Fissile Material Production Cutoff Treaty [FMCT] Excerpts

26 June 1997

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Thursday, 26 June 1997, at 10 a.m.
President: Mrs. Krasnohorská (Slovakia)

Mrs. KUROKOCHI (Japan):
I must express my deep regret that the CD, since the beginning of this year, has not started substantial work on any of the issues on our agenda. In particular, despite the fact that we all agreed to establish an ad hoc committee on a so-called fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT) two years ago, when I had the honour to hold the presidency, we have not yet seen any prospect of starting negotiations on an FMCT soon because of well-known reasons.

If I may venture a frank observation, it seems to me that one of the reasons for the stalemate we are faced with today lies in the way of application of the consensus rule. I am fully aware that the consensus rule is indispensable to the CD as a basic rule for disarmament negotiations, in which every participant tries to find a mutually acceptable solution, while the security concerns pertaining to each country are well protected. I dare say, however, that each member country should restrain itself from blocking the proceedings of the CD except when it needs to protect its basic security interests. When a point at issue is a procedural matter which does not prejudge the question of substance, every country should refrain as much as possible from exercising a veto. I might also add that the same practice could apply in cases of treaty negotiations. As Ambassador Dembinski of Poland stated on 22 May, it is the sovereign right of each country whether it accepts or adheres to any treaty after it is agreed and opened for signature, and no country is obligated to do so. In this sense, I wonder if it is the real aim of the consensus rule to deny the will of a majority of CD members which strongly hope to move forward treaty negotiations where there is already an agreed mandate, as in the case of FMCT negotiations. The most important thing is not to make the CD a captive to the linkage strategy because it will prevent progress in the CD. We must take a first step on whatever is agreeable. Beyond the CTBT and an FMCT, as an agenda for the international community as a whole, we should continue our efforts to find appropriate and possible issues for negotiations in the CD in the field of nuclear disarmament. It could be done by appointing a special coordinator, as my delegation proposed during the first session. In my view, both nuclear-weapon States and Non-Aligned Movement countries should take a more flexible attitude on the issue of nuclear disarmament. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to provide for a forum where a frank exchange of views can take place and thus enhance mutual trust and confidence. I believe that the best way to start this process is to appoint a special coordinator.


Mr. ARMSTRONG (New Zealand):


There is no doubt that this is a critical year for the Conference. The various successes of the recent past contrast with our inability today to reach agreement on the new issues to be negotiated. New Zealand is not among those fearing for the future of this body, however. True, we are facing a frustrating stalemate in our substantive work. Our procedures are tending to hinder rather than to help us find a way forward, and in that regard I welcome the positive practical suggestions we have heard this morning from Ambassador Kurokochi for review of working methods. Certainly, we have not yet been able to untangle the Gordian knot described last September by the Special Coordinator on the agenda, the distinguished former Ambassador of Algeria.

But on the other hand, there are proposals on the table for our consideration, and we expect that there will be more to come following the inter-sessional period. New Zealand will continue to join efforts to find the middle path. Agreeing on the issues on which we will work will require compromise and flexibility on all sides. New Zealand, for its part, is ready to start now on the cut-off negotiations, in accordance with the report of the Special Coordinator, in a way which acknowledges the different views that have been expressed as to its scope. We are also ready to begin in this Conference a multilateral dialogue on nuclear disarmament, including consideration of the next steps that this Conference could negotiate in pursuit of the elimination of all nuclear weapons, which, taken together with other tracks outside the CD, can be viewed as a part of a comprehensive programme. We would not object to the appointment of a special coordinator to consult on a possible mandate for negotiations on landmines when that decision comes before us today.


Mr. SEIBERT (Germany):


In his statement of 23 January, my predecessor drew the attention of the Conference to the need for early negotiations on a multilateral, effectively verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty. Such a treaty would be an important contribution to the process of nuclear disarmament and, at the same time, also strengthen the NPT regime. Upon extensive in-depth consultations by Ambassador Shannon, the CD reached consensus in 1995 on a mandate for cut-off negotiations. It constitutes a solid basis for the CD to begin work immediately. By opening negotiations on a cut-off, the CD would also positively respond to resolution 48/75 L adopted unanimously by the forty-eighth United Nations General Assembly in 1993. With regard to the strengthening of the NPT regime, I would like to congratulate Ambassador Lafer on the decision by President Cardoso to submit the NPT to Congress for ratification. Germany welcomes this step as an important contribution to the efforts for achieving universality of the NPT regime.

The events during this session have demonstrated again the self-defeating effects of holding progress in one area hostage to progress in other areas. Linkages are a recipe for blocking any kind of progress in the CD and should be discarded once and for all. It is, in the view of my delegation, particularly inappropriate and illogical to maintain a linkage between a decision on the programme of work and the nomination of a special coordinator, whose task would be to explore the possibility of a consensus on including a specific item in such a programme of work. It is equally unhelpful to stress priorities if they are meant to exclude or deny other priorities. All issues should be examined on their own merits. The Conference should then take whatever steps are possible. They can provide a basis to build upon and to work for further progress. The procedural tug-of-war has not only been unproductive. It has also prevented us from focusing on important issues which are both urgent and ripe for negotiation. We welcome the valuable suggestions by Ambassador Kurokochi and Ambassador Berguño today to make the work of the CD more effective.

I am aware that I have been rather candid in some of my comments. But I have done so on behalf of a country which continues to believe in the unique vocation and the responsibility of the CD to maintain the momentum of the multilateral disarmament process.


Ms. GHOSE (India):


We are getting used, as a member of the G-21, to being ignored. We put our priorities forward, and they are dismissed as rhetoric. We tried this, and this is not new. On 14 March last year we had called for an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament. We had called for an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament in 1994, and we have been asking for it ever since, and it is a priority issue. Yes, we respect that there are countries which have problems. We would like to address those problems. If we get a straight "no", there is no way we can even address those problems. But there is something to the point of view which a large number of countries have put forward. We tabled in this session our proposal for a programme of work in document CD/1462. I am not aware of a single comment, except in passing, on one or two of the issues. Of course, as I said, we have your assurance that you will consult with us on the programme of work. We also have, and I am glad to draw particular attention to, document CD/1463, where we, India, together with several other countries of the G-21, have put forward a proposal for a mandate for an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament. None of these is thought to be important enough. It is true, we are not terribly important. We are the smaller, weaker countries. But for as long as we participate in the CD, we expect to participate as equals. We expect that our priorities will be given consideration and a response, and I think that the reason I take the floor today is that we do not believe that the appointment of a Special Coordinator on landmines has by any means solved any of the problems which genuinely exist. We heard an extremely good statement this morning by Ambassador Sha of China. We heard very good statements earlier on the same issue. This seems to be for the record. They are not taken on board. Maybe a Special Coordinator will solve it, maybe. We have no problem with a Special Coordinator or whatever is being done. But if we are going to be serious, I really feel that if we, as a country, are to continue to be involved in, to be interested in, what happens in the CD, then our priorities and our interests also need to be addressed. They cannot just be wished away, and we cannot just be told that only what "we think is right for you" will be negotiated here, whatever is ready for negotiation. I think that the reason I take the floor is because I am troubled, it is because I am very concerned. I am very concerned that one of our members had to absent himself today in order to see that the CD can take a decision. I hope that this is not a precedent and that one day I will not be called upon also, by circumstance, to absent myself to enable the CD to take a decision. I do not think this is the way in which peace and security are best guarded, unless you have the voluntary agreement of all countries participating in the CD to a particular decision of the CD. Such a decision, in my view, has very little value.


Mr. KREID (Austria): It seems to me that we now have two proposals. The first was explained to us by the Ambassador of Sri Lanka and I believe fully supported by the Ambassador of Mexico, namely, that we have a list of items and we are asked to go through it and to react to each of them as to whether the delegations here are ready to proceed with either the establishment of an ad hoc committee or the nomination of additional coordinators. Now I admit that this procedure certainly has some risks since it might turn out that the final result of this process will not be to everybody's complete satisfaction. However, the good, positive aspect is that we might end up with something in addition to what we have agreed this morning, and this, as we have stated earlier, in itself would be a step in the right direction. Needless to say, this list is not a complete list from our viewpoint. We would like to have added to it, as the German Ambassador indicated, the item of fissile material cut-off. However, I am now somewhat at a loss as to how to interpret the proposal or the statement made earlier by the Ambassador of Egypt, because he was really speaking about adopting a complete work programme and still, if I correctly understood it, after having done so, going through such a list item by item. I do not see how we can do both things at the same time. I would actually, in the interest of being able to get some work done, express my preference for the approach which was suggested by Sri Lanka and Mexico.


Mr. RIVASSEAU (France) (translated from French): Madam, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka has broadly made the same point as the one I wanted to make, namely that it would seem to me normal for us to reply first of all to the questions from Sri Lanka and then to the question on the "cut-off" posed by Germany, by virtue of the principle of equality of treatment to which France is attached among the States of this Conference. I think it is obvious there is agreement in the room that we should answer the Ambassador of Sri Lanka's questions during this plenary session. As to whether it is useful to suspend the meeting and resume it tomorrow, as to whether we should answer this evening or tomorrow morning - my delegation is ready to answer this evening, it is ready to answer tomorrow morning. However - and this is perhaps the only point which I want to make to defend the idea which you put forward - it is possible to have a night to raise the question with our capitals, allowing the national positions of certain countries to evolve so as to reflect the positive developments which have occurred today, because obviously on the proposal of Sri Lanka, we are ready to respond, and indeed there are a number of points which we are ready to accept, but quite clearly also the instructions which certain countries have here are instructions which were mostly given before the decision on the Special Coordinator on anti-personnel landmines was taken. That is the only point I wished to raise.

Mr. SEIBERT (Germany): This morning, in my statement, I referred to the proposal of the Western Group of last year, which referred explicitly to ad hoc committees to be set up on negative security assurances, outer space and transparency in armaments, plus the three special coordinators, and I also referred to the issue of a fissile cut-off treaty. If my understanding is correct, the delegation of Sri Lanka expressly referred to this statement and to the proposal contained therein, so the question is whether we should not look first at this proposal, because in this afternoon's statement I think the proposal by Sri Lanka was somewhat changed or enlarged, and so I would like to have clarification on how we should proceed. Of course, we are ready to decide now, or tomorrow, either in plenary or informal consultations.


Ms. CRITTENBERGER (United States of America):

It seems to me that we are faced with a situation that some unfortunately are choosing to interpret in the most negative way possible, and that is indeed regrettable. In fact, it has even led some countries to challenge the treaty obligations and the good faith or bad faith with which they are implemented. This is just really not fair or acceptable. It seems to me that we are in a situation where one set of rules can be applied one day and a different set can be applied the next day. And it seems to me, however, when one defines fairness, we at least need to be consistent. When the question was asked for a decision to appoint a Special Coordinator on anti-personnel landmines, over the period of at least two, three months we have been debating this issue there were answers: we are not in a position to take a decision, we do not have our instructions, etc. We respected those responses, and indeed it seems to me that what we have here today is a situation where none has objected to establishing a negative security assurances ad hoc committee. But several delegations have said they are not in a position today to take that decision. So if there is an objection, and if it is recorded as an objection, then that needs to go down as a matter on which the authorities have not yet taken a decision. It is quite simple.


Mr. KREID (Austria): It is easy: if you start with "A", you have a good chance to be discovered first as a Coordinator. But apart from this, I am told that this is one of the longest, if not the longest, plenary in the history of the CD, but it seems to have been the quickest decision on a Coordinator, because I just heard of it two minutes ago and I was unable to really reflect and consider all the burden that goes with it. However, I tell you frankly, I did not feel that I could say no for the single reason that we are among those countries that were recently accepted in the CD, and I feel it as a kind of a duty and also as a privilege, of course, to be entrusted with this rather difficult question. I would like to thank all of you for the trust you have shown in approving this nomination and I would also like to thank the Ambassador of Mexico; maybe at this moment I can say that in all sincerity, maybe after some experience in this job I will come back with other opinions.


Ms. GHOSE (India):


Let me, for a moment, get back to the proposed mandate, and I would like to emphasize that this is a proposed mandate. The way we see the ad hoc committee is that it will take into account all the different proposals that have come forward from all over the world, whether it be from the Canberra Commission, the Stimson Center, the Pugwash Committee, from members of the Conference on Disarmament, concerning a programme of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and this is what we feel the ad hoc committee must address. In the paper, we have seen three clear aspects of the work that the ad hoc committee should in fact undertake. And the first would be an agreement committing all States to the objective of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Now this commitment is something which we have been asking for for some time. We have been told it is there already in the NPT context. We know what happened to NPT commitments in the past, and there is nothing in what is happening in the present which makes us believe that that implementation would change. After all, article VI was there from day one of the NPT, that is since 1968, and the increase of the number of weapons took place despite article VI. Of course now, if we are asked to believe that because of article VI they are going to decrease, that strains our credulity a bit. So we need a commitment at this point, and there is no better place where such a commitment can be negotiated than in the Conference on Disarmament and in an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament. And the second sector which we feel the ad hoc committee should look at would be a phased programme, and here we are working on what I already mentioned, that there are suggestions and proposals which have come in from all over the world. And also from 28 members of this Conference. A phased programme with time-frames which would lead to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. We have also suggested that this ad hoc committee should set up a working group on a convention on the prohibition of fissile material for nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices which would take into account the Shannon Report as well as the various views that have been expressed on this subject.

Let me, for a minute, tell you what our position is. I will just repeat what I have already said in plenary. I have said that it is our conviction, it is India's conviction that many of the issues which have been raised, which today constitute grey areas of the Shannon Report, and which appear even more grey after two years, that these can be clarified if we adopt a clear work programme that places the mandate for a fissile material cut-off treaty firmly within a multilateral nuclear disarmament process. India remains convinced that a fissile material cut-off treaty can be a useful and necessary step - but as part and parcel of a negotiated, phased programme for the elimination of nuclear weapons. I just quoted that again to say that we are not against discussing fissile material cut-off, despite whatever is being said outside this chamber or to the press, but we do see that this discussion should take place within the context of this ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament. This is probably the most important issue to us; not "probably", it is the most important issue to us. So I will not apologize for taking a little more time than I perhaps should.

For us, our being here in the CD is because we feel this is the forum where nuclear disarmament is to be negotiated; otherwise, as I said, the other issues are not of priority to us. We have talked about, and I believe yesterday afternoon when unfortunately I was not here, a separate issue was raised on fissile material cut-off by the Ambassador of Germany and perhaps Austria. For us, fissile material cut-off is in this context. We believe that this issue needs to be addressed, but it can only make sense if it will not be only a non-proliferation, unequal treaty like its precursor, the CTBT - and I think all my colleagues around this table know our attitude toward the CTBT. It will only make sense if it is in such a phased programme. And I think that the proposal we have made in CD/1463 - it does not reflect totally India's position, I must say, it is a group position - but the thrust of what is contained here is what we are prepared to discuss, what we are prepared to look at and it is extremely serious. This is not a rhetorical, if I might use the word, filibustering kind of statement. I am making a substantive point here, and that substantive point is whether we are really serious about disarmament, whether we are really serious about looking at weapons of mass destruction - we have talked about, we have dealt with chemical weapons and we are dealing with, or will be dealing with biological weapons, and we are not, the CD is not to look at nuclear weapons. We are told: if you discuss it here, you will stop the discussions which are taking place at a bilateral level. Not at all! Why should it? Is it in our interest to stop something which we support, that is, the continuous reduction of nuclear weapons held by the two biggest possessors of nuclear weapons? Not at all. But they take it phase by phase in time-frames for their security. But we have our security. We do not belong to any military alliance which gives us security through nuclear weapons; our security is a genuine issue and we're bringing the issue of our security to the CD. And we're saying this is of concern to us, we would like to negotiate this. I think the fact of our seriousness is demonstrated, can be measured by the fact that we have not only signed but ratified the CW, we have opened all our stocks to inspection, all without reservation. So that the international community can go and check. We will bind ourselves to the most stringent regime provided there is an elimination of nuclear weapons by all States.

At the risk of repeating myself, this is a very serious issue to us; I am not playing games. For us, we agree that a fissile material cut-off treaty can be a very useful step. We are willing to discuss and update - to use the flavour-of-the-month word - update the mandate. But it has to be located in a phased programme which is going to lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons; otherwise why are we doing this? So, I am not disappointed, I am outraged, that our serious proposal is dismissed by one sentence from the Western Group that they do not accept the Sri Lankan proposal, which is the G-21 proposal on a nuclear disarmament ad hoc committee. I am outraged that we will not discuss our security concerns. All right then, let us hear that clear. That we are not willing to discuss your security concerns. We will go away, quite happily. Is that what we have just been told by the representative of the Western Group? That is all for the moment, Madam President. I may come back to this, but I can assure you that on the essentials my position is not likely to change.

Mr. ZAHRAN (Egypt):


Egypt had the honour and pleasure to submit on behalf of 28 countries on 8 August last year a programme of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons which contains three phases and would go through to the year 2020. And in the first phase, I would like to remind the distinguished Ambassador of Canada and our colleagues, in the first phase there is the cut-off.

Here we are. There is an opportunity to seize. We have then to establish an ad hoc committee with a mandate where, according to our Programme of Action, in the first phase there is the cut-off. We are serious. And I wanted to refer to decision No. 2 on principles and objectives, where the cut-off is mentioned and also the negotiations on a phased programme for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Read them together. And you can deal with the cut-off within the Programme of Action for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

You have several papers here, we can look at them. There is a paper presented by Egypt; this is CD/1453, which contains a draft mandate for the ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament. We can look at it. And Egypt is also a co-sponsor with 26 other member States belonging to this Conference and belonging to the G-21 of CD/1463. We have not said that this is a sacred document, but we can look at it in order to find an agreement by consensus on a mandate to advance our work on nuclear disarmament, having in mind the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The cut-off issue is for us a measure of disarmament and this is why it was mentioned in the decision on principles and objectives and this is why, when we negotiated together the report of the Special Coordinator for cut-off, Ambassador Shannon, we referred to that and we did not agree on his report except with reference to that. So, we are serious - let us go ahead, consider the establishment of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament to deal with item one of the agenda, where we also have to address seriously the question of cut-off.


Mr. DUARTE (Brazil):


It is therefore clear that this is the spirit in which Brazil is taking this decision and proposing to its parliament the accession of Brazil to this important international treaty. We are, therefore, very disappointed about the reaction given to the proposal that has been submitted to the Conference today. We in the Group of 21 have considered that this was a constructive and comprehensive proposal. It also encompasses the issue of cut-off. The Government of Brazil has showed a very open and flexible position with regard to this issue in the past, and we continue to consider that also as an important issue, but we also believe that it has to be taken from the point of view of disarmament as well. And in that respect, I think that the proposal of the Group of 21 contained in this document was sufficiently comprehensive. This is the position that I want to put on record on behalf of my delegation.

Ms. GHOSE (India):


We also have agenda item 1, which has also been adopted by consensus and that item is "Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament". And we are suggesting very consistently an ad hoc committee be established to deal with this subject. It is not a question of our being selective. To a certain extent, yes, I suppose we could have had an ad hoc committee on new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons, radiological weapons, under agenda item 5. We could have, but what we have done is, what was priority for us, we have put it here. And that is the answer to the specific question.

On the issue of fissile material cut-off, which Ambassador Kreid raised - and I'm being very careful in what I say - we see this as a part of a phased programme which would lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons, a phased programme of disarmament. We are not saying that our programme of action of the G-28, should be the programme; it is a basis on which we can start discussions. But so far, since we tabled it there has been no effort to even discuss our programme of action. When, on 14 March 1996, the G-21 asked for an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament and we put in a mandate, a very brief mandate, it was not discussed. All right, we were very busy discussing something else. Then we were asked, well, you want an ad hoc committee, what should the Ad Hoc Committee discuss? And we came out with a programme of action. And that, too, was not discussed.


The PRESIDENT (translated from French): I thank the representative of Algeria for his statement. I take it that making a decision on this question today is not possible and this question requires further consultation. So I will put the question again in informal consultations during the inter-sessional period. I now invite the Conference to take a decision on the proposal by Germany to re-establish the Ad Hoc Committee on a Ban on the Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices. In this regard I would like to recall that the mandate of that Committee as drafted by Ambassador Shannon in 1995 is contained in document CD/1299. Is there agreement in the Conference to re-establish this Committee with the mandate contained in document CD/1299? I give the floor to the representative of India.

Ms. GHOSE (India): I do not know what I can do to express my outrage, the gall I feel. We had used this word last year, which I was told was not an Americanism but chutzpah. We have just been told we will not discuss nuclear weapons, and there is a proposal that we are being asked to consider: the establishment of an ad hoc committee on FMTC, a subject on which my position and that of the Group of 21 was made clear. We have talked about a phased programme. We have even been told that the door, to quote Ambassador de Icaza, has been slammed in our face or that your face has been slapped or whatever it was he said. Can we have all this over again? I wish I could be as laconic and as categorical as the representative of Spain, who was speaking on behalf of the Western Group. We have just - not even an hour ago - talked precisely on this issue. And we have said how we see this issue. And we have said: yes, if you want to discuss cut-off, here is a proposal; you discuss it in a phased programme. What is it we are doing? Madam President, I am surprised that you even asked this question. Maybe the Ambassador of Germany had a point yesterday when he put it forward. Maybe he had not read the G-21 paper. Or maybe he had not at that point decided to reject it outright. But now we are being told that we discuss only FMCT and we will not discuss nuclear disarmament, we will not have an ad hoc committee under agenda item 1; we will not discuss your concerns. I am sorry, Madam President, I need an answer to this. I want to know whether we are here discussing our security concerns or whether these are to be completely overturned. If the answer to that is yes, I will leave just now. I will get up and walk out. I am worse than outraged that this should be raised at this point in time. If it had been taken up before we discussed the ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament, okay; I would perhaps have had a slightly different response. But now! I am sorry, I just want an answer to my question. On what grounds is this proposal being put forward after we have had our proposal so summarily rejected? On what basis?

The PRESIDENT (translated from French): I thank the representative of India. I have heard all the reactions this afternoon, but since my task was to ask the questions put by the representative of Sri Lanka I was also obliged to ask the question put by the representative of Germany. I now give the floor to the representative of Sri Lanka.

Mr. GOONETILLEKE (Sri Lanka): Madam President, you have asked a question and I think we have to give you an answer. So I will keep it very brief. My delegation has no difficulty in accepting the establishment of an ad hoc committee on fissile cut-off on the basis of the Shannon report and also taking into consideration paragraph 3 of document CD/1463. When we are ready to take a decision on the establishment of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament together with that, I am sure we all will be able to discuss the question of cut-off.

Mr. MOHER (Canada): Well, at 6.05 p.m. on a Friday night before some of us start holidays, I want to make sure that I do not start holidays with Ambassador Ghose being furious with me. The question that you put, Madam President, is, I think, a valid one and we specifically asked you or reminded you to do so. That is not in any way a sign of disrespect to the Ambassador of India or to any other delegation. The earlier discussion that took place with reference to FMCT took place in response to an earlier question you put, where FMCT had been integrated by a group of delegations into a different proposed mandate. I have no surprise at all at the fact that, having put the question specifically on FMCT - not in connection with any other topic - the answer is going to be at the minimum that this group is not ready to take a decision on this at this time. And that, I think, this is where we should conclude. We are at 6.05 on a Friday night. But I do quite frankly, Madam President, think this delegation for one should at least support the fact that you asked the question and you did so at least at our request. I think we have had the issue explored and I have no problems in concluding with you that we are not ready at this point to take a decision. But if I got you into trouble before you start your July, I apologize.

Mr. SEIBERT (Germany): My understanding is the same as that of the distinguished delegate of Canada. We are starting now at this late hour talking about different things. My understanding was that we were asked to give our views on CD/1463, in which cut-off and nuclear disarmament are put in a specific context, and that that did not meet with approval. But we clearly consider cut-off as an issue of nuclear disarmament and by doing so, of course, we can talk about nuclear disarmament. This is, at least, the understanding of my delegation. I would be disappointed if this discussion led to the conclusion that such an important issue as cut-off could not be treated in this Conference. I think that at this late stage we will probably not be able to have an agreement, but I would hope that we will all start taking into account what has been said today - take that with us during the recess and take all the opportunities to consult with you, Madam President, and hopefully come back with some further enlightenments late in July at our next session.

Mr. ZAHRAN (Egypt): Very briefly, the answer to the question which you have put to us lately, Madam President, was made in my previous statement, that is, that we are ready to discuss cut-off under item 1 with the establishment of an ad hoc committee to deal with item 1. I made it clear that we have presented a programme of action, the first phase of which is "cut-off". We are ready to deal with that phase by phase, step by step, and one of the first steps to take is cut-off. So we are serious about it, but we are disappointed that the Conference on Disarmament is unable to make a decision on the establishment of an ad hoc committee to deal with item 1. That would surely facilitate the discussion of cut-off and helps us to address cut-off seriously as a measure of disarmament. So, my conclusion in two words is that I hope that the Western Group and others who share their views will review their position in this regard, and prevent the Conference on Disarmament from going into a stalemate.


Mr. AKRAM (Pakistan): Usually, proposals, especially procedural proposals that emanate from my friend, Ambassador Mark Moher of Canada, lead to the application of a soothing balm on most very difficult situations, but this afternoon, as I had feared, I believe that pressing on with the consideration of what we knew are difficult items on the agenda has perhaps once again and unfortunately transformed what 90 minutes ago was a good atmosphere and a sense of at least some movement in the Conference into one of, what shall I say, acrimony and outrage.

My delegation cannot say that we are outraged, we cannot afford to be outraged: we are dealing with our security. And in that context, I would like to say that the position of my delegation on the proposal that the distinguished Ambassador of Germany has made has been clearly stated in the context of the previous discussion we had on the issue of nuclear disarmament. I would like to draw attention again to document CD/1463 which contains the positions of 26 countries with regard to nuclear disarmament and in which it is stated that under the ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament we would take up a convention on the prohibition of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices, taking into account the report of the Special Coordinator on this item - it is the Shannon report - and I would emphasize the following words: "and the views relating to the scope of the treaty".

We have underlined time and again the issue which I referred to earlier, that is, that for us the fissile materials convention has to be a convention for nuclear disarmament and not merely a treaty for non-proliferation. And we will press that point whenever we come to take up this issue in this Conference.

Mr. de ICAZA (Mexico)(translated from Spanish): Madam President, in the first place, I have to say that my delegation is aware that yesterday this proposal was made by the representative of Germany and that he asked that action be taken on it and that today it was repeated by the Ambassador of Canada, and for my delegation at any rate it seems quite appropriate that you should have asked the question. My delegation has no special problem with the establishment of an ad hoc committee on fissionable material. My delegation has made great efforts to find a solution that would allow us to begin negotiations. Within the Group of 21, it was to my delegation that it fell to coordinate the efforts to come up with this third paragraph of document CD/1463. It seems to me that the other groups in the Conference have not realized what great progress there has been in positions. It should be placed on record that on fissile material the Group of 21 has not given a flat and absolute refusal. It should be placed on record that we have made efforts to find a way to negotiate on it and it should also be placed on record that those efforts have not been appreciated.

Ms. CRITTENBERGER (United States of America): At this late hour I will be brief. My delegation is not outraged or surprised, we're perhaps a bit disappointed. It was said earlier that we had not engaged on the question of nuclear disarmament in this Conference, and that indeed, of course, is not true. And it was only perhaps because you had just heard us speak this week and you also heard us speak in May on this subject and also in informal consultations that we did not take up the time to address the substance of the issue at this meeting today. We certainly are prepared to do so and we have never shied away from discussion of the issue itself.

The question, though, is - and the issue has been put in terms of phases or steps - what steps could be taken in this context, and indeed in our view a number of steps are already under way. They are not taking place at this particular time in this forum. We believe that at least one should, and that should be fissile material cut-off. And for that reason we think it should stand alone as an issue for discrete addressal, and indeed we are prepared to take up the nuclear disarmament issue and it would be fissile material cut-off.


The meeting rose at 6.25 p.m.