Brezhnev and Ceausescu discuss draft versions of a nuclear nonproliferation treaty, arguing about the language used in the deal. They also discuss the creation of an intergovernmental conference of European countries and agree that they should meet more often in the future.
March 17, 1967
Record of Conversations between L. I. Brezhnev and N. Ceausescu, 17 March 1967
This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation
Sent to Cde. K. U. Chernenko for distribution to the Politburo and Secretariat (+ the MFA and KGB)
RECORD OF CONVERSATIONS IN THE CPSU CC
with N. CEAUSESCU and I. G. MAURER*
* Cdes. L. I. Brezhnev and A. N. Kosygin did not look over the record.
[The following] took part in the conversations: from the Soviet side – Cdes. L. I. Brezhnev, A. N. Kosygin, Yu. V. Andropov, and A. A. Gromyko, and from the Romanian side – Cdes. N. Ceausescu, I. G. Maurer, and P. Niculescu-Mizil.
First conversation – 17 March 1967
L. I. BREZHNEV. Cde. Ceausescu, Cde. Maurer, comrades, at the start of the comradely conversation allow [me] to pass you greetings from our comrades, CPSU CC Politburo members, and CC Secretaries. Allow [me] again to greet you in connection with your arrival and express the hope and confidence that our meeting will be a useful step on the path to the development of our relations, our contacts, and our cooperation.
As regards the procedure of work we have arranged about this in advance. If you have no changes then the procedure remains agreed for today and tomorrow. According to established tradition our guests, our friends, have the floor.
N. CEAUSESCU I would like to first of all pass to Cdes. Brezhnev, Kosygin, and the entire leadership of your Party a cordial greeting in the name of the Presidium and Executive Committee of our CC and to express confidence that our conversation will promote a greater mutual understanding, and will also promote the development of relation between our Parties and our governments.
L. I. BREZHNEV. Thank you.
N. CEAUSESCU. Before presenting some questions I would like to stipulate what we will talk about here during our meeting, about what questions. We have two questions: the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and a second, the convening of the Communist Parties of Europe concerning the problems of European security. It is about these very questions we would like to exchange opinions.
L. I. BREZHNEV Perhaps in the preliminary discussion with you on the telephone we spoke only about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, but this does not of course exclude other questions. For our part, we have not worked out a special agenda for our meeting. When I informed the Politburo about our discussion with you the comrades agreed that other questions which you might raise were not excluded. We accept your suggestion. Go ahead.
N. CEAUSESCU. I will begin with a presentation of some ideas of the leadership of our Party in connection with the draft treaty about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons which we have received. From the very beginning I would like to stress that in presenting our ides we proceed from the position that good relations exist between our Parties and that it is necessary in the spirit of sincerity and comradeship to discuss all problems in order to ensure better cooperation between our Parties and peoples. We are doing this guided by feelings of respect for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet government. When any ideas about important question arise among us we consider it necessary to present them directly from leadership to leadership. This creates an opportunity to better perceive and decide questions, and at the same time to strengthen relations between our Parties.
We have carefully analyzed the draft treaty which Cde. Soldatov handed to us.
First of all I want to stress that the leadership of our Party considers the conclusion of treaty about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons an important and very urgent matter, a matter of great significance. By the way, we have already presented our opinion on this question several times. In this regard we have also analyzed the draft treaty which was sent to us. Considering that it would be good and useful for steps to be taken for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the future, we would like to present some views with respect to the draft of this treaty.
In the opinion of the leadership of our Party steps for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons need to be tied more to overall steps on disarmament so as not to allow the further manufacture of nuclear weapons, and then to also approach the complete elimination of the existing stocks of such weapons. When analyzing the draft presented to us we unfortunately were not able to see a concern about this main question, which has so long been in the center of attention of the Communist and worker’s Parties, including the member countries of the Warsaw Pact.
Therefore we would consider it necessary to think a little about vigorous steps which need to be taken in the direction of halting the [production] of nuclear weapons and the subsequent destruction of the [equipment].
Why do we think this needs to be done? Because if a treaty is concluded without instructions for the adoption of such measures in the near future then this would give the Americans the opportunity to increase the stocks of atomic weapons, which would lead to a growth of the danger of an outbreak of a nuclear war. Historical experience shows that if the imperialist countries have the opportunity to accumulate the amount of weapons they need (and current nuclear weaponry is especially dangerous), they will accumulate strength that they will not take any treaties into account, and might unleash a war when it is to their advantage. You know better than we how this was in the recent past with Nazi Germany.
Therefore we think that some preliminary steps are necessary to ensure peace and the security of the socialist countries. It should be clearly indicated in the treaty that the steps about which I have already spoken will be taken in the near future.
A second question is connected with the draft of the non-proliferation treaty. In the current text of the treaty draft no guarantees are provided that the nuclear powers (speaking frankly as a Communist with Communists – I mean the American imperialists) – will not employ an atomic weapon against countries which do not have such weapons and will not use them as a means of blackmail or to even unleash a war.
As practice has shown, including recently, the American imperialists grossly interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, using their armed forces when doing so. It is sufficient [to mention] the war which they are waging in Vietnam and their activities in Latin America. I don’t want to engage in propaganda here, but it is well-known that the Americans grossly interfere in the affairs of other countries, use military force to exert pressure, and for blackmail. And if definite guarantees are provided in the text of the treaty then it will be harder for the US to resort to such blackmail, to threats of the use of nuclear weapons against other countries. If such a step is not taken then it would mean that we are consciously providing the American imperialists an opportunity to use nuclear blackmail for their political ends.
Of course, the inclusion of a provision about guarantees in the draft of the treaty does not solve the problem. Therefore I have stressed right away that steps are needed to avert an arms race and to eliminate atomic weapons. Still, the presence in the text of the treaty of a guarantee that nuclear weapons will not be employed against other countries which do not have them and commit themselves not to produce them will have both practical and great political importance.
This would mean that both the countries which do not have nuclear weapons accept treaty commitments, just like the countries which have them. This would mean an equality of the parties. In addition, the people who well know the policy of American imperialism and are concerned about it would have a guarantee that if the American imperialists violate their obligation then they should bear responsibility for this.
I should tell you that many countries, especially the developing countries, express great concern over the lack of guarantees in this treaty. We know that the Soviet Union has insisted on the inclusion of such guarantees and that the Americans have rejected them. This refusal of the Americans further strengthens our certainty that the US has some sort of ulterior motives. Therefore we think that it is necessary to do everything to enter in the draft that, as long as atomic weapons exist (and evidently this will still be a long time), they will not be used against countries which do not have such weapons.
A third question ensuing from an analysis of the treaty draft which we want to pose here relates to the question of the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. In the present treaty draft there are provisions which limit the ability of countries which do not have atomic weapons to conduct tests in the field of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
You know better than we what importance the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes has now, especially in the future. We think that the treaty should contain such points as to not to prevent non-nuclear countries from using atomic energy for peaceful purposes [or] continuing nuclear research so that all countries might use atomic energy for peaceful purposes. You know what rapid activity the American imperialists have developed to penetrate the industry of other countries to enslave them economically. To not take steps in order to give other countries the right to research in the field of the peaceful use of atomic energy; this means making it easier for the American imperialists to have the opportunity to freely interfere in the affairs of other countries, suppress, and slow down their scientific and technical development.
On the one hand, it is necessary to provide in the treaty draft such points which would not give American imperialism the ability to interpret them as the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. On the other hand, it is necessary to provide in the treaty such points which would not give American imperialism the opportunity to interpret them as the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
Another question which we think has very great importance is the question of monitoring the observance of the treaty. The treat draft does not provide a specific solution to this question. If we understood it correctly then it means to regulate it already after the treaty is signed. It seems to us that this is a very serious question, and it needs to be cleared up even before the signing of the treaty so that everything is clearly envisioned in advance. An opportunity cannot be given American imperialism to use the question of monitoring to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. We think that the lack of clear provisions about the nature of the monitoring causes concern. A legal question can be posed: why do the Americans not think it necessary to record in the treaty precise provisions of how monitoring is to be implemented? It is entirely understandable that it is hard to put one’s signature to a treaty where these provisions are omitted, that is, to essentially sign a blank check, hoping that the question of monitoring will be solved later. In addition, the treaty draft has several points which seem to be procedural [or] have a technical nature (the provisions about the procedure for changes to the treaty, the ability of withdrawal from the treaty, etc.). In essence, these points also have political and principled importance. If one takes them as they are provided right now then there is created from the very beginning a situation of inequality for the countries which do not have nuclear weapons.
I do not intend to make an analysis here of all the questions. But we think that they deserve attention because they might have great consequences for international life.
These are some considerations of principle, comrades, on which the leadership of our Party have dwelt and which we want to present to you, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
As is well-known, Romania does not have nuclear weapons. We think that the Soviet Union’s possession of such weapons serves the interest of the entire socialist camp and the cause of world peace. We do not plan to acquire our own nuclear weapons, but if we thought about it we have no economic capabilities for this all the same. Therefore one cannot suspect us of desiring to have a nuclear weapon. As regards the us of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes then such a question exists for us. We did some work already long ago, partly together with you and other socialist countries. Of course, it will be necessary to even further develop scientific research in this field in the future. Considering the great resources which are necessary to conduct this research it is clear that it needs to be conducted with the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries.
But, in presenting our considerations, we mean that not only the Soviet Union, which is a socialist country, possesses nuclear weapons, but also the imperialist countries, firstly the American imperialists, whose aggressive policy in recent years is increasingly expanding. With respect to them we consider it necessary for all the socialist countries, for the entire Communist and worker’s movement, to exhibit the greatest vigilance so that American imperialism does not subject the world to a new world war, this time a nuclear one.
It is also necessary to bear in mind that nuclear weapons are in the hands of two more countries which oppose this treaty at the present time. This means the People’s Republic of China and France. We think that if these two countries remain outside the framework of the treaty, then this will not help slow the nuclear arms race, but in addition will give the Americans an excuse to further accumulate its own [u sebya] nuclear weapons. It is clear that all this can only increase the threat of a new nuclear war.
These are our view regarding the treaty itself and those consequences which we think follow from this treaty in the form it is worded at the present time. We are speaking to the leadership of the CPSU about these views of ours based on a desire to find a way to improve the treaty so that it is in harmony with the task of limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and opens a way for a final elimination and prohibition of such weapons. Such a treaty could actually play a great role in international life.
We also think that, in resolving the question of the treaty, it ought to take into consideration the overall situation in the world arena and in the international Communist and worker’s movement. We are in a condition when American imperialism, without reckoning with the will of the people, continues to unleash a war in Vietnam, and not only does not seek a peace settlement but, as you know, reacts negatively to overtures about negotiations and increases the bombing in Vietnam even more. I should tell you honestly that in these conditions the signing of this treaty would provoke great bewilderment in the ranks of the international Communist movement, the national liberation movement, and in the ranks of the anti-imperialist fighters in general, and might lead to a disorientation and confusion and lessen resistance to American imperialism. Therefore we think that it is desirable to conduct a deeper analysis of the political consequences which this treaty might have for the further development of the struggle of the working class, the fight for the national liberation of peoples, and also its possible influence on the strengthening of the unity of the international Communist movement.
These, comrades are briefly some views which the leadership of our Party has authorized us to raise to you. I don’t know, possibly other comrades from the delegation want to say something.
L. I. BREZHNEV. We will only talk about this question right now or maybe about other questions, too?
N. CEAUSESCU. As you think necessary. Possibly, we will discuss this question first.
L. I. BREZHNEV. Good. But right now we’ll make a short break.
N. CEAUSESCU. Yes, let’s.
(after a break)
L. I. BREZHNEV. First of all, comrades, we would like to express [gratitude] that you shared your views with us [one word illegible] problems associated with the [nuclear weapons] nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty We agree that problems of various aspects exist in connection with the possible conclusion of a treaty. They require a [one word illegible], businesslike critique. We believe that in just that way it is possible common language will be found.
If one is distracted for a minute from our conversation and imagines that we are worthy of the considerations of a number of other countries on this subject, then it can be said with confidence that they might raise dozens more various questions. Probably almost all of them will be dictated by good intentions. Hardly such a complex question as the complete assurance of security of the countries of the entire world can be solved right away in one fell swoop, in a single treaty. If such were managed then, of course, it would be the greatest victory of Communists and all the socialist countries in world history. This is actually for what we have been fighting for over 20 years, since the time of the end of the Second World War.
Without looking into the details of the individual provisions you presented just now we would first of all like to say that all these questions are important and were also in the center of attention of our Central Committee. We have repeatedly returned to these questions and from general political positions, and in analyzing the strong and weak points of the specific content of the draft treaty.
Allow [me] to first make a short introduction and talk about the general principles of our approach to working out this document. As is well known, and this needs to be taken into account, there exist five nuclear powers in the world, that is, five countries which have nuclear weapons – the USSR, US, Great Britain, China, and France. In the recent past only two countries had this weapon: the US and the USSR. Some 10 years have passed (I am not counting the timeframe) and another three nuclear powers have appeared.
Is there a trend in the world toward the proliferation of nuclear weapons and is there a possibility of an increase of the number of countries which are now capable of producing such a weapons with the aid of, let’s say, the Americans or someone else? Yes, however, such trends are intensifying and the possibility of the production of a nuclear weapon in various countries is expanding. For example, proceeding from general preconditions, one can say that Sweden is now capable of creating a nuclear weapon. They talk about this weapon in Israel. Taking into account the economic potential and level of scientific and technical development, the FRG, Italy, Japan, and Brazil might join the “nuclear club” countries, especially in the event one of the nuclear countries helps them.
A. N. KOSYGIN Right now there are many countries which are on the path to creating their own nuclear weapon.
A. A. GROMYKO. Including India, too.
L. I. BREZHNEV. Yes, in certain conditions India is also able to have a nuclear weapon.
A. N. KOSYGIN. India is a big country, it will tighten [its] belt, it will not feed the people, but will take up the production of a nuclear weapon.
L. I. BREZHNEV. If the question is considered from both the military and from the political points of view, then to what conclusion can one come: will the fact that nuclear weaponry is proliferating throughout the entire world relax the political tension in the world and the threat of unleashing a world thermonuclear war? Of course not, this is a dangerous tendency which is in no way capable of easing international tension and reducing the threat of a world war. Already from this point of view the treaty, which limits the proliferation of nuclear weapons, (right now I am not taking its substance and those question which you raised, but in itself, the treaty, if it is concluded, if 70, 80, or more countries accede to it), is a positive phenomenon, both in general political as well as in general military terms.
We would like to single out one specific question from this broad international aspect. It would be good for you to understand this inasmuch as during the entire postwar period we have acted jointly on this question in our political struggle, in our state policy. For more than 20 years, together with all the socialist camp and other countries which have supported us, we have waged a consistent fight not to let the FRG get a nuclear weapon, not to let the FRG become a nuclear power, and to prevent it from participating in the so-called multilateral nuclear forces within the framework of NATO. I think that special explanations for the RCP CC are not necessary because, as we understand, we have a common view on this question. We have proceeded from the position that Germany is the country in which fascism was born, where national socialism displayed itself in the most terrible, unbridled form, where policy was subordinated to an aggressive course of conquest. You know with what slogans the Second World War was unleashed: the fascists said that the German nation is a special nation, that special blood flows in them, that they have been deprived of lebensraum, etc. etc Hitler pursued a policy of war, a policy of enslavement of all European countries, and he obtained allies by force. From whatever point of view they are approached, all this took place, it is well known. It needs to be openly recognized that the military and diplomatic history of Europe convincingly demonstrates the aggressiveness and revanchism of the German government.
When Germany was put on its knees as a result of our victory in the Second World War, when certain restrictions were placed on it as a result of the Potsdam Agreements, this did not liquidate the sentiments of revenge, they are boiling over somewhere and coming to a head. The Western powers and the FRG leadership have not embarked on a path of putting those provisions into effect which were set forth in the Potsdam Agreements, West Germany has not become a peace-loving democratic country but, on the contrary, gradually in various stages and step by step as, so to speak, it developed, it began to revive and turn a revanchist policy into a state policy. And we and you have devoted more than 20 years to fighting this policy in its various manifestations.
We stand with you for the immutability of the borders in Europe, for the FRG not being able to represent all of Germany, but actually only its own part. We and you support the GDR as the creation and result of the Second World War. We will not hand over the German Democratic Republic to anyone nor retreat in a number of certain other positions which were the result of the victory of the anti-fascist, democratic forces in the Second World War. It needs to be said during this that in our demands and practical policy we do not go beyond the bounds of the provisions of those state-to-state agreements which were the outcome of the Second World War. We have not invented nor have we presented the FRG with any new demands. We invariably insist on a demand for the observance of several principled points known to the entire world, and at the same time confirm that we are ready to cooperate with West Germany if good will and respect for existing international agreements which [were] the result of the Second World War are demonstrated from their side. However, West Germany, as you know, does not want to embark on a path to peace and friendship, on a path to recognizing the results of this War. What only Adenauer, then Erhard, then Kiesinger did for them in order to maintain the FRG in strong positions. If all this is analyzed then one conclusion stands out – in its principled essence the policy of the FRG has not changed, it is continuing the very same policy. Look what domestic policy, what foreign policy the FRG government pursues, evaluate the role of the FRG in the NATO bloc, its position in this bloc; think how young people in West Germany are being brought up, why all sorts of fascist parties arise there (even if they are now not so large, but Hitler also began with a small [party]; it is important that they have received a legal right to exist). But at the same time the Communist Party of Germany is prohibited, and we and you cannot pass this by indifferently.
Glancing back, possibly I would say, to state with satisfaction that at various stages, possibly with some reservations, but on the whole we have fought against this policy together. Was this, our struggle, directed only against the FRG or was it against the NATO bloc, that is, against the American imperialists, against the policy of British imperialism, which has followed the lead of American policy? Yes, this was a struggle against the NATO bloc. All our written and unwritten consultations were devoted to this and, finally, as the fraternal Parties, and indeed the entire world, speak of this, All of our Warsaw Conference was devoted to this and, finally, as the fraternal Parties, and indeed the entire world say of this, the Bucharest Conference was also devoted to this. All these events were an expression of political unity, they worked out constructive measures, the focus of which was directed against the FRG, against the growth of militarism and revanchism there, against the rearmament of West Germany, and in support of the German Democratic Republic.
Against this background I would like to approach an assessment of the non-proliferation treaty draft. Not at all long ago we and you, both in Warsaw, in Bucharest, and in Moscow, as well as in other places, opposed multilateral and Atlantic nuclear forces, the McNamara planning committee, etc. At this stage we were satisfied that [we] had managed to frustrate the various plans to give the FRG nuclear weapons, too: that there would not be multilateral nuclear forces, that the Germans would not sail on ships armed with Polarises, that they would not move anywhere around nuclear missiles, even under American command. It’s probably necessary to ascertain we had achieved success at that stage of the struggle: the multilateral nuclear forces failed, Britain does not talk of Atlantic nuclear forces and today it’s already a matter of concluding a treaty about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons which is again mainly directed against the FRG, against the countries in the NATO bloc. As long as this question was not in practical terms it seemed it wasn’t a question for other countries. This is correct. But the treaty draft appeared and, naturally, the interests of many countries were expressed. We should not deny this and we should not close our eyes to this.
But we should pose this question to ourselves: can we solve all the problems in this treaty right away, as if establishing prosperity on Earth by the signing of a single treaty. Of course, this would be good, this would be our greatest victory, but such a solution is unrealistic – it is impossible to achieve a solution of all problems right away. Therefore it is necessary to consider the treaty draft from other positions, from a different angle: weigh its principled substance and look what the treaty provides on the whole, and what each of its provisions gives. In particular (I’m going ahead and talking about this), it seems to me that some provisions which you presented today might be the result of some misunderstanding and, evidently, require an explanation or clarification, especially as it concerns serious questions. Inasmuch as we have gathered for this, I think that you are displaying patience, but we will try to explain each of these provisions, to clarify and clear up, can anything new be achieved on each point or not?
First of all, [I] would like to say that on the whole this treaty, as it was stated in the course of consultations with the fraternal socialist countries, contains nothing that would be directed against us, against the socialist camp. The socialist camp loses nothing in concluding the treaty. We seek with its conclusion the main goal - halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world and preventing the FRG from obtaining such a weapon. This would be a good result of the struggle which we have waged for many years. And, of course, it is no accident that right now the FRG is exerting every effort, trying to prevent the conclusion of this treaty.
Could this treaty be tied to the problem of general disarmament and halting the production of nuclear weapons? If one speaks of principle, we completely agree with you on this question. This is not a new question, and we have an entire program of struggle for its solution, for we raised this back in 1946. If you want, we can gather all the documents which we submitted and published on this question. We proposed various disarmament drafts [proyekty] under [international] control, a prohibition of nuclear weapons, etc., and we continue to fight in various organizations, including the Committee of 18 on Disarmament. Our principled line, our policy is directed at achieving agreement about halting the arms race and complete disarmament. You know that at one time we and the Chinese comrades did not have differences on this question; they submitted proposals of many points, including a proposal for a world conference on disarmament.
Halting the arms race and disarmament continue to remain our chief task, but a struggle is a struggle and life shows that so far not all problems have managed to be solved. Therefore the main question is whether it is worth abandoning or retreating from partial steps in this direction, in particular from the non-proliferation treaty, if it is considered under such a general political point of view. To which it may be added that even those elements which are contained in this treaty meet our interests and might lead to further steps in our common struggle for disarmament and for the reduction and constriction of the areas of the use of nuclear weapons.
Therefore after repeated discussion we have come to the opinion in principle that on the whole this treaty does no harm to either the Soviet Union nor any of the socialist countries. On the contrary, the conclusion of the treaty would bring a definite benefit and, besides, a considerable benefit to the socialist countries at that.
In addition, we would like for such an aspect to be borne in mind: the conclusion of a treaty and its signing by the FRG (and the treaty is unthinkable without this) would be a new element in shattering the NATO bloc, an element which introduces new political nuances in the substance of this union itself. The NATO bloc previously based its concept on the possibility of the creation of multilateral nuclear forces, on turning the FRG into a strong power having nuclear weapons. NATO is viewed as seven countries relying on this force. Right now all these elements are significantly undermined, and a new situation is being created. In our opinion, this is not bad. If the FRG signs the treaty then this should influence its policy in some measure. In signing the treaty the Western powers will not be able to continue to chatter about nuclear power pointlessly; obviously it will be necessary to somehow change course. This is a very important element. It seems to us that the current policy of the FRG is deprived of very important element. You know the FRG’s relations with France. Although they play up to one another there cannot be any illusions here: France does not want the FRG to be stronger and de Gaulle consistently favors it being denied nuclear weapons. Having firmly stressed this, he told us without hesitation that this is the goal of his life. I am against the borders of Europe changing, he continued; the unification of Germany is an irrelevant question, it is a question of the future. This is the position of France, here is its love with the FRG. That De Gaulle receives Kiesinger somewhat better than Erhard, these are all tactical steps. The strategy is dictated by more substantive factors.
All this needs to be weighed, and it needs to considered that the 10-year [SIC] period of the existence of NATO runs out in 1969, in connection with which a number of Western leaders are expression various opinions about the further fate of NATO. We do not discount the sentiments which are being exhibited in the Scandinavian countries, in Turkey, and in Italy. There they say that it is necessary to look at what the bloc will be in the future, they say the situation has changed, etc.
To tie the non-proliferation treaty right now with a disarmament agreement will not work because this runs counter to our desire and the desire of all those with whom we have consulted. It is necessary to reckon with realistic possibilities, to compare them, and to decide what is desirable: to have a treaty or not to have a treaty at all and let the whole matter take its course. What is more to our benefit?
This is our overall concept, our common reasoning. And we are frankly presenting them to you in a comradely way.
Let’s approach some specific questions. You say that if the treaty is not tied to the cessation of the production of nuclear weapons and the elimination of its stocks then it will lead to a further accumulation of nuclear weapons. Agreed. This is correct. But if there is no treaty perhaps the accumulation of weapons will stop? No, it won’t stop.
I will touch on one question in connection with this which is not directly connected with the range of problems under discussion. Right now the Americans are stubbornly proposing that we hold negotiations about abandoning the creation of a missile defense system. When doing so they say that the creation of such systems will lead to large new expenditures, toward a new arms race, and the development and accumulation of new kinds of weapons. We do not conceal from you that 25 percent of our state budget goes to weapons, and the lion’s share of this money is devoted to the creation of nuclear missile weapons, and to nothing else. Of course, we would be glad that this 25 percent of the national income were spent for other purposes. You know how [we] want to improve the lives of the people. There is nothing to say. But if this fails today! What is the outcome? Not to conclude a non-proliferation treaty? To leave everything as before? This would hardly improve the state of affairs. But a treaty will change the political situation in many respects, and the elements which are contained in it might serve as a good step in a further struggle for the very reduction of the production of nuclear weapons and complete disarmament. Obviously, time, an increased trust between countries, and a change of the overall international atmosphere is needed for all this.
Of course, it is right that the signing of the treaty will not stop powers which now have such weapons from accumulating nuclear weapons, but there is no other way out for now. However, I want to stress the fact that the conclusion of the treaty even in such a form does not represent a danger for us, the socialist countries. This is clear in an analysis of the articles of the draft.
Perhaps Cde. Gromyko, as a specialist, will give additional explanations about some of the main questions of the treaty draft: about monitoring [kontrol’], about the peaceful use of atomic energy, and about guarantees.
A. A. GROMYKO. The discussion of the draft treaty has already gone on a long time, and almost right away the question arose of guarantees for the non-nuclear countries. This question has been raised by several countries. Many proposals have been submitted. The majority of far-reaching suggestions, for example, about prohibiting the use of atomic weapons, a reduction of the production of nuclear materials, and a complete cessation of the production of nuclear materials, has been repeatedly discussed during the 22 years since the end of the Second World War. For about the last year, chiefly at the initiative of India, a proposal has been advanced for there to be included in the non-proliferation treaty a provision stipulating that nuclear powers which are parties to the treaty should accept an obligation according to the treaty to automatically repulse with the use a nuclear weapon in the event of aggression also with the use of a nuclear weapon by any nuclear power against a non-nuclear country. In other words, what is proposed is not even stipulated by the UN Charter.
Thus, the overwhelming majority of suggestions about the question of guarantees are the suggestions according for which not a step toward agreement had advanced in more than 20 years. If any of these suggestions I named, especially all those taken together, were made a condition of the conclusion of the non-proliferation treaty, this would mean wrecking the conclusion of the treaty. Then there would be no non-proliferation treaty with all the disadvantages ensuing from it for the socialist countries of which Cde. L. I. Brezhnev has spoken here.
The question of the kind of guarantees which nevertheless could be included in a nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty has been discussed in the CC of our Party and government. The conclusion was drawn that one solution was possible which could be adopted with a reasonable approach. What was the solution? It comes down to the nuclear powers committing themselves not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries which do not have such a weapon on their own territory, neither theirs nor another’s. And we submitted such a proposal to the Committee of 18 in Geneva. Our friends in the Warsaw Pact completely support this.
The reaction of other countries to the proposal was, I would say, mixed. Some countries, both those represented in the Committee, as well as not in it, supported this proposal, for example, Mexico and some Arab countries. India was in support, but not actively, considering this proposal good, but insufficient for itself. The Western powers which possess nuclear weapons, and a number of other countries made objections to our proposal. When doing so they advanced the argument (in particular, Rusk told me about this) that it turns out that all countries need to be divided into two categories: one category [would be] countries on whose territory there are no nuclear weapons and will not be in the event they sign the non-proliferation treaty; the other category [would be] countries on whose territory there are not and will not be their own nuclear weapons, but there are and will remain others’ [nuclear weapons] placed by other nuclear powers. Here this concerns US allies, also: West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, etc. Therefore the US, like a number of other countries, did not agree with this proposal. We continue to insist on this proposal, but encounter numerous difficulties. A question arises and will arise of what will then happen – to give this as a reason for the failure of the treaty or not to do it. You can’t get away from this question. On the one hand, this proposal would be justified, but there are reasons ensuing from the real situation in the world which evidently makes its adoption impossible…
L. I. BREZHNEV. At this time it needs to be noted that this question does not actually concern the socialist countries because the Warsaw Pact is not being abolished and each of the countries is under the reliable shield of our nuclear weapons, and the Americans well understand this. An attack on a country allied with us would entail the Soviet Union coming to its defense without fail. Everyone knows this.
A. A. GROMYKO. As concerns the proposal of India which I mentioned, about the possibility of including the commitments providing for an automatic repulse with nuclear weapons in the event of an attack, we recently had conversations with its representatives. We have formed the impression that they understand the complexity of this question and the difficulties connected with attempts to include in the treaty provisions stipulating such a commitment. The main complexity is that, strictly speaking, no one has given a definition of aggression. For 25 years we have waged a struggle to define what is aggression. But no one, no international organization, has provided this definition. From recent conversations with representatives of India we have formed the impression that the government of India has not excluded the possibility that the nuclear powers will simply declare in some form (outside the treaty) [that] in the case of the events of which the Indians speak, in other words, in the event of an attack with a nuclear weapon it is necessary to act on the basis of the UN Charter. And it is necessary to act immediately. A different formulation of the question, outside a connection with the UN Charter, entails so many problems with which one cannot cope. It is not yet clear how all this ends with the Indians. Evidently an exchange of opinions on this score will continue. But inasmuch as the Americans have let their position be known, they are not ready for [ne idutna] the inclusion of any provision in the text of the treaty which would be tied to an automatic action [avtomatizm] in fulfilling the commitments about which we have been speaking. The British are also not ready for this.
Now about the peaceful use of atomic energy. Is a misunderstanding taking place here? For in the draft treaty it is just stressed that the non-nuclear countries should not be restricted in the use of the benefits ensuring from the peaceful use of atomic energy. It needs to be frankly said that this was not in our initial draft of the treaty. The Americans proposed this later. But this also coincided with our understanding of the question. In addition, the draft also provides for the opportunity for non-nuclear countries to use nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes, let’s say, to break up rocky mountains, create reservoirs, etc.
L. I. BREZHNEV reads the provisions from the preamble of the treaty draft regarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including the use of nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes.
A. A. GROMYKO. There is one aspect here which always ought to be borne in mind, for it is known that explosive devices used for peaceful purposes and for nuclear weapons are in principle one and the same. Therefore there needs to be concern that a loophole is not opened under the flag of explosions for peaceful purposes for the production or testing of a nuclear weapon. Therefore in the draft the question is raised so (and it seems to us, this is reasonable) that explosions for non-nuclear countries should be done by the forces of those countries which already have a nuclear weapon and, accordingly, nuclear devices. The specific program and procedure for this is subject to further clarification. But it is proposed to define two main principles in the treaty: the first is that non-nuclear countries enjoy the benefits ensuing from nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes, and the second charges the nuclear powers with the responsibility to give assistance and aid in performing such peaceful nuclear explosions without any discrimination. Possibly these circumstances were not sufficiently clear to the comrades, for all the provisions I mentioned just meet the legitimate desires of the non-nuclear countries regarding the peaceful use of nuclear [energy].
L. I. BREZHNEV. I would like to mention one detail. The last time we discussed this question among us in the Politburo we subjected this question to doubt from another position: whether the terms of the treaty confer too broad an opportunity for the use of technical information about atomic energy and might not the FRG use such information for military purposes. But since the treaty is to contain equal terms for all countries and every country is interested in technical progress for peaceful purposes, then such a possibility evidently needs to be given to all without exemptions, including the FRG, and to give the same terms to everyone. Restrictions occur only with respect to explosive devices. Actually, explosive devices for peaceful and military purposes are one and the same technically and constructively. The treaty draft preserves broad opportunities for all parties to build themselves atomic reactors, produce isotopes, etc. but, of course, not to make explosive devices.
A. A. GROMYKO. Concerning monitoring. This is an important question. There are two UN resolutions which were adopted at our suggestion. The non-aligned countries all favored monitoring. And we, the socialist countries, favor, not so much monitoring in principle, but a certain form of monitoring, for IAEA (the International Agency for the Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy) monitoring. This is a system which is accepted by us, by all the other socialist countries, and all participants of this International Agency in general. It needs to be said that the Americans also favored IAEA control, but some of their allies either objected or sympathize with this. As a counterproposal they are discussing a proposal, true, among themselves and secretly, about monitoring under Western countries from the perspective of a Euratom created by them. But this would be equivalent to self-monitoring, the Western countries would monitor themselves. We cannot rely on such monitoring. The Americans and their allies understand the weakness of this proposal concerning Euratom. For the time being this question is being dragged out. Some days ago an American representative declared to our representative in Geneva that the US was ready to actually accept our article on the question of IAEA monitoring without changes, but on condition it provides some transitional period for this system. He named an approximately three-year period. Thus, they were for more than was provided in the preamble of that text which is at your disposal. Now our article about monitoring is already frankly accepted with the reservation about a transitional period. We will insist on our proposal, of course. It is possible that [we] will have to make some compromise with the transitional period, but shorter than three years. Will there be a danger of interference in the internal affairs of countries if the IAEA system is adopted? We think not because this is a system already worked out and approved by our countries.
L. I. BREZHNEV. In my opinion, Romania too took part in its development.
And if this system is simply preserved than there will be nothing new, but there will be monitoring.
A. A. GROMYKO. Not a single country has yet protested about interference in internal affairs by IAEA representatives. This has not happened.
Some words about France. It is still not clear whether France will be a party to the treaty or not. Although the French at the highest level [?tell?] us that the possibility of being a party [uchastnik] is not excluded, but they confirm at the same time that [whether] France will be a party to the treaty or it won’t, it supports the goals and principles of the treaty. But after all these goals and principles expressed in the draft correspond to our position. In addition, the French also let us know that they actually favor speeding up the entire process of concluding this treaty.
Concerning China. Its position is clear – it is negative. In the West the question is often posed this way: will this treaty be effective if China remains outside the treaty? But they give a positive answer themselves: yes, it will be effective, for the treaty solves the task of non-proliferation from two ends: it does not just deprive the nuclear powers which are party to the treaty [of the power] to hand over a nuclear weapon to others.
L. I. BREZHNEV. It also has a flip side: it prohibits non-nuclear powers which have signed the treaty from obtaining such a weapon.
A. A. GROMYKO. Leonid Il’ich spoke correctly, it also solves the task from the other end. If, let’s say, a nuclear power remains unbound by a commitment not to transfer a weapon like, for example, China, then no one will get the nuclear weapon from it since the countries accept an obligation not to obtain it.
And a last question. A convincing verification of the political importance of the non-proliferation treaty is the reaction to its draft from West Germany. Since the Second World War there have never been such strained relations between the FRG and the US as now in connection with the treaty. Strauss has threatened to resign. True, they then, as they say, persuaded him. Kiesinger made a nervous statement. He said: let’s finally distinguish where are the American interests and where are the West German [interests]. Therefore, if you put the pluses and advantages for the socialist countries associated with the treaty on one side of the scale, and on the other some shady sides then, of course, the pluses are somewhat outweigh [the negatives]. But direct negative consequences are literally impossible to find in my opinion, even under a microscope.
N. CEAUSESCU. A more modern microscope is necessary.
L. I. BREZHNEV. Of course, the question of monitoring is very important. Therefore I also want to add something to the explanations of Cde. Gromyko. We have discussed the question very closely in the Politburo. In principle, if such a treaty is concluded, then obviously some monitoring of its observance is needed. The draft treaty has no such explicit article simply because it has not yet been coordinated. There is its draft, but it still has not yet been agreed. It is, of course, one kind of minus, this still needs to be adjusted. In principle, we are for such an article. As we have already said the best form of monitoring is the forces of the IAEA. This is an international organization, we participate in it, and all the provisions about its monitoring have been coordinated with us and satisfy us. We have also proposed the draft of an appropriate article. But a struggle is going on, a dispute is underway, and it is still not agreed. However, I would like to stress that right now in the preamble there is an obligation of the parties to facilitate the guarantees of the IAEA. In addition, as Cde. Gromyko has already said, the Americans are hinting at the establishment of some transitional period to IAEA monitoring. They name three years, but they might agree to one. And then IAEA monitoring will be in effect.
Thus, if all this is summarized, comrades, the current treaty draft is a compromise achieved at a given stage, the result of that political struggle which we have waged and continue to wage. But it is necessary to see the other side for ourselves. Sometimes it is more advantageous to seek some compromise than to break the main idea altogether. [I] would like to stress one other thing: we firmly proceed from the position that in no event is it possible to permit any capability for anyone to be able to impose interference in the domestic life of the socialist countries under the pretext of monitoring.
That is our position on monitoring.
A. N. KOSYGIN. I would like to express myself about the first point which Cde. Ceausescu raised. This is the view that, he said, it is desirable to consider in the treaty not only the question of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, but also an ever greater set of problems connected with disarmament. We have discussed these problems in the Politburo. We completely agree with you that one cannot forget about further steps leading to nuclear disarmament. But there is just a bridge to these further tasks in the draft treaty. It is said there (in the preamble):
“…declaring their intention to achieve an end to the nuclear weapons arms race as quickly as possible.,
urgently appealing for the cooperation of all countries in the achievement of this goal,
trying…to facilitate the elimination of nuclear weapons and means of their delivery from national arsenals in accordance with the treaty of general and complete disarmament under strict effective international monitoring…”
Thus the prospect of nuclear disarmament is far from being avoided in the treaty draft, but is itself being viewed as one of the preliminary stages of a movement in this direction.
Now I want to talk about a second question. If one takes our whole socialist camp then perhaps in the near future there will be no prospects that any of the socialist countries get atomic weapons. You just said that you do not intend to get them. We know that the Bulgarians, Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, and the friends from the GDR, none of the socialist countries plan acquire their own atomic weapons in the near future; it can be said that the problem of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons itself, it can be said, does not affect the interests of the socialist countries in current conditions, they simply have no such need. Besides China, of course, but it actually has nuclear weapons. Of course, right now we can say with all frankness that if we had not helped it at one time it would not have this weapon. This is no secret. We can talk about this right now.
Now let’s take a second aspect. Let’s take, let’s assume, Canada. It has a fully realistic prospect of acquiring a nuclear weapon. Can one guarantee that after some number of years that Canada will not have a nuclear weapon? I think that the Americans will give it all possible assistance, for a Canadian nuclear weapon will not be directed against America, but will be directed against our countries. It’s the same situation in Japan. After some number of years the Japanese will be completely able to have a nuclear weapon. And of course it will already not be a weapon for defense of our Far East, yes, most likely also not to fight the Americans, but to threaten us, China, and all the socialist countries. It’s about the same situation with the prospect of the creation of a nuclear weapon in Italy, and yes in Israel, a nuclear weapon of which would be directed against the national movement of the Arab countries. I am no longer talking about the complete possibility of the creation of a nuclear weapon in the FRG and what significance it would have in the sense of a threat to peace in Europe and in the whole world.
Thus, the proposed treaty actually limits not our countries, but those countries whose nuclear weapons, if they were created, would be directed against us.
If one raises the question of the inclusion in the treaty of al those provisions about disarmament of which you have spoke and which we, of course, in principle entirely sympathize, then in practice this would mean torpedoing this treaty. It would then not happen since the Westerners will not accept such articles. And the possibility would thereby still be preserved for a number of imperialist countries to get nuclear weapons, to thereby ease the expenses for the Americans, and to acquire additional weapons which would threaten the countries of socialism. This would not ease our situation, of course.
Therefor, when all these circumstances are weighed you come to the conclusion that in view of the great importance of the proposed treaty [we] ought to seek its conclusion.
L. I. BREZHNEV. Cde. Ceausescu, you have still been saying that [we] ought to consider the overall international situation and, in particular, the fact that the Americans are waging a war in Vietnam. Is it advantageous in these conditions or advisable to conclude a nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty? It is true that the situation is complex, that the Americans are continuing their aggression without taking world public opinion into consideration. Such actions of theirs expose the true face of imperialism before the entire world. But in these conditions all those advantages from concluding the treaty of which we have spoken do not fall away. The cessation of the proliferation of nuclear weapons would not interfere neither in our support of Vietnam nor the success of the fight of the Vietnamese, nor the continuation of our struggle with the Americans in political terms.
It would be better, of course, if there were no war in Vietnam. But in that case our fight against of the creeping of nuclear weapons would not at all interfere with our policy of repelling aggression nor the [one word illegible, possibly “very”] struggle of the Vietnamese people.
Of course, it is possible to raise the question another way. This can be depicted as a means of pressuring the Americans: since you are at war, we will not sign the non-proliferation treaty. But who wins from this more, the Americans or we? The nuclear arms races is intensifying, several more imperialist countries armed with atomic and hydrogen bombs will appear, and new fronts of struggle will appear for us. All the same the treaty gives us some specific, quite large results in the question of nuclear weapons, and new aspects appears in the strategic situation which are of some use for the socialist countries and the cause of world peace.
A. N. KOSYGIN. A struggle inside their camp is appearing.
L. I. BREZHNEV. This will also force the FRG to talk differently. The Bonn leaders will have to somehow temper their calls for the creation of a “force”, they will have to sing a somewhat different song. The progressive forces of West Germany will begin to feel differently. A new realistic foundation for struggle will appear for them. As if we have been weighing everything.
We also are very much considering the opinions of the other fraternal Parties. In relations with them we are trying to display the maximum comradeship and attention. To coordinate such a large political action as the preparation of a non-proliferation treaty we have send MFA representatives to Warsaw Pact member countries with whom the friends could talk freely. There could be no talk here of any “pressure” from our side, of course. But, having discussed this question, all the CC Politburos or Presidiums of the fraternal Parties have expressed complete agreement with the proposed draft. The opinion has been expressed, I don’t remember by which Parties (A. A. Gromyko: the Polish, the SED, and others) that it is desirable to try to pursue [provesti] more specific provisions on monitoring, if possible. But when doing this the comrades stressed that if more could not be achieved in the process of political struggle then it is necessary to seek the signing of the treaty in the form as it outlined. It is not necessary for this question to be an obstacle to the signing of the treaty.
In political terms all stressed the importance and usefulness of such a treaty.
The Westerners are doing much work right now to coordinate their positions with respect to the draft treaty. Some countries, especially the FRG, are offering resistance on a number of points. The Americans are letting it be known that they will be able to break the resistance of the FRG, but they think it will be easier to come to agreement with the rest.
That’s the status of this question. Inasmuch as we are speaking of this we would be deeply pleased, and not only we, I can boldly say, that the other fraternal Parties [would be], too, if the Romanian Party and the Romanian government would support our common point of view on such an important question, which has great international significance. For it is a question of a great act directed in the final account at strengthening peace and relaxing tension. In such a question our political unity would, of course, be very important. Therefore, when you said on the telephone that it would be good for such a document to be adopted at the PCC [Political Consultative Committee] of the Warsaw Pact, I immediately said to you that we welcome such a formulation of the question. At the time I then stipulated that it meant that coordination and consultation beforehand would lead us to an exchange of opinions in order to then convene the Political Consultative Committee. In the Committee [we] could make short statements in support of this document, stressing our unity and expressing a desire for further steps in the struggle for peace, including for a limitation on nuclear weapons and the further destruction of nuclear weapons. Of course, such a joint statement by all our countries would ring out strongly. This would give the very treaty draft another political sound.
In our days in world politics, there is enormous importance in questions of the fight for peace and the fight against imperialism, in the struggle for the unity of the Communist movement [and] the friendship of the countries of socialism, their solidarity, and their unity on questions of principle (of course while maintaining all the sovereign rights of each country, etc., of which we have spoken many times). The convening of the Consultative Committee and a joint statement on such a question as the non-proliferation treaty would resound ponderously. Because our union, our friendship is a great force, comrades, and it is a bad thing if we do not value it. All the same the 240 million people of the Soviet Union, and moreover the almost 100 million in the other socialist countries of Europe, this is 340 million people plus the enormous territory, the powerful economic and defensive potential, the unity of views, and the unity of ideas. The economy of our camp is growing rapidly, eight percent a year, and some have 10 percent growth. Is it a joke to lift the economy by 50 percent in five years!
Our happiness is that we are able to find the strength in ourselves to overcome temporary perturbations, to sweep away all the husks, and remain in the positions of our great common principles. Therefore the convening of the PCC of which we have spoken would be a very important action wherever it is held, in Sofia, in Prague, in Budapest, is not the point. The Bucharest conference still resounds in the world. At the CC plenum last December we stressed with all [our] strength the importance to our Party of the Bucharest conference. Eleven Politburo members, including Cdes. Kosygin, Podgornyy, and myself, spoke about the Bucharest declaration in their election speeches in February and March of this year. The significance of the Bucharest conference was noted in the decisions of the CPSU CC Plenum. This is our common political group of activists. Therefore we would approve such an approach which you have displayed. If our conversation and explanations in any measure bring the understanding of both sides closer in such an important question then this would only please us and please all the Parties and, I think, all the peoples of the fraternal countries.
Cde. Ceausescu proposed a break.
(after the break)
N. CEAUSESCU. I would like to express our gratitude to both Cde. Brezhnev and the other Soviet comrades who have spoken here for the explanations which they have given us in connection with the problems we raised.
These are important problems and, of course, the explanations will help us better understand them.
L. I. BREZHNEV. In discussion among ourselves we just expressed satisfaction with the form or, rather, the course of our exchange of opinions.
N. CEAUSESCU. I would like to say that with respect to the importance of the measures taken so as to not provide an opportunity to proliferate nuclear weapons, we fully agree with your point of view. We have a complete mutual understanding both with you and the other socialist countries here. From the very beginning we have supported the proposals in this direction and continue to support [them], since we understand the danger which the proliferation of nuclear weapons carries. We also understand that the very measures to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons already have great importance for universal peace, including for the socialist countries. We agree with the views expressed here on this account. We have also listed the countries at home which might have atomic weapons in the near future.
We have also come to the conclusion that in practice it will be useful for the socialist countries to put an end to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. And in general this will have importance for the struggle for peace in the entire world. We also agree that in the fight which we are waging for disarmament, including for a final elimination of nuclear weapons, it is not necessary to aspire to a solution of all problems right away. This was unrealistic. It is necessary to approach this goal step by step. We have no differences on this question. Therefore we favor undertaking all possible specific steps, even small steps, leading in this direction. In this connection we also recognize that the signing of the treaty will be a positive step in this direction.
As you know, we have always spoken out and speak out now for blocking the FRG from being allowed to [get] nuclear weapons. We consider it necessary that the socialist countries act so as to not allow this. Of course, certain successes have been achieved in this regard. If the planned treaty helps in this matter this will be a very good deed.
Here [we] have spoken quite broadly about the current situation in the FRG. Of course, I agree with how the problem of reunification was raised and other questions. I don’t want to delve into details. The accomplishment of the reunification of Germany is a matter of the distant future. Possibly, the prospect will approach if the working class comes to power in West Germany.
But all these problems are not directly connected with the main question which we are discussing now. Of course, reactionary forces exist in the FRG and a rebirth of neo-Nazism is being observed. And, of course, this should put us on our guard. But during all this we ought to recognize that American imperialism has supported and continued to support these forces in the FRG in the first place.
If we have not been able to achieve the implementation of the Potsdam Agreements in the FRG, and if reactionary forces are developing, there then the imperialists of the US, Britain, and France are at fault for this. They are at fault because they supported these forces, and without such support, of course, these reactionary forces could not have developed. Why do I stress this? Because American imperialism will continue to support reactionaries in the FRG in the future and the treaty, of course, does not eliminate this (and this is not its task). It is necessary to bear in mind this aspect of the question, especially in connection with the political changes which are possible in Europe in connection with European security and, of course, in connection with the positions which the FRG government takes.
In our opinion, in the FRG there are reactionary forces which [want] to tear away from the US. There are progressive, democratic forces there striving to push the FRG onto a democratic path.
And we should support these forces. The participation of the Social Democrats in the government needs to be evaluated all the same not as a negative phenomenon. Why? Because in the recent past, 30-35 years ago, the Social Democrats were considered part of a reactionary bloc, and this made Hitler’s rise to power easier. Of course, the Social Democrats in Germany both then and right now are rightists, but if we consider them social fascists, as we did from 1933 to 1935, then we exclude any possibility of cooperating with these by no means fascist forces. This fact ought to be taken into consideration in our arguments.
All this is connected with the struggle for peace today. In our opinion, at the present time the main strength of imperialism, as before, remains American imperialism. The FRG, like the other countries of the capitalist world, can become a danger through the medium of American imperialism, and the non-proliferation treaty does not solve this question. In any event the American imperialists can use the reactionary forces of the FRG in their policy directed against other peoples.
When assessing the non-proliferation treaty it is necessary to bear in mind the main forces of imperialism with regard to which we should be especially watchful. We want to frankly tell you that we have discussed this question very broadly, and before and after we received the draft. We did not find, in any event we were not able to understand that this treaty might in some form slow the possibility of the actions of American imperialism, the main reactionary force in the world. Such a characteristic of US imperialism is contained in the unanimously adopted Declaration of the 1960 Moscow Conference. And we think that right now the situation has not changed in comparison to 1960 with respect to the character of American imperialism. Moreover, international events during these years have only confirmed that American imperialism actually plays the role of international policeman and stifles the democratic forces of the world. Therefore, having analyzed the treaty draft and, expressing our agreement in principle on the question of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, we have come to those views which we have expressed to you here.
We think that it is necessary to make some clarifications and improvements in this treaty which from the point of view of international law would create legal conditions to limit the actions and expansion of American imperialism. We have proceeded from this consideration when we presented our point of view.
I would like to dwell on each of the points individually. We have formed the impression that you share our views and have previously discussed them among yourselves. These are question which interest all of us. We should tell you, comrades, that the wording of the present draft treaty, for example, on the question of taking steps to halt the arms race and eliminate nuclear weapons does not satisfy us. We think that it is insufficient. We don’t think it is necessary to wait until agreement is achieved about the elimination of nuclear weapons. But we think it is possible to more clearly and precisely word the idea which would provide a guarantee of a movement toward the development of steps to eliminate nuclear weapons. What was said in the draft does not satisfy us and does not ensure the achievement of the desired goal.
As regards the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, we agree with what Cdes. Brezhnev and Gromyko have said. But these clarifications are not in the draft treaty itself. It would be very important for the authority of the socialist countries and for giving the treaty greater force if it was clearly said in it that research for peaceful purposes as a result of this treaty will in no way be restrained or limited.
As regards explosions then I agree that it is possible to find a suitable wording in the preamble, but it concerns not only explosion but also other forms of atomic energy research for peaceful purposes. But this is not at all clearly presented in the draft and obviously that clarifications need to be put in the text for the question to become clearer.
As regards monitoring then, of course, it needs to be accomplished. If I understood correctly you are striving for this. We consider this a very important question. If it is not worded with all clarity then it will be hard to sign the treaty without knowing what will happen next.
It is the same thing about guarantees. After the explanations which Cde. Gromyko gave here we could of course come to agreement about what to write in the draft treaty. Of course, I am not for the proposal of India, but to write in the treaty a solemn obligation that the nuclear powers will not use nuclear weapons against those who renounce nuclear weapons, this would have great significance.
I should tell you that this question is very important for many developing countries, and for the national liberation movement. Such an obligation would at least provide a moral guarantee that American imperialism will not use a nuclear weapon to establish dominance over other countries. In our opinion, this position ought to find its reflection in the treaty. In the final account, the treaty is being concluded between two parties, between
the nuclear and non-nuclear countries. The party not having nuclear weapons has the right to say: we renounce nuclear weapons, we will neither produce nor buy them, but we demand that it be written and guaranteed in the treaty that in exchange we will be ensured the non-use of a nuclear weapon against us by those nuclear countries which signed the treaty. Thus, the treaty would consider the interests of both parties. If this point is absent then the non-nuclear countries will regard this treaty with mistrust; they might say: having signed the treaty we end up at the complete disposition of the United States of America. That is why we think that these problems have special importance and want them to find a corresponding solution in the treaty.
We agree that it is not so easy to achieve this, otherwise these points would already be in the draft. But if we had to answer the question of what to do, we would say approximately this: it is necessary to redouble or triple our efforts, it is necessary to mobilize public opinion (and almost all the peoples of the world are on our side, even the peoples of the NATO countries) and seek an improvement of the wording of the treaty. Even if the signing of the treaty is delayed for some time, the prestige of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries will rise, and the American imperialists will be put in a difficult position. But we would [seek] an improvement of the draft treaty – that is how would we answer this question.
I agree that the treaty changes the political situation. But, in our opinion, if we sign it in the present form, then these changes would not be in favor of the socialist camp and the international Communist movement. On the contrary, this would exert a quite unpleasant, negative influence to the fight against imperialism.
We would ask you to understand that we raise these questions proceeding from a need to strengthen the unity of the socialist countries, the unity of the members of the Warsaw Pact, and the unity of the international Communist and worker’s movement. We are firmly convinced that our unity is the main factor in ensuing peace in the entire world. Without this unity neither the non-proliferation treaty nor other agreements will have great importance. Any treaty has force and is reckoned with in the event that the powerful forces of the socialist camp and the world democratic movement stand behind it. Therefore, in speaking of the treaty, we stress that it should serve to strengthen unity. Possibly several more months will be necessary to pursue certain work in this direction. This needs to be done, and we will achieve results.
I. G. MAURER. I will say only a few words. Of course, one of the advantages which this treaty would give would be its signing by West Germany. This would signify the FRG’s commitment not to try to obtain a nuclear weapon. This would stress the obligation of the US not to help the FRG get a nuclear weapon.
If one takes a glance at the past then one can recall that the US has already once taken an obligation not to transfer a nuclear weapon to West Germany according to agreements which were concluded [one word indistinct, possibly “by the Allies”] at the end of the War.
A. A. GROMYKO. No, they took another obligation: Germany is prohibited by the Paris Agreements from producing their own atomic weapon, and a prohibition from transferring to it a weapon produced by others – no.
I. G. MAURER. Of course, this can be interpreted in different ways. But if West Germany does not produce a nuclear weapon and the allies are obligated not to give them to the FRG then why, in spite of such a legal, then a moral obligation, did the US all the same without hesitation formulate some systems for the use of nuclear weapons, as a result of which West Germany would receive access to them[?] I stress this in order to show how important is the conclusion drawn by Cde. Ceausescu about the need to be very attentive with respect to the obligations which we are accepting according to the agreements with the US.
A second question on which I wish to briefly dwell is disarmament and the guarantees associated with the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. This linkage is provided only in the preamble, and not in the text of the treaty itself, but even the wording in the preamble differs from that which is contained in the UN resolution on this question. It therefore seems to me that here is an opportunity in the future in negotiations with the US to insist on an improvement of the treaty taking into consideration those demands with which all were agreed.
And a third question. It was asserted here that the socialist countries do not lose anything in signing the proposed treaty. They lose very much! In signing an international treaty they concede, in any event some of the socialist countries, their unequal position with respect to the US. And there many such provisions in the text of the treaty where this unequal position is reflected in the very main points connected with guarantees, and also with the questions about overcoming the legacy in the area of the peaceful use of nuclear energy. In any case, this shows that, in signing the treaty in its present form, part of the socialist countries might allow a situation which for them might have dangerous consequences at a certain moment. Of course, all these points need to be weighed. The explanations which you have cited to us here are very interesting, but we think that the text of the treaty might be improved and it is necessary to exert every effort to achieve this.
P. NICULESCU-MIZIL. Cde. Ceausescu expressed the opinion of all of us here. We have broadly discussed the question connected with the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the meaning of all our views was presented here by Cde. Ceausescu. I would like to add only a few words.
Actually it was correctly said here that the struggle for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and for disarmament has already been waged for a long time. We have the positions of many countries on this question, and many countries have expressed some reservations about the specific means of solving this problem. This concerns many countries which have now been travelling the path of independent development, and many countries which are travelling along with us, the socialist countries. I am not talking already about the countries which have direct interests connected with the problem of non-proliferation, in the military sphere, etc. And all the same [it is a] fact that many countries have expressed their reservations in connection with the draft of the solution of the question of non-proliferation.
This, in particular, is the question of the guarantees of which we have spoken here. This concerns the logic of relations between countries, those mutual obligations which the nuclear and non-nuclear countries take upon themselves. The non-nuclear countries commit themselves not to produce nuclear weapons and not to obtain a nuclear weapon, but the non-nuclear countries also need definite guarantees from the nuclear powers. This relates to the United States of America, which wants to use nuclear weapons for aggressive purposes.
This question has been discussed in the United Nations. Insofar as I know, there are two UN General Assembly resolutions in which a majority of the countries demand guarantees on the question of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. It would be normal to support the point of view of these countries.
We think that a treaty without guarantees would have negative consequences for other countries. One can cite examples not only on the question of guarantees, but also on other questions. And it ensues from these examples that many countries are expressing their specific wishes in connection with the question of non-proliferation. For example, the Latin American countries have expressed a desire on the question of the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We think that the socialist countries should fight for the insertion of such provisions in this treaty.
Some words about the procedural questions which were raised here by Cde. Ceausescu. We think that the provisions which were included in the draft treaty and provide for the possibility of improving the treaty and also the ability to withdraw from it are the provisions which need to be improved in order to achieve an equality of countries’ obligation according to the treaty. That is what I wanted to say.
L. I. BREZHNEV. What should we do next?
N. CEAUSESCU. (joking) We’ll make a decision to improve the treaty.
L. I. BREZHNEV. One can express a multitude of wishes about improving the provisions of the treaty, let’s say, demand that the US abandon its current policy, give some kind of reliable guarantees, etc. It is hard for us to dispute with you on this question, and I think the desire is both yours and ours, and Cde. Gomulka’s, Cde. Kadar’s, and of the other leaders of the fraternal Parties.
YU. V. ANDROPOV…in a word, of everyone except the Americans themselves.
L. I. BREZHNEV. But what should we do, give preference to what: either to those advantages which the treaty gives or to take such a position which will lead it being impossible to sign the treaty. The West Germans will then also say: thank God, we have achieved what we wanted: it was not possible to sign the non-proliferation treaty, and our hands are now freed and we will continue our policy.
Of course, we will not argue, and there are points in the treaty on which it is evidently possible and necessary to bargain and maybe [we] will even be able to come to agreement with the Americans. We will do this and we have outlined such a policy. This also concerns monitoring.
A. N. KOSYGIN. Maybe it will be possible to come to agreement about IAEA monitoring.
L. I. BREZHNEV. Yes, possibly, however consider that we insist on IAEA monitoring, and if the Americans agree with this, this is already a step forward. We intend to continue to fight for the adoption of our proposals on this point.
The difficult question of guarantees. Cde. Gromyko said how things stand. Maybe you have some specific language on this question.
N. CEAUSESCU. We have not brought any specific language. It will be possible to give such language through Ministry of Foreign Affairs channels. We came to discuss the question in principle.
We are in the Committee of 18, which is meeting right now in Geneva. We have not yet spoken there because we wanted to consult with you first. We intend to continue to discuss these questions there and fight for an improvement of the treaty draft. Of course, right now we cannot propose language which would be ideal. We are in favor of continuing negotiations with the Americans and seeking mutually acceptable solutions to questions. It is clear that if we intend to conclude an agreement then the Americans, too, should agree. Therefore we think that it is necessary to use Geneva more actively, and pressure the Americans in the Committee of 18 in order to finally come to an acceptable solution of the question.
L. I. BREZHNEV. We need to also take into account those consultations which have been held with the other countries of the Warsaw Pact, for this question affects not only the two of us, but also the other countries. The comrades are also waiting. Evidently, you need to somehow word your proposals and bring them to the notice of the other fraternal countries, for this is the question of concern to all of us.
N. CEAUSESCU. Of course, we do not have anything against [this]. We wanted to consult with you first of all. We can either send them our views or discuss this at a PCC meeting.
It will not be hard for us to present our point of view; we have a transcript of our conversations with you. We will put it on order, process [it], and send [it] out. We can also give instructions to our representatives in Geneva so they discuss this question there with the comrades who are present there from the other socialist countries.
L. I. BREZHNEV, A. N. KOSYGIN. First, it’s necessary to come to agreement between the leaders of the socialist countries.
A. A. GROMYKO. In order to discuss the draft treaty in Geneva it needs to first be submitted to the Committee of 18 for consideration. We are not able to coordinate the text with the US yet, and to consequently submit it to the Committee as coordinated in advance.
L. I. BREZHNEV. Maybe we can end today with this, but continue our conversation tomorrow. Possibly, here at 10 a. m. We’ll sum up the results of the discussion of the first question and then switch to the second.
Brezhnev and Ceausescu begin by extending warm welcomes to one another before diving into the importance of finalizing a draft of a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Most of the discussion is spent arguing over the relevance of disarmament within the treaty.
Associated People & Organizations
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].
Original Uploaded Date