abdenur, Assistant to the Minister of External Relations;

Dr. Dário Gomes, Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Energy;

Lt.Col. Glicério Proença Júnior, form the General Secretariat of the National Security Council;

Dr. John Albuquerque Forman, Director of NUCLEBRÁS; and

Dr. Hélcio Modesto da Costa, Head of the Planning and Coordination Department of the National Nuclear Energy Commission.

12.                   Accprdingly, I enclose a draft decree for the designation of the Delegation.


(Signed) Ramiro Saraiva Guerreiro

                Minister of State of External Relations



In a memo to President Figueiredo, Minister Saraiva Guerreiro advises that Brazil should demonstrate receptivity to Iraq’s proposal but avoid a formal commitment, especially in “sensitive” areas that relate to the Germany-Brazil Agreement. Supply of uranium should be admitted as a possibility if mentioned by the Iraqis. The document emphasizes that the cooperation should be made public and become subject to all international safeguard agreements and regimes.

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Obtained and translated by Fundação Getúlio Vargas.


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