Letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate on Nuclear Cooperation With EURATOM

March 9, 1982

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 concluded over two decades ago between the United States and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and extends until December 31, 1995. Since the inception of this cooperation, the Community has adhered to all its obligations.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 amended the Atomic Energy Act to establish nuclear export criteria, including a requirement that the United States 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, and provide for negotiations concerning our cooperation agreements.

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, and after notification to the Congress, that failure to cooperate would seriously prejudice the achievement of United States non-proliferation objectives or otherwise jeopardize the common defense and security. President Carter made such a determination two years ago and signed Executive Order No. 12193, permitting continued nuclear cooperation with EURATOM until March 10, 1981. I made such a determination last year and signed Executive Order No. 12295, permitting continued nuclear cooperation through March 10, 1982.

The United States has engaged in several rounds of talks with EURATOM regarding the renegotiation of the United States-EURATOM agreements for cooperation, and progress has been made toward clarifying the issues relating to these agreements. EURATOM has agreed to enter the next phase of the discussions, and talks continued this January.

I believe that 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 nuclear explosives proliferation.

Nuclear proliferation is the most essential issue of modern times. With Soviet cooperation, we could substantially reduce the grim threat of nuclear war that hangs over Europe. We could lift the great weight that the people of Europe currently feel pressing down upon them. I have urged the Soviet Union to join with us in serious and determined negotiations to ease the nuclear burden. I remain hopeful the Soviets will respond positively to our proposals for lessening the prospect of nuclear conflict.

I have determined that failure to continue peaceful nuclear cooperation with EURATOM would be seriously prejudicial to the achievement of United States non-proliferation objectives and would otherwise jeopardize the common defense and security of the United States. I 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, 1982.

Sincerely,

Ronald Reagan

Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, and George Bush, President of the Senate.

The text of the letters was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 10.