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Courses of Action for Congress and the Nuclear Suppliers Group: A Conversation with the Hon. Edward J. Markey on Nuclear Cooperation Between the United States and India [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service]

Speaker: Edward J. Markey, House of Representatives (D-MA)
Presider: Charles D. Ferguson, Fellow for Science and Technology
September 13, 2007
Council on Foreign Relations

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COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, WASHINGTON, D.C.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2007

CHARLES FERGUSON: (Strikes gavel.) Ladies and gentlemen, please feel free to keep eating. If I could have your attention, please. We're ready to call the meeting to order.

Welcome to the Council on Foreign Relations. I think some of you have been to some of our meetings in the past. Today, you see by the attendees' list, we're really focusing on embassies, and there's a good reason for that, because now we're in the phase in the U.S.-India nuclear deal in which the Nuclear Suppliers Group is taking central stage. And I'm very pleased -- here today, we have one of the leaders in the U.S. Congress on this issue, Congressman Ed Markey. And I should remind you -- it's already been on handout sheets -- I just remind you that it's on-the-record meeting. It's being transcribed. There are a couple members of the press who are covering this event as well, so just to let you know about that, so it's -- we're very open about that situation.

And let me just briefly introduce Congressman Markey. And there are a few people in Washington where you say he really -- especially on this issue, he really needs no introduction. Those who follow nuclear issues know that Congressman Markey has been a champion on nuclear security, nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear safety for many decades. I remember when I was getting involved in public policy work some 10 years ago, working with my dear colleague Daryl Kimball at the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers, looking at the CTBT and the Nuclear Freeze Movement and going back into that history, making the congressman sound ancient or something! No, he's still very youthful. In fact, you may notice he came in with an injury. He was playing a very vigorous game of basketball with people much younger than he, and keeping up with them, and then, due to unforeseen circumstances, is wearing a cast. But we're very pleased that you can make it here.

And he has been, like I said, a leader dealing with nuclear nonproliferation issues for many years. He is also a leader on Homeland Security, the environment. He's now chairing a new Select Committee on Energy Independence and Climate Change, and so he is one of the few to watch very closely in Congress and where we're going on some very important issues.

With that, let me turn to Congressman Markey and hear his insightful comments.

REPRESENTATIVE EDWARD MARKEY: Thank you.

FERGUSON: Thank you.

MARKEY: Thank you, Charles, very much.

I was elected to Congress 31 years ago, and I am now the 13th senior out of 435 members of Congress, and the eighth senior of the House Democrats, 233 Democrats.

(Inaudible) -- Charlie Rangel, John Conyers, Ed Markey -- (laughter) -- (inaudible) -- Congress, you know.

And I was playing basketball five Friday nights ago with Will Huntington, a former fellow for Daryl, who I swiped from Daryl and is now on my staff, doing these India issues. And there were nine 25- year-olds and me outdoors, five on five, in a park in Southeast Washington, in a light rain, under a highway -- (laughter) -- when the lifetime exposure, all these games, of my right Achilles finally took its toll and my Achilles ruptured --

QUESTIONER: Ouch.

MARKEY: -- you know, separating the suspension system of my right leg. So I'm now five weeks from the operation, and I feel -- I try to create an illusion, when I'm playing basketball, that I am still am able to play with these 25-year-olds. (Laughter.)

But the beauty -- you know, the beauty of this issue is that, you know, Mark Twain used to say that history doesn't repeat itself, but it does tend to rhyme. So this isn't exactly like 1974; isn't exactly like the Carter nuclear fuel deal, 1980, in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan; not exactly like the Indian nuclear -- Indian and Pakistani nuclear explosions in the late 1990s; but it rhymes with it, okay? It's all, you know, part of a story line that you have to take note of as it has evolved over time.

And you never know which incident finally ruptures the Achilles, you know, that finally so destroys the nuclear nonproliferation regime that it now no longer is functional, so that no repairs can ever make it whole again, although sometimes, if you actually listen to your body -- my wife is a physician, and she had been warning me that I was coming home with aching Achilles -- you know, "You should -- maybe you should stop," you know. But I wouldn't listen.

And so that's what we have here. We have this system that's in place, that keeps the nuclear proliferation regime intact. And central to it is U.S. law, the Nonproliferation Act, Non-Proliferation Treaty, the IAEA, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, all with a role to play, all with a responsibility to discharge, to ensure that one single incident doesn't just rupture the whole system and affect everyone, then, because not enough thought was put into the consequences. And so it's an honor, Charles, to be here.

Thank you for inviting me.

In 1946, Mahatma Gandhi said, "I regard the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women and children as the most diabolical use of science." Now Gandhi, of course, was right, and our responsibility is to work to ensure that that day never occurs again. It had occurred just one year before he made that statement.

And I think that a lot of people, you know, think of me being as the arch-critic of this agreement on the Hill, which is not how I see myself. I see myself as the arch-protector of the nuclear non- proliferation regime, and I'm trying to protect that not attack India or attack, you know, anyone in the agreement. That's how I perceive myself, although you can sometimes lose the debate over how you are described, but that's my own sense of who I am.

As you know, I was the principal House opponent of the India nuclear deal during the Carter administration and we won in the House, and John Glenn lost by one vote in the Senate, which went forward, in fact, on selling 50-some tons of uranium to India without full- scale safeguards, which of course did not sit well with the Pakistanis and others at the time. And each one of these things might buy you a little time, but ultimately you're heading towards events where you have that final rupture. And you can make a determination as to how much of a risk you want to run, but eventually there will be a price to pay.

I'm convinced that not only is the 123 agreement not consistent with the requirements and restrictions as far as by Congress, but that it would deeply damage the NPT. This is a deal that not only gives legitimacy to Indian reprocessing of spent fuel, a technology that can be used to separate plutonium for weapons, but proposes to help India make its reprocessing better. The language of the agreement tries to blur the lines of disagreement between the U.S. and India, and we think the nuclear supply should be cut off as India tests, and they think it shouldn't. We think safeguards should be applied forever, and they think safeguards are voluntary.

So some international observers have failed to understand the absolutely central role that Congress plays in determining whether the United States will have nuclear cooperation with another country, and I would like to clarify. The Constitution provides Congress with the authority to regulate all trade, both foreign and domestic. Under the Atomic Energy Act, Congress delegated to the president the authority to negotiate agreements for nuclear cooperation, which we call 123 agreement because it's in Section 123 of that law. But the Congress reserves the power to reject or amend these 123 agreements, and we have done that before.

Now, many people thought after the Congress passed the Hyde Act last December, which amended U.S. law to allow nuclear trade with India, that nuclear cooperation was a done deal. But in reality, especially given the serious questions surrounding the 123 agreement, the nuclear deal has to go -- a long way to go.

India must negotiate a safeguards agreement for India's declared civilian nuclear facilities with the IAEA. The 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group must agree by consensus to change their rules, which currently bar nuclear trade with India. And the Congress must vote again, after the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group have acted, to approve or amend the 123 agreement. So the American government and the Indian government are both looking for a quick and unconditional approval by the NSG and by the Congress, but in reality, both the NSG and the Congress have different courses of action available. It is those options that I would like to talk about here today.

So, first I'd like to talk, however, about the deeply flawed rationale for this sweeping change in international nonproliferation rules, the inconsistencies between the Hyde Act and the 123 agreement and what the carefully crafted ambiguities in the bilateral 123 agreement mean for the Congress and for the NSG.

In selling the nuclear deal, the Bush administration relied on arguments which simply fall apart and fail the reality test. One, the nuclear deal will unlock India for American commerce. Two, India will be a natural strategic partner for the U.S. And three, the deal will be a net plus for global proliferation.

Now, let's look at argument number one from the U.S. perspective, the India trade issue. So if you look at India trade with the United States going back over time, you can see that it has been on an upward trajectory, spiking dramatically since the fall of the Soviet Union back in 1988-89. All of a sudden, our trade with India -- the United States -- just completely escalated.

Now, of course it would be nice, I suppose, if a few American companies could sell more planes to India or could sell a few more nuclear power plants to India, but that would be on top of what is already happening, already a huge reality in terms of the trade relations between the United States and India. Notwithstanding the friction that was created after the 1974 nuclear test, the additional friction after the 1998 nuclear test, trade continued dramatically to escalate.

And so that was something was really not affected by it, by these nuclear disagreements. And that's something that always has to be remembered, that there is a stake which India has in trade with the United States apart from the nuclear.

And by the way, which country is the number-two trade partner with India? China, the country that we're supposed to be using India to offset. And that continues to grow, you know, at the same rapid, escalating pace. So the question really isn't whether or not our trade is going to escalate. The question is, are we going to junk the nuclear nonproliferation regime for all the planes and the nuclear power plants, while we will continue to get all of the other benefits, all the trade that will undoubtedly continue at the same massive pace of increase?

Over the last 30 years, our trade, the U.S. trade with India has gone up thirtyfold -- I mean, eightfold. In 2006, our total bilateral trade topped $31.9 billion, growing at a whopping 18.9 percent over the previous year. And even during the worst moments, obviously it continues to grow.

So the next argument is the strategic partner argument. The Bush administration has repeatedly called the U.S.-India relationship a strategic partnership. And that's obviously something that is deeply to be desired.

But I think it's not clear to the Bush administration that they don't mean to maintain a monogamous relationship with the United States from a strategic perspective, which is why these pictures from September and November of 2006 are highly illustrative of the atmosphere of ambiguity with which this strategic partnership that the president so raptly desires will be operating. The president says this relationship of ours is a vital relationship. It is a strategic partnership. Here is what Prime Minister Singh says: "We are unswerving in our commitment to an independent foreign policy. Our sole guiding principle in regard to our foreign policy, whether it is on Iran or any other country, will be dictated entirely by our own national interests." So in foreign policy, it's supposed to -- realpolitik is a phrase used by, you know, cognoscenti. But the bottom line here is that you have to be realistic about who you're dealing with and what in fact their interests are as opposed to yours.

And I think that there is a fundamental misstatement of reality by the president when he is talking about these issues.

If India was a steady strategic partner to the United States, they would be actively supporting the U.S. in the Iranian nuclear program. But instead of assisting the United States, the -- India's long-term strategic relationship with Iran has only grown deeper. India has repeatedly defended Iran's nuclear program. India has developed intelligence outposts in Iran near the Pakistani border. India and Iran have held two joint naval exercises in March of 2003 and March of 2006.

In 2003, Iranian-Indian New Delhi declaration explicitly raised concerns about U.S. unilateralism in Iraq. Indian scientists have been sanctioned by the United States for WMD-related transfers to Iran, most recently in July of 2006. India is pursuing an $8 billion gas pipeline from Iran.

India has committed to help Iran build a liquefied natural gas terminal. The two countries established the Indian-Iranian joint working group on counterterrorism in 2003, and India is developing a port in Southwest Iran, which analysts believe will be a naval base. So India is a very important ally for Iran, because Tehran desperately needs the international legitimacy of having powerful friends. When the U.S. and our allies are trying to isolate Iran on the international stage, India serves as a vital partner to Tehran.

Now, on the issue of China, which I already pointed to, again, they are the second largest trading partner. India and China have signed an energy agreement to prevent them from bidding for the same resources, driving up prices, in January of 2006. And the total bilateral India-China trade has grown at over 30 percent per year every year since 1999 -- every year, 30 percent, even faster than the U.S.-India trade relationship has grown over that period of time.

So China is just too valuable a partner, too potentially threatening of an enemy, for India to confront. And all the big thinkers who are up there trying to sell the idea of India as an American proxy against China are simply being foolish, really foolish.

The nuclear deal is a net loss for nonproliferation. The Bush administration has tried hard to argue that gutting the global nonproliferation rules for India somehow make these rules stronger, but what we are really doing is making a mockery of the nonproliferation regime.

This deal sets a bad precedent for North Korea and other countries. You know, there's a story out today that North Korea might have been transferring nuclear materials to Syria. I don't know if it's true or not, but you want to know what? We all think it's possible. Kind of a "going out of business" sale or something. You know what I mean? (Laughter.) It's not something beyond the realm of possibility. It's definitely a caution to us that we shouldn't be talking about dismantling or further weakening the nuclear nonproliferation regime, because everyone does think it's possible that that could have happened, even if we don't know right now for sure, because this deal will help India build more weapons, and I think we all know that Pakistan is not going to sit idly by while that happens.

So under this agreement, right now it's estimated that India has the capacity to build roughly seven nuclear bombs per year, and that that is their capacity -- you know, in that range.

After the deal, it will free up enough nuclear materials for them to build 40 to 50 nuclear bombs per year, because they no longer will have this conflict in terms of fueling their civilian side and their military side. We'll take care of the civilian side for them with this agreement.

Now, that would be fine if there were no consequences to that. But of course there are consequences to that, because you can't ignore, as Mark Twain would say, history, because it does tend to rhyme.

And so what did we find in Pakistan? What we find in Pakistan is that -- let me get this story here first -- this is a very interesting story that ran on July 24th, 2006 -- by the way, the day after we were debating the nuclear deal on the House floor, the day after, it turns out that Pakistan is expanding their nuclear program, building a plutonium production reactor. And what does The Washington Post report on the day after we're debating it on the House floor?

One, that the Bush administration knew about it for the preceding two years but did not tell Congress. And that two, it could produce upwards of 40 to 50 bombs per year. Now, what does that number rhyme with in terms of another country's capacity if we pass this agreement? So you've got this incredible symmetry that unfolds that is not lost on other countries in the world.

And who, by the way, who is the father of the Pakistani nuclear program and, by the way, the Johnny Appleseed of nuclear weapons across the world? A.Q. Khan. Now, where does he live? He lives in Pakistan. He lives in a palace in Pakistan. That's his prison, the palace. All of his men are still walking the streets of Pakistan, and the United States continues to turn a blind eye to the reality of the spread of nuclear weapons that emanated out of Pakistan.

Now, who else lives in Pakistan? Well, Osama bin Laden lives in Pakistan. Al Qaeda is in Pakistan, and chaos could occur in Pakistan. Now, what's the worst case scenario to us? Well, the worst case scenario to us is that all of these nuclear materials, in ever- increasing quantities, are just not safeguarded inside of that country.

And by the way, once India asked the United States as a friend to prove its friendship by compromising our nuclear non-proliferation policy, why couldn't Pakistan not then turn to China and say, that's the new standard; will you do that for us as a friend; there is the standard we're willing to meet -- the U.S. India nuclear agreement standard. And what does that then say to the Nuclear Suppliers Group? What does that then say to the IAEA as you're dealing with China in the next round, which is inevitable, by the way, once you lower the standards.

You can't keep high standards if you expect to prove them as a double standard. That just doesn't work in life. You cannot preach temperance from a barstool. You cannot on the one hand reserve to your right -- to yourself the right to smoke or drink and then tell your children, you should not smoke or drink.

You cannot preach temperance from a barstool. You either have one standard or you have a double standard. And a double standard is the height of hypocrisy, which ultimately will come back to haunt you.

And so that's what is trying to be avoided, in the same way that, you know, the Bush administration keeps avoiding the fact that there were 15 Saudi Arabians, 2 United Arab Emirates, a Lebanese and 1 Egyptian that -- 10 of whom came to Boston, to my district, and hijacked two planes just six years ago.

We keep talking about Iraq when we know it was Saudi Arabians and we know they got the bin Laden family out of town within three days out of Boston. You know, they brought in a private plane and got them out of town. But the Bush administration doesn't like to talk about that, huh? Just ignore reality and create a new reality, huh? So let's talk really, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, at least, about the reality of the world that we live in and be cognizant of the domino effect that will unfold inevitably, inexorably, if this path that the Bush administration is putting us on does, in fact, allow to be -- (inaudible).

And again, in the backdrop you have Iran looking at two countries that are non-signatories to the nuclear proliferation (sic/non- proliferation) treaty, they are a signatory, and they're just wondering why in the world they would abide, as are, by the way, the Saudi Arabians, the Egyptians, Venezuelans -- you can go down the whole litany, you know the names. You know where it's all going.

We've done an excellent job, actually, since the '60s, have held the list to a very small number. You know, people were predicting 20 countries, 25 countries, 30 countries in the mid-'60s to 2000s, but no, we held it. We held the line. We actually did put a regime in place that worked. But if our -- if we say that nuclear nonproliferation is our over-arching international agenda except for selective exemptions for countries that are in the favor of the United States, then that will end the regime, because the United States must be the political and moral leader of the world if they expect other countries to abide by it as well.

So this now takes us to the inconsistencies between the Hyde Act and the 123 agreement. There are a number of inconsistencies between the Hyde Act and the 123 agreement which have already received a skeptical response on Capitol Hill. The most important are the nuclear testing and the termination of U.S. nuclear supply, assurances of nuclear supply to India in the case of supply disruption, and thirdly, the reprocessing of U.S.-origin nuclear material.

So, on nuclear testing and the termination of U.S. nuclear supply, the Atomic Energy Act requires and the Hyde Act reinforces that nuclear trade with India will terminate if India conducts a nuclear test. In addition, U.S. law provides that the United States may demand the return of all transferred nuclear materials and technology in case of a test, and almost all other U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements state these requirements and rights are explicit. But this one doesn't. This one does not have that language as it has now come back from this negotiation.

The India 123 agreement provides no detail at all on the kinds of actions that will result in termination. Given the difficult disagreements in the past with India on nuclear rights and responsibilities, this is not wise.

In addition, the India 123 agreement does not state that the United States has the right to demand the return of all transferred nuclear material and technology if India conducts a nuclear test. And because the 123 agreement lacks these specific statements, the consequences of an Indian nuclear test -- many in India argue that they are not -- that they not only have an unfettered right to test their nuclear weapons but that no consequences will follow if they do so. And that is not what Congress intended with the Hyde Act, which specifically requires that cooperation end if India tests a nuclear bomb.

Now, the second point, assurances of nuclear supply to India in the case of supply disruption. The 123 agreement contains two unprecedented causes with respect to assuring India a supply of nuclear fuel under all scenarios, even if they test a bomb.

First, the 123 agreement commits the United States to support an Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime of the reactor. And that means that the United States will assist India in stockpiling uranium from international suppliers. If supply was terminated for any reason, even if India failed to uphold its nuclear nonproliferation commitments such as testing a nuclear bomb, India could use this stockpile of fuel as a cushion against another supply cut-off. And this cause flies, again, in the face of the Hyde Act.

And second, if India should ever have a fuel supply disruption, the U.S. is to convene a group of "friendly" -- quote-unquote -- a group of "friendly" supplier countries to pursue such measures as would restore fuel supply to India. Again, that would take place in the event of any disruption of supply, including due to India exploding a nuclear bomb. The Hyde Act specifically states that the United States is to seek to prevent other countries from providing India with nuclear material or technology; in fact, cooperation is cut off.

The 123 agreement should say the same thing, but it's almost as though what the United States is saying to India is you shouldn't get any parking tickets, but if you got some parking tickets, we'll pay them for you. You know? Or we're going to help you to get into Georgetown, but if you flunk out, we've already worked with Harvard and Princeton that you can go there instead, which will -- might lower the academic -- (laughter) -- goals of the student if you know you've got Russia and others all lined up as soon as you break the agreement with the United States. Huh? It's inevitable. It will lower your standards. It's just human nature at work.

So the reprocessing of U.S.-origin nuclear material -- as a matter of policy, the United States doesn't transfer enrichment, reprocessing or heavy water production equipment to any state because of the dangerous utility of these technologies for nuclear weapons programs.

In fact, in February of 2004, President Bush said that enrichment and reprocessing are not necessary for nation's seeking to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes -- President Bush, February 2004. And reinforcing the point, the Hyde Act states that given the special sensitivity of equipment and technologies related to enrichment of uranium, the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and the production of heavy water, the United States will work to further restrict the transfer of such technologies to India. Yet the U.S. has given India the right to reprocess our nuclear material, and promised cooperation in reprocessing technologies.

How will the U.S. be able to stop other countries from transferring reprocessing technologies and other sensitive technologies if we are making such transfers ourselves? The fact of the matter is that President Bush negotiated an agreement with India that does not meet the requirements of U.S. law on testing, on assurances of supplies and on reprocessing. And the administration must answer hard questions about this.

Now, when Congress does finally consider the 123 agreement, we are not bound, as many have claimed in India, to hold a simple and unamendable up-or-down vote on a clean resolution of approval. In fact when the Congress considered the China 123 agreement in 1985, alternative procedures were used to produce and pass a resolution which approved nuclear cooperation with China while simultaneously imposing conditions on its implementation. Congress required proof that China was not assisting the weapons program in any other country. Congress required reports on China's non-proliferation policies. These conditions were not met for another nine years. If we do not get good answers to the serious questions about the India 123 agreement, the Congress could use similar mechanisms again to impose conditions upon the agreement.

And now I turn to recommendations for the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The Nuclear Suppliers Group is in a particularly strong position to mandate conditions and restrictions upon nuclear cooperation with India in order to protect the NPT. The NSG must change its rules before any country can have nuclear trade with India. But the NSG can only change its rules by consensus, which means that any single NSG member country or a group of them has powerful leverage.

Congress acted to protect this consensus requirement in the Hyde Act in order to prevent the administration from simply ignoring the concerns of other countries, and we did that because we wanted the NSG to be strong. In considering the consensus NSG rule change for nuclear cooperation with India, the very countries that complained of being too frequently overruled by Washington on non-proliferation matters have an enormous opportunity and responsibility, from my perspective, to stand up for the non-proliferation system.

If these countries fail to act within the NSG forum, where they have real power to ensure that a system is in place to protect us, then that will have been an historic moment in the history of nuclear nonproliferation. In other words, the NSG has a clear choice: they can require the key nonproliferation conditions are met or essentially it can vote itself out of existence. I mean that's the choice that is now being presented to the NSG.

On nuclear testing, the Nuclear Suppliers Group should adopt a rule requiring the suspension of international nuclear supply to any nation that tests a nuclear device, including India. There should be no nuclear cooperation directly or indirectly assisting India's nuclear weapons program. In the absence of India halting its production of fissile materials, what other mechanisms could be put in place to ensure that international supply is not in any way assisting India's nuclear program? I think that the NSG has to wrestle with that question, and I think that you should adopt, as the Hyde Act did, reporting requirements on this crucial issue. Absent the cut off of fissile material production, NSG members should bar enrichment, reprocessing and heavy water production, cooperation with and transfers to India.

One way the NSG could do that is to block export of enrichment reprocessing or heavy water production facilities to any country, including India, that have any such facilities outside of safeguards. And the NSG should suspend supply and seek NSG consensus on how to proceed if any member country has evidence that India is making more weapons per year than it did prior to granting India access to international supplies.

And on safeguards, the Nuclear Suppliers Group should require standard non-India-specific IAEA safeguards. The NSG should require, as the Hyde Act does, that India adopt IAEA safeguards in perpetuity, in accordance with IAEA standard principles and practices.

The NSG should clarify what the corrective measures which the 123 agreement promises India might need in practice, and state forcefully that such measures will not include the suspension of safeguards. So, I guess it's called the 123 agreement, or "one, two, three" agreement, or from a nuclear bomb perspective, a "three, two, one" agreement. Huh? (Laughter.) That's where we're heading for with regard to the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group.

And so I guess there are, then, three things I want the Nuclear Suppliers Group to know. One, two, three. It's as simple as this. One, no supply in the event of a nuclear test. Two, no supply is allowed that assists in any way the India nuclear weapons program to be assisted. Three, the IAEA safeguards that will be applied must be permanent and not India specific.

One, two, three. If you are able to do that, then Congress should consider it. If not, then we will never see it. The agreement will never come before Congress because you will not have been satisfied. And the Congress will never have to take it up, because we must wait for the Nuclear Supplier Group before we consider it. And so I urge you, as the international leaders on this issue, to take up this responsibility and to assure that we do not allow this exception to swallow the rules which have protected the world for now more than a generation.

Thank you, Charles. I appreciate very much the opportunity to be here with you.

FERGUSON: Thank you very much, Congressman Markey. That was a phenomenal performance, very comprehensive, lively, entertaining, enlightening. And unfortunately, it's sad to say that we don't often hear from such men of principle and integrity. And we should, we should have more such leaders like Congressman Markey in the Congress on these big issues. And he's one of the few, unfortunately, who are really trying to keep this before us and concentrate our minds on this very important issue at this historic moment.

We're running a bit short --

MARKEY: Can I say this?

FERGUSON: Please.

MARKEY: The Jesuits -- the Jesuits at Boston College -- (laughter) -- trained both me and Nicholas Burns. (Laughter). So, from from Boston College, you're hearing both sides of the argument. And I do respect Nick and his representation of the Bush administration, but on this issue, he is wrong and the Bush administration is wrong. The bulk of the evidence, an overwhelming preponderance, is against approval of this deal by the NSG by Congress. (Inaudible.) Thank you.

FERGUSON: So you have an embodiment of a modern-day Massachusetts minuteman before you. Having lived in Boston for five years, I went to grad school at Boston University. It's a pleasure to finally cross paths with him.

MARKEY: Thank you.

FERGUSON: I know we're running a bit short on time, and the congressman's talk was so comprehensive that I think he covered a lot of the points my --- some nonproliferation colleagues of mine here in the audience would cover, but I do want to give them a few minutes just to make some clarifying remarks. If there are any gaps -- I don't perceive any gaps, but Daryl Kimball and Sharon Squassoni and Henry Sokolski, they are leading experts in the field.

So let me quickly turn to Daryl. And you have handouts from Daryl and Sharon before you, so, if they don't have much to time to speak -- and I apologize to them for that, because I know our time's short. We want to get the congressman out of the room by 20-25 minutes and also have time for Q&A. Let me turn to Daryl, give him a couple minutes just to reiterate some very important points he has in a new editorial.

DARYL KIMBALL: Well, thank you very much, Charles. Thanks for the initiation. It's good to see everyone here.

That was very comprehensive. I'm going to just try to -- and Congressman Markey covered some of the points I would have also made, so I will highlight some other things that I think are important as your governments take a look at this situation at the IAEA Board of Governors level and also later at the NSG.

I mean, I would agree with the congressman that it is common sense that the Board of Governors should reject any safeguards agreement that India might negotiate with the director general that would create India-specific safeguards that are not clearly consistent with the CIRC/66 facility-specific safeguards; you got to clarify what the changes to the safeguard mean, what corrective measures mean.

There's also another aspect of the 123 agreement that is curious and troubling, which is that the United States commits to help India negotiate an India-specific fuel supply arrangement with the IAEA before the IAEA Safeguards Agreement is considered, let alone voted upon. I would urge your governments to clarify from the Bush administration, at least, what they mean through that commitment. Because that has very severe implications for the work that the IAEA and the DG have done about the fuel supply arrangement, the fuel bank concept.

Another key point I would add here -- I would pick up on the congressman's one, two, three image -- I wouldn't make this a one, two, three, four step item, because the fourth step --

QUESTIONER: (Off mike.) (Laughter.)

QUESTIONER: I don't know --

QUESTIONER: Perfect -- one, two, three.

MR./REP. : There's a reason why they didn't ask you to --

(Cross talk, laughter.)

MR. KIMBALL: Well, but there is a fourth important issue, which has to do with the provisions in the 123 agreement about the possible future transfer of sensitive nuclear technology. And as you all know, there has been a lot of discussion at the NSG about this subject. The Bush administration brought it up in 2004 in the context of their proposal about barring the transfer of such technology to states that -- and I'm paraphrasing -- don't already have this technology.

The French have put forward a very, I think, useful proposal that's still circulating -- I understand the United States is the main impediment to this -- that would bar transfers of S&T to any state that is not an NPT member or a state that is not in good standing with their safeguards. So in that line, I think it's also important for the NSG to draw a line and say that no sensitive nuclear technology shall be transferred to India. And that could be expanded more broadly, as the French proposal essentially does.

So I would add those two points, and I would just point out one other. There are several nonproliferation rules and standards that are violated or walked over through this. I won't go through all of them; you're familiar. But there's one that is not well-known -- and I don't mean to pick out one country in particular, but I have to -- the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Zone prohibits member states from transferring nuclear material, technology, et cetera, to any state that is -- does not have full-scope safeguards. I mean, specifically, the treaty says, "Safeguards as required by Article 3.1 of the NPT," and the Australian government defines that actually as full-scope safeguards.

This is a 1996 statement by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer saying that explicitly, so it urges you to take a look at that. And so I think all of the SPNFZ states, the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone states, need to take that also into account.

I'll stop there. Thank you.

FERGUSON: Great, thank you very much, Daryl for the comments.

And I quickly turn to Sharon Squassoni, formerly Congressional Research Service, now a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

SHARON SQUASSONI: Thank you, Charles. I don't want to dilute Mr. Markey's message, since I thought it was an admirable summation of the points, but I will just make two brief points.

You have, in front of you, this voluminous chart. Look at it when you can't get to sleep. And if you have questions, you can call me.

But I think the point of this chart is that Congress is going to have significant issues with the agreement. We are -- the U.S. is proposing to do things here with India that we don't do with very many allies. There are inconsistencies not only with the Hyde Act but also with the Atomic Energy Act. But the Nuclear Suppliers Group has to make a decision before Congress finally approves this agreement.

And so I would urge you to take those one, two, three steps, because you have an opportunity to actually put some sensible brakes on cooperation including, you know, a cutoff. There should be consequences for testing. There should be no enrichment or reprocessing cooperation in the absence of safeguards on all of those -- on reprocessing, enrichment facilities in India, which would mean practically a fissile material production cutoff.

So I will stop there and invite you, you know, some other time to ask me about this table.

FERGUSON: I should mention that two years ago, almost to the day, we had Sharon Squassoni and Ashley Tellis speaking here in this room. I think that was also an on-the-record gathering. And that was the early days, you know, a couple months after the deal was originally announced. So you could go to our website, cfr.org, and read what Sharon and Ashley talked about at that time.

Thank you for the comments, Sharon.

Now I'll quickly turn to Henry for some comments. Then we'll get into Q&A and back to Congressman Markey.

HENRY SOLKOLSKI: Two comments, I guess, two kinds of comments.

First, timing matters. I don't know whether you folks have looked at your BlackBerries in the last two hours, but it looks like there's going to be an election in India in February of next year. And that will either strengthen the Indian government or bring it down.

The Bush administration has a sense of timing too.

It wanted to get this agreement done and over by October. You'll notice they probably won't. There was supposed to be a special meeting of the NSG. I understand it was put off because they could not get to the IEA and finalize the safeguards.

So the first comment is, decisions delayed are almost as good as decisions made. Think about when you're going to do whatever you're going to do. General recommendation: You should be in no rush to get it wrong; take your time. You can even come up with the wrong answer, but if you go slower, it's better. (Laughter.)

Second, I think there's a tendency for Americans to talk as though someone's supposed to do their bidding. We like that, but everyone else hates us for it, and you should. The tone of some of the comments from critics like us is, "Oh, well, here are all these things YOU should do." The rejoinder is, "Well, why don't YOU do it? Right? Isn't that how it works?

Well, let me tell you why some of us are very concerned about the NSG. It's because the United States Congress may not be able to do very much. If this deal goes through the NSG without conditions, the American congressmen will be faced with a really bizarre choice. And the Indian press has spelled this out. "Oh, you want to put conditions on us, do you? Ah, terrific. So you're willing to forego any business whatsoever with India, after business with India, Russia, China, France and the U.K., Japan or any other nuclear supplier state's already been approved? Have at it." You won't see many people voting.

The one exception might be on Iran. I think Congress might say, "Well, we don't care whether we lose the business; we want our skirts clean; we are not going to endorse doing business with a country that has military-to-military relations with Iran." But you get the point, I hope, that if the NSG doesn't clarify some of these issues, don't count on Congress necessarily being able to pull out the stops for you.

And indeed I would focus mostly on the issues about the fate, as the congressman spelled it out for you, of the NSG. After all, if nuclear supplier -- if nuclear weapon states under the NPT can assist countries through the NSG indirectly to make bombs, what is the point of an NSG if you let that one go?

If safeguards get defined downward to mean almost anything and fuel assurances are given to anyone, even those that misbehave, why do we need an NSG since it's based on standards associated with what the safeguards are? Nuclear testing, the point about reprocessing -- you get the point.

Now, that's the conclusion, I think, you have to focus on. Does the NSG seek to persist? If it doesn't, it will go quietly. If you ask questions, merely ask questions and persist in asking questions, you will be important and people will beat a path to your door for your counsel. The choice is yours.

FERGUSON: That's a perfect segue about asking questions. Thank you very much for the words of wisdom, Henry. And we have maybe about 15 minutes for questions, and then we need to get the congressman back to his busy schedule. So if you want to ask questions, please put your name placard up like this so I can see who you are, and I'll call on you and hopefully in turn.

Any questions? Maybe -- this is on the record. Maybe a lot of -- (inaudible) -- people don't want to ask questions. (Laughter.)

We got Dan Horner from Platts Nucleonics Week. We've got one of the leading reporters on this issue.

So please, Dan.

QUESTIONER: Thank you, and thank you all for the presentation. I guess rather than going to a specific question, I'll -- a specific point falls on the point that Henry drew out. Congressman, you indicated a course of action that you were prepared to take in Congress to address where you see the defect in the agreement, but you sort of, it seemed, tossed it to the NSG to do more of that because you share Henry's concerns that Congress won't be able to act, that you're not confident -- you won't be able to pass any kind of legislation that would address those issues. Or if you just explain those -- the dynamic between those two a bit more.

MARKEY: It is not a done deal in the United States Congress. There are opportunities for Congress to either delay or deny or condition this agreement, and I think I made that clear in my statement earlier before I reached the Nuclear Supplier Group portion of my statement. But the NSG plays a critical role as well and before the Congress plays their role. And again, I made the recommital motion. This was the last vote that we had in December of 2006, so this was the very end of the Congress in 2006. We're in lame duck session, they're bringing us this amendment, and I made the recommital motion for the Democrats because they did not have a wide open vote for a debate on this on the House floor. I was scrapping just to get one additional minute to be making my points -- (inaudible) -- debate.

But I did make Iran the central part of my recommital motion, and in the waning hours of the Republican Congress, almost as a "going out of business" favor to the Bush administration, they stood firm with the Bush administration, but I got 192 votes on my recommitment motion, conditioning it on, you know, the Iran issue, and the cooperation on Iran and India.

So we now have -- the perception is, you know, we now have 233 Democrats, not 203 Democrats, and there are a lot of Republicans who are in a more -- we'll call it the deregulated end of the Bush era mode -- (laughter) -- given all of the other weighty issues that they must carry on their political backs over the next 15 months that go to their own personal political survival.

So I wouldn't say that Congress won't have a role or can't play a role, but the Nuclear Suppliers Group is up first. And I think that there it's not just U.S. -- (off mike) -- but the entire international community in which there lies -- (off mike).

FERGUSON: Yes, sir?

QUESTIONER: Congressman, Elmir Tagirov from the Russian embassy. Thank you very much for your presentation. It was really thoughtful, it was elaborate, and it definitely requires the attention of anyone present here.

MARKEY: Thank you.

QUESTIONER: But I wanted to clarify one point. Out of all those one, two, three recommendations that you were giving to NSG members, recommendation number two says no supply to weapons program. But once again, according to your logic, if we supply a gram of uranium to India, India can free a gram of its own uranium to push it into the weapons program. How can this work out? How can we guarantee that this stuff doesn't go to the nuclear -- to the weapons part of --

MARKEY: Well, you know, in the New Testament, the wedding feast at Cana, Jesus's mother comes to him and says, "There is no wine." And he says, "What business is that of me? I have no public role." So she asks him -- they ask him to -- he then says, "Well, bring out six jars, each 15 gallons, of water." And he turns them all into wine. And one of the guests says, "You are" -- to the host, "You are unlike any other host at a wedding; you've saved your best wine for last."

So if the history of India is producing seven nuclear bombs per year, and all of a sudden they're producing 50 nuclear bombs per year, matching the Pakistani program, I think that either some miracle has occurred in domestic access to uranium inside India, or there has been a massive significant diversion of material -- it's not a gram, it's more than a gram -- that would then require the -- an action to cut off any further supply. But that would be a burden on the IAEA, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, ensuring that there are true safeguards now in place, that there is a true monitoring of what's going on inside of India, and that we -- the international community is not being played for fools in the sense of what is actually going on.

So that's, you know, something that I think can be determined, and then precipitous and conclusive action has to then be taken by the world community.

So again, I -- there's a kind of a(n) unstable stability to this relationship between Pakistan and India right now. I would put -- I'll be honest with you, I would put further that the United States and Russia and China ask for a global conference on this India- Pakistani issue in this dramatic, unhealthy increase in both countries' desire to have more nuclear weapons. That's what I would prefer. I would prefer real initiative. I would prefer for the president, rather than trying to figure out how to get Boeing and, you know, Westinghouse a few more nuclear power plants or planes -- (inaudible) -- instead that they focus on the central issue and asked your leader and the Chinese and other countries' leaders to have a real conference on this, and then by doing so, they would include Iran. They would -- you'd -- the whole -- you could see the whole picture, okay?

But that is lost when you try to deal with it as a trade agreement unrelated to this larger phenomenon that is at play, and that Russia is part of as well. I mean, there's no question, we're all -- we're all part of this, okay? We're all part of this collective short-term nuclear agreement that it can theoretically increase trade -- (inaudible) -- for one country but have long-term catastrophic -- (inaudible).

FERGUSON: Henry, please.

MR. SOKOLSKI: Actually, as the congressman's talking points point out, there actually is something rather specific that is not perhaps apparent. It says adopt the Hyde act's recording requirement. Now, you know, the worst thing you can do as a(n) embassy official is read the Hyde act and the 123 agreement, because if you do, you'll probably be able to take over your entire embassy and become secretary of State or foreign minister.

But if you dare to do it, there's a pretty detailed description of what you do to subtract, to figure out whether they're making bombs with the fuel you're sending. You have to report on how many megawatts are they producing in the civil facilities. It's a simple calculation that produces the amount of uranium required to produce those. You calculate the reported amount of material milled and mined for a year, and you use the algorithm that the Arabs came up with called subtraction, and you really end up seeing some rather disturbing evidence.

If a nuclear weapon state such as Russia or the United States or the U.K. or France or China should be supplying fuel and/or other materials to such a country, we are in violation of Article I. Now, you want to kill the treaty, the Nuclear Suppliers Group can grease the skids. You can be the agency of undoing the entire treaty. That'll be -- we'll put that on your gravestone: "NSG, NPT -- RIP." (Light laughter.) That's how you do it. So you'd want to be careful, as an NSG member, to put pressure on this.

And for the Australians -- I mean, if you go ahead and you deep- six SPNFZ, you should be even more sensitive to at least this point to kind of save your credibility, at least with the Canadians and the Americans, on nonproliferation and the Arms Control Association, for that matter.

It's an important point. So I think there is a way to do it if you want to do it.

FERGUSON: We're running short on time.

Any final questions or comments before we get to -- oh, yes. Oh wait. We have Peter Potman in the audience, who actually gave a very good talk at the Carnegie nonproliferation conference recently on this very issue. So I would recommend you reading his speech, but please, sir.

QUESTIONER: Well, thank you for that introduction. I would like to thank Congressman Markey for his remarks, and I think a powerful case and indeed something that the NSG governments will have to take to heart when they start considering. You referred, Charles, to the speech I gave -- this being on the record I think I'll leave it at that. The transcript can be found on the Carnegie website; it's also on our embassy's website. So we try to make some points clear that we consider important in considering this deal, but as I said, people can look them up.

So my question to you, Congressman, would be -- and again, this is, you know, about the political atmosphere here on the Hill. What is the sentiment with the members of Congress about nonproliferation in relation to, you know, the future relationship with India, which is obviously, if you ask, are you for proliferation? They will say yes. Are you all for good relations with India? They will say yes. So you know, liked for obviously energy countries, and then in the Congress this is also a matter of weighing the one against the other, perhaps, at some point.

So what is, in your view, the sentiment, and to what extent do you believe that the Democrats are willing to give this deal to this president before he leaves office?

MARKEY: I don't -- first of all, I don't think that the question of giving an agreement to the president is going to be a central issue. I think it's going to rise and fall on its own merits regardless of what achievement this might be viewed as far as the president. And again, I think that the longer it goes, the more it's aired out, the more questions that are raised about what the long-term implications are, is the more likely that Congress -- (inaudible) -- it. Chairman Lantos says he's going to create -- he's going to inspect this issue very closely. The ranking member from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, she said the same thing, and she has increasing reservations about it on the International -- on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

But I have members increasingly who come to me to who are glad that I'm raising these issues. And I think that if people fully understood the implications of what this 123 agreement as presently drafted meant for U.S. and global corporations, that it would have a lot of problems. So that's to a certain extent going to be kind of, amongst other things, quite centrally, on the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the IAEA and the role that they play.

But don't for a second think that the president won't make any and all arguments that are off the central point in order to get this thing to pass -- strategic partnership, trade, et cetera -- to the Congress. He can't to the U.N.; you couldn't -- (inaudible.)

So what was his argument on the nuclear program in Iraq? His argument was, Russia, Germany, France, they've opposed inspections in Iraq. What has happened since, you know, 1980? What has happened, you know? We have evidence that there is uranium from Niger. We have evidence that there is aluminum tubing, you know, that could be used in the manufacture of, you know -- (off mike ) -- centrifuges to process uranium. Evidence, evidence, evidence, evidence, evidence. Russia, Germany, France blocked inspections. So I just think that, you know, the next threat could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

So Congress votes to give him authority. To do what? To go to the U.N. And what does the U.N. do? The U.N. gives him the authority to go in, and that's in October. And in November, December, January, February, March, there are blue vans riding all over Iraq, going to every single location, looking for this nuclear weapons program. And Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei are saying in the middle of February, beginning of March, "We can't find it. Where is it?" And --

QUESTIONER: Tell us. Tell us, please.

MARKEY: Huh? Yeah. (Chuckles.)

QUESTIONER: They said, "Tell us, please. If you have information, please give it to us.

MARKEY: So they say, to the Russians, you know, to the Germans, to the French and to all of your countries, "Get out before the -- we're going to start bombing, you know, next Monday. Get out." The fact that we can't find it is evidence that it must be there, even though we've gone to every single location that the CIA, the DIA and every other agency said it could be at over the years, because there had already been a predetermined agenda.

And here it's using trade and using -- so don't expect a lot of respect. Expect them to intimidate, expect them to bully, expect them to insist that we make this small concession to them, because while there is an argument that is -- the only thing that John Kerry and George Bush agreed upon in their debates was that nuclear nonproliferation was our highest agenda.

They only agreed on one thing in three debates.

And so this is something that again Mark Twain -- (off mike). And you have to assume that they're going to do the same thing again to you, to the Congress, to the American people and the world. They do not care about nuclear proliferation. It is not a high priority for them, and there is no evidence on that issue. And the war in Iraq is one piece, but this is a second. And there are others that could go down there with me, including -- (off mike) -- for the planet.

But I guess in the end, I ask you, I implore you to use your sovereign powers to raise these questions and to extract the concessions and to not back down. It's much too important. You'll look back at this as a seminal moment in your careers and in your own country's relationship with nuclear proliferation on the planet.

You know, if a nuclear blast goes off somewhere on the planet, you know, in the next generation, we'll be pointing back to this moment. And we'll know that this played a role, further spreading nuclear materials across the planet. And the least that you and your country should be able to say is that we tried; we really tried to stop this -- (off mike). And that's all that I ask you to do, to have your countries try -- (off mike) -- and to not allow this administration once again to -- (off mike) -- nuclear proliferation.

Thank you, gentlemen.

FERGUSON: Thank you very much, Congressman Markey. Please join me in thanking the congressman for his insightful remarks on this very historic moment. (Applause.)

And I should add that the transcript is going up at cfr.org sometime relatively soon, we hope. But it's supposedly being -- they've been -- being transcribed as we were talking, so that's how quickly we're trying to get it up there on the Web, cfr.org.

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