United Nations

A/50/115


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

23 March 1995

ORIGINAL:
ARABIC/ENGLISH/
FRENCH/RUSSIAN/
SPANISH


Fiftieth session
Item 70 of the preliminary list*



                       GENERAL AND COMPLETE DISARMAMENT

                       Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                                Page


 I.  INTRODUCTION .....................................................2

II.  REPLIES RECEIVED FROM GOVERNMENTS ................................2

     Canada ...........................................................2

     Colombia .........................................................2

     Costa Rica .......................................................4


     France (on behalf of the European Union) .........................5

     Kazakhstan .......................................................10

     Latvia ...........................................................10

     Nigeria ..........................................................11

     Philippines ......................................................12


     Qatar ............................................................14

     South Africa .....................................................14

     Suriname .........................................................19
________________________

    *   A/50/50.

95-08228 (E)   040495  060495                                             /...
*9508228*

                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.  On 15 December 1994, the General Assembly adopted resolution 49/75 F
entitled "1995 Review and Extension Conference of States Parties to the

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons", the operative part of
which reads, inter alia, as follows:

        "2.  Invites States parties to provide their legal interpretations of
    article X, paragraph 2, of the Treaty and their views on the different
    options and actions available, for compilation by the Secretary-General

    as a background document of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of
    States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,
    well before the holding of that Conference."

2.  Pursuant to that request of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General,
in a note verbale dated 20 January 1995, invited States parties to provide

their views on this matter.  The replies received thus far are reproduced in
section II of the present report.


                    II.  REPLIES RECEIVED FROM GOVERNMENTS


                                    CANADA

                                                          [Original:  English]

                                                          [20 March 1995]     


    The Government of Canada supports indefinite extension of the Treaty on
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  One of the many advantages of this
option is precisely that it is not subject to potentially disruptive legal
uncertainty.  Canada has therefore not seen the need to explore in depth the
legal complexities which might attend an extension for a fixed period or for
fixed periods.  Indefinite extension is plain, simple and permanent.



                                   COLOMBIA

                                                          [Original:  Spanish]


                                                          [28 February 1995]  

1.  Article X, paragraph 2, should be interpreted in the context of the
Treaty.


The object and purpose of the Treaty

2.  The decision on which the modality of extension should be adopted depends
on the evaluation by the parties of compliance with the Treaty's provisions
and their evaluation of its operation.  That review will take place in the
light of the object and purpose of the Treaty.


3.  Review of compliance with the obligations of the parties and evaluation
of the operation of the Treaty in the light of its object and purpose lead us
into the field of the interpretation of treaties.  In this regard, we believe

that article 31 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the law of treaties states
the general rule for the interpretation of treaties.

4.  That rule, which is known as the rule of the ordinary meaning or the rule
of context, was unanimously agreed upon by the International Law Commission

when it elaborated the draft articles which were finally adopted as part of
the text of the above-mentioned Vienna Convention.

5.  In the matter of interpretation, we find a number of similar rulings by
the Permanent Court of International Justice, including the decision in the
affair of the Polish postal service in Danzig, and by its successor, the

International Court of Justice, in several rulings, of which we may mention
its advisory opinion on the interpretation of the peace treaties between
Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania (phase II), the case of the rights of nationals
of the United States of America in Morocco, and the cases concerning south-
west Africa.


6.  With regard to the Treaty, it is enough to consider the ordinary meaning
of the terms in order to understand its object and purpose, the specific
obligations it imposes, its control and safeguard mechanisms, and the
modalities for its extension.

7.  It would also be useful to mention that the Treaty itself explicitly

provides in article VIII, paragraph 3, for the obligation of the parties to
review at intervals the operation of the Treaty with a view to assuring that
the purposes of the preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being
realized.

Obligations of parties under the Treaty


8.  The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, as its name
indicates, had as its objective the non-proliferation of such weapons and
their eventual elimination.  The relevant norms setting out that objective
are contained mainly in the 13 preambular paragraphs of the Treaty and in
article VI.


9.  The Treaty sets out in very clear terms certain obligations on the part
of nuclear-weapon States Parties.  These obligations are set forth mainly in
article I, while the obligations on the part of non-nuclear-weapon States
parties are set out mainly in article II.  All of this is without prejudice
to the right of non-nuclear weapon States to develop nuclear technology and

material for peaceful purposes, as provided in article IV.

10. The Treaty also establishes a system of controls and safeguards, as set
out in article III, and creates, as mentioned before, a mechanism for
periodic review in the form of conferences of the parties held for that

purpose.

Final comments

11. The preamble, article VI and the other articles of the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons constitute an unequivocal reflection of

the will of the States parties in the matter.

12. On this occasion, the Conference of the parties will have the twin task
of reviewing compliance with the obligations assumed under the Treaty and

deciding on the modalities of its extension.  Moreover, this will be the last
occasion for review during this first period of the operation of the Treaty,
before a decision is adopted on the modality of its extension.  The exercise
in which the parties will have to engage will be to verify one by one the
obligations assumed by them, which are contained in the preamble and in each

and every one of the articles, and to take a decision on the appropriate
modality of extension.

13. Finally, it is useful to note that the practice that has been followed in
conferences for the review of the Treaty and in adopting decisions in
accordance with the rules of procedure, has been to seek consensus, without

excluding the possibility, of course, that decisions might be taken by vote. 
The importance of having any decision on the extension of the Treaty adopted
by consensus instead of by a vote is obvious.


                                  COSTA RICA


                                                          [Original:  Spanish]

                                                          [16 February 1995]  

1.  The Government of Costa Rica considers that article X, paragraph 2, of

the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons should be interpreted
in accordance with the ordinary meaning of its terms in the light of its
object and purpose.  The text literally authorizes the Conference of States
Parties to extend this international instrument indefinitely or for an
additional fixed period or periods, or not to extend it.  Consequently, only
a possible unconditional extension, whether for an indefinite period or for

an additional fixed period or periods, is expressly authorized by the text of
the Treaty.

2.  However, the Government of Costa Rica recognizes that, in accordance with
article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 23 May 1969, it
would be possible in law to have a broader interpretation of this article in

good faith.  Consequently, the Government of Costa Rica is of the view that
the parties should not exclude the possibility that other modalities of
extension, such as a conditional extension or an extension for a given number
of periods at the end of which a further conference of the parties could
decide on another extension, might be legally valid and applicable to the
Treaty.


3.  Therefore, the Government of Costa Rica considers that any decision to
extend the Treaty using any of the established modalities would be in
compliance with the Treaty's provisions.  The mandate of the Conference of
States Parties is limited to the application of article X of the Treaty and

does not include amendment of that article.  For this reason, the Government
of Costa Rica considers that the decision of the Conference will be fully
binding on all parties without need for any subsequent statement of
willingness to be so bound.

4.  On the other hand, the Government of Costa Rica considers that, in as

much as the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons constitute violations of
international law and, in particular, of human rights norms having the
character of jus cogens, the possible extension of the Treaty and the fact
that States continue to be parties to it should not be interpreted as

recognition of the legality of the use, threat of use or possession of
nuclear weapons, but merely as a preliminary step on the road to the ultimate
complete prohibition of such weapons.  The position of Costa Rica with regard
to these principles is unalterable.


5.  Finally, with respect to the possible modalities of extension, the
Government of Costa Rica considers it vital to unconditionally and
indefinitely extend the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.


                                    FRANCE


                      (on behalf of the European Union)

                                                           [Original:  French]

                                                           [12 March 1995]    


1.  By a note verbale dated 20 January 1995, the Secretary-General drew
attention to General Assembly resolution 49/75 F, which calls for the
compilation, by the Secretary-General, of a background document containing
the views of Member States of the Organization on the legal interpretation of
article X, paragraph 2, of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear

Weapons.

2.  During the forty-ninth session of the General Assembly, the European
Union voted against the draft resolution in question.  That position, which
was shared by the Depositary States, was founded on the fact that the legal
interpretation of the Treaty was the exclusive responsibility of the parties

and that it was, a priori, not up to the Secretariat to compile a document on
the matter.  The negative vote was further justified by the fact that there
was consensus, during the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the
1995 Review and Extension Conference of the NPT, that the request for legal
interpretations should be referred to the fourth session, which was held in
January 1995.


3.  The European Union had, during the third session of the Preparatory
Committee, held at Geneva from 12 to 16 September 1994, already distributed a
document on the options and modalities for extending the Treaty.  This
document, which was issued under the symbol NPT/CONF.1995/PC.III/14, is
annexed hereto.


4.  Notwithstanding its reservations concerning the procedure envisaged in
resolution 49/75 F, and in view of the importance of this matter and the
concern of the European Union to ensure that its analysis is disseminated as
broadly as possible, France, which is currently President of the European

Union, requests that the aforementioned working document be incorporated in
the compilation being undertaken by the Secretariat.


                                    ANNEX


                                EUROPEAN UNION

1.  The European Union has produced this paper on the question of options and
modalities for extending the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear

Weapons in order to facilitate further discussion of these matters among all
parties.


                              EXTENSION OPTIONS


Basic extension options

2.  Article X, paragraph 2 of the Treaty means that at the Extension
Conference in 1995 the parties can only choose between three basic options:


    (a) Indefinite extension;

    (b) Extension for an additional fixed period;

    (c) Extension for additional fixed periods.


3.  The option of extension for additional fixed periods only makes sense if
it is accompanied by some decision-making mechanism enabling the parties to
decide at the end of each fixed period whether to move on to the next one. 
Without such a mechanism extension for an unlimited number of additional
fixed periods would equate to indefinite extension.  Similarly, without such
a mechanism extension for a limited number of additional fixed periods would

equate to extension for one additional fixed period.

Implications of indefinite extension

4.  If the parties choose indefinite extension, no further decision on
extension need ever be taken by them.  Each of them would, however, still

retain the right of individual withdrawal from the Treaty in accordance with
article X, paragraph 1.  In addition, the fact that the Extension Conference
had decided to extend the Treaty indefinitely would not mean that it could
never be terminated.  This could still be done in accordance with the
customary international law which is reflected in article 54 of the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties (see para. 9 below).


Implications of extension for an additional fixed period

5.  If the parties choose extension for a single fixed period, they can set
the fixed period at any length they wish.  Whatever length they choose,
however, the Treaty will automatically terminate at the end of the chosen

period.  Article X, paragraph 2, provides separately for the possibility of a
series of additional fixed periods.  Therefore if the parties opt in 1995 for
extension by a single fixed period they could not still decide on a further
extension at a subsequent date by the majority specified in article X,
paragraph 2.  That article only gives authority for the holding of one

extension conference with decisions taken by the majority of States parties,
and a Treaty amendment would be required to enable a second one to take
place.  The terms of article VIII, paragraphs 1 and 2, make any amendment to
the Treaty very difficult to achieve.  In the absence of such an amendment a
decision to extend the Treaty further could only be taken by all the States
parties.


Implications of extension for additional fixed periods

6.  If the parties choose extension for additional fixed periods, they will
need to decide on the length of these periods.  Article X, paragraph 2,
offers no guidance on their possible length.  It must therefore be assumed
that they could be of any length, and that they could be of the same or
varying length.  As noted in paragraph 3 above, the parties would also need

to agree on the mechanism by which they would decide at the end of each fixed
period whether to proceed to the next one.  One possibility, which would be
consistent with the need for a decision-making mechanism, yet would avoid the
danger of unauthorized Treaty amendment, might be a mechanism that would
provide for automatic movement from one extension period to the next unless a
specified number of countries objected in some prescribed manner.


7.  Since the establishment of a mechanism for moving from one period to the
next is not explicitly stated in the Treaty, and since such a mechanism would
be exceptional (binding parties even if they vote against) any such mechanism
should be confined to the minimum necessary to make sense of the Treaty
provision, i.e. a mechanism whereby the parties vote to continue (or not). 

Anything which goes beyond necessary implication is an amendment to the
Treaty requiring the exercise of the article VIII mechanism.

Additional extension conference?

8.  The Treaty mentions only one extension conference.  The idea that

extension for a fixed period could also include a further conference option
to consider extending the Treaty further is problematic since this would not
then be an extension for "an additional fixed period".  It would really be
more than one period; or if it is one period, the period is not fixed.  But
in any event, for the reasons given in paragraph 7, such a conference should
not be implied without clear wording.  This is because such a conference is

exceptional as it has the power to bind all parties by a majority vote.  In
the absence of clear wording, only one such conference can be held, and to
impose another is really a Treaty amendment.

Immediate termination


9.  Article 42, paragraph 2, of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
provides that:  "termination of a treaty ... may take place only as a result
of the application of the provisions of the treaty or of the present
Convention".  There is no provision in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons dealing with termination (as opposed to article X,
paragraph 2, which deals with extension).  The terms of article 54 of the

VCLT mean that immediate termination could only be achieved if all the
parties consented to it.


                             EXTENSION MODALITIES


Extension decision

10. Article X, paragraph 2, says quite clearly that the decision on extension
must be taken "by a majority of parties to the Treaty" (i.e. not just by a
majority of those attending the extension conference).  There is therefore no

legal requirement for a consensus decision on extension.  Equally, there is
no bar to a consensus decision on extension providing that at least a
majority of States parties participate in the consensus.

11. Article X, paragraph 2, says nothing about the precise procedure for
taking the extension decision, about how it should be recorded, or about what
should be done if there is no majority at the conference for any decision on
extension.  It will therefore be necessary for the extension conference to
have rules of procedure which clearly explain how these matters are to be

handled within the context of article X, paragraph 2's stipulation that any
decision on extension must be supported by a majority of States Parties.

Rules of procedure

12. The rules of procedure used at Treaty Review Conferences in the past are

inadequate for these purposes in a number of ways:

    (a) It would be possible under these rules for a decision on extension by
consensus or voting to be taken without the support of a majority of Parties;

    (b) There is no provision in these rules that would enable one to check

that a consensus decision on extension included a majority of parties;

    (c) There is no provision in the rules to explain what should be done if
the Extension Conference is incapable of reaching a decision on extension in
accordance with article X, paragraph 2.


Changes to the rules of procedure used at the Treaty Review Conferences are
under discussion at the prepcoms with a view to making them suitable for the
Extension Conference in 1995.

Recording the extension decision


13. The Extension Document should:

    (a) Be distinct from any review document;

    (b) Limit itself to a bald statement of the essential facts about which
of the extension options set out in article X, paragraph 2, the parties have

chosen;

    (c) Record clearly which States participated in the consensus decision or
how they voted, if a vote is taken (there will then be no room for doubt that
a majority of States parties participated in the consensus decision, or voted
for the decision, or about which States they were).


Immediate entry into force of the extension decision

14. Once an extension decision has been made in accordance with article X,
paragraph 2, it immediately binds all the parties, even those which did not

support it.  It could not be legitimately argued that any extension decision
must subsequently be approved or ratified by States parties before it comes
into force for them.  There is no such requirement in article X, paragraph 2,
in contrast with the ratification requirements in article VIII, paragraph 2,
for amendments to the Treaty.


15. Nor could any State party which did not support the extension decision
legitimately seek to exercise its individual right of withdrawal from the
Treaty as a result of the decision.  It cannot be argued that an extension
decision taken in accordance with the Treaty is an "extraordinary event".

Continuation in force of the treaty if no extension decision is reached

16. There can be no argument that the Treaty cannot last longer than 25 years
in the absence of a decision, since article X, paragraph 2, provides for the
decision to be made at a Conference twenty-five years after the Treaty's

entry into force, and for the Conference to decide to continue the Treaty's
duration.  It is therefore also implicit that the Treaty must continue in
force while the Conference is in session.

17. As detailed in paragraphs 2-8 above, article X, paragraph 2, of the
Treaty envisages only three extension options.  Until the extension

conference has taken a decision in favour of one of these options the parties
will not have fulfilled their obligations under this part of the Treaty. 
Accordingly, the Conference must remain in existence until such a decision is
taken.  If taking a decision by the requisite majority proves difficult, the
Conference could be adjourned to reconvene later, but it cannot be concluded.


18. There is an argument that the Treaty will be terminated if the Conference
fails to reach a decision on extension.  This argument is difficult to
sustain, since it would in effect amount to a right of termination which is
not provided for in the Treaty.  It would be erroneous to try to equate the
absence of an extension decision with a unanimous decision to terminate it
under article 54 of the Vienna Convention (see para. 9 above).  But in any

case the argument should be a hypothetical one for the reasons set out in the
preceding paragraph.


                                  KAZAKHSTAN


                                                            [Original: 
Russian]

                                                            [27 February
1995]


1.  Having ratified the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic
Offensive Arms and the Lisbon Protocol thereto, having acceded to the Treaty
on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and having signed the Safeguards
Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazakhstan has
demonstrated its commitment to the cause of ridding the world of nuclear
weapons.


2.  Kazakhstan is in favour of the unconditional and indefinite extension of
the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.   At the same time,
believing in the need to strengthen the non-proliferation regime in every way
possible and in order to avoid the possible perpetuation of nuclear weapons,

Kazakhstan will, at the forthcoming Conference, advocate the conclusion of a
comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty as an essential element of the regime
provided for under the Non-Proliferation Treaty; advocate complete nuclear
disarmament; and support the initiative of a number of States concerning the
conclusion of an international agreement to halt the production of
fissionable material for nuclear weapons.


3.  In our view, any formula which would cast doubt on a future treaty could
be detrimental to the interests of the regime for the non-proliferation of
nuclear weapons.  


                                    LATVIA

                                                            [Original: 
English]


                                                            [1 March 1995]

1.  The Ministry would like to inform the Secretary-General that Latvia
considers the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to be one of
the basic documents of international security.


2.  In relation to paragraph 2 of article X of the Treaty, the Government of
Latvia considers that the States parties to the Treaty have three options for
the extension of the Treaty at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference: 
indefinite extension, extension for an additional fixed period and extension
for additional fixed periods.


3.  According to paragraph 2 of article X, any decision on extension of the
Treaty shall be taken by a majority of the parties to the Treaty, thus, no
consensus decision is required.  Any decision on extension of the Treaty is
binding for all States parties to the Treaty, including for those that
advocated a different extension option.   


4.  In regard to indefinite extension of the Treaty, Latvia considers that if
a majority of States parties to the Treaty decide on indefinite extension of
the Treaty, no further decision on extension has to be taken in the future.

5.  Considering that the parties may decide in favour of the second option

provided by paragraph 2 of article X - extension for an additional fixed
period - Latvia wishes to stress that the Treaty would terminate at the end
of that fixed period.  Therefore, for the Treaty to re-enter into force,
another extension conference would be necessary, as paragraph 2 of article X
provides for the holding of only one conference.  In such a case, the parties
would have to consider amending the Treaty.


6.  The option of extension for additional fixed periods requires further
decisions by the parties.  Namely, the parties would have to decide on the
length of those periods and on the mechanism which would regulate the
continuity of the Treaty at the end of each fixed period.



                                   NIGERIA

                                                            [Original: 
English]


                                                            [21 February
1995]

1.  Article X, paragraph 2, can be paraphrased as follows:  The initial
lifespan of the Treaty is 25 years.  However in view of the relevance of the

Treaty to the maintenance of world peace and security, there is an underlying
intention in the text that the Treaty should not die after the expiration of
the initial term of 25 years, but rather that its lifespan should be extended

to ensure a continuation of the obligations of the States parties to the
Treaty in order to avoid proliferation and misuse of nuclear weapons.

2.  Article X, paragraph 2, provides for three options.  The parties may give
the Treaty an indefinite extension, or extend it by an additional fixed

period, and provide that at the expiration of that term, the Treaty shall be
further extended for additional fixed periods.  The decision will be taken by
a majority of States parties.

Legal interpretation


3.  The legal effect of this provision is that the parties cannot reconvene
at the impending Conference to decide that the Treaty should not continue in
force.  They are obliged by article X, paragraph 2, to extend the life span
of the Treaty.  All that the article allows them to do is to determine
whether the Treaty should continue in force indefinitely or be extended for a
specific period or periods.


4.  It follows from this that if, during the 1995 Review and Extension
Conference, the parties decide on only a specified term of extension, the
Treaty lapses at the expiration of that term, unless it is duly amended under
the provisions of article VIII.  If such an event occurs, the willing parties
would have to renegotiate and agree on another Treaty with similar or other

terms.

5.  In the alternative, the parties may decide during the 1995 Conference to
extend the Treaty for several specified periods with the proviso that parties
shall convene at the expiration of each specified period to decide whether
the Treaty should be further extended by another specified period.  This

alternative accommodates the conflicting interests of both nuclear-weapon and
non-nuclear-weapon States parties.

6.  Throughout the history of the Treaty, the non-nuclear States have striven
for a non-discriminatory regime like those later established by the 1972
Convention relating to biological weapons and the 1993 Convention relating to

chemical weapons, each of which provides for the total elimination of a
certain class of weapons of mass destruction.  From the beginning of the
negotiations on the non-proliferation treaty, these States have called for
the elimination of all nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles, although
realizing that this process would be achieved only on a step-by-step basis
over a period of years.  Therefore, they agreed to accept the language of the

preambular paragraphs and article VI, calling for the cessation of the
nuclear arms race at an early date and for nuclear disarmament.  In addition,
they accepted article X, paragraph 2, which permits these goals to be
achieved by instalments linking disarmament measures to fixed periods of
extension.


7.  The review process that will take place during the 1995 Conference will
reveal the extent to which the preamble and main provisions of the Treaty
have been implemented.  Obligations assumed by parties under the Treaty must
not only be fulfilled but must be seen to be fulfilled.  In the event of
failure to implement any of the provisions, it will be right to say so and to

take the necessary steps to correct the faults in order that the Treaty may
fulfil the objectives and purposes of its elaboration and adoption.

8.  For a successful 1995 Review and Extension Conference, it is essential
that the nuclear-weapon and the non-nuclear-weapon States parties take a
decision that accommodates both their interests and cooperate with each other
in order to strengthen the Treaty.


9.  The extension anticipated under article X, paragraph 2, could be done by
way of a protocol to the existing Treaty, which will then be signed by all
parties.  It could also be decided by a resolution adopted by the parties by
consensus.      



                                 PHILIPPINES

                                                            [Original: 
English]

                                                            [27 February

1995]

General interpretation of article X, paragraph 2

1.  The Philippines takes paragraph 2 of article X of the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to mean that there will be only one

conference, held 25 years after entry into force, to decide on the mode of
extension.  This decision will be made by a simple majority of the States
parties.  The parties will choose from among three options, namely, whether
the Treaty shall (a) continue in force indefinitely or (b) be extended for
one additional fixed period or (c) be extended for a series of additional
fixed periods.


Views on the different options and actions available

    Indefinite extension

2.  To the Philippines, this alternative means that the Treaty regime would

continue indefinitely without any date of termination.  Since the Treaty does
not have any provision on its termination, this option means that it can be
terminated only by the consent of all parties after consultation with the
other contracting States (Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, article
54).


    Extension by additional fixed period

3.  This is taken to mean a single fixed extension, regardless of length of
time, which would result in the automatic termination of the Treaty at the
end of the extension period.  After this termination, the Treaty can no

longer be extended by a majority vote of the parties, for by then there would
no longer be a Treaty to which the States could claim to be parties.

    Extension by additional fixed periods

4.  This choice is understood as renewal of the Treaty regime periodically

for X number of times.

5.  The X number could be indefinite, for example, extension for five years
renewable every five years thereafter, or limited, for example, extension for

five years, with two (or three, or four, etc.) more renewals of five years
each, after which the Treaty will terminate.  The issue of indefinite or
limited renewals will have to be settled by the Conference.

6.  Another issue that the Conference must resolve is whether the periods of

renewal should be of equal or of different lengths.

7.  This choice also means that before each renewal to the next fixed period,
and before the end of each current period, the States parties will determine
whether a majority of them does not want the Treaty to continue.  If there is
no majority opposing another X-year term, another such term would occur.  If

a majority opposes, then the Treaty is terminated by majority decision.  In
other words, this option affords a periodic possibility of termination.

8.  This alternative, however, does not mean that the States parties could
require new agreements, such as a comprehensive test-ban treaty, to be
entered into before future extensions could take effect.  For imposing such a

condition, which is not required under article X, paragraph 2, would be
tantamount to amending the Treaty.  Amendments are not allowed under article
X, only under article VIII, which requires not just a majority of all parties
but also the unanimous vote of all nuclear-weapon States and all the members
of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

                                    QATAR

                                                            [Original: 
Arabic]


                                                            [14 March 1995]

1.  There is a common Arab viewpoint on the question of the extension of the
Treaty and the importance of this topic, because of the great importance of
the Treaty, which constitutes a fundamental element in international efforts
to put an end to the dangers of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, as a

step towards their total elimination, and to halt the arms race, which is a
burden on States and obstructs their development and economic programmes.

2.  On the basis of the above and in affirmation of good intentions
concerning the goal of bringing the Treaty to the level of indefinite
extensions, we believe that that issue is closely linked to the following:


    (a) The necessity of Israel's accession to the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, submission of all its nuclear
installations and facilities to inspection by and the safeguards system of
the International Atomic Energy Agency and destruction of its nuclear stock;


    (b) The importance of conducting a comprehensive review of the Treaty;

    (c) The necessity of a commitment on the part of nuclear-weapon States
not to use or threaten to use their weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon
State;


    (d) A commitment by nuclear States not to develop their weapons and to
divest themselves thereof in accordance with a schedule determined in
implementation of article VI of the Treaty.


                                 SOUTH AFRICA


                                                            [Original: 
English]

                                                            [31 January 1995]


1.  In order to come to the correct interpretation of article X, paragraph 2,
of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to be able to
follow the legal arguments in establishing the true meaning of the said
article, it is necessary to consider the principles of treaty interpretation
very briefly.  


2.  Although these principles are not absolute formulae, they are tools in
the interpretation of treaties and serve as guidelines in finding the true
interpretation of a specific provision.  When applying these principles of
interpretation, each principle on its own will render little help in the
interpretation of a provision, but it is their cumulative effect that will in

most cases be indicative of the correct and true meaning of a specific
provision in a treaty.

3.  Any effort to interpret treaty provisions starts with studying the
grammatical construction of the text itself.  Words must be construed
according to their plain and natural meaning.  The Vienna Convention on the
Law of Treaties of 1969 stipulates in article 31, paragraph 1, that a treaty
shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning of

the terms.  This must be done in context and in the light of the object and
purpose of that treaty.  Where particular words and phrases are unclear, the
interpreter should be guided by the general object and context of the treaty. 
(Although South Africa is not a party to the Vienna Convention on the Law of
Treaties of 1969, the provisions of that Treaty are regarded as customary
international law and therefore applicable to all States regardless of their

participation in the Convention.)

4.  However, if the grammatical interpretation would result in an absurdity
or inconsistency with the rest of the treaty, the grammatical meaning of the
text could not reflect the true intention of the parties.  Due regard should
be paid to the intention of the parties at the time of the conclusion of the

treaty and particularly the meaning attached by them to the words and phrases
at that time.

5.  The principles of reasonableness, consistency and effectiveness are other
useful tools in interpreting treaty provisions.  These entail that, when
interpreting a provision, the reasonable meaning of words and phrases which

is also consistent with the rest of the treaty is to be preferred.  In
accordance with the principle of effectiveness, the provision should be
interpreted in such a way as to render the treaty most effective and useful. 
Ambiguous provisions should be given an interpretation that is reasonable,
effective and consistent with the rest of the treaty.


6.  Recourse may also be had to supplementary means of interpretation,
including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its
conclusion in order to confirm the meaning of a provision in those cases
where the principles of ordinary meaning and of object and purpose leave the
meaning of the provision ambiguous, absurd or unreasonable (Vienna Convention
on the Law of Treaties, article 32).


7.  It is within this framework of set principles that we shall endeavour to
find the correct interpretation of article X, paragraph 2, of the Treaty on
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

8.  Article X, paragraph 2, leaves three choices open with regard to the

extension of the Treaty.  The Conference can choose between the following
options:

    (a) Indefinite extension;


    (b) Extension for an additional fixed period;

    (c) Extension for additional fixed periods.

9.  Applying the rules of interpretation no difficulty exists in
understanding what is meant by the term "indefinitely".  If such a decision

is taken, the Treaty will have an unlimited duration, with the usual option
for withdrawal by a party as provided for in the Treaty, or be terminated by
consent of all the parties after consultation with each other as stipulated
in articles 42 and 54 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

10. The second option, namely "additional fixed period", means that, as was
done when negotiating the Treaty, it is possible for the parties to decide to
extend it for a single fixed period only.  The time limit of such a fixed
period is not indicated and the parties are therefore free to choose any
length of time.  It is our view that the purpose of the Treaty and the

practical modalities thereof, such as the IAEA safeguards required by it,
should direct the parties in deciding on the length of such a fixed period. 
When choosing this option, the parties must realize that after the expiry of
the fixed period the Treaty will automatically terminate as there is no
provision in it for a second conference to decide on extending the duration
of the Treaty.


11. The argument also exists that article X, paragraph 2, can be interpreted
in such a way that, after the expiry of the fixed period, article X,
paragraph 2, can revitalize itself by being applied once again by the parties
to decide on the further extension of the Treaty in a similar way as was done
after the first 25 years.  Applying the principle of interpretation that the

ordinary meaning must be given to treaty provisions, it is quite difficult to
see how article X, paragraph 2, can be interpreted to authorize the holding
of a second extension conference where the parties can once again decide
between the three options.  This is in our view too broad an interpretation
of article X, paragraph 2, but as indicated below compromises will have to be
reached and the political will of the parties will in the end determine the

choice of the extension option.

12. The third option leaves parties the choice to decide on extending the
Treaty for "additional fixed periods", also without specifying the length or
number of the fixed periods.  The true meaning of this option of extension
for additional fixed periods is not clear as the grammatical interpretation

thereof leads to ambiguity.  The first observation when interpreting this
part of the provision is the fact that the grammatical interpretation of this
option leaves little practical difference between the different options.  For
example:  four consecutive fixed periods of five years (option three) and a
single fixed period of say 20 years (option two) are similar, while an
unlimited number of additional fixed periods (option three) will have the

same effect as an indefinite extension (option one).

13. This could not have been the intention of the parties when drafting this
article.  Terms of a treaty must be interpreted within their context and
since the options "indefinite", "period" and "periods" appear in the same
context, it warrants the conclusion that the parties must have meant these

options to be truly three different extension options.

14. These options can be different only if article X, paragraph 2, is
interpreted in such a way that the outcome and effect of the extension
options differ.  In case of an indefinite extension the Treaty will not

terminate unless all the parties have withdrawn from it under the terms of
the Treaty or until it is terminated in accordance with the provisions of the
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.  In the case of an extension for a
fixed period the Treaty will terminate at the expiry of that period.

15. This leaves the termination position of the Treaty under the option of

the fixed periods unsolved.  It is clear that in choosing the option of fixed
periods, the parties must have intended the possibility of extending the
Treaty for at least two fixed periods to distinguish it from the second
option of a single fixed period.  Logically this means that some kind of

mechanism must exist in order for one fixed period to be followed by the
next.  Although the Treaty does not explicitly provide for such a mechanism,
the need for effectiveness necessitates such an interpretation.  To avoid the
dangers of unauthorized treaty amendment through interpretation, such a
mechanism must be effective and consistent with the rest of the Treaty.  It

is also important that the envisaged mechanism does not infringe unduly on
the sovereignty of the parties and should therefore be limited to the minimum
necessary to give a meaningful interpretation to this provision.

16. In search for the true interpretation of the term "fixed periods",
guidance could be found in the supplementary means, including the preparatory

work of the Treaty.  The circumstances of the conclusion of the Treaty are
useful to confirm the meaning resulting from the application of the other
interpretation rules.  From the travaux preparatoires it is clear that the
present wording of article X, paragraph 2, was a compromise and stemmed from
an Italian proposal that called for a fixed term for the Treaty and the
automatic extension for terms equal to its initial duration for those

Governments that did not indicate their withdrawal from the Treaty.  This
proposal was amended by deleting the idea of automatic extension and
including the convening of a conference of the parties to decide at the end
of the first term whether to prolong the duration of the Treaty.

17. As article X, paragraph 2, provides only for a single extension

conference to be held after the expiry of the initial 25-year period, no
further extension conferences can be held in terms of the Treaty.  The only
deduction that can therefore be made is that, if the parties should decide on
the fixed periods option, it should be possible for those periods to follow
each other.  However, to differentiate this option from the indefinite
extension option explained above, a decision-making mechanism is needed to

trigger the succession of the fixed periods.

18. The parties accepted the idea of the periodic review of the operation of
the whole Treaty and created the mechanism of review conferences for this
purpose (art. VIII, para. 3).  The fact that no explicit provision was made
to this effect in respect of the fixed periods option does not preclude one

from interpreting the Treaty in such a way that the mechanism needed for the
effective implementation of the fixed periods option can also be covered
under the review conferences.  At the time of a review conference held near
the end of a fixed period, the parties should be able to decide on the future
of the Treaty.  This interpretation is in fact consistent with the idea of
periodic review of the Treaty.  Such a decision-making mechanism is also

consistent with the idea contained in article X, paragraph 2, that the
parties should be able to decide by majority vote on the continuation of the
Treaty.  The principle of effectiveness also dictates that this
interpretation is the only reasonable one.


19. The question now remains as to the nature of the decision-making
mechanism.  It is our view that it will be possible to have either a
"negative" mechanism or a "positive" mechanism.  The choice between these two
mechanisms will greatly depend on the political realities and the need for
compromise between the different interest groups within the Treaty, rather
than what is regarded as being strictly correct from a legal point of view.


20. The "negative" mechanism entails that it would be possible for each fixed
period to follow the previous one automatically, unless the parties decide at
the time of the review conference held near the end of any of the fixed

periods not to continue with the Treaty.  This means that the duration of the
Treaty will be extended automatically unless the parties decide against the
automatic roll-over from one period to the next.  It also does not mean that
a decision of the parties is needed at the end of each fixed period.  The
Treaty will automatically continue through the various fixed terms until the

parties decide not to extend it any further.

21. A "positive" mechanism on the other hand is one where the parties will
have a say in the continuation of the Treaty at the end of each of the fixed
periods.  The Treaty will continue to the next fixed period only if the
majority of the parties so decide.  If at the review conference near the end

of each fixed period the majority of the parties vote affirmatively in this
regard, the duration of the Treaty will automatically be extended to the next
fixed period.  The "positive" mechanism is in our view also consistent with
the idea of constant review of the Treaty and with the idea contained in
article X, paragraph 2, that the parties can "... decide whether the Treaty
shall continue in force ...", in other words, a positive decision.  A

decision-making process similar to the one now suggested is therefore already
part of the Treaty.  If all the parties accept and agree on this
interpretation, this interpretation will also be acceptable under the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties as a case of change through subsequent
practice in the application of the treaty (art. 31, para. 3 (b)).


22. It is therefore our submission that the parties intended to create three
truly different extension options in terms of article X, paragraph 2.  Each
of these options as explained above has different legal implications and
results which should be carefully considered by the political decision makers
when deciding which option to choose.  However, it is also true that the
Treaty was a product of political bargaining and compromise.  There is little

doubt that the decision to be taken in 1995 on the duration of the Treaty
will likewise be brought about by the political will of the parties to reach
a compromise that will best serve their common goal - the prevention of the
spread of nuclear weapons.



                                 Bibliography

Barnaby, F., "The extension of the non-proliferation Treaty:  limited or
unlimited", UNIDIR Newsletter, No. 26/27 (1994).

Bunn, G., "Extending the non-proliferation Treaty:  legal questions faced by

the parties in 1995", Paper for the Advisory Committee on World Conference
Issues of the American Society of International Law (September 1994).

Carnahan, B. M., "Nuclear testing and the future of the nuclear non-
proliferation Treaty:  are the nuclear-weapon States legally obligated to

seek a comprehensive test ban?", Nuclear Law Bulletin, No. 49 (June 1992).

Rockwood, L., "Non-proliferation Treaty 1990 Review Conference:  looking
towards 1995", Nuclear Law Bulletin, No. 46 (December 1990).

Shaker, M. I., The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty:  Origin and

Implementation 1959-1979, vols. I-III (1980).

Sinclair, I., The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1984).

Starke, J. G., Introduction to International Law, 10th ed. (1989).


                                   SURINAME


                                                          [Original:  English]

                                                          [13 March 1995]     

1.  Article X, paragraph 2, obliges States parties to the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to decide, during the forthcoming

1995 Review Conference, on the extension of that Treaty, which can be for an
indefinite period of time or can be determined in advance for one or more
extended periods.

2.  In case the States parties to the Treaty fail to formulate a decision
with regard to the extension of the Treaty within the specified time, this

need not render the Treaty inoperative.  The Government of the Republic of
Suriname is of the view that paragraph 2 of article X does not deny the
States parties to the Treaty the possibility of adjourning the Conference and
reconvening at a later time.  States parties to the Treaty will then have to
take a formal decision with regard to the adjournment of the Conference as
well as its duration.


3.  If States parties to the Treaty opt for an extension of only one period
then the validity of the Treaty will expire when that period has elapsed.

4.  The extension of the validity of the Treaty before it expires will be
possible only with the consent of all the States parties to the Treaty and

through the necessary amendments to the Treaty.


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