View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 29, 1998


I am pleased to transmit to the Congress, pursuant to sections 123 b. and 123 d. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2153(b), (d)), the text of a proposed Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Swiss Federal Council Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, with accompanying agreed minute, annexes, and other attachments. I am also pleased to transmit my written approval, authorization, and determination concerning the agreement, and the memorandum of the Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency with the Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement concerning the agreement. The joint memorandum submitted to me by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Energy, which includes a summary of the provisions of the agreement and other attachments, including the views of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is also enclosed.

The proposed new agreement with Switzerland has been negotiated in accordance with the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 (NNPA) and as otherwise amended. It replaces an earlier agreement with Switzerland signed December 30, 1965, which expired by its terms August 8, 1996. The proposed new agreement will provide an updated, comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the United States and Switzerland, will facilitate such cooperation, and will establish strengthened nonproliferation conditions and controls including all those required by the NNPA. The new agreement provides for the transfer of moderator material, nuclear material, and equipment for both nuclear research and nuclear power purposes. It does not provide for transfers under the agreement of any sensitive nuclear technology (SNT). (U.S. law permits SNT to be transferred outside the coverage of an agreement for cooperation provided that certain other conditions are satisfied. However, the Administration has no plans to transfer SNT to Switzerland outside the agreement.)

The proposed agreement has an initial term of 30 years, and will continue in force indefinitely thereafter in increments of 5 years each until terminated in accordance with its provisions. In the event of termination, key nonproliferation conditions and controls, including guarantees of safeguards, peaceful use and adequate physical protection, and the U.S. right to approve retransfers to third parties, will remain effective with respect to transferred moderator materials, nuclear materials, and equipment, as well as nuclear material produced through their use. The agreement also establishes procedures for determining the survival of additional controls.

Switzerland has strong nonproliferation credentials. It is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and has an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the application of full-scope IAEA safeguards within its territory. In negotiating the proposed agreement, the United States and Switzerland took special care to elaborate a preamble setting forth in specific detail the broad commonality of our shared nonproliferation commitments and goals.

The proposed new agreement provides for very stringent controls over certain fuel cycle activities, including enrichment, reprocessing, and alteration in form or content and storage of plutonium and other sensitive nuclear materials. The United States and Switzerland have accepted these controls on a reciprocal basis, not as a sign of either Party's distrust of the other, and not for the purpose of interfering with each other's fuel cycle choices, which are for each Party to determine for itself, but rather as a reflection of our common conviction that the provisions in question represent an important norm for peaceful nuclear commerce.

In view of the strong commitment of Switzerland to the international nonproliferation regime, the comprehensive nonproliferation commitments that Switzerland has made, the advanced technological character of the Swiss civil nuclear program, the long history of U.S.-Swiss cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy without any risk of proliferation, and the long-standing close and harmonious political relationship between Switzerland and the United States, the proposed new agreement provides to Switzerland advance, long-term U.S. approval for retransfers to specified facilities in the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) of nuclear material subject to the agreement for reprocessing, alteration in form or content, and storage, and for the return to Switzerland of recovered nuclear materials, including plutonium, for use or storage at specified Swiss facilities. The proposed agreement also provides advance, long-term U.S. approval for retransfers from Switzerland of source material, uranium (other than high enriched uranium), moderator material, and equipment to a list of countries and groups of countries acceptable to the United States. Any advance, long-term approval may be suspended or terminated if it ceases to meet the criteria set out in U.S. law, including criteria relating to safeguards and physical protection.

In providing advance, long-term approval for certain nuclear fuel cycle activities, the proposed agreement has features similar to those in several other agreements for cooperation that the United States has entered into subsequent to enactment of the NNPA. These include U.S. agreements with Japan and EURATOM. Among the documents I am transmitting herewith to the Congress is an analysis of the advance, long-term approvals contained in the proposed U.S. agreement with Switzerland. The analysis concludes that the approvals meet all requirements of the Atomic Energy Act, as amended.

I believe that the proposed agreement for cooperation with Switzerland will make an important contribution to achieving our nonproliferation, trade, and other significant foreign policy goals.

In particular, I am convinced that this agreement will strengthen the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, support of which is a fundamental objective of U.S. national security and foreign policy, by setting a high standard for rigorous nonproliferation conditions and controls.

Because the agreement contains all the consent rights and guarantees required by current U.S. law, it represents a substantial upgrading of the U.S. controls in the recently-expired 1965 agreement with Switzerland.

I believe that the new agreement will also demonstrate the U.S. intention to be a reliable nuclear trading partner with Switzerland, and thus help ensure the continuation and, I hope, growth of U.S. civil nuclear exports to Switzerland.

I have considered the views and recommendations of the interested agencies in reviewing the proposed agreement and have determined that its performance will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security. Accordingly, I have approved the agreement and authorized its execution and urge that the Congress give it favorable consideration.

Because this agreement meets all applicable requirements of the Atomic Energy Act, as amended, for agreements for peaceful nuclear cooperation, I am transmitting it to the Congress without exempting it from any requirement contained in section 123 a. of the Act. This transmission shall constitute a submittal for purposes of both sections 123 b. and 123 d. of the Atomic Energy Act. The Administration is prepared to begin immediately the consultations with the Senate Foreign Relations and House International Relations Committees as provided in section 123 b. Upon completion of the 30-day continuous session period provided for in section 123 b., the 60-day continuous session period provided for in section 123 d. shall commence.


       January 28, 1998.

# # #