Cablegate: Us Experts Discuss Fmct at Conference On

P 061259Z AUG 08


E.O. 12958: N/A



1. (U) Summary: The U.S. Delegation to the Conference on
Disarmament (CD) hosted two U.S experts July 29-31 to
participate in CD informal discussions and reach out to key
delegations on the proposed Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty
(FMCT). The goal of the visit was to reinforce the argument
that an FMCT is the issue most ripe for negotiation at the CD
and to explain specific U.S. policy positions related to the
proposed FMCT to key delegations. Dr. Stanley Fraley, senior
advisor to the Department of State and former Director of
VCI/NA, and Jeffrey Eberhardt, Director of VCI/NA,
participated in an informal session of the CD on the proposed
FMCT and a series of outreach events to CD delegations,
effectively explaining and highlighting key U.S. policy
elements relative to the proposed FMCT. Their visit yielded
sustained substantive discussions of the FMCT, repeated
positive acknowledgment by CD colleagues of the persuasive
arguments they deployed to explain the U.S. position on
verification of the FMCT, and the advantages for
international security of pursuing a treaty soon rather than
later. Numerous CD delegations expressed their appreciation
for the cogent explanations presented by the two U.S.
experts. End Summary

U.S. Experts Reach Openness Disarms CD Delegations
2. (U) Fraley and Eberhardt participated in a series of
informal discussions with key CD delegations to explain U.S.
policies on the FMCT and to highlight the importance of
pursuing a proposed treaty without seeking solutions to the
most complicated issues up front. Their expertise and ease
in explaining complex issues gave them instant and sustained
credibility, and substantively advanced U.S. arguments on
these important policy issues. Fraley, with 30 years of
experience working on the issue, brought balance and
expertise to a debate that has acquired considerable
political baggage over the years. His frank and thorough
explanations of issues perceived by many to be complicated
and contentious, including the issue of effective
verification, illustrated the compelling rationale for the
U.S. position. Eberhardt's concise explanations of the
policy deliberations leading up to the U.S. decision that
effective verification of an FMCT was unrealistic were
appreciated for their candor and clarity, especially by
delegations who believe the U.S. interagency process to be
opaque. Their combined efforts gave the U.S. a powerful
platform to reinvigorate an issue that many consider to have
been flogged to death over the past several years.

Indians Seek Assurances on Stocks
3. (SBU) At a luncheon hosted by Ambassador Rocca for the
Indian delegation, Fraley and Eberhardt responded effectively
to numerous questions from the Indian delegation about U.S.
intentions for an FMCT. Insisting that they attach no
linkages to commencing negotiations of an FMCT, the Indians
professed they have supported negotiations since 1993.
Welcoming the detailed explanation of how the U.S. reached
its conclusions that effective verification was not possible,
the Indians focused on the issue of stocks of fissile
material, and it clearly took them time to fully grasp that
the U.S. would not yield on its opposition to including
stocks in an FMCT. Reassured, the Indians left the lunch
with a greater appreciation of the U.S. position and more
confident that they would not be isolated on the issue of
stocks. As for verification, the Indians continued to
believe that some form of international verification was
preferable, even after Fraley's effective arguments that
IAEA-type verification were not sufficient for an FMCT.

4. 4. (U) DCM Larson also hosted a roundtable discussion
with several delegations, including Netherlands, Turkey,
Chile, Indonesia, Canada, and Romania. All delegations
remained engaged throughout the meeting and expressed their
gratitude for the candor and clarity of Fraley and
Eberhardt's answers. On the subject of verification,
Eberhardt again outlined the USG decision-making process,
using the Shannon Mandate to U.S. advantage as a
demonstration of its initial advocacy for verification. They
reminded participants that the US would welcome proposals for
effective verification, but clearly explained why anything
less would be rejected as counterproductive (Note: namely,
that it would undermine attempts to improve the NPT
verification regime by accepting a lesser regime as
effective. End note.) As a demonstration of their openness,
they patiently listen to various proposals by the
participants, giving specific explanations of why the
proposed regimes were impracticable (releasing
proliferation-sensitive information) or ineffective (failing
to account for diversion). Fraley helpfully reminded the
delegations that the draft FMCT would still be legally
binding and subject to compliance procedures. Responding to
questions about stocks, Fraley unequivocally rejected
proposals to include stocks as a diversionary tactic, since
stocks are a known non-starter for states possessing nuclear
weapons. Delegations doubtless left the meeting with a
stronger sense of U.S. dedication to an FMCT, as demonstrated
by its long-standing moratorium and its voluntary safe-guards
measures, which were outlined by Fraley and Eberhardt.

5. (U) See Geneva 00655 for detail on India,s
participation in the CD informal on the FMCT and related
events that week.

6. (U) Comment: Fraley and Eberhardt were just what the
doctor ordered for the CD. Their expertise, willingness to
engage, and openness added renewed energy to the CD's
discussions of the FMCT, and again confirmed that an FMCT is
the issue most ripe for negotiation. Fraley's emphasis that
a treaty with a straight-forward normative ban on fissile
material production would advance international security
interests quicker and more effectively than protracted
negotiations won recognition (if not necessarily support0
from many delegations, especially since the message came from
a person with years of hard earned experience in the issue.
The U.S. CD Delegation would welcome the chance to host these
experts again at a time suited to most effectively leverage
their expertise.

Rocca sends.


End Cable Text

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