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Public Papers - 1990

Letter to Congressional Leaders on Nuclear Cooperation With EURATOM


Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

The United States has been engaged in nuclear cooperation with the European Community for many years. This cooperation was initiated under agreements that were concluded over 3 decades ago between the United States and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and that extend until December 31, 1995. Since the inception of this cooperation, the Community has adhered to all its obligations under those agreements.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to establish new nuclear export criteria, including a requirement that the United States would have a right to consent to the reprocessing of fuel exported from the United States. Our present agreements for cooperation with EURATOM do not contain such a right. To avoid disrupting cooperation with EURATOM, a proviso was included in the law to enable continued cooperation until March 10, 1980, if EURATOM agreed to negotiations concerning our cooperation agreements. EURATOM agreed in 1978 to such negotiations.

The law also provides that nuclear cooperation with EURATOM can be extended on an annual basis after March 10, 1980, upon determination by the President that failure to cooperate would be seriously prejudicial to the achievement of U.S. nonproliferation objectives or otherwise jeopardize the common defense and security and after notification to the Congress. President Carter made such a determination 10 years ago and signed Executive Order No. 12193, permitting nuclear cooperation with EURATOM to continue until March 10, 1981. President Reagan made such determinations in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1988, and signed Executive Orders Nos. 12295, 12351, 12409, 12463, 12506, 12554, 12587, and 12629 permitting nuclear cooperation to continue through March 10, 1989. I made such a determination in 1989 and signed Executive Order No. 12670, permitting nuclear cooperation to continue through March 10, 1990.

In addition to numerous informal contacts, the United States has engaged in frequent talks with EURATOM regarding the renegotiation of the U.S.-EURATOM agreements for cooperation. Talks were conducted in November 1978, September 1979, April 1980, January 1982, November 1983, March 1984, May, September, and November 1985, April and July 1986, September 1987, September and November 1988, July and December 1989, and February 1990. Further talks are anticipated this year.

I believe it is essential that cooperation between the United States and the Community continue and, likewise, that we work closely with our allies to counter the threat of proliferation of nuclear explosives. Not only would a disruption of nuclear cooperation with EURATOM eliminate any chance of progress in our talks with that organization related to our agreements, it would also cause serious problems in our overall relationships. Accordingly, I have determined that failure to continue peaceful nuclear cooperation with EURATOM would be seriously prejudicial to the achievement of U.S. nonproliferation objectives and would jeopardize the common defense and security of the United States. I therefore intend to sign an executive order to extend the waiver of the application of the relevant export criterion of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act for an additional 12 months from March 10, 1990.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Dan Quayle, President of the Senate. The Executive order is listed in Appendix E at the end of this volume.

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