Arms Control and the 1976 Election

The Arms Control Association believes that controlling the worldwide competition in armaments, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, and planning for a more stable world free from the threat of nuclear annihilation are goals that should take first priority for the United States and its leaders.  The voters who go to the polls on November 2nd have the right to know in detail the candidates' positions on these issues.  Accordingly, earlier this year we asked President Ford and Governor Carter for their views on a number of critical questions involving arms control, disarmament, and national security—quite literally, matters of life or death.  Their answers, provided by their campaign committees, are reproduced in full in this issue of Arms Control Today.

Arms Control Association: Do you support the proposition that arms control and disarmament objectives are central to national security?  If so, what would you do in your Cabinet appointments and through your policies to implement this view?

Ford: President Ford most definitely feels that continued negotiations with the Soviet Union, in an effort to reduce both the level of tensions between the two nations and the dangerous arms race, are necessary to protect the interests and security of the United States.  As he stated in February of this year:

it is my duty…to do all that I can to reduce the level of danger by diplomatic means.  So my policy for national security can be summed up in three words: peace through strength.  I believe it is far better to seek negotiations with the Soviet Union…(based on strength)…than to permit a runaway nuclear arms race and risk a nuclear holocaust.

To implement these views the President has appointed and retained men, dedicated to such policies, both to Cabinet and sub-Cabinet positions: Donald Rumsfeld, formerly our Ambassador to NATO, later the President's chief of staff, and now serving in another position of high responsibility as Secretary of Defense; Secretary of State Kissinger; Brent Scowcroft, assistant to the President for national security affairs; and Fred Ikle, Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

The President will continue to appoint men of such high quality to these and other positions in the future.  Furthermore, the policy of attempting to negotiate with the Russians will continue.  Arms control and disarmament efforts in other parts of the world will be continued as well.

Carter: I believe that the mutual balance of terror is an inadequate foundation for a peaceful and stable world order.  While maintaining our military strength and the American nuclear deterrent are essential to world order under today's conditions, we also need a positive arms control program as a coordinate element of national security policy.  The specific steps I favor in the various major arms control areas are outlined in my answers below.

Arms Control Association: Do you believe that cessation of the arms race and general nuclear disarmament should be the objective of the United States?  If you do, what specific proposals would you put forward?

Ford: While cessation of the arms race and general nuclear disarmament are the ultimate goals of United States policy, they cannot be attained easily or quickly.  The immediate aim, therefore, of the President's policy of negotiations is the relaxation of tensions and continued steady gains in our relations with the Soviets.  The U.S. policy of controlling the strategic arms race has been carried on under five Presidents; the agreement at Vladivostok is aimed at quantitative limitations on such weapons.  Continuation of our present policy of peaceful negotiations is our best hope for ever attaining nuclear disarmament.

Carter: The international atomic weapons race must stop.  I believe that the ultimate goal of this nation should be the reduction of nuclear weapons in all nations of the world to zero.  Clearly, this is an ultimate rather than an immediate objective, and it may not occur in my lifetime.  But I would work toward ending the world's growing dependence on atomic weapons by specific measures in the areas of SALT, nuclear proliferation, and nuclear testing, as outlined below.

Arms Control Association: Do you believe that The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency should be strengthened and given a more important role in developing and implementing national security policies?  If so, how?

Ford: The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency occupies a prominent position within the decision-making structure of the Ford Administration with regard to national security policies, and no change in that position is foreseen. President Ford regards the Agency as an important factor in the development of policies in its area. The current Director, Dr. Fred Ikle, participates in National Security Council meetings when arms control, disarmament, and arms transfer questions are under consideration, and ACDA also plays a prominent role as a member of the Verification Panel where basic policy discussions in this field are studied. This indicates the esteem in which the President holds the Agency and its officers, and the responsibility he is willing to lay upon it in elaborating upon his policies in this complex and crucial policy area.

Carter: An early task of my Administration would be reform of the organization of our national security agencies. In such a reform, I would emphasize that arms control considerations must be given a major voice in national security deliberations.

The Republican Administration has gutted ACDA, and that is one of the reasons they have made so little real progress in arms control. Its functions must be revitalized.

The exact role of ACDA, or any other agency, would be established in the context of my general review of organizational questions. Certainly I would insure that my Administration would abide by the spirit as well as the letter of the Zablocki Amendment, which requires arms control impact statements on major new weapons programs — a requirement which the present Administration has slighted.

Arms Control Association: Do you favor a SALT II Treaty based generally on the 1974 Vladivostok Accords? If not, explain your objections.

Ford: President Ford views SALT II as an extension of SALT I, inasmuch as both are parts of our major, overall arms control objectives. He feels that SALT I was quite successful and deserves to be followed up:

Those who argue that SALT talks jeopardize the security of the United States are badly mistaken. In Vladivostok we began negotiating an agreement which, if successfully completed, will place equal ceilings on missiles, heavy bombers, and multiheaded missiles…We are continuing the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks with the Soviet Union for the simple but very good reason that these negotiations offer the best hope for sanity in super-power relations.

Carter: The Vladivostok levels are too high. Moreover, despite the ballyhoo, the Administration has not been able to produce an acceptable agreement on the Vladivostok guidelines in two years of trying and there still appear to be important issues unresolved. Information on the details of the obstacles have not been made public. Whether next year it would be best, if there is still no agreement, to seek to implement the Vladivostok ceilings and go on from there to agreements on reductions and technological controls, or whether a new approach would be required is a judgment on negotiating policy that I would make only after careful review of where the talks stand in January, 1977.

Arms Control Association: Do you believe the SALT II Treaty should place restrictions on the deployment of strategic cruise missiles?

Ford: Although cruise missiles may eventually have some limitations placed upon them as part of a comprehensive arms control plan, the Administration does not favor the imposition of unilateral restrictions on their development prior to firm commitments by the other side. At present the development of a U.S. cruise missile is well advanced over Soviet efforts and is continuing as an essential element in our strategic arsenal.*

Carter: I recognize the possible utility of cruise missiles of certain kinds for maintaining the effectiveness of our bomber deterrent. On the other hand, strategic range cruise missiles also present important arms control issues because of the difficulty in verifying their characteristics and the number of platforms from which they could be launched. So cruise missiles pose a case of the need for arms control factors to be considered before deployment decisions by the United States. If I were satisfied that an agreement would be adequately verified, I would accept, in return for appropriate Soviet commitments regarding controls on their weapons, some limits on strategic range cruise missile deployments in a new SALT agreement.

Arms Control Association: After SALT II, what should our goals for SALT III be?

Ford: President Ford sees the intent of SALT Ill as a continuation of attempts to negotiate limits on strategic nuclear arms. The particular goals will depend upon the 4 exact achievements of the SALT II negotiations and the stage of technological development when the SALT Ill negotiations begin. As a general concept, SALT Ills intended to apply quantitative limitations on numbers of vehicles, while SALT Ill would provide the upper limits on quantitative capabilities and stabilize the strategic positions of the two super-powers.

Carter: The core of our dealings with the Soviet Union must be mutual reduction of arms and halting the race in strategic technology. We should negotiate to reduce the present SALT ceilings on offensive weapons before both sides start a new arms race to reach the current maximums, and before new missile systems are tested or committed for production. Attaining these objectives will require hard bargaining with the Soviets, but I’m not afraid of hard bargaining with the Soviet Union, and it would strengthen the support for the agreements that can be reached and I show that SALT is not a one way street.

Arms Control Association: What steps should the United States take to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons?

Ford: President Ford believes that there are several steps the U.S. must take and must continue, in order to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons:
* Through diplomatic channels, encourage universal adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The recent ratification by Japan, and the accession of many of the Western European countries over a year ago, demonstrate the viability of the Treaty.
* Through mutual security arrangements, create the protection that permits countries to forego the acquisition of nuclear weapons. By seeking to lessen regional tensions, the President hopes to reduce the motivation for the development of nuclear weapons by states in that region.
* By following a policy of imposing international safeguards on all exported nuclear facilities, and avoiding the transfer of sensitive materials, help to meet the legitimate needs for electrical power generation without providing a capability for weapons development. At the same time, we must not be quixotic in our supply policy since we will drive recipients to other sources or to develop their own independent capacity, and thereby lose our influence and ability to exert control over international nuclear affairs.
* Because the U.S. is not the only supplier of nuclear technology, President Ford wants to obtain the cooperation of other suppliers in applying safeguards and restrictions on exports. We recently have had good results in concerting the export policies of the major supplier nations, but the president will continue to press for even stricter, and more broadly based, controls and restraints.
* The effectiveness of the International Atomic Energy Agency is an important key to achieving an international nuclear regime where power needs are met under appropriate safeguards against diversion of nuclear materials to weapons. The President believes we should work with the IAEA, both through contribution of money, and the provision of technical support to continuously update and enhance its effectiveness.

Carter: We must make halting proliferation of nuclear weapons a top national priority.
As President, I would take the following eleven steps to control further nuclear proliferation:
1. I would call upon all nations to adopt a voluntary moratorium on the national sale or purchase of enrichment or reprocessing plants — a moratorium which should apply retroactively to the recent German-Brazilian and the French- Pakistan agreements.
2. I would make no new commitments for the sale of nuclear technology or fuel to countries which refuse to forego nuclear explosives, to refrain from national nuclear reprocessing, or to place their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.
3. I would seek to withhold authority for domestic commercial reprocessing until the need for, the economics, and the safety of this technology is clearly demonstrated. If we should ever decide to go forward with commercial reprocessing, it should be on a multinational basis.
4. I would call for an international Conference on Energy, to provide a forum in which all nations can focus on the nonproliferation issue. Such a Conference must also explore non-nuclear means of meeting energy demands of other nations so that no state is forced into a premature Commitment to atomic power.
5. I would support a strengthening of the safeguards and inspection authority of the IAEA and place all of our own peaceful domestic nuclear facilities under those safeguards.
6. I would seek to renegotiate our existing agreements as a nuclear supplier, many of which were entered into before we began insisting on reprocessing safeguards and which are now inadequate.
7. I would take steps to ensure that the U.S. is once again a reliable supplier of enriched uranium — the fuel for civilian reactors which is unsuitable for weapons — by supporting enlargement of our government-owned facility.
8. I would explore international initiatives such as multinational enrichment plants and multinational spent fuel storage areas which could provide alternatives to the establishment of enrichment or reprocessing plants on a national basis.
9. I would redirect our own energy research and development efforts to correct the disproportionate emphasis which we have placed on nuclear power at the expense of renewable energy technologies. Our emphasis on the breeder reactor must be converted into a long term, possibly multinational effort.
10. Finally, I would follow through on my belief that the United States can and should negotiate a comprehensive test ban treaty with the Soviet Union, and reduce, through the SALT talks, strategic nuclear forces and technology.
11. I would encourage the Soviet Union to join us in a total ban of all nuclear explosions for at least five years. This ban would include so-called ‘peaceful nuclear devices.”

Arms Control Association: Should the United States export nuclear fuel and equipment for nuclear power plants to countries which have refused to ratify the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Ford: The President has not restricted U.S. nuclear cooperation to only those countries that have ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty, because such a policy would not effectively function as a non-proliferation tool. Other suppliers, who may themselves not be parties to the Treaty, could step in and provide the nuclear facilities and materials, with fewer restraints than we require. The U.S. not only insists that all of its exported nuclear material be under international safeguards, but also exercises some additional bilateral controls over the development of the recipient countries’ nuclear program. For example, nuclear fuel cannot be reprocessed abroad without U.S. approval.

Carter: I believe it is important that we create incentives for all countries to participate in the Non-Proliferation Treaty. For that reason, we should refuse to sell nuclear power plants and fuels to nations who do not become a party to the NPT or who will not adhere to strict provisions on international safeguards of nuclear facilities or who refuse to refrain from national nuclear reprocessing.

Arms Control Association: Should the United States insist that non-parties to the NPT to which such materials are exported be required to place all their peaceful nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards?

Ford: The President considers it an important objective to achieve full safeguards on all nuclear facilities in non- weapon states. As the first major step in this direction, the key suppliers have undertaken to require safeguards on all their exports, thereby closing off external sources of unsafeguarded facilities. He would, of course, encourage the application of safeguards to all indigenous facilities as a condition of export, but does not believe we can enforce such a policy without the cooperation of the other suppliers. Again, a unilateral U.S. policy simply would not be effective. We are, however, continuing to meet with the other suppliers, and expect further progress toward this objective.

Carter: I believe such a requirement would be a wise one, and that the United States should negotiate with other supplier nations to make it a condition of all sales. The possibility of achieving such a common position has not been fully explored by the present Administration.

Arms Control Association: Do you support a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, verified by national technical means? Please explain your position.

Ford: President Ford does indeed support a Comprehensive Test Ban backed by adequate safeguards, and has taken steps to bring us closer to such a goal. Such a ban would be useful in stemming the tide of the arms race, first by the ban itself, and second, by fostering a spirit of cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Carter: I support a comprehensive test ban agreement with the Soviet Union, covering both weapons tests and so-called “peaceful’ nuclear explosions. The United States and the Soviet Union should conclude such an agreement immediately, to last for five years, during which they should encourage all other countries to join. At the end of the five year period the agreement can be continued if it serves the interests of the parties. Such a ban would be a significant arms limitation agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union, and, as other nations joined, could have highly favorable effects in reducing the dangers of nuclear proliferation. National verification capabilities over the last twenty years have advanced to the point where we no longer have to rely on on-site inspection to distinguish between earthquakes and even very small weapons tests, so a comprehensive test ban verified by national technical means would be acceptable.

Arms Control Association: Do you believe that the proposed Threshold Test Ban (permitting underground tests up to 150 kilotons and Soviet peaceful explosions of multiple devices totaling higher yields with U.S. observers present) will be a useful step in controlling nuclear weapons? Please state your position.

Ford: The President sees the Threshold Test Ban as a useful step toward the ultimate goal of controlling nuclear weapons, in that it brings us closer to a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban with its attendant benefits to the world. As the President said on June 7, 1976:

For 25 years, American Presidents have been trying to negotiate the peaceful experiments in nuclear explosions. We have been trying for 25 years to get on-site inspection in the Soviet Union, to see whether they were living up to those agreements. I have just signed, about 10 days ago, a negotiated settlement that gives the United States the right to make certain — to make positive — in the Soviet Union, that the agreement they signed is lived up to.

President Ford is concerned that we not stop there, but continue to press forward in our negotiations to achieve still more gains under the nuclear test policy of his Administration.

Carter: The so-called Threshold Test Ban Treaty represents a wholly inadequate step beyond the limited test ban of 13 years ago. The so-called “on-site” inspection provisions of the peaceful nuclear explosions agreement signed recently may be a concession in Soviet eyes, but contrary to Administration claims, they are no compensation for the PNE agreement’s dangerous legitimizing of peaceful nuclear explosions, which are indistinguishable from bombs.

Arms Control Association: Would you increase, reduce, or maintain the present levels of U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea? In Western Europe? If you favor reductions, over what time frame?

Ford: President Ford has no plans for altering the current level of U.S. military commitments overseas; the present deployment represents a careful balance of forces worked out over a period of many years and is tailored to meet the security needs of the U.S. and our allies. In Western Europe however, we can visualize that under the proper circumstances such as a reduction in Warsaw Pact forces in central Europe, the U.S. could withdraw a limited number of tactical nuclear weapons, and in fact NATO has offered to do just this. At the same time, the President is determined resist attempts at unilateral U.S. disarmament.

Carter: We have many tactical nuclear weapons, some of great size, both within this nation and outside the continental limits of the United States. The present deployments are more than adequate to accommodate our deterrence needs. Tactical nuclear weapons should be withdrawn from unnecessarily exposed positions and their numbers related to realistic missions for such weapons. In particular, tactical nuclear weapons should be withdrawn from Korea as a pail of a gradual withdrawal of U.S. ground forces which in turn would be part of an overall coordinated plan to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula. This would involve several steps:

—we must see that Korea can defend itself;
—we will leave adequate air support and build up South Korean air capability;
—we will act only in full consultation with both South Korea and Japan. It is essential that nothing be done to cause turmoil in Japan;
—we will seek to encourage the Communist powers to engage their North Korean friends in a search for a reduction in tensions in the area.

Arms Control Association: Do you believe the United Stales should make it a policy not to be the first to use nuclear weapons in certain circumstances? It so, under what circumstances?

Ford: The policy of the United States, as expressed by the Ford Administration, has always been that it will not precipitate a nuclear war. The nuclear capacity of the United States will be used only when it is seen as absolutely essential to the security of the United States and its for example, an actual nuclear attack upon this nation. Except in such circumstances, the task of our nuclear forces is to act as a deterrent to an attach by any aggressor.

Carter: The use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances would be an awesome step. I am not hoping that any nuclear war could stay limited. The present Administration has been entirely too casual in discussing the possibility of nuclear war, and in appearing to threat initiation of nuclear war for political purposes, or for fight so-called limited nuclear wars. The concentration of our defense policy, especially our nuclear policy, must be on deterrence. Unfortunately, we cannot renounce first use of nuclear weapons in those limited situations where vital and essential United States interests maybe threatened by military aggression against us or our allies. This is part of deterrence; of ensuring that a war will never begin. However, I believe we need to insure that we and our allies have conventional capability to reduce dependence on nuclear weapons.

Arms Control Association: Should the United States initiate efforts to control the sales abroad of conventional armaments? What specific steps should be taken?

Ford: The demand for armaments of all types around the world is great, and the number of suppliers is large. Therefore, any attempt to curtail arms sales will probably be unsuccess1 unless all nations involved in the sales of weapons can come to some sort of agreement. Otherwise, the market will be open only to those who choose not to participate in the agreement. President Ford is unwilling to create a situation in which the more responsible nations are forced to sit by, having agreed to cease arms sales abroad, while the less scrupulous nations who opt not to join the agreement are allowed to be the sole suppliers to the ever-increasing market. Such a unilateral curtailment would do little to restrict the traffic in arms.

Furthermore, the President is determined that the United States retain the option to provide our friends and allies with the weapons necessary to protect themselves. If we expect them to assume the burden of their own defense, they must be able to obtain the resources necessary for that defense. The United States cannot be a party to any agreement that would prevent us from aiding those who depend on our support.

The Ford Administration is, however, being very judicious in the sales of U.S. arms abroad so that arms are provided only to those who can demonstrate a valid need for them. We are encouraging other friendly supplier nations to exercise equal caution along these lines. The President has directed that all possible steps be taken to prevent acquisition of arms from us by those who would put them to illegitimate uses.

Carter: I am particularly concerned by our nation’s role as the world’s leading arms salesman. Our sales of billions of dollars of arms, particularly to developing nations, fuel regional arms races and complicate our relationships with other supplier nations. We cannot be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of weapons of war. If I become President I will work with our allies, some of whom also sell arms, and also seek to work with the Soviets, to reduce the commerce in weapons. We must assess every arms sale on an individual national basis, to insure that the only sales we make are those that promote peace in the regions and carry out our committed foreign Policy. At the same time, there are certain arms sales programs, notably those to Israel, which are necessary so that Israel can pursue peace from a position of strength and security. Our diplomacy in this area should be based on a four part approach: (a) An international conference of suppliers and consumers to put the issue to the forefront of the world’s arms control agenda, (b) greater U.S. self-restraint, (c) work with western suppliers and the Soviets to dampen down arms sales promotion, and (d) support for regional efforts to limit arms buildup.

Arms Control Association: Do you believe the United States should support the proposed World Disarmament Conference?

Ford: The concept of a World Disarmament Conference has been employed as part of a Communist propaganda campaign for many years; the U.S. has consistently held that such a broadside approach is unlikely to yield real results. In keeping with his policy of seeking to achieve peace through negotiations, President Ford has supported plans for various meetings in which nations could gather to formulate programs for specific disarmament objectives. In fact, the U.S. has participated in meetings in Geneva of this nature. The President would not favor our participation in large and unstructured conferences if they appeared to be simply a tool by which certain groups of nations would elaborate unworkable proposals, and subvert such meetings to their own purposes.

The President is of the opinion that the results of arms control and reduction conferences must fully protect the security of the United States. The costs, benefits, and responsibilities of disarmament plans must be fully shared on a fair basis by all nations involved. No nation should be allowed to gain an advantage at the expense of another. An equitable agreement would be one which will bring about true world disarmament.

Carter: Arms control is a worldwide concern: Nonproliferation is important to both nuclear weapons and non-nuclear weapons states. SALT is in the interest of all, not just the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. Arms sales divert resources from development and build regional tensions that could lead to world war; the whole world ultimately bears the burden of expending our planet’s resources on arms. Therefore, all elements of the world population must be fully represented in arms control efforts. As the same time, we must treat arms control as a serious business, not an occasion for posturing or propaganda. For that reason, I am skeptical about very large scale disarmament conferences with no clear agenda. But if we can develop an appropriate agenda, I would favor as broad a conference as possible on the control of conventional weapons in order to move this issue to the front rank of the world’s concerns. I also favor an international Conference on Energy to provide a forum in which all nations can focus on the nonproliferation issue as well as other energy issues.

*During the October 6th presidential candidate foreign policy television debate, however, President Ford offered a different view concerning cruise missiles in SALT:
Question (Henry Trewhitt, Baltimore Sun): “Let me…submit that the cruise missile adds a whole new dimension to the arms competition—and then cite a statement by your office to the Arms Control Association a few days ago in which you said the cruise missile might eventually be included in a comprehensive arms limitation agreement…may I assume that you’re tending to exclude the cruise missile from the next SALT agreement, or is it still negotiable in that context?”
Ford: “I believe that the cruise missile, which we are now developing in research and development across the spectrum from air, from the sea, or from the land, can be included within a SALT II agreement. They are a new weapons system that has a great potential, both conventional and nuclear-armed. At the same time, we have to make certain that the Soviet Union’s Backfire, which they claim is not an intercontinental aircraft and which some of our people contend is, must also be included if we are to get the kind of agreement which is in the best interest of both countries…”