The president of the Mexican delegation to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Alfonso Garcia Robles, explained why the Latin American nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) would represent the most ambitious regional project to address nuclear perils. He explained the security implications of the agreement, especially in terms of nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear disarmament, and negative security assurances. He also clarified that the Latin American project would benefit signatories economically. He argued that Latin American governments would not have to waste the resources necessary to engage in nuclear arms races if the region were denuclearized. Moreover, he explained that Mexico’s final aim was to achieve general and complete disarmament; thus, Mexican authorities saw the NPT as a means and not a goal on its own.
November 9, 1966
Speech by the President of the Mexican Delegation, Ambassador Lic. Alfonso García Robles, Undersecretary of Foreign Relations, in the General Debate of the First Committee on the Theme 'The Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons'
This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)
Alfonso Garcia Robles used his address to describe the progress in the negotiations of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. For him, this treaty included the most ambitious definition of nuclear weapons compared to existing nuclear governance texts. Another innovation was the reliance on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguard system to monitor compliance. Garcia Robles also explained that Latin American delegations were almost in consensus about the Treaty of Tlatelolco text except for a couple of issues. Countries did not agree on defining the territory where the treaty would apply and when it would enter into force. The Ambassador also took this opportunity to explain the Latin American efforts to obtain negative security assurances from China. Moreover, he reminded delegates that the success of the NPT would depend on balancing obligations for nuclear and non-nuclear-weapon states. Mexican representatives argued that it was necessary to include more ambitious disarmament goals in the draft of the NPT. However, they rejected proposals to condition the approval of the NPT on the existence of concrete steps toward disarmament
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