S E C R E T GENEVA 000589
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/25/2018
TAGS: KACT PARM START JCIC INF US RS UP BO KZ
SUBJECT: JCIC-XXXII: HEADS OF DELEGATION MEETING ON B-1
ISSUES, JULY 22, 2008
REF: A. RUSSIAN FEDERATION AIDE-MEMOIRE - "THE SITUATION
RESULTING FROM U.S. ACTIONS INVOLVING
CONVERSION OF B-1" - DATED FEBRUARY 15
2008 (E-MAILED TO WASHINGTON -- NO
Â¶B. STATE 13656 (JCIC-DIP-08-001)
Classified By: Jerry A. Taylor, United States
Representative to the Joint Compliance and Inspection
Commission. Reasons: 1.4(b) and (d).
Â¶1. (U) This is JCIC-XXXII-012.
Â¶2. (U) Meeting Date: July 22, 2008
Time: 10:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
Place: Russian Mission, Geneva
Â¶3. (S) A Heads of Delegation (HOD) Meeting was held at the
Russian Mission on July 22, 2008, to discuss B-1 issues. All
Parties were present. On the issue of B-1 conversion, the
Russian Delegation presented points centering on paragraph 11
of Section VI of the Conversion or Elimination (C or E)
Protocol. Specifically, the Russian Delegation questioned
whether the United States had sufficiently fulfilled the
Treaty requirements to: 1) modify all the weapons bays
equipped to carry nuclear armaments so as to render them
incapable of carrying nuclear armaments and, 2) remove or
modify all external attachment joints for nuclear armaments
and all external attachment joints for pylons for nuclear
armaments so as to render them incapable of carrying nuclear
armaments. The Russian Delegation stated that Russia
proceeded on the idea that a B-1 heavy bomber equipped for
nuclear armaments other than LRNA, once converted to a B-1
heavy bomber equipped for non-nuclear armaments, would be
incapable of "carrying" nuclear armaments. The U.S.
Delegation assured all Parties that the conversion activities
involving B-1 heavy bombers equipped for non-nuclear
armaments were in full compliance with the START Treaty.
Â¶4. (S) On the issue of B-1 Basing, the Russian Delegation
presented points centered on the Treaty definition of
"airbase" and on the requirements of paragraph 23 of Articlee
V of the Treaty. The Russian Delegation did not understand
how the United States was able to: 1) base the converted
B-1s at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) C or E Facility
since it was not an "airbase," as defined in the Definitions
Annex of the Treaty, or 2) base the converted B-1s at Dyess
AFB, since Parties were not allowed to base heavy bombers
equipped for non-nuclear armaments and heavy bombers equipped
for nuclear armaments other than LRNA at the same facility.
The Russian Delegation stated that all heavy bombers must be
based at an airbase, and sought an answer to the question of
where the converted bombers were actually based.
Â¶5. (S) The U.S. Delegation stated that the Treaty did not
prohibit locating heavy bombers at a conversion or
elimination facility for heavy bombers and, in fact, the
United States had been providing notification of heavy
bombers at Davis-Monthan AFB C or E Facility since the Treaty
entered into force. The converted B-1s were accountable in
the MOU as being located at Davis-Monthan AFB C or E Facility
and those converted B-1s located at Dyess AFB were visiting,
as notified by the United States through the U.S. Nuclear
Risk Reduction Center (NRRC).
WHEN WAS CONVERSION
Â¶6. (S) Koshelev opened the HOD Meeting by passing the
condolences of the Russian Delegation to the United States on
the loss of the B-52 near Guam on July 20, 2008. He stated
that it was truly a tragedy when loss of life was concerned.
Taylor thanked Koshelev for his statement of condolence for
the loss of life in the accident. Moving on to the issue of
B-1 conversion, Koshelev stated that the Russian Federation
paid particular attention to the conversion of the B-1s since
the number of warheads attributed to the non-converted B-1
was different from that of a converted B-1. During the
intersession, Russia had sent the United States its concerns
through diplomatic channels and had conducted a thorough
Treaty analysis of the issue. He believed that analysis of
the Treaty, relative to heavy bomber conversion, would help
the United States understand Russian concerns.
Â¶7. (S) Koshelev stated that, to consider the B-1 converted
to a heavy bomber equipped for non-nuclear armaments, all of
the requirements of paragraph 11 of Section VI of the C or E
Protocol had to be met. Specifically, the United States was
required to: 1) modify all the weapons bays equipped to
carry nuclear armaments so as to render them incapable of
carrying nuclear armaments and, 2) remove or modify all
external attachment joints for nuclear armaments and all
external attachment joints for pylons for nuclear armaments
so as to render them incapable of carrying nuclear armaments.
Russia questioned whether the United States had sufficiently
fulfilled these requirements. Most important to Russia was
that a B-1 heavy bomber equipped for nuclear armaments other
than LRNA converted to a B-1 heavy bomber equipped for
non-nuclear armaments would be incapable of carrying nuclear
armaments. Koshelev stated that the Russian specialists, who
attended the Distinguishability Exhibition for the converted
B-1, did not believe the United States demonstrated any
distinguishing features that prevented the carrying of
nuclear armaments and, thus, Russia was not convinced the
converted B-1s were incapable of carrying nuclear armaments.
To be sufficient to confirm conversion, the conversion
procedures and the distinguishing features must convince
Russian inspectors that both the weapons bays and the
external pylon attachment joints were incapable of physically
carrying nuclear armaments.
Â¶8. (S) Koshelev remarked that Russia believed that to meet
the intent of the C or E Protocol, all modifications made to
convert the B-1 to a non-nuclear heavy bomber had to be
permanent and irreversible. Since the issue was highly
technical in nature, the Russian Delegation had produced a
briefing that experts would present at the working group
Â¶9. (S) Taylor stated that the United States had reviewed the
Russian Federation's Aide-Memoire, of February 15, 2008, on
"The Situation Resulting from U.S. Actions Involving
Conversion of B-1 Heavy Bombers" and assured the Russian
Federation that the conversion activities involving the B-1
heavy bomber equipped for non-nuclear armaments were in full
compliance with the START Treaty (Ref A). The conversion
procedures used to convert the B-1 heavy bomber from the
category of heavy bomber equipped for nuclear armaments other
than long-range nuclear air-launched cruise missiles (LRNA)
to the category of heavy bomber equipped for non-nuclear
armaments fully satisfied the requirements of paragraph 11 of
Section VI of the C or E Protocol. He continued by stating
that the B-1 pylon attachment joints would be converted in a
manner which precluded the attachment of the long-range
nuclear ALCM pylon posts with the pylon attachment joints.
The nuclear-unique collet receptacle would be removed from
each pylon attachment joint and a metal sleeve would be
welded on the inside of the aft attachment joint well. A new
fitting would be placed in the forward joint that would not
allow for attachment of the long-range nuclear ALCM pylon.
Â¶10. (S) As for the weapons bays, Taylor stated that
conversion in the B-1 weapons bays involved the removal of
the two nuclear armament-unique cable connectors from each of
the three weapons bays and covering the connector location.
These conversion procedures rendered the converted B-1 heavy
bombers incapable of carrying nuclear armaments in accordance
with the requirements of paragraph 11 of Section VI of the C
or E Protocol.
Â¶11. (S) Taylor stated that the phrase "incapable of
carrying," in its ordinary meaning, as well as in the context
of the C or E Protocol, meant that, with respect to the
modifications carried out on the pylon attachment joints and
in the weapons bay, the converted B-1 heavy bomber was no
longer capable of, or suited for, the operational deployment
of nuclear armaments. Further, it was clear in both the
Russian and English language texts that the phrase "carrying
nuclear armaments" did not mean simply the ability to load or
to hold an object the size and weight of a nuclear weapon.
The criterion of capability or suitability to support the
operational use of the nuclear armaments, as being inherent
in the phrase "incapable of carrying nuclear armaments," was
consistent with the meaning of "carry" as used in the START
Â¶12. (S) Taylor stated that, with regard to the Russian
Delegation statement that the Russian Federation could not
agree to the U.S. conversion procedures for the B-1 heavy
bomber, it was for the Party conducting the conversion to
determine the conversion procedures used. There was no
Treaty requirement to agree on additional conversion
procedures other than those in Section VI of the C or E
Protocol. Taylor directed Koshelev to the procedures, as
stated in paragraph 11 of Section VI of the C or E Protocol,
to answer his rhetorical question on what procedures were
required and what procedures were enough for conversion.
Â¶13. (S) Taylor reiterated that the United States was very
clear as to the procedures it used for converting the B-1 to
the non-nuclear category. As to Koshelev's comment on the
distinguishing features of the converted B-1, Taylor stated
that the distinguishing features were demonstrated at the
Distinguishability Exhibition and that, during future Data
Update inspections, Russian inspectors would be able to
confirm that the conversion procedures were still in place.
He stated that the U.S. Delegation did not understand what
more could be done to clarify the issue. Taylor concluded
discussion of this issue by agreeing to send it to a working
group; however, he said he did not believe that anything more
could be accomplished at that level of discussion.
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS
SAFE TO GO INTO THE WATER
Â¶14. (S) Shevtsov said that this was a difficult technical
issue. The Parties had talked for a long time on the
definition of "process equivalent to welding." Talks were
completed and agreement was finally made on the definition.
Now the Parties had this issue of B-1 conversion to discuss.
He opined that it would be difficult to resolve this
technical issue within the days remaining in the session and
he hoped discussions would not hamper completion of the
Ukrainian SS-24 elimination documents.
Â¶15. (S) The Kazakhstani and Belarusian Delegations agreed to
send the issue to a working group.
WHEN IS BASING NOT BASING?
WHEN IT IS LOCATING
Â¶16. (S) Koshelev stated that the Russian Federation placed
the issue of basing of the B-1s on the agenda because of the
creation of a new category of heavy bomber. The Russian
Federation did not understand how the basing of converted
B-1s fit into the requirements of paragraph 23 of Treaty
Article V. Russia had expressed its concerns in the
Aide-Memoire dated February 15, 2008 (Ref A). At that time
only one B-1 had been converted, now 11 B-1s had been
converted. Koshelev reminded the Parties that heavy bombers
of certain categories could only be based at like facilities.
Â¶17. (S) Koshelev stated that, in terms of the Treaty, an
airbase was defined as a facility where heavy bombers are
based and their operations supported. Russia believed that,
under the Treaty, heavy bombers could not be based at
facilities other than airbases. In its May 28, 2008
response, the United States equated deployment to basing.
Russia believed that this was not correct (Ref B). The
Davis-Monthan AFB C or E Facility was not an airbase and,
therefore, the converted B-1s could not be based there. He
asked for clarification of this basing.
Â¶18. (S) Taylor stated that the Treaty did not prohibit
locating heavy bombers at a conversion or elimination
facility for heavy bombers, listing them at that facility for
the purposes of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and
providing the appropriate notification. In fact, the United
States had provided notifications concerning the location of
heavy bombers at the Davis-Monthan AFB C or E Facility for
heavy bombers since the Treaty entered into force, and had
accurately reflected the data with respect to the applicable
heavy bombers through the required notifications and periodic
MOU updates. The B-1 heavy bomber, which was specified in
notification ANC/STR 08-48/30, was located at Dyess AFB as a
visiting heavy bomber. Because this B-1 heavy bomber was a
visiting heavy bomber at Dyess AFB, it was not based at Dyess
AFB. Therefore, there was no conflict with the provisions of
paragraph 23 of Article V. When this particular B-1 heavy
bomber completed its visit at Dyess AFB, a Format 31 would be
Â¶19. (S) Koshelev stated that the United States had provided
this same response in its May 28, 2008 paper (Ref B). He
believed both the Russian questions and the U.S. responses
needed clarification, which could be accomplished in a
Â¶20. (S) Although he had no objection with sending this issue
to a working group, Taylor stated that the first priority was
to complete the conforming on Ukrainian SS-24 elimination.
Â¶21. (U) Documents exchanged. None.
Â¶22. (U) Participants:
Lt Col Comeau
Mr. French (Int)
CAPT(1st Rank) Kuz'min
Ms. Komshilova (Int)
Â¶23. (U) Taylor sends.
End Cable Text