Bureau of Nonproliferation
January 20, 2001
Argentina and Chile Bring Into Force The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear in Latin America and the Caribbean (The Treaty of Tlatelolco)
On January 18, 1994, Argentina and Chile, and on May 30, 1994, Brazil, brought into force the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco for their national territories. These actions greatly expand the land area for which the Latin American nuclear weapons-free zone is in legal effect, and constitute a significant step toward the full incorporation of the zone throughout the region. Argentina, Chile, and Brazil have now assumed a binding international commitment not to acquire, manufacture, test, use, or station a nuclear explosive device in their sovereign territory.
Of the major Latin states, only Cuba stands completely outside this significant nuclear non-proliferation regime.
The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean predates the NPT and represents the first effort by a group of states to establish a nuclear weapon-free zone in a heavily populated region. The Treaty was opened for signature in 1967 and now has 27 Latin American and Caribbean Contracting Parties. As Contracting Parties, these states have accepted the application of IAEA safeguards for all their nuclear activities to assist in verifying compliance with the Treaty. The Treaty also establishes a regional organization, the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (known by its Spanish acronym OPANAL), to help ensure compliance with its provisions.
The Treaty will come fully into force when all eligible states have signed and ratified (as necessary) the Treaty and its two Protocols, and concluded comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA as required. States can, however, individually waive these requirements and declare the Treaty in force for their respective territories, thereby creating the nuclear-free zone in a piecemeal fashion.
The U.S. is a party to two Protocols to the Treaty. Protocol I requires parties with international responsibility for territories within the region to respect specific denuclearization provisions of the Treaty and to conclude IAEA safeguards agreements for their territories. Protocol II requires nuclear weapon states also to respect and support the denuclearization provisions and not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against Treaty parties. The U.S. has signed and ratified both Protocols, with declarations consonant with U.S. policy (such as freedom of naval and air passage, etc.). The U.S. has also brought into force a safeguards agreement pursuant to Protocol I that covers the territories in the region for which we are internationally responsible. With France's 1992 ratification of Protocol I, all relevant states have now signed and ratified the two Protocols.
The United States remains firmly committed to the goals of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and will continue to seek its full implementation. The Treaty makes a substantial contribution to regional peace and stability, as well as to strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime as a whole.
a - This is date of notification of succession. The declaration of waiver was deposited 4/26/77, which is date of entry into force for The Bahamas.
b - Waived into force on separate date. Chile, 1/18/94; Colombia, 9/6/72; St. Vincent/Grenadines, 5/11/92; Trinidad & Tobago, 6/27/75.