|08GENEVA590||2008-07-25 09:09:00||SECRET||US Mission Geneva|
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1. (U) This is JCIC-XXXII-013.
2. (U) Meeting Date: July 22, 2008
Time: 3:00 - 4:30 P.M.
Place: Russian Mission, Geneva
3. (S) A Working Group (WG) Meeting was held at the Russian
Mission on July 22, 2008, to discuss Russian concerns with
the conversion process for, and basing of, the B-1 heavy
bombers equipped for non-nuclear armaments. The United
States, Kazakhstan and Russia were represented.
4. (S) The Russian Delegation gave a slide presentation
highlighting its concerns with the process of converting B-1
heavy bombers from the category of heavy bombers equipped for
nuclear armaments other than long-range nuclear ALCMs (LRNA)
to heavy bombers equipped for non-nuclear armaments. The
presentation specifically reviewed the conversion inspection
conducted at the Davis-Monthan Conversion or Elimination (C
or E) Facility on January 19, 2008.
5. (S) The second half of the meeting focused on Russian
concerns with the basing of converted B-1s and the
notifications that the United States had provided regarding
those heavy bombers.
A READING FROM THE
BOOK OF CONVERSIONS
6. (S) Ryzhkov opened the WG Meeting on July 22, 2008 with a
brief review of the agenda, then introduced Akulenok who
presented the briefing.
7. (S) Akulenok began the briefing and read the relevant
Treaty text from the C or E Protocol and Inspection Protocol
(IP) regarding the heavy bomber conversion process and the
process for heavy bomber conversion inspections. The focus
of the Russian position was the requirement of paragraph 11,
Section VI of the C or E Protocol to modify all weapons bays,
external attachment joints for nuclear armaments, and
external attachment joints for pylons for nuclear armaments
to render them incapable of carrying nuclear armaments.
Akulenok stated that the Russian view of this requirement was
that the modifications of these items were required to be
8. (S) Akulenok continued with a review of the January 19,
2008 conversion inspection conducted at Davis-Monthan C or E
Facility (Begin comment: Akulenok was the Russian Inspection
Team Chief (RSIT) during that inspection. End comment.).
During the pre-inspection procedures, the local site escorts
briefed the Russian inspectors on the converted features of
the converted non-nuclear B-1 heavy bombers, then added that
the B-1 had not had a nuclear mission since 1994, B-1 bases
lacked the infrastructure to support B-1 nuclear operations,
B-1 software no longer supported nuclear operations, and
there were no longer any training programs for aircrew or
maintenance personnel regarding B-1 nuclear operations.
Akulenok stated that he informed the escort team that this
information was irrelevant under the Treaty and asked whether
the conversion process would be demonstrated to the Russian
inspectors. The escorts told him that it would not.
9. (S) Akulenok next presented a detailed analysis of the
ambiguities contained in the Official Inspection Report (OIR)
for the January 19, 2008 conversion inspection (Ref A). The
first ambiguity was for the two nuclear armament-unique cable
connectors removed from each of the B-1's three weapons bays.
Akulenok stated that the inspectors observed no visible
changes to the cable network within each of the weapons bays
and that, because the conversion process was not demonstrated
to the inspectors, they could not verify that the removal of
the connectors had taken place. Without that verification,
Russia believed the possibility of mounting a rotary launcher
for nuclear armaments still existed.
10. (S) The second ambiguity was for the nuclear
armament-unique collet receptacles removed from the front and
rear pylon attachment joints. Akulenok stated that the U.S.
told the Russian inspectors that modifications to the
underside of the aircraft made it impossible to operationally
carry nuclear-unique pylons, but that START has no definition
of operational deployment of nuclear weapons. Akulenok
stated that he had to ask the escort team chief whether the
collet receptacles they were seeing were the modified
receptacles because inspectors had never seen them before
(Begin comment: These receptacles had been located
underneath the covers, attached using a process equivalent to
welding (PETW), and were not observable to Russian inspection
teams during previous inspections. End comment.). Akulenok
opined that inspectors could not identify the modified
receptacles because they had never seen the old ones. To
further his point, Akulenok referred to a data update
inspection he conducted at Davis-Monthan C or E Facility on
July 10, 2008, at which Russian inspectors inspecting a
non-LRNA B-1, dismantled and in pieces (tail number 84055),
saw that the cover had fallen off a pylon attachment joint
with the unmodified collet receptacles. The inspectors were
surprised to see that those receptacles looked the same as
the modified ones on the converted B-1.
11. (S) The third ambiguity was for the rear pylon
attachment joints with metal cylindrical sleeves welded to
the inner wall of the socket. Akulenok stated again that
Russian inspectors had never seen these joints before and had
nothing to compare them with and it was not clear to the
Russian inspectors how the welded sleeve precluded the U.S.
from attaching pylons (Begin comment: These joints were also
underneath the covers attached using a PETW. End comment.).
Based on these ambiguities, Russian inspectors were not able
to confirm completion of the procedures of conversion for the
12. (S) Ryzhkov stated that the Russian Federation believed
the B-1 maintained the capability to carry nuclear weapons
and that the distinguishing features identified by the U.S.
were insufficient. In accordance with the Seventeenth Agreed
Statement, Russia decided to raise the issue at the JCIC.
I CAN READ TREATY VERSE TOO
13. (S) Smith thanked Akulenok for his very professional
presentation and stated that it was clear and concise and
accurately reflected what happened during the conversion
inspection at Davis-Monthan AFB in January 2008. Smith also
noted that Akulenok had accurately characterized the
applicable Treaty text related to the issue and stated that
the Treaty text was important.
14. (S) Smith highlighted the fact that it was the absolute
right of the U.S. to determine how to convert its heavy
bombers, there was no obligation or requirement to agree to
additional procedures outside the scope of the Treaty, and
there was no obligation to demonstrate the conversion process
or equipment related to the process to inspectors. Smith
noted that there were instances when the JCIC would need to
reach agreement on conversion procedures, such as in the case
of mobile launchers of ICBMs, but that was not the case for
A PICTURE IS WORTH
A THOUSAND WORDS
15. (S) Smith stated that the U.S. believed it had very
clearly demonstrated the conversion process and procedures
required by the Treaty and that fact was very apparent in the
ambiguity photographs attached to the conversion inspection
OIR. Russian inspectors were able to see an observable
feature related to each modification in the conversion
process. Smith related that the Russian Delegation's view of
the need for irreversibility in conversion procedures had
been raised in the JCIC before.
16. (S) Smith stated that the Russian Federation had
demonstrated that ambiguity photographs are of great value
for clarifying issues at the JCIC. Because Russian
inspectors were given their absolute Treaty right to take
photographs related to ambiguities, they were able to better
clarify their concerns in the JCIC.
THAT'S NICE, BUT WE STILL DON'T
LIKE YOUR CONVERSION PROCESS
17. (S) Ryzhkov acknowledged the U.S. Delegation's Treaty
right to develop conversion procedures for heavy bombers, but
reiterated that Russia believed the distinguishing features
and procedures were not adequate to verify that the B-1 was
no longer capable of carrying nuclear weapons and, in
accordance with the Seventeenth Agreed Statement, decided to
raise the issue within the JCIC. Ryzhkov repeated the
concern from Akulenok's presentation regarding the pylon
attachment joints, that because Russian inspectors had never
seen the old parts, how could they verify that the modified
parts were in fact modified?
I THOUGHT YOU LIKED THOSE
18. (S) Smith stated that he did not understand the Russian
concerns regarding the distinguishing features, since he was
under the impression that Akulenok had been satisfied with
the results of the Distinguishability Exhibition carried out
at Dyess AFB on February 21, 2008, and that the
distinguishing features had been very apparent between the
heavy bomber equipped for nuclear armaments other than LRNA
and the heavy bomber equipped for non-nuclear armaments
(Begin comment: Akulenok had been the RSIT during that
exhibition. Akulenok also nodded his head in apparent
agreement with Smith's statement. End comment.). Smith
reiterated that the focus of the meeting was on Russia's
concerns with the conversion process related to what
inspectors could observe as a result of the conversion
process and that the Russian slide presentation had been very
helpful in clarifying those issues.
19. (S) Ryzhkov responded that there were different purposes
for the conversion inspection and the Distinguishability
Exhibition and that, during the Distinguishability
Exhibition, the inspectors did not have the right to discuss
conversion procedures only to fix the distinguishing
features. Ryzhkov repeated that Russia recognized the United
States' right to determine conversion procedures, but
highlighted the value of distinguishability. Ryzhkov gave a
hypothetical example in which a party had two heavy bombers
of two different categories. If that party painted the heavy
bomber of one category green and the heavy bomber of the
other category red, inspectors would have been unable to make
an argument. Ryzhkov repeated that Russia simply wanted to
understand how and why the B-1 heavy bomber equipped for
non-nuclear armaments was incapable of carrying nuclear
weapons, and believed the U.S. could have provided more
information to clarify and answer those questions.
WHERE'S THAT THING LOCATED?
20. (S) Ryzhkov next raised the issue of Russian concerns
about the basing of converted B-1 heavy bombers, citing
paragraph 23 of Article V and its prohibition against basing
heavy bombers of multiple categories at the same air base.
Russia was confused by the notifications provided regarding
the arrival of a converted B-1 at Dyess Air Force Base (AFB).
Russia believed that that bomber was based at Dyess AFB and
that the U.S. had violated the prohibition of paragraph 23 of
Article V; Russia had sent an Aide-Memoire through diplomatic
channels requesting clarification of the U.S. notifications
(Ref B). Ryzhkov thanked the U.S. for the great lengths to
which it had gone to notify the other Parties of the
movements of the B-1 heavy bombers, but stated that specific
categories of heavy bombers were required to be located at
certain airbases and heavy bombers could only be based at
21. (S) Smith thanked Ryzhkov for repeating the concerns
that Koshelev had raised at the Heads of Delegation meeting
on this same subject earlier that morning (Ref C). Smith
outlined the U.S. position, that all converted B-1 heavy
bombers were located at Davis-Monthan AFB as stated in the
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and that there was nothing
in the Treaty that prohibited locating heavy bombers at
Davis-Monthan. Smith added that the U.S. had located heavy
bombers at Davis-Monthan for many years and had always
provided appropriate notifications of those movements as
required by the Treaty. Smith reiterated that the B-1 was
located at Davis-Monthan, but had been put in visiting status
at Dyess AFB. The U.S. assured the Russian Delegation that,
upon completion of the visit of this B-1, the U.S. would
notify all Parties of the movements of the heavy bomber and
would afford inspectors full Treaty rights at any location
where they might encounter B-1s.
22. (S) Smith concluded the meeting telling Ryzhkov that
Russian concerns had been made much clearer and the U.S.
understood them very well.
23. (U) Documents exchanged. None.
24. (U) Participants:
Lt Col Comeau
Dr. Hopkins (Int)
Capt(1st Rank) Kuz'min
Ms. Komshilova (Int)
25. (U) Taylor sends.
End Cable Text