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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08PARIS245 2008-02-12 10:10 2010-12-01 23:11 SECRET Embassy Paris
DE RUEHFR #0245/01 0431058
P 121058Z FEB 08
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 000245 



EO 12958 DECL: 02/07/2018 

Classified By: DCM Mark A. Pekala, for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. (S) Summary. On February 7, Acting U/S John Rood and his delegation met his French and British P3 counterparts, Philippe Carre and Mariot Leslie respectively, to discuss a broad range of nonproliferation, arms control and disarmament issues. Unusually, the French were closer to the U.S. than were the British on most issues. The greatest area of divergence involved a strong UK push for complete nuclear disarmament as a long term goal, including using verification measures in P5 countries. Rood and Carre expressed skepticism that this would have a significant impact either on aspiring proliferators or NGO disarmament advocates. They urged the British to join instead in a P3 strategy publicizing our strong nuclear disarmament records, promoting FMCT and START follow-on, and focusing on emerging threats such as nuclear terrorism. On missile defense, the British and French both praised our efforts with Russia as forward-leaning, supported our post-START approach, and expressed concern about Russia’s moves to globalize the INF treaty. The British strongly supported the U.S. in seeking NATO endorsement in the Bucharest Communique of our MD efforts in Europe; the French, while remaining reluctant, agreed to support language in the Communique recognizing the threat and the utility of MD as one element of a response, and positively recognizing U.S. interceptors and radars as the core of a NATO capability. The P3 also discussed enforcement of the NPT vis-a-vis Iran, civil nuclear energy cooperation with India, cluster munitions, a proposed UK Arms Trade Treaty and difficulties with Egypt and China. The P3 plan to meet again in April. End Summary.


2. (S) The meeting began with general agreement that, in the last 10 to 15 years, proliferation concerns have grown and that the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime is under stress. While aspiring proliferators such as Iran constitute the primary threat, the issue of energy security (and the acquisition of nuclear energy by non-nuclear states) has raised a new NPT dimension as well. U/S Rood stated that the USG was interested in creating “rules of the road” to allow for the peaceful use of nuclear energy within the NPT. Leslie agreed, adding that UK FM David Miliband was focusing on using the new demand for nuclear energy to look at safety issues as well as building capacity (some of which can be addressed through PSI).

3. (S) Participants agreed that Iran is the primary problem facing the states in the NPT regime. Carre stated that if the international community is unable to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state, the NPT will lose credibility. U/S Rood agreed, adding that enforcement of the NPT regime must be the first priority, followed by addressing structural defects in the regime that allow nations to acquire enrichment technologies without any justification. Leslie said that, while no one was “on Iran’s side,” some in the NAM, such as Brazil and Egypt, pay lip service to Iranian arguments for their own political reasons. All agreed that the P3 should do more to mobilize the various constituencies to promote better understanding of the threat and show that the stakes of withdrawing from the NPT are high.

4. (S) There was extensive discussion about a UK proposal to push for complete nuclear disarmament as a long-term goal, to include confidence-building measures by the P5 as a gesture of good will towards non-nuclear states suspicious of our nuclear reduction efforts. Leslie argued that there is a “political danger” within the UK and in NATO if the member states don’t live up to the commitments in the NPT, including the final goal of a world without nuclear weapons. Leslie conceded U/S Rood’s point that a P5 effort of this kind would not persuade Iran or other nuclear weapons aspirants to give up their nuclear ambitions, but she asserted that it would help bring countries such as Brazil, Egypt and South Africa to greater trust and support for the P5 in this area. The UK is planning to circulate a draft paper with proposals in four areas to help demonstrate the P5 commitment to reducing nuclear arsenals. These areas would concentrate on: (1) Work on definitions of nuclear terms and forces; (2) Greater transparency on warhead production and storage facilities (that would not need to include information on current location of warheads, but more general sharing of information about historic storage facilities); (3) Nuclear accident response; and (4) Verification of disarmament through peer review of technology, including demonstrating the practice of dismantling a nuclear warhead. If initiated, these proposals might build support for additional P5 initiatives like the
PARIS 00000245 002 OF 004
nuclear fuel cycle program, Leslie said.

5. (S) U/S Rood and Carre expressed strong disagreement with the UK proposal, with U/S Rood emphasizing that it was far better for the P3 to adopt a positive agenda by emphasizing our strong nuclear disarmament record, pursuing FMCT and START follow-on, and focusing on emerging threats such as nuclear terrorism. U/S Rood questioned whether the UK proposal would be counter-productive. No one had challenged P5 nuclear disarmament announcements, but focusing on verification of P5 steps could cast doubt on those achievements and raise questions about aspects of the dismantling such as the retention of the plutonium pits at the center of the warhead (which actually renders it less susceptible to therft or diversion than would grinding down the material). Verification is a means of checking compliance; it is not relevant in the context of NPT Article VI, which sets no specific milestones to be checked and leaves it to the P5 to determine their own progress. U/S Rood asked about the demonstration effect on other countries: it could actually be de-stabilitizing for Pakistan, India and Israel to increase transparency through verification and steps advocated by the UK, such as publishing locations of nuclear weapons production and deployment. Carre agreed firmly and added that the UK proposal went far beyond acceptable parameters.


6. (S) U/S Rood observed that P3 nuclear weapons arsenals had been reduced since signing the NPT in 1968, with the U.S. now at one-fourth of its stockpile at the peak of the Cold War, but meanwhile China is building up its nuclear arsenal and Russia is placing increasing emphasis on nuclear weapons in its doctrine. Unfortunately, the Chinese oppose a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) because they wanted to preserve their freedom of action and ability to make more nuclear weapons. Leslie said that the UK is less concerned about the Chinese nuclear and conventional arms build-up than is the U.S., particularly with respect to Taiwan, but that London wants China involved in the FMCT process, even at the cost of a long transition period and agreement on what type of Chinese arms build-up would ultimately be acceptable. Carre advocated strengthened P5 cooperation and said that the Chinese want to be seen as “equals” with the other P5 members in ensuring world stability and security, and suggested this motivation could be played on to move China’s behavior closer into alignment with its own more positive rhetoric.


7. (S) Leslie proposed having the P5 meet with Egypt before the next Prepcom to allow the GOE to vent its “grievances” and then perhaps engage more productively in the future. The UK fears that the Egyptians are “gearing up for a fight” if they don’t believe their concerns are being properly addressed. U/S Rood observed that Egyptian tactics were backfiring; they received fewer votes at the September 2007 IAEA general conference than the year before and seemed genuinely surprised. Furthermore, it is not in their interest to remove the ambiguity of Israel’s nuclear status which was stabilizing to the region. Carre agreed and said that there was no benefit to weakening the Israeli pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons in the Middle East.


8. (S) Carre opened the subject of civil nuclear energy cooperation by noting that France had recently initialed an agreement on this subject with the government of India. The provisions of the French-Indian agreement were similar to those in the U.S.-India agreement and the process had presented fewer problems than expected. The GOF had repeatedly emphasized to the GOI that India must obtain the approval of the IAEA and there would be no shortcuts or special exceptions. U/S Rood said that the USG strongly believes that language on safeguards in perpetuity should not be made conditional on fuel supply and we had informed the IAEA of our position. The GOI was still testing the will of the international community to find flexibility on this. Leslie affirmed that the UK was in agreement with both the U.S. and France on this issue and the British would be concerned if India obtained an agreement in which safeguards could lapse if fuel supplies were disrupted. She doubted that the GOI would complete the necessary steps this year.
PARIS 00000245 003 OF 004
Furthermore, China was not blocking progress on Indian civil nuclear cooperation, but the UK fully expects that they will raise the case of Pakistan as soon as the Indian situation is resolved.


9. (S) U/S Rood noted that the U.S. is continuing discussions with Russia on a post-START regime. Both Russia and U.S. did not want to simply extend the current agreement, which is both cumbersome and expensive. The U.S. wanted to draft a new agreement based on the Moscow Treaty. Unfortunately, Russia wanted conventional weapons to be limited under the agreement as well. The U.S. does not agree; as a compromise, in October we proposed a legally binding treaty with transparency and confidence-building measures. However, in the run up to the Russian presidential election, the Russians are in no mood to compromise. We do not support further efforts on global INF.

10. (S) On Missile Defense, Carre observed that the Russians realized the issue was more complicated than they initially believed. The U.S. offer not to activate the system until the threat matured showed that the MD system in Europe was not oriented towards Russia. Unfortunately, in the Russian government the more moderate diplomatic voices were marginalized by the power of the Russian military. Carre said that France had recognized the missile threat and agreed that missile defense was one element of a broad response to this threat. The French regard the U.S. interceptors and radars as the logical core of a NATO capability. However, an endorsement at NATO raises consequences that the French believe need to be carefully considered. For example, Bulgaria and Turkey were already raising the need for collective financing of an additional NATO-linked system, saying that it was required under NATO’s treaty ensuring collective defense.

11. (S) In response, U/S Rood said that there are many examples where individual states have different capabilities that they bring to the Alliance that do not require common funding. A NATO endorsement of MD at Bucharest would simply note that the U.S. system in Europe exists and forms the core of a future Alliance capability. It does not commit the Alliance to any programmatic costs or a common funding mechanism. It is fully in keeping with other weapons programs developed by the allies and would ensure that there is no divisability of security. Leslie agreed, saying that if the threat is recognized and missile defense is effective in combating such a threat, then the alliance should not hesitate to endorse missile defense. The UK does not see the NATO endorsement as any commitment to actual expenditure, but merely a commitment to the principle.


12. (S) U/S Rood emphasized that the international community was making progress in addressing cluster munitions concerns in the UN-authorized Convention on Conventional Weaposn (CCW) process. The USG was concerned about Norway’s efforts to go outside this multilateral track via the “Oslo Process.” We believe this is both impractical and unconstructive and would prefer that other countries not participate in this outside mechanism. Leslie responded that the UK was participating in both the CCW and the Oslo Process as a “tactical maneuver” designed to keep activity within the bounds of their “redlines” and at the same time, keep the CCW alive. The UK wants to keep the “smart” type of cluster munitions and would not agree to phase out anything without a transitional period. At the same time, the UK is concerned about the impact of the Oslo Process on the aftermath of a conflict (foreseeing “astronomical bills” handed out to those who used cluster munitions in the past). Carre said that France could not afford to ignore the Oslo Process given the political power of the NGOs on this issue, but like the UK they hope to affect the debate as a participant. Cluster munitions have also attracted the attention of FM Kouchner and the French government is under “heavy domestic pressure” to take action.  Unfortunately, once cluster munitions are declared to be unacceptable, it is hard to argue that we still need to use them for awhile.


13. (S) Finally, Leslie raised the issue of the proposed
PARIS 00000245 004 OF 004
Arms Trade Treaty, saying their motives for support for this agreement were clear and they hoped it could be used to raise the standards of other states and create a more responsible arms trade. As the treaty would deal with export of arms, it should not run afoul of U.S. constitutional concerns as it would not limit the U.S. citizen constitutional right to bear arms. Carre agreed that there was scope for something to be done to further regulate arms transfers. U/S Rood observed that while encouraging responsible behavior in arms transfers in general was good, the risk with a treaty was than an unacceptably low standard for arms transfers would result. Rood also said that the U.S. had concerns about any potential impact on second amendment rights.

14. (U) This cable has been reviewed and cleared by Acting U/S Rood. Please visit Paris’ Classified Website at: fm