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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09LONDON2622 2009-11-20 17:05 2011-02-04 21:09 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy London
DE RUEHLO #2622/01 3241717
R 201717Z NOV 09
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2019 

1. (SBU/NF)  Summary and Introduction:  The United Kingdom (UK) hosted a conference of P5 states on 3-4 September 2009 to discuss confidence building measures (CBMs) on nuclear disarmament and associated non-proliferation issues.  The conference originated in a proposal made by then Defence Secretary Des Browne at the Conference on Disarmament and was reaffirmed by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown on March 17, 2009.  Following initial informal consultations with the P5, the scope of the conference included technical discussions on confidence-building measures and the verification and compliance challenges associated with achieving further progress toward disarmament and non-proliferation, and steps to address those challenges.  On the margins of the conference, heads of delegation held discussions on a broader approach to the NPT Review Conference and other related issues (Reftels).  

2. (SBU/NF)  The P5 exchanged views on how information exchanges and voluntary transparency measures could enhance strategic stability.  Afterwards, each State outlined, as far as they were able to, their current nuclear doctrine, nuclear capabilities, and their experiences with nuclear (weapon) accident response.  In general, the United States and the United Kingdom were highly transparent in their discussion of these issues, with Russia and France moderately transparent. China, while delivering a good presentation on the importance of transparency, was the least transparent of the five regarding its nuclear doctrine and capabilities.  

3. (SBU)  The sides also discussed political and technical challenges associated with verification of nuclear disarmament, including recordkeeping.  The UK briefed on its work with Norway on technical challenges associated with managed access, information barriers and chain of custody, and presented its experiences in publishing accounting documents for its military HEU and Pu holdings.  The United States' technical briefing covered its experiences with the Trilateral Initiative and U.S.-UK activities.  Additionally, the P5 addressed the political and technical challenges associated with assessing and responding to non-compliance with proliferation obligations, including existing mechanisms and additional tools and resources needed to determine breaches.  The U.S. and Russian delegations updated the other P5 on the status of the START follow-on discussions underway in Geneva.  

4. (SBU)  All P5 States agreed that the conference was productive.  They supported in principle the idea of future meetings in this area, but did not set up a formal process. The P5 agreed to work together on a common glossary on terminology used in arms control and non-proliferation. While the United States, France, and UK could agree to explore the concept of joint nuclear (weapon) accident exercise, China and Russia would not do so without consulting their governments.  End Summary and Introduction.  

Introductory Remarks --------------------  

5. (SBU)  In a video message to the conference, UK FM Miliband stated that this conference was a unique, historic gathering.  The spirit of P5 cooperation will be an important signal to other countries.  This conference would lay the foundation for future work and had three aims:  demonstration of P5 working together; better understanding of one another's views, redlines, shared interests; and planning of further work ahead, including a shared agenda for the 2010 NPT Review Conference.  He stated that the P5 were aware of the potential dangers, and were working on North Korea, Iran, and strengthening the NPT.  Historically, President Kennedy launched the NPT and dared the international community to think of the dangers of proliferation. The goal was to eliminate nuclear weapons.  The international community was facing a new era when a growth in nuclear threats * though not among the P5 * was a major concern.  

6. (SBU)  Ryabkov (Russia) stated that it was ready to cooperate and discuss all issues.  He (China) noted that the P5 had not had such a meeting in at least a decade.  This  LONDON 00002622  002 OF 008   conference would send a signal to the world.  The issues raised by this conference were getting new attention and China pledged its cooperation.  France stated that numerous challenges to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons exist, and the P5 must play a key role in meeting them.  The key for the P5 was to work on transparency and reciprocity. Ryabkov (Russia) emphasized the importance of creating conditions for disarmament.  Under Secretary Tauscher stated that she appreciated Her Majesty's Government convening this important meeting in preparation for next year's NPT Review Conference.  It was important for the P5 to work together to ensure unity, leading to success at the RevCon in strengthening the NPT as a bulwark against the further spread of nuclear weapons.  She said that she welcomed the opportunity to get to know her P5 colleagues, and looked forward to a constructive working relationship.  Increased understanding among the P5 on technical issues concerning verification, as well as on possible confidence-building measures, could contribute to a successful RevCon next year. She hoped that this meeting would initiate that process, as well as enable the P5 to share views and coordinate on NPT issues.  

Information Exchange and Voluntary Transparency Measures --------------------------------------------- -----------  

7. (SBU)  Briens (France) noted that transparency led to confidence, which was the key to disarmament and stability. He noted that President Sarkozy emphasized need for transparency and strategic stability in his speech at Cherbourg in March 2008.  The French Presidency had adopted an action plan, consisting of three key areas:  doctrine, capacity, and concrete actions.  On doctrine, France publicly stated its doctrine at Cherbourg and in 1994 and 2008 white papers and public speeches at the highest levels.  Since the end of the Cold War, France had been very transparent, which contributed to deterrence.  Former President Mitterand disclosed all details of their nuclear arsenal in 1994. President Sarkozy went further in Cherbourg by announcing a ceiling of 300 weapons.  All French nuclear weapons were operational, and France did not maintain a stockpile.  France had developed the ability to do nuclear tests in the laboratory.  France had ceased production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium; and irreversibly dismantled two installations associated with fissile material production for nuclear weapons and had opened up its dismantlement of its fissile material production facilities and its Pacific test sites to the international community, journalists, diplomats, and experts.  France noted that this transparency built confidence within the country and beyond, and stressed that the P5 should increase their transparency.  

8. (SBU)  He (China) stressed that information exchanges enhanced confidence, but noted that different countries had different strategic conditions, which led to different policies.  He suggested that, in order to increase transparency and confidence building, it was necessary for each nation to retain independence in decision making, to pursue practical measures -- starting from "easy" measures and building to more difficult ones.  

9. (SBU)  Leslie (UK) noted that UK policy was outlined in a white paper on disarmament published in 2006.  All UK political parties were committed to a defence review after the general election in 2010.  She promised to keep P5 members informed about that review.  Leslie added that nuclear terminology was key to working together.  It was "low on the ladder of easy-to-hard steps" and would be a good starting point for the P5 to continue cooperation.  She proposed that experts convene to create a dictionary as a step towards confidence building and transparency and improved communication.  

10. (SBU)  Koncher (U.S.) stated that the U.S.-Russian experience with data exchanges under the START and INF treaties had demonstrated the mutual exchange of information regarding nuclear capabilities could be a powerful force for increasing predictability and confidence that the actions of other states did not pose an existential threat to one's security.  Moreover, in an era when nuclear deterrence remained a requirement, the knowledge that could be imparted through such exchanges also could help states appropriately develop, size, and structure their nuclear doctrine and forces to meet their deterrence requirements.  Some had suggested that the ambiguity and uncertainty that derive from  LONDON 00002622  003 OF 008   a lack of information exchange best serves national interests and most effectively deters nuclear threats to one's national security and survival.  An alternative perspective, to which the United States subscribed, was that a lack of transparency necessarily adversely affects the thinking and force planning of other states, and most particularly that of other states which possess nuclear weapons capabilities.  It could lead to misunderstandings, miscalculations, and over-reactions.  If it did so, it could increase the difficulty of finding common ground and increase the amount of time required to take meaningful steps toward the NPT's nuclear disarmament objective.  

11. (SBU)  The United States recognized the sensitivity of certain information and also the obligation of the P5 to protect proliferation-sensitive information.  Nonetheless, U.S. experience suggested that it was possible to share information, particularly among the P5 but also, albeit to a lesser extent because of proliferation sensitivities, with the broader international community.  Transparency among states had the potential to make a quite meaningful contribution to strategic stability and to lay the foundation for progressive steps, including reductions, toward the goal of nuclear disarmament.  Making information available publicly also had the potential to enhance stability and the prospects for constructive steps toward nuclear disarmament. Look added that, as the U.S. and then-Soviet Union became more comfortable with exchanging information over time, not only did the amount of information exchanged increase, but also the scope and extent of reductions.   This did not mean that the U.S.-Russia experience should be duplicated, but rather to point out that there was something useful to be learned from that experience.  While arms control-related exchanges clearly had their place, arms control agreements were not the only vehicle for the dissemination of information on nuclear capabilities.  In the United States, much useful information related to U.S. intentions, doctrine, and capabilities was readily available in official public documents and in Congressional testimony.  Further, because we were intent on pursuing constructive relations within the P5 and with other countries, the United States intended, once the current Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) was completed, to brief its conclusions to the P5, and to explain the thought process and considerations that underpin those conclusions. The United States also intended to communicate the results publicly and to the broader international community.  

12. (SBU)  Koncher stated that information exchanges that increase transparency and reduce uncertainties regarding current and future intentions and capabilities were relevant.  Of course, the level of detail in the information that was provided will need to vary; more detailed information could be shared in confidential exchanges among P5 states, for example, than if the intended recipients were non-nuclear weapons states or the public.   While the level of detail will vary, consistent with security and proliferation sensitivities, we would suggest that there were several areas worthy of consideration for all of these types of exchanges: (1) nuclear doctrine(s); (2) nuclear capabilities; and (3) nuclear budgets.  

13. (SBU)  Briens (France) responded that the key to progress in this area was for the P5 to become more transparent.  He noted that several key documents on terminology were extant, but there was nothing recognized by all the P5.  Even in those documents, some terms were defined, but not explained. France supported the UK proposal.  Addressing terminology could be a good start.  Ryabkov (Russia) responded initially that Russia would "contribute actively," suggesting the Chinese or UK lead the effort.  Russia would help to expand it.  Leslie (UK) urged the sides to consider how the sides could build on the existing U.S.-China and U.S.-Russia glossaries.  

Nuclear Doctrine ----------------  

14.  (SBU) Li (China) stated that in the 1960s China proposed a summit for prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons; this remained a long-term goal.  China had been forced to create nuclear weapons, and its nuclear forces had been designed to deter nuclear strikes or threats of strikes against China.  China's command and control for its nuclear forces was highly centralized and had strict safety controls.  In short, China's doctrine was to survive a nuclear strike  LONDON 00002622  004 OF 008   and respond.  He reiterated China's long-standing policy of no first use, as well as its support for the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones.  He called upon the other P5 to commit to this policy, suggesting that it should be codified in a legally-binding international instrument.  The size and composition of China's nuclear arsenal was "very restrained, and China would not expend precious resources on an arms race."  China pledged not to deploy nuclear weapons on foreign soil, and opposed the creation of "nuclear umbrellas."  

15. (SBU)  The UK (Wells) noted that it believed that a number of countries would retain nuclear arms for the foreseeable future and that the risk of proliferation was growing.  To address this situation, the UK believed that nuclear weapons should be used for defence and deterrence, not offensive military objectives.  The UK retained the minimum nuclear weapons needed for deterrence, having only one type of delivery system, one type of launcher, and one type of warhead.  Currently, the UK had approximately 160 nuclear warheads.  The UK maintained ambiguity regarding the conditions in which it would use them, which increased their deterrence value.  The UK stated that its nuclear forces did not have the size or strategic depth that other nuclear powers had, so it could not commit to a no first use policy.  

16. (SBU)  Further, the UK believed that, with further reductions in nuclear arms, the risk of a pre-emptive strike would increase.  Therefore, the UK required a second strike capability to deter a first strike.  Furthermore, with further reductions, transparency became more important, but also more problematic.  While the UK was working toward a world without nuclear weapons, for now, it needed to maintain a modest arsenal.  

17. (SBU)  Russia (Ushatov) said its nuclear doctrine was set forth in a series of national security documents and laws, especially in the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, dated April 21, 2001.  In this document, Russia stated that it wanted to reduce the threat of all-out nuclear war, deter extremism, combat regional arms races, and deter proliferation.  Russia was threatened by states that tried to create dominance over others by developing highly accurate targeting for strategic forces, unilateral defense systems, and militarization of outer space.  Such practices would lead to another arms race.  

18. (SBU)  Russia (Ushatov) said that Russia must be prepared to deter any threat in any circumstance in order to ensure the security of itself and its allies.  Russia retained the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear strike on the homeland or on the territory of its allies, as well as in response to a major conventional attack.  Russia would never use nuclear weapons against an NPT non-nuclear weapon state or a non-nuclear power unless attacked.  

19. (SBU)  Russia (Ushatov) noted that there was a correlation between conditions for reductions and reductions.  The international community must create the conditions first, and reductions will follow.  For instance, reductions were negotiated with the United States in the context of the strategic situation.  If the situation changes again, Russia would have to adjust its force structure.  Russia was revising its military doctrine this autumn.  

20. (SBU)  Plumb (U.S.) stated that President Obama's speech in Prague made it clear that the United States would reduce its nuclear arsenal, with the aim of achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world.  He also promised that as long as nuclear weapons existed, the United States would maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee that defense to our allies.  He said the policies of successive U.S. administrations showed a marked continuity with respect to the purposes assigned to nuclear forces; namely, deterrence.  U.S. nuclear forces were designed to:  (1) deter acts of aggression involving nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction; (2) help deter, in concert with general purpose forces, major conventional attacks; and (3) support deterrence by holding at risk key targets that cannot be threatened effectively by non-nuclear weapons.  

21. (SBU)  The U.S. nuclear arsenal had defended not only the United States and its military forces, but also U.S. allies in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere.  Assurance remained an essential instrument of allied security and U.S.  LONDON 00002622  005 OF 008   non-proliferation policy, and significantly reduced the need for allies to acquire nuclear weapons of their own.  The United States sought to assure its allies and friends that the U.S. nuclear deterrent continued to serve as the ultimate guarantor of the collective security, obviating any need to develop independent nuclear capabilities.  Credible U.S. nuclear capabilities and its security commitment to allies remained an indispensable part of U.S. efforts to limit nuclear proliferation.  Continued allied confidence in the U.S. extended deterrent was an essential element of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation policy.  U.S. nuclear commitments to allies were completely consistent with U.S. obligations under the NPT.  The United States continued to assure allies and friends through its strategic capabilities, effective conventional forces, missile defense, and non-strategic nuclear forces. 

22. (SBU)  The 2010 NPR would address the United States' nuclear deterrence policy and strategy for the next 5-10 years.  The review was led by the Department of Defense in conjunction with the Departments of State and Energy.  This "whole-of-government" approach was essential to its success. The NPR specifically was addressing:  (1) deterrence strategy and policy; (2) the size and composition of nuclear forces necessary to support that strategy; (3) the steps necessary to maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent; and (4) the requirements for extended deterrence and assurance of U.S. allies.  

23. (SBU)  The NPR was framing choices for decision-makers that were based upon strategy, not simply numerical reductions.  There was no pre-determined level of reductions for the U.S. arsenal.  Although the review would examine ways to reduce both the role and number of nuclear weapons, the elimination of nuclear weapons was not anticipated in the timeframe of this review.  The review was taking a very broad view of the US strategic posture, including other strategic military capabilities and also other elements of national power relevant to reducing nuclear dangers.  The United States was committed to ensuring that any decisions about nuclear force structure and posture were based on strong analysis and a keen awareness of our deterrence and assurance requirements.  The review was serving as a vehicle for both DoD decision-making and strategic communication with the Congress, the public and other interested stakeholders.  The United States was committed to engaging with key allies and friends throughout the conduct of the review to seek their views on the requirements of extended deterrence and assurance as well as other nuclear issues of interest to our allies.  Extended deterrence to allies would remain a central element of U.S. nuclear policy.  The United States believed this could be accomplished in a manner consistent with the long-term goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and reducing the role of nuclear weapons in national security of the United States and that of other countries around the globe. The review was closely integrated with the ongoing Quadrennial Defense Review, Ballistic Missile Defense Review, and Space Posture Review.  The NPR final report was due to Congress in February 2010.  

24. (SBU)  France (Miraillet) believed its nuclear weapons offered the ultimate protection against all types of aggression; however, France would only use its nuclear weapons for defensive purposes.  Nevertheless, its arsenal must remain credible.  France had not engaged in an arms race and had exercised restraint in designing its forces.  It did not target its nuclear weapons.  All French nuclear weapons were strategic, not tactical.  It had SSBNs on continuous patrol and had the capability of air-launched nuclear weapons.  France no longer conducted nuclear tests, but relied upon laboratory simulation programs to sustain its arsenal.  French nuclear forces were comprised of fewer than 300 warheads, less than half of Cold War levels.  

Nuclear Capabilities --------------------  

25. (SBU)  Leslie (UK) thanked the delegation for their technical presentations, and noted that nuclear capabilities were the "other side of doctrine...the more we were open, the better we can reduce uncertainty..."  Gower (UK) reported that the UK currently had four SSBNs ("Vanguard" Class ) the replacement for the "Resolution" Class), and maintained one SSBN on patrol at all times.  The SSBNs were armed with U.S. D-5 Trident submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs),  LONDON 00002622  006 OF 008   and each SSBN had 16 missile tubes with Trident D5, having a range of 6,000 nautical miles.  He noted that the last Strategic Defence Review determined that each SSBN should carry no more than 48 warheads; the UK retained the option to deploy lower yield systems at some point, if there was a requirement to do so.  Warheads on these SLBMs were of UK design.  He said missiles were routinely de-armed and were not targeted; several days' notice was required to activate and target a weapon.  

26. (SBU)  Gower (UK) stated that the UK used some U.S.-based infrastructure, but that the SSBNs were based in Clyde, Scotland.  Weapons were stored at the Royal Navy Armament Depot in Coulport.  Devonport (Plymouth) was the refuel and refitting facility for the Vanguard Class SSBNs.  Weapons research was conducted at Aldermaston Burghfield.  The Defence Logistics Organisation at Abbey Wood (Bristol) had a Strategic Director (Rear Admiral Lloyd) and staff that worked hard to keep one SSBN on constant patrol.  He reported that the UK shared infrastructure at various U.S. facilities, like Kings Bay, Georgia, and numerous off-shore ranges.  

27. (SBU)  Gower also stated that the Vanguard Class submarines had a 25-year design life, which could be (and had been) extended by five years.  The UK test fired SLBMs after each refit.  The HMS Vanguard was due to be retired from service in 2022, and the HMS Victoria in 2024.  The UK 2006 White Paper called for the design of a new class of SSBN and options to consider for employment of nuclear weapons.  Those options included:  submarine-launched, surface-launched, silo-launched, and air-launched.  Due to cost, political considerations (silos, especially) and relative invulnerability of submarine-based weapons, SSBNs had been chosen to continue as the sole nuclear capability.  In March 2007, Parliament voted to replace the SSBNs.  The UK and U.S. were working jointly on a successor system to the Trident D-5 SLBM.  All planned doctrine for any future employment would be consistent with current doctrine.  The design for a new SSBN was still in the concept phase; the acquisition phase was planned to begin in five years.  It was anticipated that the successor would have 12 tubes (a 25 percent decrease), while maintaining an overall warhead ceiling of 48 per SSBN. The decision was pending on whether three or four SSBNs would suffice to ensure continuous operational patrol.  

28. (SBU)  France (Miraillet) stated that it published a paper on its nuclear capabilities in 2008.  Currently, France used sea and air platforms to deliver nuclear weapons.  In 2010, the M51 missile would be deployed on SSBNs.  By 2015, France would deploy new warheads on its SLBMs.  2009 would see improved versions of the Mirage and Rafale aircraft, which would be equipped with new warheads.  This capability was validated during tests in 1995.  The Command and Control infrastructure allowed the President to employ nuclear weapons if required.  

29. (SBU)  Leslie (UK) said a pattern of issues had developed during the presentations, primarily with systems, sites, warhead types and numbers; however, the conference had not discussed stockpiles, transport, or sensitive public issues, such as security from criminal or terrorist interference.  

30. (SBU)  China (Li) stated that it could not say much about its nuclear capability, and referred the other delegations to one of its white papers, which were published every two years.  He said that China would try to be more open, but it was a gradual process.  China was not in a position to comment further on this matter.  A White Paper was available on the internet website of the MOD.  He subsequently provided a copy of relevant portions of the White Paper to the other delegations.  

31. (SBU)  Russia (Ushatov) stated that Russia had taken many practical steps in this area.  Russia understood its responsibilities as a nuclear power under Article 6 of the non-proliferation treaty and as a permanent member of the UNSC.  It had made deep reductions, and explained these matters, and issued a brochure during the last NPT review conference.  Currently, Russia possessed 400 ICBMs and deployed 3,000 warheads.  Russia had 45 submarines and 65 heavy bombers.  Steps had been taken that were well known by all here at the conference.  Russia totally fulfilled its obligations, and two years ago, worked to make the treaty universal.  (Comment:  Most likely a reference to the INF Treaty.  End Comment.)  Russia would reduce to less than 2200  LONDON 00002622  007 OF 008   operationally deployed warheads, in accordance with the Treaty of Moscow.  Russia had had an ongoing exchange with the United States that was particularly important.  The arms race had been reversed.  

32. (SBU)  Leslie (UK) stated that each of the P5 had become more transparent over the years, and had had to build confidence, especially during times of crisis.  She asked each delegation to discuss which topics were most difficult to be transparent about, and what factors, e.g., political, communications, etc., were determinative in this regard. Gower (UK) stated that what happened historically in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s might not be relevant to current nuclear weapon capabilities and posture; consequently, the historical record of these capabilities and postures should be open to disclosure.  He asked how much could be made available to the public.  

33. (SBU)  Russia said the most sensitive issues for it were connected to future plans; release of such plans would make future negotiations more difficult.  The review of the Ballistic Missile Defense System in the United States made further steps toward nuclear disarmament difficult.  Until Russia better understood U.S. BMD intentions, Russia would have difficulties engaging in discussions of tactical nuclear weapons.  Russia and the United States had a December 2009 deadline for completing the START Follow-on negotiations, while the United States had a February 2010 deadline to decide on the future of the Ballistic Missile Defense program.  This timeline made the December negotiations deadline difficult for Russia.  

34. (SBU)  Leontiev (Russia) stated that Russian newspapers had published a lot of information on the Russian defense review.  The UK, United States, and France had shown a lot of transparency, China less so; the UK understood China's challenges in this area, as Russia had had the same challenges when the Soviet Union dissolved and the Russian Federation was born.  The United States knew Russia had been very transparent from the START I Treaty negotiations onward.  Before the P5 talk about multilateral transparency, Leontiev would like to seek advice from the United States.  He said, in his personal view, transparency should be expanded to all P5 members.  The media and public force each P5 state to be more transparent.  Russia believed that the UK and France were leaders in transparency.  He joked that once the United States and Russia reduced their strategic arsenals to the levels of those states (in terms of numbers of systems), Russia would be prepared to be more transparent.  

35. (SBU)  Leontiev (Russia) understood that the United States would not unilaterally disarm.  The challenge to transparency would be acute for the next two to three years. Transparency was interconnected to many issues (such as nuclear terrorism).  He said the United States knew Russia's position on tactical nuclear weapons; all Russian tactical nuclear weapons had been removed to Russian territory.  The United States has dismantled a large number of tactical nuclear weapons.  Leontiev asked when the United States would remove all of its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.  He asked who would decide this matter, the United States or NATO.  

36. (SBU)  Leslie (UK) stated that fewer nuclear weapons actually made transparency more difficult, not less so. Deterrence depended more upon secrecy at that point.  States with small inventories of nuclear weapons might resist transparency demands even as the nations with larger arsenals were becoming more transparent.  

37. (SBU)  Look (U.S.) stated that transparency was a learning process.  It took time.  The United States and Russia would need to learn how to discuss nonstrategic nuclear weapons.  President Obama would decide the overall U.S. nuclear posture; however, the United States would consult with its Allies as part of this process.  The most sensitive area, in the U.S. view, was transparency regarding operational planning.  Being transparent on the numbers and locations of weapons was one thing, but employment plans were difficult to share, even among entities of the U.S. government.  END OF PART ONE OF THREE  Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX ed_Kingdom  LONDON 00002622  008 OF 008    Susman