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December 8, 1986

Proposal on the Expiration of the Unilaterial Soviet Moratorium on Nuclear Testing

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation


Secret Copy Nº 5K



Nº P45/18

14 December 1986]



Identification Number


23 December 1986]


[to the] CPSU CC


The unilateral Soviet moratorium on any nuclear detonations expires on 1 January 1987.


In spite of the US refusal to join our unilateral action the moratorium has had great importance in political terms.


At the same time, in conditions where the United States extensively continues its own nuclear tests (23 during our moratorium) a further abstention from nuclear testing by the Soviet Union might cause harm to our security. There would also be certain political costs.


Hence there arises the need for us to resume tests. However, in this case, based on political considerations, testing in 1987 will be planned such that their number will approximately correspond to the level of the tests which we conducted in the period before announcement of the moratorium. This would allow us to retain the positive foreign policy result obtained by the Soviet Union from its unilateral action.


We propose to announce the decision about our resumption of nuclear tests in a special Soviet government statement which, in our opinion, ought to be published in the middle of December 1986.


In order to exert further pressure on the US we think it advisable to declare the following in this statement along with a political assessment of the significance of our unilateral moratorium and criticism of the unconstructive position of the United States.


First, the USSR will resume nuclear tests only after the first American test explosion in 1987.


Second, the USSR will be ready to return to the moratorium at any time if the US announces a decision to halt its nuclear tests.


It is also necessary to stress in the statement the readiness of the Soviet Union to immediately begin full-scale negotiations about a prohibition of nuclear tests, in the process of which this problem might be solved in stages.


Taking into account that in the Western mass media the fullest information and analysis of the most important world events is, as a rule, given at the end of the week, we consider it advisable to broadcast the statement via radio and television on 11 or 18 December, publishing it in the press the next day.


We think it useful to inform the friends, the "Delhi Six,"[1] the Non-Aligned Movement (through its chairman, R. Mugabe), the UN Secretary General, and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency beforehand about the decision which has been made, and to also inform the other nuclear powers of this.


A draft resolution is attached.


We request [you] examine [it].


[signed] L. ZAYKOV


[signed] S. SOKOLOV

[signed] A. DOBRYNIN

[signed] YU. MAKSIMOV

[signed] L. RYABOV


8 December 1986




[1]Participants in the 1985 six nation summit on nuclear disarmament held in New Delhi: Argentina, Greece, India, Mexico, Tanzania, and Sweden.

Proposal to resume Soviet nuclear testing following the expiration of the USSR's unilateral moratorium on nuclear detonations on 1 January 1987. The US government continued nuclear testing throughout 1986 and did not join the Soviet moratorium. Proposes to announce the resumption of testing in December 1986 following the first American test explosion in 1987.

Document Information


TsKhSD F. 89, Op. 18, D. 109. Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg.


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Leon Levy Foundation