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If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09LONDON2616.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09LONDON2616 2009-11-20 17:05 2011-02-04 21:09 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy London
DE RUEHLO #2616/01 3241703
R 201703Z NOV 09
E.O. 12958: N/A 

38. (SBU)  Gower (UK) said that sharing the numbers and types of weapons was acceptable, but not their actual location or transit plans.  It was important to ensure these weapons were not intercepted.  For example, the UK was comfortable stating that it had 160 nuclear warheads, but would not release information on the location of any one of these warheads.  

39. (SBU)  Briens (France) stated that total transparency was not desirable, of course, but an agreed minimum level of transparency was key to confidence building.  There should be an agreed level of reciprocity.  It was easier for a state to be transparent when it possessed a large arsenal, than when it had a modest one.  Look (U.S.) stated that the United States and Russia were quite transparent with respect to strategic weapons, but had not learned how to discuss tactical weapons yet, and this was needed.  

40. (SBU)  Leslie (UK) asked about the feasibility of holding non-public (confidential) discussions and the extent to which P5 discussions of nuclear capabilities were affected by the existence of nuclear arsenals in non-P5 states.  

41. (SBU)  Briens (France) stated that currently France had been updating a document that gives guidance on public disclosure of its nuclear capabilities.  Systems that had been withdrawn from service were found to be of lesser sensitivity.  Strategic stability among the P5 would improve once the P5 were able to build confidence in the area of nuclear capabilities.  

42. (SBU)  Leslie (UK) stated that the internet had great potential to expand proliferation; increased computing power was widely available, and this had an impact on expanded proliferation threats.  The reality that information could be widely and quickly disseminated would have a braking effect on transparency.  Gower (UK) stated that the impact of emerging nuclear powers on P5 members depended upon geographic orientation.  Look (U.S.) said that there was still a community of interest with respect to emerging nuclear states.  

Challenges in Nuclear Accident Response ----------------------------------------  

43. (SBU)  Ushatov (Russia) provided an overview of the last four exercises regarding nuclear accident response in which it had participated.  These exercises occurred in Russia during 2004, in the UK during 2005, in the United States during 2006, and in France during 2007.  He noted that a lot of work had been done jointly by France, Russia, the United States and the UK.  He was convinced that open discussion would continue to lead to improved cooperation.  Russia had proposed these exercises in 2002 at a meeting in The Hague, and had been pleased that they were successful. 

44. (SBU) After brief description of the four P5 exercises, Ushatov criticized the United States for not demonstrating its equipment capabilities during the 2006 exercise and said that Russia would have "loved" to see the robots and other technical systems employed in the scenarios.  Russia had been impressed by the U.S. emphasis on interaction with the media and gauging of public response to the accidents and consequence management measures.  Russia judged the exercise in France had been the best, showing a high level of organizational expertise.  France also demonstrated a lot of technical equipment, which Russia appreciated.  Russian political and military leadership saw the advantage of routine drilling for political and military units to practice response regimes.  Russia also noted a difference between NATO P5 members and the others (China and Russia) with respect to levels of nuclear weapons and chains of custody of nuclear materials.  NATO Command and Control capabilities seemed to enhance the efficiency of the exercises.  Russia could not see technical response teams in the field, but did see how command and control matters were addressed, which apparently NATO believed were more critical.  

45. (SBU)  Sankey (UK) noted that each of the P5 knew how difficult exercises were, but the totality of all four exercises combined seemed to have had an overall positive  LONDON 00002616  002 OF 007   (complementary) effect.  Cameron (UK) stated that planning for nuclear accident response was no substitute for planning for accident prevention.  

46. (SBU)  Li (China) stated that it managed nuclear weapons very closely.  China's weapons were absolutely safe and reliable.  There had been no accidents in 40 years.  Command and Control was highly centralized and under the direct control of the Central Committee.  All management and use of nuclear materials had strict regulations.  All personnel involved in handling were strictly cleared and controlled. Technical procedures for storage, handling, movement and safety of nuclear materials were highly prescribed.  Sankey (UK) replied that China seemed to focus on accident prevention, whereas the rest of the P5 seemed oriented on accident response.  

47. (SBU)  Russia (Leontiev) noted that, with regard to transparency, the U.S. presentation mentioned an exercise with France on accident response.  He asked under what legal framework was such a bilateral exercise conducted.  The U.S. side had stated that there were long-standing memoranda of agreement with the UK and France regarding cooperation in this area.  The United States also had noted that such an exercise had also been conducted in accordance with the Bratislava Agreement, where a full-scale field radiological exercise was conducted in St. Petersburg.  

48. (SBU)  Sankey (UK) proposed that the P5 agree in principle to cooperate more in the area of nuclear accident response, noting that peer review, exercise reviews and a working group could be part of this cooperation.  He understood that China might have to consult with Beijing prior to agreeing.  The United States (Look) and France (Briens) supported this proposal, in principle, including the formation of a working group.  Leontiev (Russia) asked about joint exercises, and what should be considered a joint exercise.  The Sankey (UK) responded that the UK believed that an exercise with observers and joint participation would constitute a joint exercise.  China (WU) saw the merits of such a proposal, but needed to consult with the capital before agreeing.  Russia (Leontiev) proposed that the sides use the word "envisage" further cooperation in the joint statement flowing from the conference, thereby not requiring an immediate decision.  China said that it could endorse a result whereby the sides "considered" continued cooperation in this area.  Russia (Leontiev) stated that its HOD, currently holding a bilateral meeting, would have to approve.  The United States (Look) reiterated the value of working groups.  

Challenges in Verification of Nuclear Disarmament --------------------------------------------- -----  

49. (SBU)  Chambers (UK) described an exercise on technical verification/disarmament issues conducted by the UK, Norway and the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (an NGO), as well as briefed on the UK's efforts to account for all of its fissile materials since the start of its nuclear programs.  The goal of the UK/Norwegian exercise was to develop methodologies and technologies for nuclear disarmament verification for both multilateral and bilateral treaties.  During the exercise, the sides developed inspection methodologies beginning with the initial contact between a nuclear weapon state (NWS) and a non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS), and culminating in a mock inspection. Information barrier technology was used to allow specific measurements for verification of data, while simultaneously allowing the host or inspected state to protect sensitive information.  During the exercise, the UK played the role of a NNWS, while Norway played the role of a NWS that had agreed to disarmament and a verification inspection.  

50. (SBU)  Chambers (UK) said that many challenges had been overcome over the two-year period of the exercise, and the sides learned many lessons, especially those related to the importance of negotiating access controls.  Access was necessarily intrusive, as well as resource intensive. Additionally, the sides learned that maintaining the chain of custody of fissile materials/components was impossible without technical measurements and accountability via seals/control numbers.  Moreover, the sides concluded that the best information barrier was a measurement device that provided a pass/fail or yes/no indication to a pre-determined set of criteria or information shared between the two parties without revealing any other (sensitive) information about the  LONDON 00002616  003 OF 007   item being inspected.  The biggest problem to emerge was that of imprecise records regarding fissile material, especially for the early years of the UK nuclear program.  In the UK experience, paper records, vice electronic records, were of more value and more trustworthy.  Further, current and accurate accounting procedures were paramount.  With this in mind, the UK believed that it had accounted for all of its historical fissile material with an uncertainly level of 1-2 percent of the total.  

51. (SBU)  Kuznetsov (Russia) noted that Russia would not allow a second party to observe the actual dismantlement process within Russia.  This position was especially true if the observing state was an NPT NNWS.  Chambers (UK) stressed that NNWS needed to be involved in the nuclear disarmament/verification process in order to build their confidence in NWS disarmament.  Kuznetsov (Russia) said that bilateral arrangements, such as between the U.S. and Russia, were better than that of the UK/Norwegian framework. Kuznetsov reiterated that the UK/Norway model would not work for Russia, since Norway was a NNWS.  

52. (SBU)  Zhang Chunafei (China) commented that the UK stated that it could account for all but 1-2 percent of its fissile material.  If the same percentage applied to the United States, that would mean 1-2 tons of nuclear material from the U.S. stockpile would be unaccounted for, which was enough material for a quite a few weapons.  The UK responded by noting that accuracy to within 1-2 percent was likely the best that could be achieved given the problem of incomplete/missing records over the course of more than 50 years.  Wells (UK) added that accounting precision was much better for shorter (more recent) timelines and that perhaps the world community could have confidence that the vast majority of fissile material had been accounted for.  

53. (SBU) Zhang Chunafei (China) described Chinese efforts to develop verification technology for nuclear disarmament regimes.  He believed that both the U.S. and UK approaches to disarmament verification were needed.  One focused on the outcome (the United States) and the other on the process to include the technical aspects (the UK).  He said that China advocated a worldwide nuclear test ban.  In order to achieve the goal of zero nuclear weapons in the world, there needed to be new international and regional disarmament accords/treaties.  He noted that the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics had been working for 10 years on the issue of disarmament verification technologies, primarily chain of custody (of fissile materials) and authentication.  

54. (SBU)  Zhang (China) stated that the Chinese Academy had focused its research on four primary areas.  The first was identification technology on the characteristic signature of highly enriched uranium.  The second was technology to measure six attributes of plutonium and the associated information barriers that can authenticate plutonium components.  Next, the Academy studied technological solutions for both active and passive uranium detection. Finally, the Academy had investigated the use of template matching technology to detect characteristic signatures spontaneously radiated from various types of nuclear warheads.  Zhang also stressed the importance of chain of custody technology, including tags, seals, tamper detection devices, and remote/portal monitoring.  These measures were especially important during transportation and storage.  In conclusion, he said that a balance must be struck between effectiveness and acceptability for the development and use of verification technology.  

55. (SBU)  Miraillet (France) listed three main challenges to verification:  non-proliferation, protection of national classified information, and confidence in the verification results.  Bugaut (France) noted that France unilaterally had implemented a fissile material production moratorium and that France had exact measurements and records from initial dismantlement to end use for its fissile material and that all parts of a weapon were tracked during the dismantlement/ destruction process.  He noted that France even had "birth" and "death" certificates for its nuclear weapons and fissile material.  

56. (SBU)  Coriolis (France) stated that France had invited international observers to verify French disarmament claims, specifically, that factories capable of producing weapons grade fissile material were no longer in operation.  Sankey (UK) said that as more states took unilateral disarmament  LONDON 00002616  004 OF 007   steps, mechanisms for acceptable verification would need to be developed.  China noted that a moratorium on the production of weapons grade fissile material was complicated and that a comprehensive treaty would better address the issue.  China also agreed that was difficult to verify unilateral moratorium actions.  

57. (SBU)  Look (U.S.) stated that President Obama's Prague speech articulated the U.S. commitment to "seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons" and outlined some of the initial concrete arms control steps that the U.S. would pursue to help move the international community toward that end:  (1) reductions, initially bilaterally with Russia but ultimately involving all states with nuclear weapons capabilities, in nuclear arsenals; (2) ratification and entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT; and (3) a treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in nuclear weapons, that is, a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, or FMCT.   The speech also made clear that, until the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons was achieved, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee that defense to its allies.  A corollary of this requirement was that while the United States would take steps to reduce the level of its nuclear forces and the allies' role in U.S. security, the United States also would ensure that it protected sensitive information whose exposure would undermine our ability to continue to maintain the necessary nuclear deterrent capabilities.  

58. (SBU)  She said that both sides were seeking what would amount to a 30 percent reduction in U.S. deployed nuclear weapons.  The NPR would move the U.S. towards the President's goals and develop a U.S. nuclear posture that preserved the effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent for as long as it was required, reduced the potential for conflict and nuclear use, enhanced strategic stability world-wide, and strengthened the non-proliferation regime.  It was only after the P5 decided how it wanted to proceed toward achieving the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons ) and determined what should be limited at each step along the path to zero and how much confidence in compliance was required ) that the P5 could begin to decide how to verify those commitments.  A second difficult issue that the P5 would need to address was how to assure the ban on nuclear weapons was being complied with and that there were no new ) emerging ) nuclear weapons states.  Once the P5 decided what types of limitations might be required and how it was going to achieve those limitations as a policy matter, the challenge would be to see if it had, or could develop, the technological tools to help the P5 meet the associated verification challenges.  

59. (SBU) Look (U.S.) added that the INF and START Treaties and the Trilateral Initiative were especially relevant to the issue of elimination of nuclear weapons.  In the INF and START treaties and in the Trilateral Initiative, the parties had to grapple with some of the same kinds of issues that were raised by any serious examination of the steps required to achieve and verify disarmament.  In order to inform collaboration on a way forward among the P5, Koncher (U.S.) briefed the conference on the results of the Trilateral Initiative undertaken by the United States, Russia, and the IAEA in the 1990s to develop an approach to verify that material declared to have been removed from nuclear weapons and declared excess to defense needs was used only for peaceful purposes.  He also outlined some more recent work undertaken by the United States and the United Kingdom on warhead verification and authentication.  

Challenges in Verification of Treaty Compliance --------------------------------------------- --  

60. (SBU)  Sankey (UK) asserted that there were technical challenges to implementing the CTBT treaty.  He noted that there had been progress made in deploying the international monitoring system (IMS), which at present was nearly 75 percent complete, but said that it was expensive to maintain and update.  Nonetheless, the IMS network worked well for the May 2009 North Korea event.  

61. (SBU)  China (Wu) stated that, in terms of compliance, states must look at symptoms as well as root causes. Non-compliance should be dealt with via legitimate international means.  It was very serious to accuse countries without solid evidence.  The IAEA was key and its role in  LONDON 00002616  005 OF 007   safeguards should be strengthened.  

62. (SBU)  China had signed all relevant agreements and complied with them.  It had taken part in diplomatic efforts to promote dialogue to address non-compliance.  China had set up its own domestic controls.  For example, its state system of accounting and control of nuclear material had been in place since 1987, and it had revised its legal code to make it a crime to transport nuclear material under certain situations.  China constantly reviewed its nuclear export controls to make sure they were in line with international practice.  It had signed bilateral agreements for civilian nuclear use, and was active in international exchanges, including with IAEA.  States should use diplomatic and political means to make sure that the IAEA safeguards system was uniform and fair.  

63. (SBU)  Russia (Leontiev) noted that, in the area of compliance, the United States and Russia had had an agreement regarding enriched uranium.  He said that the United States had been confident this material originated in Russian nuclear warheads, and Russia had been confident that United States had downblended this material and converted it to civilian use.  The United States and Russia had had 15-16 years of experience with on-site inspections.  

64. (SBU)  In addressing China's statement, Briens (France) said that France found it difficult to regard compliance as a gray area. Treaty obligations were clear, and there could be no intermediate solutions.  France knew of three key violators of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, two of which were the source of major insecurity.  It was dangerous to talk about margins of tolerance in such situations.  

65. (SBU)  Russia (Leontiev) stated that intrusiveness was a part of any verification regime.  The procedures of 15 years ago reflected the situation at that time, but now the United States and Russia enjoyed better relations.  Russia saw things differently, and would like to reduce and streamline those procedures to reduce cost.  

66. (SBU)  Koncher (U.S.) stated that compliance ) and the ramifications of non-compliance ) could affect fundamentally the P5's collective ability to achieve a safe and secure world free of nuclear weapons.  Compliance with arms control and non-proliferation commitments was important because of the security dimension -- all states depended, at least in part, on an expectation of compliance by treaty partners to meet their security requirements.  Additionally, the integrity and validity of arms control and non-proliferation arrangements depended on states' compliance with their obligations ) and on the willingness of the international community to take meaningful action when non-compliance occurs.  The P5 were quite familiar with the basics of the compliance assessment process because of efforts that the P5 unilaterally undertook to assess the compliance of other states with agreements to which the P5 were party, and/or because of P5 involvement in international efforts to assess compliance.  She reiterated the factors that were involved in the assessment process, as articulated by the 2007 report of the UN Expert Panel on Verification.  

67. (SBU)  He said the compliance assessment process was central to detecting and identifying, in a timely manner, actions that could affect capabilities to deter and defend against security threats arising from a violation by another state of its commitments.  The outcome of an assessment process provided legitimacy to, and helped inform the determination of, appropriate national and international responses, if/when violations were uncovered.  Some violations were inadvertent, e.g., the state was not aware that a certain action undertaken by it or by entities under its jurisdiction violated its commitments.  This could be due to lack of understanding of the commitment; lack of clarity in the commitment; different interpretations by states of the meaning of the commitment; and/or lack of capacity within the state both to inform society and subordinate units of steps required to fulfill the commitment, and to monitor domestic actions.  In these cases, the international community should take steps to help those states which inadvertently have fallen into non-compliance come back into compliance.  This could require capacity-building assistance if the reason for the non-compliance was the lack of indigenous resources to implement obligations fully.  

68. (SBU)  Koncher (U.S.) stated that other violations were  LONDON 00002616  006 OF 007   deliberate, i.e., a state conducting a prohibited activity to test the limits of international vigilance and willingness to hold violators accountable for their actions or to develop some prohibited capability.  In these cases, the international community likely will have three objectives: (1) to induce that state back into compliance; (2) to prevent the violation from providing the violator with a militarily or politically significant advantage; (3) to deter other would-be violators by signaling that violations and responses to violations matter.  Look outlined a number of possible steps that could be taken to address deliberate non-compliance by a state, as well as encouraged the P5 to consider how to address, both nationally and through support for international organizations, the technical gaps in effective response options to non-compliance, including: improvements in national and international technical monitoring capabilities, increases in resources for and authority to strengthen international inspections; and utilization of international mechanisms, such as the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, to educate states on compliance and how to go about making compliance assessments.  

Update on START ---------------  

69. (SBU)  Russia (Ryabkov) stated that its position in the START follow-on negotiations had been set forth by President Medvedev.  The negotiations in Geneva were supposed to implement the agreement of the U.S and Russian Presidents. He noted that the U.S. and Russia enjoyed good cooperation on disarmament and non-proliferation matters.  Russia considered parity key in disarmament.  The sides must reduce numbers, but overall relations needed to improve in parallel.  

70. (SBU)  Russia (Ryabkov) said the negotiations were in line with its national security requirements to retain a nuclear deterrent.  These negotiations were covering all delivery systems:  ICBMs, subs, and heavy bombers.  The number of nuclear warheads would be reduced by 25 percent. Russia believed that there was an organic relationship between offensive and defensive strategy.   Unilateral U.S systems threatened Russia.  The United States abrogated the ABM Treaty.  President Obama understood the ABM-START relationship, and this understanding was helpful.  Russia was concerned about plans for putting conventional warheads on strategic missiles because it created a dangerous ambiguity. Russia called for a new treaty on this issue.  Russia also wanted assurances that strategic offensive weapons would not be deployed outside the territory of the state.  In this regard, Russia considered the attempt by the United States to put missile defense installations outside its territory to be in violation of the principle of equal security.   Russia wanted verification to be cheaper through the use of advanced technology.  

71. (SBU)  Gottemoeller (U.S.) stated that the United States and Russia had had many years of experience in implementing the START I, INF, and Moscow Treaties, and they served as guiding principles in negotiating a replacement for the START Treaty by December.  The U.S. delegation met with its Russian colleagues four times leading up to the July Moscow Summit; the fifth meeting was now in progress.  These talks had been "businesslike and productive" and allowed the sides to conclude the Joint Understanding at the Summit.  The Joint Understanding provides an outline of what the new treaty would look like, but a great deal of work remained.  The new Treaty will combine the predictability of the START Treaty with the flexibility of the Moscow Treaty, but at lower numbers of delivery vehicles and their associated warheads. This flexibility gave the sides freedom to determine their nuclear force structure within set limits established by the new treaty.  This flexibility was clearly stated in paragraph 4 of the Joint Understanding, which underscores that each party will be able to determine the structure of its strategic forces for itself.  The Moscow Summit's Joint Understanding set two separate limits ) one for strategic delivery vehicles and the other for their associated warheads.  The Joint Understanding stated a wide range of 500-1100 delivery vehicles and 1500-1675 warheads.  These ranges will be narrowed through further negotiation.  The new treaty will also draw from the START verification regime; and, therefore, will provide predictability regarding the strategic forces on both sides ) both for existing force structures and modernization programs.   LONDON 00002616  007 OF 007   

72. (SBU)  In the Joint Understanding, Presidents Obama and Medvedev reaffirmed the long-standing common position that acknowledged the interrelationship between offensive and defensive systems.  The new Treaty was breaking no new ground on this issue.  Both Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed in their April 1 statement in London that the new START Treaty was about strategic offensive arms.  While the United States had long agreed that there was a relationship between missile offense and defense, it believed the START Follow-on Treaty was not the appropriate vehicle for addressing missile defense.  The United States agreed, however, to continue to discuss the topic of missile defense with Russia in a separate venue.  Some said that START Follow-on would not induce other countries to give up their weapons programs.  In and of itself, START Follow-on would not serve that purpose. The new treaty was something that will enhance U.S. and Russian national security as it served to establish a strategic balance that reflected the current security environment in a way that benefits each party and promotes peace and stability.  Moreover, the ability of the United States to persuade other nations to act collectively against those states committed to developing nuclear weapons will be bolstered through reductions in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.  In conclusion, the START Follow-on Treaty will be the first step in a process of pursuing further nuclear weapons reductions.  It will begin a narrative for our post-Cold War world, one that recognizes the need to eliminate the paralyzing threat of nuclear war by eliminating nuclear weapons.  

Public Statement on the Conference ----------------------------------  

73.  (U)  The P5 issued the following statement describing the conference:  Begin Statement:  The P5 states (China, France, Russia, UK and US) met in London on 3-4 September for a conference on confidence building measures towards disarmament and non-proliferation issues.  After the conference they issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to all objectives of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  The conference was originally proposed by the UK Defence Secretary at the Conference on Disarmament in February 2008 and was referred to by the UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in a speech on 17 March 2009.  The P5 reaffirmed their commitment to all objectives of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and that we should advance on all fronts to achieve them.  They reiterated their enduring commitment to the fulfillment of their obligations under Article VI of the NPT and noted that these obligations apply to all NPT States Parties.  They stressed their intention to work with all States Parties to the NPT in creating the conditions to enable further progress under Article VI.  They called upon all non-NPT States to work towards the same objective.  In a wide ranging discussion, the P5 considered the confidence-building, verification and compliance challenges associated with achieving further progress toward disarmament and non-proliferation, and steps to address those challenges.  They looked at ways to increase mutual understanding by sharing definitions of nuclear terminology and information about their nuclear doctrines and capabilities.  They made presentations on enhancing P5 strategic stability and building mutual confidence through voluntary transparency and other measures.  They also considered the international challenges associated with responding to nuclear accidents and undertook to consider ways to co-operate to address these challenges.  End Statement.  END PART TWO OF THREE     Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX