"[Arms Control Today is] Absolutely essential reading for the upcoming Congressional budget debate on the 2018 #NPR and its specific recommendations ... well-informed, insightful, balanced, and filled with common sense."

– Frank Klotz
former Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration
March 7, 2018
January/February 1997
Edition Date: 
Wednesday, January 1, 1997

Crossing the 'Finnish' Line

January/February 1997 

Jack Mendelsohn

The U.S. Russian arms control agenda is in serious trouble. START II is under attack in the Russian Duma, the two governments have been unable to agree on the terms under which highly capable theater missile defense (TMD) systems may be deployed, and most of the Russian political and military elites remain implacably hostile to the idea of NATO expansion.

The upcoming March 20 21 summit meeting in Helsinki could break the current impasse, however, if Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin can agree on a joint declaration committing the two countries to a bold arms control package. If they fail to seize this opportunity, the prospects are dim for an improved U.S. Russian security relationship and for progress in arms control.

The key element of this declaration should be an explicit commitment to a "framework" for a START III agreement with a lower ceiling on deployed warheads (between 2,000 and 2,500). The negotiations for these deeper reductions would begin immediately after the Duma ratifies START II. This commitment would help ease understandable Russian concerns over the restructuring, budgetary and scheduling demands of the existing START accords.

As important as a commitment to further reductions may be, it will not be sufficient by itself to induce the Duma to ratify START II. Moscow also links ratification to the continued viability of the ABM Treaty and has been critical of the pressure in the U.S. Congress for a national missile defense (NMD) system and of the plans by the Clinton administration for the large scale deployment of highly capable TMD systems. To help the Duma over the ballistic missile defense hurdle, the START III framework could call for a new reduction schedule that would extend START II implementation by two or more years beyond 2003.

As currently conceived, the administration's NMD "3 plus 3" program would hold off actual deployments until 2003 or later. Plans for Theater High Altitude Area Defense deployment—which the Russians seem to have agreed would be ABM Treaty compliant if not linked to space based sensors for tracking and guidance—call for the first unit to be in the field by 2004. If the START II implementation schedule were extended to 2006, for example, Russia would have additional time to assess the impact of proposed missile defenses on its strategic nuclear forces before the completion of its reductions.

Perhaps the most serious roadblock to START II ratification is NATO's decision to expand eastward. Whatever the Western arguments in favor of expansion may be, enlarging NATO at a time when Russia is politically and militarily weak risks energizing precisely those forces in Russian domestic politics—the conservatives, the nationalists, the communists and the militarists—who are most hostile to reform in Russia and to the West in general. If these forces gain political strength, they will inevitably turn Russia away from a cooperative relationship with the United States and into a reluctant, if not intractable, arms control partner.

Moscow's principal military objection to NATO expansion has been the possibility the alliance might deploy additional troops and/or tactical nuclear weapons on the territories of its new Central European members. To address Russian concerns regarding the potential deployment of NATO ground forces in the new member states, the alliance recently put forward an excellent proposal to limit to current national entitlements all national and stationed ground equipment in those states likely to join NATO.

To deal with the sensitive issue of tactical nuclear weapons, the summit declaration should initiate a separate negotiation on the disposition of these weapons. As a first step, the United States and Russia could freeze the numbers and location of all tactical nuclear weapons, alleviating Russian concerns about their forward deployment. As a mid term goal, this forum could seek to remove all tactical nuclear weapons from the operational forces of both sides either under a treaty, as in the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or through reciprocal unilateral commitments, as undertaken by Presidents Bush and Gorbachev in late 1991. This would address U.S. concerns about the safety and security of large numbers of tactical nuclear weapons in Russia.

Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin have a historic opportunity awaiting them in Helsinki. If the two leaders can make progress on a political settlement to accompany NATO expansion and agree on the next steps in bilateral arms control, the summit will get U.S. Russian relations back on track and START II across the "Finnish" line. If they fail, a "cold peace" may indeed be upon us.

The U.S.-Russian arms control agenda is in serious trouble. 

U.S. Favors CD Negotiations To Achieve Ban on Landmines

Sarah Walkling

AFTER MONTHS of indecision, the Clinton administration announced January 17 that it will initially pursue negotiations for a comprehensive global ban on anti personnel landmines at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, instead of through the Canadian led effort to negotiate and sign an international treaty by December 1997. (See ACT, October 1996.) The administration also declared that the current U.S. export moratorium on anti personnel mines, which was to continue until 1999, would become permanent.

By opting for the CD, the administration has chosen the slower path for implementing a ban. The CD, which opened its first session of 1997 on January 21, may not decide whether a landmine ban will be on its agenda until the summer of 1997 or later. Meanwhile, the Canadian led effort, also known as the "Ottawa Process," will begin reviewing an Austrian draft treaty text during a February 12 14 conference in Vienna. The United States is expected to attend the Vienna meeting.

The administration favors the 61 member CD because Russia and China—top producers of anti personnel landmines and opponents of a landmine ban—have said they will not participate in the Ottawa Process. Both countries are members of the CD. Without their participation, administration officials say, a treaty would not halt the use, production, export or stockpiling of anti personnel mines. However, White House spokesman Mike McCurry said January 17 the CD negotiations would be "mutually reinforcing" of the Canadian initiative. If China and Russia join the Canadian effort, the United States has said it will also participate. Regardless of the forum, the United States will seek an exception for its mines deployed on the Korean Peninsula.

Other states that favor negotiating a ban at the CD include Australia, Britain, France, Germany and Italy. On January 23, the French representative to the CD, Ambassador Joelle Bourgois, said, "France prefers an efficient treaty, even if the result took time, to a hastily concluded but useless agreement." Some members of the non aligned movement (NAM) that oppose conducting the negotiations at the CD say the landmine talks might overshadow the comprehensive nuclear disarmament negotiations which several NAM states hope to initiate. If the CD agenda does include a landmine ban, the ad hoc committee that would be established for negotiating a ban will likely focus on reaching agreement on an export ban first.

According to Bob Bell, National Security Council senior director for defense policy and arms control, "[O]ur best shot at this in terms of achieving the president's goal of a global ban—not just a ban among some countries but a ban that really touches the countries that are causing the problem on different continents around the world—is to take it to the CD where we have a proven track record." Acknowledging that achieving a ban "is going to be tough," Bell said, "we think we can get a landmines agreement out of the CD ..."

However, Senator Patrick Leahy (D VT), the leading congressional advocate for a global ban, expressed disappointment in the administration's decision. In a January 17 press release, Leahy said the Canadian initiative offers "the best opportunity" for rapid progress because it establishes "a moral and tactical imperative" for bringing holdout countries aboard. "It is doubtful that the CD will produce an agreement to achieve a ban," Leahy said. "The CD process requires step by step consensus that rewards holdout states, who effectively have a veto that retards or prevents strong agreements." Last year, India alone was able to block consensus on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the CD. The otherwise agreed treaty was taken directly to the UN General Assembly by Australia and was opened for signature in September 1996 despite Indian opposition.


Finding Alternatives

The day after the White House announced its decision to push for negotiation of a ban in the CD, the Department of Defense (DOD) reported on its efforts to end its military reliance on anti personnel landmines. Clinton ordered the assessment as part of a landmine initiative announced in May 1996. (See ACT, May/June 1996.) The Pentagon has since reviewed its war plans and has begun to revise its doctrine and training manuals to eliminate requirements for anti personnel landmine use. According to a DOD official, the changes represent "a fundamental shift in the way we go to war."

While the Defense Department has not found a single alternative to landmines, the official said, "[T]here appear to be a number of systems, when used in combination, which offer some very promising prospects for us." Specifically, a combination of "new killing mechanisms and mix of new intelligence sensors" would allow the U.S. military to decrease its reliance on statically emplaced non self destruct mines.

As part of his 1996 initiative, Clinton ordered the U.S. military to immediately discontinue use of so called "dumb" mines, which remain active until detonated or cleared, except for training purposes or on the Korean Peninsula and to destroy all non essential stockpiles by 1999. According to the Pentagon, the United States will still possess approximately one million such mines.

Nuclear Deal With North Korea Back on Track After Sub Incident

Howard Diamond

IMPLEMENTATION of the 1994 U.S. North Korean agreed framework resumed in January following Pyongyang's December 29 expression of regret over the grounding of one of its reconnaissance submarines on the South Korean coast. On January 8, the "canning" of spent fuel at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility resumed after having stopped in November. That same day, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and North Korea signed two protocols in New York that will allow KEDO to begin site preparation work on the $5 billion light water reactor (LWR) project, the central component of the agreed framework.

KEDO is the international consortium founded by the United States, Japan and South Korea to implement the 1994 denuclearization accord. The agreement requires North Korea to freeze and eventually eliminate its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the construction of two proliferation resistant 1,000 megawatt (electric) LWRs and the delivery of heavy fuel oil while the reactors are being built.


Canning' Resumes

The canning operation, which entails transferring the spent fuel rods from a cooling pond where they are currently stored into steel containers suitable for transhipment, was suspended in early November after North Korean workers failed to return from a scheduled work stoppage. At that point, more than half of the Yongbyon reactor's 8,000 spent fuel elements had been placed in "dry storage" by the U.S. Department of Energy and its private contractor.

North Korea removed the spent fuel from its 5 megawatt (electric) experimental reactor at Yongbyon in 1994. The fuel remains a serious proliferation hazard because it contains enough plutonium to build several nuclear bombs. As part of the 1994 deal, North Korea shut down the Yongbyon reactor, with the promise to dismantle it and send its spent fuel out of the country without being reprocessed. U.S. officials hope to complete the canning operation by the end of 1997.

With the submarine incident resolved, KEDO has resumed activity on a number of fronts, according to KEDO spokesman Jason Shaplen. The two protocols signed January 8 by KEDO and Pyongyang represent an important milestone in the LWR project's development, clearing the way for KEDO to begin site preparation near Sinpo in North Korea. Arrangements for KEDO to contract for services in North Korea and KEDO's access to the proposed construction site are covered in the agreements.

KEDO's seventh site survey team is preparing to visit North Korea to conduct a detailed geological investigation and some additional preliminary site preparation work. South Korea indefinitely postponed a planned October trip by the mostly South Korean team of engineers due to concerns over their safety while working in North Korea. The submarine incident delayed the site preparation, but the effect on the overall LWR project schedule is uncertain. The 1995 KEDO North Korean supply agreement calls for completion of the first reactor by 2003 on a "best efforts" basis, and KEDO hopes to be able to make up some of the lost time.

In addition to sending the first shipment of heavy fuel oil for the current year supply schedule, which began on October 31, 1996, KEDO has reached an agreement in principle on accession to KEDO by EURATOM, the nuclear regulatory body of the European Union (EU). The EU is expected to make "an immediate contribution of $13 million and an annual contribution of $20 million in the future" according to Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord. The EU contribution would nearly equal the annual level of U.S. financial support ($22 million for 1996), and would pay for approximately one third of the annual $60 million cost of fuel deliveries to North Korea.

KEDO and Pyongyang have not yet begun to negotiate a protocol on penalties if either party fails to meet its obligations as called for in the supply agreement. Shaplen said talks on the non payment protocol will begin as soon as is practicable.


The Submarine Incident

The resumption of activity implementing the framework accord as of January 31, 1997, came after three and a half months of escalating tension, carefully phrased threats, and intensive U.S. diplomatic efforts. On September 18, the North Korean sub was discovered grounded 100 yards off the South Korean coast.

South Korean President Kim Young Sam called the incident a provocation and demanded a sincere apology from the North. On October 9, South Korea suspended the signing of two KEDO North Korean protocols and a trip by KEDO's site survey team to the North.

Lord flew to Seoul the next day to mend U.S. South Korean relations damaged by Secretary of State Warren Christopher's initial call for restraint from "all parties." After meeting with South Korean leaders, Lord confirmed Washington's and Seoul's support for the agreed framework, but added that there would be "a pause in the pace of our activities."

In response, North Korea warned on October 15 that another delay in work on the reactors might prompt the North to reconsider its nuclear freeze. North Korean preparations to test an intermediate range ballistic missile were reported by the Japanese press the next day. The cancellation of the missile test was announced by the State Department on November 8, after several meetings in New York between U.S. and North Korean diplomats.


U.S. South Korean Disagreement

On November 9, South Korean President Kim reiterated his demand for a "sincere apology" in an interview with The Washington Post. At the time, U.S. officials asked the North to make "an acceptable gesture." Subsequently, the United States and South Korea settled their differnces at the November 24 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila. In the reportedly heated exchange, President Clinton prevailed on President Kim to support American diplomatic efforts to negotiate a resolution of the crisis. The final negotiations went on through December between U.S. and North Korean diplomats in New York.

The result was a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement read over the radio on December 29 that recognized Pyongyang's responsibility for the incident, offered "deep regret," and promised to prevent a recurrence of similar events. South Korean Foreign Minister Yoo Chong Ha termed the North's statement an acceptable apology, thus clearing the way for continued South Korean participation on the agreed framework.

Signatories to the Biological Weapons Convention

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which bans the development, production, and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons, was negotiated from 1968 to 1971 and opened for signature on April 10, 1972. The convention entered into force with 43 parties on March 26, 1975, upon ratification by the three depositary states: the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom.

As of January 31, 1997, 140 states-parties have either ratified (R) or acceded (A) to the treaty, as indicated in the table below; 18 additional signatories that have not ratified the convention are also listed. These countries' status with regard to the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which prohibits the use of biological weapons, is also noted. Some states have deposited reservations to the BWC or Geneva Protocol, and those relevant to the application of the treaty are noted below.

Countries in bold type have been identified by U.S. government sources as having or actively developing biological weapons programs. (See notes a through d for sources.) Members of the Australia Group, an informal export control organization that shares information on the trade in chemical and biological agents, are shown in italics.

Country BWC BWC Geneva Protocol
  Date of Signature Date of Ratification or Accession Date of Ratification
Afghanistan 4/10/72 3/26/75 (R) 12/9/86
Albania   6/3/92 (A) 12/20/89
Argentina 8/1/72 11/27/79 (R) 5/12/69
Armenia   6/7/94 (A)  
Austrailia 4/10/72 10/5/77 (R) 5/24/302,3
Austria 4/10/72 8/10/73 (R)1 5/9/28
Bahamas, The   11/26/86 (A) 7/10/732,3
Bahrain   10/28/88 (A) 12/9/88
Bangladesh   3/11/85 (A) 5/20/89
Barbados 2/16/73 2/16/73 (R) 7/16/76
Belarus 4/10/72 3/26/75 (R)  
Belgium 4/10/72 3/15/79 (R) 12/4/282,3
Belize   10/20/86 (A) 9/21/81
Benin 4/10/72 4/25/75 (R) 12/9/86
Bhutan   6/8/78 (A) 6/12/78
Bolivia 4/10/72 10/30/75 (R) 8/13/85
Bosnia & Herzegovina   8/15/94 (A)  
Botswana 4/10/72 2/5/92 (R) 9/30/662,3
Brazil 4/10/72 2/27/73 (R) 8/28/70
Brunei   1/31/91 (A)  
Bulgaria 4/10/72 8/2/72 (R) 3/7/34
Burkina Faso   4/17/91 (A) 3/3/71
Burundi 4/10/72    
Cambodia 4/10/72 3/9/83 (R) 3/15/83
Canada 4/10/72 9/18/72 (R) 5/6/30
Cape Verde   10/20/77 (A) 10/15/91
Cental African Rep. 4/10/72   7/31/70
Chile 4/10/72 4/22/80 (R) 7/2/35
Chinac   11/15/84 (A) 8/24/292,3
Colombia 4/10/72 12/19/83 (R)  
Congo   10/23/78 (A)  
Costa Rica 4/10/72 12/17/73 (R)  
Cote d'Ivoire 5/23/72   7/27/70
Croatia   4/28/93 (A)  
Cuba 4/12/72 4/21/76 (R) 6/24/66
Cyprus 4/10/72 11/6/73 (R) 12/12/66
Czech Republic   4/5/93 (A) 8/16/38
Denmark 4/10/72 3/1/73 (R) 5/5/30
Dominica   11/8/78 (A) 11/8/78
Dominican Republic 4/10/72 2/23/73 (R) 12/8/70
Ecuador 6/14/72 3/12/75 (R) 9/16/70
Egyptc 4/10/72   12/6/28
El Salvador 4/10/72 12/31/91 (R) Signatory
Equatorial Guinea   1/16/89 (A) 5/20/89
Estonia   6/21/93 (A) 8/28/312,3
Ethiopia 4/10/72 5/26/75 (R) 10/7/35
Fiji 2/22/73 9/4/73 (R) 3/21/732,3
Finland 4/10/72 2/4/74 (R) 6/26/29
France   9/27/84 (A) 5/10/26
Gabon 4/10/72    
Gambia, The 6/2/72 11/21/91 (R) 11/5/66
Georgia   5/26/92 (A)  
Germany 4/10/72 11/28/72 (R) 4/25/29
Ghana 4/10/72 6/6/75 (R) 5/3/67
Greece 4/10/72 12/10/75 (R) 5/30/31
Grenada   10/22/86 (A) 1/3/89
Guatemala 5/9/72 9/19/73 (R) 5/3/83
Guinea-Bissau   8/20/76 (A) 5/20/89
Guyana 1/3/73    
Haiti 4/10/72    
Honduras 4/10/72 3/14/79 (R)  
Hungary 4/10/72 12/27/72 (R) 10/11/52
Iceland 4/10/72 2/15/73 (R) 11/2/67
India 1/15/73 7/15/74 (R) 4/9/302,3
Indonesia 6/20/72 2/19/92 (R) 1/21/71
Iranabcd 4/10/72 8/22/73 (R) 11/5/29
Iraqabcd 5/11/72 6/19/91 (R) 9/8/312,3
Ireland 4/10/72 10/27/72 (R) 8/29/30
Italy 4/10/72 5/30/75 (R) 4/3/28
Jamaica   8/13/75 (A) 7/28/70
Japan 4/10/72 6/8/82 (R) 5/21/70
Jordan 4/10/72 5/30/75 (R) 1/20/772,3
Kenya   1/7/76 (A) 7/6/70
Korea, Northabd   3/13/87 (A) 1/4/892,3
Korea, South 4/10/72 6/25/87 (R) 1/4/892,3
Kuwait 4/14/72 7/18/72 (R) 12/15/712,3
Laos 4/10/72 3/20/73 (R) 5/20/89
Lebanon 4/10/72 3/26/75 (R) 4/17/69
Lesotho 4/10/72 9/6/77 (R) 3/10/72
Liberia 4/10/72   6/17/27
Libyaabcd   1/19/82 (A) 12/29/713
Liechtenstein   5/30/91 (A) 9/6/91
Luxembourg 4/10/72 3/23/76 (R) 9/1/36
Macedonia   12/24/96 (A)  
Madagascar 10/13/72   8/2/67
Malawi 4/10/72   9/14/70
Malaysia 4/10/72 9/6/91 (R) 12/10/70
Maldives   8/2/93 (A) 12/27/66
Mali 4/10/72   11/19/66
Malta 9/11/72 4/7/75 (R) 9/21/64
Mauritius 4/10/72 8/7/72 (R) 3/12/68
Mexico 4/10/72 4/8/74 (R) 5/28/32
Mongolia 4/10/72 9/5/72 (R) 12/6/683
Morocco 5/2/72   10/13/70
Myanmar (Burma) 4/10/72   1/4/482,3
Nepal 4/10/72   5/9/69
Netherlands, The 4/10/72 6/22/81 (R) 10/31/30
New Zealand 4/10/72 12/13/72 (R) 5/24/30
Nicaragua 4/10/72 8/7/75 (R) 10/5/90
Niger 4/21/72 6/23/72 (R) 4/5/67
Nigeria 7/3/72 7/3/73 (R) 10/15/682,3
Norway 4/10/72 8/1/73 (R) 7/27/32
Oman   3/31/92 (A)  
Pakistanb,5 4/10/72 9/25/74 (R) 4/15/60
Panama 5/2/72 3/20/74 (R) 12/4/70
Papua New Guinea   10/27/80 (A) 9/2/802,3
Paraguay   6/9/76 (A) 10/22/33
Peru 4/10/72 6/5/85 (R) 8/13/85
Phillipines 4/10/72 5/21/73 (R) 6/8/73
Poland 4/10/72 1/25/73 (R) 2/4/29
Portugal 6/29/72 5/15/75 (R) 7/1/302,3
Qatar 11/14/72 4/17/75 (R) 10/18/76
Romania 4/10/72 7/25/79 (R) 8/23/292,3
Russiabcd 4/10/72 3/26/75 (R) 4/5/282,3
Rwanda 4/10/72 5/20/75 (R) 5/11/64
Saint Kitts & Nevis   4/2/91 (A) 4/27/89
Saint Lucia   11/26/86 (A) 12/21/88
San Marino 9/12/72 3/11/75 (R)  
Sao Tome & Principe   8/24/79 (A)  
Saudi Arabia 4/12/72 5/24/72 (R) 1/27/71
Senegal 4/10/72 3/26/75 (R) 6/15/77
Serbia & Montenegro 4/10/72 10/25/73 (R)  
Seychelles   10/11/79 (A) 6/29/762,3
Sierra Leone 11/7/72 6/29/76 (R) 3/20/67
Singapore 6/19/72 12/2/75 (R) 8/29/652,3
Slovak Republic   5/17/93 (A) 9/22/93
Slovenia   4/7/92 (A)  
Solomon Islands   6/17/81 (A) 6/1/81
Somalia 7/3/72    
South Africa 4/10/72 11/3/75 (R) 5/24/302,3
Spain 4/10/72 6/20/79 (R) 8/22/292,3
Sri Lanka 4/10/72 11/18/86 (R) 1/20/54
Suriname   1/6/93 (A) 10/31/30
Swaziland   6/18/91 (A) 7/23/91
Sweden 2/27/75 2/5/76 (R) 4/25/30
Switzerland 4/10/72 5/4/76 (R)1 7/12/32
Syriacd 4/14/72   12/17/68
Taiwancd 4/10/72 2/9/73 (R) 8/7/29
Tanzania 8/16/72   4/22/63
Thailand 1/17/73 5/28/75 (R) 6/6/31
Togo 4/10/72 11/10/76 (R) 4/5/71
Tonga   9/28/76 (A) 7/19/71
Tunisia 4/10/72 5/18/73 (R) 7/12/67
Turkey 4/10/72 10/25/74 (R) 10/5/29
Turkmenistan   1/11/96 (A)  
Uganda   5/12/92 (A) 5/24/65
Ukraine 4/10/72 3/26/75 (R)  
United Arab Emirates 9/28/72    
United Kingdom 4/10/72 3/26/75 (R) 4/9/302,3
United States 4/10/72 3/26/75 (R) 4/10/754
Uruguay   4/6/81 (A) 4/12/77
Uzbekistan   1/11/96 (A)  
Vanuatu   10/12/90 (A)  
Venezuela 4/10/72 10/18/78 (R) 2/8/28
Vietnam   6/20/80 (A) 12/15/802,3
Yemen 4/26/72 6/1/79 (R) 3/17/713
Zaire 4/10/72 9/16/75 (R)  
Zimbabwe   11/5/90 (A) 4/18/80

Sources: ACDA, Government of France, Government of the United Kingdom, UN Treaty Office, U.S. Department of State Treaty Office.

Notes: a, b, c, d: Suspect according to: a. Speech by DCI John Deutch before the Los Alamos National Laboratory Conference on Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons Proliferation and Terrorism, May 23, 1996; b. "Proliferation: Threat and Response," DOD. 1996; c. 1995 ACDA Annual Report; d. Office of Technology Assessment, 1993.

1. Binding with respect to neutrality status.

2. Binding only as regards relations with other parties.

3. To cease to be binding in regard to any enemy states whose armed forces or allies do not observe provisions.

4. To cease to be binding as regards use of chemical agents with respect to any enemy state whose armed forces or allies do not observe provisions.

5. Submitted background information declaring full compliance with obligations under the convention. BWC/CONF IV/3 (October 28, 1996)

Administration, Senate Opposition Draw Battle Lines Over CWC

January/February 1997

By Erik J. Keklem

With less than three months remaining until formal entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Clinton administration's renewed push for Senate approval of the accord has encountered stiff opposition by top Republicans still seeking to link Senate consideration to other arms control and foreign policy issues. The treaty is once again being held up by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R NC), who last year led a successful effort to derail the administration's effort to bring the convention to a vote. (See ACT, September 1996.)

The 1993 treaty, now signed by 161 countries including the United States and ratified by 70, will enter into force April 29 with or without U.S. ratification. If the United States fails to ratify the treaty by that date, it will be barred from membership in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the implementing body that will begin formal operation April 29. As a result, the United States will be unable to participate in the decision making process during the first critical months of the convention's implementation.

The Congressional Debate

The administration's campaign, led by new National Security Advisor Samuel Berger, hopes to persuade Republican leaders to bring a resolution of ratification before the full Senate for a vote before the April 29 deadline. However, both Helms and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R MS), either of whom can prevent the CWC from coming to the Senate floor for a vote, have told the administration that other issues must be addressed before they will move to vote on the treaty.

In a January 8 letter to Clinton, Lott said, "[I]t will be very difficult to explore the possibility of Senate action on the Chemical Weapons Convention without first addressing legitimate security and Constitutional concerns on other important arms control issues." In particular, Lott suggested Senate advice and consent are required for any "demarcation" limits to the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, for the ABM Treaty's multilateralization and for new "flank" limits to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. "As you seek bipartisan cooperation [on the CWC]," Lott said, "you must understand our expectation for such cooperation on ABM multilateralization, ABM demarcation and CFE flank limits."

Opposition By Helms

In a January 29 letter to Lott, Helms said he remained opposed to the treaty "as transmitted" by the president, and recommended instead that the Senate consider the CWC only after it passes legislation on "top Republican priorities." Among the issues that must first be addressed, according to Helms, are legislation to restructure U.S. foreign policy agencies, legislation that ensures comprehensive UN reform, submission to the Senate for advice and consent of modifications to the ABM Treaty and the CFE Treaty, and legislation to deploy a national missile defense system.

In his letter, Helms said, "at a minimum the only acceptable end result of our efforts must be a resolution of ratification, approved by the Foreign Relations Committee," that addresses key Republican concerns. In an accompanying memo, Helms included the conditioning of U.S. ratification on: a Russian commitment to implement the 1990 U.S. Russian "Bilateral Destruction Agreement" and ratify the CWC; accession to the CWC by "those countries possessing chemical weapons which pose a threat to the United States"; and presidential certification that U.S. intelligence can "monitor with a high degree of confidence the compliance of all parties" to the convention. Other key conditions in the memo included clarification of the U.S. response to acts of non compliance with the CWC, ensuring the primacy of the Constitution over all convention provisions and the protection of confidential business information.

The specific language of the resolution of ratification will be key, as some of the conditions outlined by Helms, if included or attached as "poison pill" amendments to the resolution on the Senate floor could effectively block U.S. ratification. In his letter to Lott, Helms said, "I believe that the starting point for any further discussions on the CWC must be the resolution of ratification which I presented to the Foreign Relations Committee on April 25, 1996." The original Helms resolution was rejected by a majority of the committee last year before it approved an alternative resolution co sponsored by committee Republicans and Democrats.

Administration, Senate Opposition Draw Battle Lines Over CWC

The Fourth BWC Review Conference:

Graham S. Pearson

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which was opened for signature nearly 25 years ago, is a key if often unappreciated element in international efforts to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The first arms control treaty to seek the elimination of an entire class of weapons, the BWC established a strong legal norm against the development, possession, stockpiling and use of biological agents and toxins for offensive purposes. As of January 1997, 140 countries had become states parties to the treaty; an additional 18 states have signed but not yet ratified the accord. (See Factfile.)

Despite the comprehensive nature of the treaty, the specter of biological warfare has assumed a new urgency during the past several years. The United States believes that twice as many states now have or are actively pursuing offensive biological weapons capabilities as when the convention entered into force in 1975.1 The growing threat posed by biological weapons proliferation has focused increasing attention on the operation of the BWC and highlighted the convention's key weakness: the absence of an effective verification regime. From November 25 through December 6, 1996, the states parties to the BWC held their fourth review conference in Geneva to review the operation of the convention. Although BWC parties have not completed the negotiation of a legally binding instrument to strengthen the treaty, the fourth review conference nonetheless provided important impetus to the convention's evolution into an effective component of international non proliferation efforts.


A Changing World

The fourth BWC review conference was a particularly important meeting as there had been significant progress in international arms control since the third review conference in September 1991. In May 1995, more than 170 states parties to the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) agreed without dissent to indefinitely extend the accord. In September 1996, after an overwhelming vote of approval by the UN General Assembly, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature and signed by all five declared nuclear weapon states. (As of February 1, 1997, 140 countries had signed.) On October 31, 1996, Hungary became the 65th signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to deposit its instrument of ratification, starting the clock ticking for the treaty's entry into force on April 29, 1997.

In contrast to these positive developments, the principal shortcoming of the BWC—its lack of effective verification provisions—was thrown into sharp focus by a growing awareness during the past five years that biological weapons remain a real concern.

In early 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin acknowledged that the former Soviet Union, despite being one of three depositary states along with the United States and the United Kingdom, had continued an offensive biological weapons program through March 1992. In September 1992, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia issued a joint statement, initiating a process aimed at building confidence that Russia's offensive biological warfare program had been terminated. However, in its July 1996 compliance report to Congress, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) said, "[W]hile there had been progress towards achieving the openness intended in the Joint Statement, the progress has not resolved all U.S. concerns," and that the United States remains "actively engaged in efforts to work with the Russian leadership to ensure complete termination of the illegal program ..." The United Kingdom has closely similar views.

The UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM), tasked with ensuring the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and its proscribed ballistic missile activities, had by October 1995 determined that Baghdad—although a 1972 signatory of the BWC—had produced and weaponized large quantities of biological warfare agents. In addition, Iraq had deployed aerial bombs and Scud missile warheads filled with biological agents to four locations prior to the 1991 Gulf War, and had predelegated authority to launch these weapons if Iraq had been attacked with nuclear weapons. Iraq was also working on a 3,000 kilometer range missiles that was reportedly capable of delivering biological warheads to most European capitals.2

In Japan, the Aum Shinrikyo sect, which launched attacks in the Tokyo subway in March 1995 using the nerve gas Sarin, had initially worked on biological weapons. According to some analysts, it appears that biological agents were the group's preferred weapon of choice.

These vivid instances of the threat posed by biological weapons proliferation highlighted the urgent need to address the limitations of the BWC. In his September 1996 address to the UN General Assembly, President Bill Clinton underscored this important objective, saying, "[W]e must better protect our people from those who would use disease as a weapon of war, by giving the Biological Weapons Convention the means to strengthen compliance ..."


An Evolutionary Process

The fourth review conference represented yet another marker along the path of the BWC's evolution. In the five years since the last review conference, states parties have engaged in a series of steps aimed at strengthening the convention. The third review conference had mandated the establishment of an Ad Hoc Group of Governmental Experts (commonly referred to as VEREX, for "verification experts") to examine possible verification measures from a scientific and technical viewpoint. VEREX, which met four times in 1992 and 1993, evaluated 21 possible on site and off site measures.

The final VEREX report emphasized that "declarations" were the most frequently identified measure for application in combination with other measures. The most frequently identified on site measure for application with other measures was "inspections" (including interviewing, visual inspection, identification of key equipment, sampling and auditing).

The VEREX report was considered by a special conference in September 1994, which mandated the convening of another Ad Hoc Group (AHG) to consider appropriate measures to strengthen the BWC to be included, as appropriate, in a legally binding instrument. Building on the work of VEREX, the Ad Hoc Group has, through four "Friends of the Chair," produced papers that reflect the discussions that have so far taken place but without prejudice to the positions of delegations. Some these papers have gone through several iterations. The AHG had held four substantive meetings—two in 1995 and two in 1996—and produced a progress report that was considered by the fourth review conference. The next step is to start negotiations on an integrated text so that unresolved issues can be debated. The principal area requiring resolution is the precise nature of the on site visits/inspections, how such visits/inspections will be triggered and what measures will be available to the inspectors. Given the political will demonstrated at the review conference for the strengthening of the BWC, the AHG should be able to make rapid progress toward completing its work within the next year or two.

Seventy seven states parties participated in the fourth review conference. Three countries (Egypt, Morocco and Myanmar) which have signed but not ratified the BWC also attended, and Algeria, Kazakhstan, Israel and Macedonia were granted observer status. The United Kingdom's ambassador to the Geneva based Conference on Disarmament (CD), Sir Michael Weston, served as president of the review conference, and Ogunsola Ogunbanwo served as secretary general.

Although this fourth review conference had a two week duration, unlike the previous review conferences which lasted three weeks, the approach adopted paralleled that of previous years, with a general debate followed by detailed consideration of each of the convention's 15 articles. The conference's Committee of the Whole, chaired by Ambassador Jorge Berguno of Chile, reviewed the operation of the convention and the work of the Ad Hoc Group and addressed other relevant issues. The Drafting Committee, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Tibor Tóth of Hungary, prepared the final document for consideration by the conference.

One valuable innovation of the fourth review conference was the adjournment of the Committee of the Whole on the final day of its meetings to enable representatives from non governmental organizations (NGOs) to make statements to the conference in an informal session. Eleven of the 16 NGOs that attended the conference made statements, including the Federation of American Scientists, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute.

During the general debate, 31 states parties as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which was granted observer status, made statements. The U.S. statement was given by John Holum, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. It was evident at the review conference that there existed a clear political will to strengthen the convention, as every state which spoke in the general debate expressed support for the work of the Ad Hoc Group. The United Kingdom's minister of state for foreign affairs, David Davis, neatly summed up the task before the conference:


...Biological weapons have for 25 years remained something of a Cinderella in international efforts to control the spread of weapons of mass destruction ... A general perception held that the biological weapons problem was solved; that it did not present a real risk or threat ... But over the last decade, we have seen these comfortable assumptions overturned ... The conference would be failing in its duty if it did not do all it could to ensure that—well before the millennium—there is in place a verification system which will consolidate and strengthen the ... convention's total ban on biological weapons.


Key Issues

The key issues at the fourth review conference related to four of the treaty's articles: Article I, which defines the basic prohibitions, or the "scope," of the convention; Article IV, which addresses national implementation measures; Article V, which deals with the consultative process for problems arising from treaty implementation; and Article X, which concerns cooperation among states parties for peaceful purposes.

The conference, in its Final Declaration, (BWC/CONF.IV/9), adopted important new language regarding the scope of the convention, moving beyond that approved at the third review conference. The new declaration stated:


The Conference, conscious of apprehensions arising from relevant scientific and technological developments, inter alia, in the fields of microbiology, biotechnology, molecular biology, genetic engineering and any applications resulting from genome studies, and the possibilities of their use for purposes inconsistent with the objectives and the provisions of the Convention, reaffirms that the undertaking given by the States Parties in Article I applies to all such developments. [Emphasis added.]


The language regarding developments in the fields of microbiology, genetic engineering and biotechnology reiterated that contained in the final declaration of the previous review conference. However, the fourth review conference's addition of "molecular biology" and "any applications resulting from genome studies" makes it clear that any misuse of genome information for the design of weapons targeted against specific ethnic or racial groups would be a clear contravention of the convention. This point was made in the background paper prepared for the conference on new scientific and technological developments relevant to the treaty.3

The Final Declaration also reaffirmed that the convention "unequivocally covers all microbial or other biological agents or toxins, naturally or artificially created or altered, as well as their components, whatever their origin or method of production ..." [Emphasis added.] The inclusion by the conference of "as well as their components" represents a significant extension of the BWC's scope because it avoids any possibility of ambiguity as to whether components of living micro organisms or toxins— an area in which rapid progress has been made in understanding how they may be produced and how they may act—are included in the prohibition of the convention.


Non Compliance

...The final language adopted by the conference on treaty non compliance was weaker than some states had hoped for. In the general debate, Australia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States all named Iraq and the former Soviet Union as being in non compliance with the BWC. In his statement to the conference, the representative from the United Kingdom referred to "The existence of a massive offensive biological weapons programme conducted illegally for years in the Soviet Union [that] has recently come to light."

However, the negotiations leading to the Final Declaration were difficult. Although both Iraq and Russia had openly acknowledged, since the third review conference, having had offensive biological weapons programs, neither country wanted to see any specific mention of these treaty violations. The United States had proposed relatively mild language with regard to the issue of non compliance:


...The Conference notes the efforts of UNSCOM to address some of these concerns and expresses its support for the early and satisfactory completion of UNSCOM's important work. The Conference also notes the important decree by the President of the Russian Federation in April 1992 indicating that his country would accomplish its obligations under the Convention. The Conference expressed the hope that the objectives outlined in that decree would rapidly be fulfilled.


But in the final debate even this was rejected and the Final Declaration made no mention of UNSCOM, Iraq or the Russian Federation. Rather, it simply stated:


...The Conference emphasizes, once more, the vital importance of full implementation by all States of all the provisions of the Convention, especially Articles I, II and III. The Conference agrees that the application by States Parties of positive approaches in accordance with the provisions of the Convention is in the interests of all States Parties and that any non compliance with its provisions would undermine confidence in the Convention. Non compliance should be treated with determination in all cases, without selectivity or discrimination.


A Debate Over Use'

An unexpected development arose during the first day of the fourth review conference when Iran put forward a formal proposal to amend the convention by adding the word "use" to the title of the treaty and to the prohibition in Article. In the general debate, the Iranian delegation said it remained "a major oversight for the Convention not to prohibit the use of biological weapons expressly and categorically." The Iranians argued that there is a need for a total ban that is explicit and devoid of judgmental interpretations, and that the lack of explicit reference in the convention itself and the persistence of reservations to the 1925 Geneva Protocol can leave the door ajar for those states that may hold a different opinion on the question of use. The Iranians viewed such an amendment as a way of ending any inconsistency in interpretations of the convention's prohibitions.

The Iranian proposal was discussed at length during the meetings of the Committee of the Whole.4 Many participants held the opinion that Article I's prohibition on developing, producing, stockpiling or otherwise acquiring or retaining biological weapons implicitly and effectively prohibits any use of such weapons. They also suggested that the final declarations of previous review conferences had clearly restated this view. In addition, some delegations expressed caution about the idea of amending the BWC, noting that an amendment to one article would open up the convention for possible amendments to other provisions, thereby weakening the regime. Moreover, they said, such an amendment might create a two tier regime under which states parties that had not accepted the amendment would appear to condone the use of biological weapons.

In the end, the review conference's Final Declaration made two strong statements with respect to Article I, making it very clear that the use of biological weapons is prohibited by the convention. The first statement said:


...The Conference reaffirms that the use by the States Parties, in any way and under any circumstances, of microbial or other biological agents or toxins, that is not consistent with prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes, is effectively a violation of Article I of the Convention.


The declaration also stated:


The Conference reaffirms the undertaking in Article I never in any circumstance to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict, in order to exclude completely and forever the possibility of their use.


In light of this clear and strong prohibition against use, states parties will be considering whether there is indeed any need to modify the convention as proposed by Iran, bearing in mind what such a modification could entail. Nevertheless, the conference's Final Declaration concerning Article XI (which deals with the amendment process) notes that Iran has formally presented a proposal to amend Article I and the title of the convention, and that the depositary states are notifying all parties of the proposal. In addition, states parties have been encouraged to convey their views to the depositaries regarding the need to amend the treaty to explicitly prohibit the use of biological weapons. The review conference also requested that the depositary states take such measures as may be requested by a majority of states parties, including the option of convening an amendment conference open to all parties.


Combatting Terrorism

As expected, following the June 1996 meeting of the leaders of the Group of Seven (G 7) industrialized states and a subsequent ministerial meeting the following month, the conference Final Declaration language on Article IV gave added emphasis to the importance of national measures for effective BWC implementation.

Surprisingly, during the general debate only six states parties (Brazil, Canada, France, Romania, the Slovak Republic and the United States) mentioned the possible terrorist use of biological materials and the relevance of national measures to prevent their use for terrorist purposes.

The Final Declaration stated:


...The Conference ... reaffirms the commitment of States Parties to take the necessary national measures under [Article IV] ... to ensure the prohibition and prevention of the production, development, production, stockpiling, acquisition or retention of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment and means of delivery ... anywhere within their territory, under their jurisdiction or under their control, in order to prevent their use for purposes contrary to the Convention. The States Parties recognize the need to ensure, through the review and/or adoption of national measures, the effective fulfillment of their obligations under the Convention in order, inter alia, to exclude use of biological and toxin weapons in terrorist or criminal activity.


Confidence Building

The fourth review conference addressed two principal issues with respect to Article V's call for consultation and cooperation for treaty implementation: confidence building measures (CBMs) and the ongoing work of the Ad Hoc Group. Beginning with the second review conference, BWC parties have sought to enhance transparency through a series of politically binding declarations, data exchanges and other CBMs addressing a broad spectrum of treaty relevant activities. Unfortunately, participation in these measures has remained limited.

During the most recent review, several states parties emphasized the importance of CBMs in the general debate, but two countries (Brazil and India) referred to the problem of the resources needed to complete such measures. Two other parties (Nigeria and the Slovak Republic) said the CBMs should be further modified and improved, while Australia said it would be a mistake to consider any amendment before the Ad Hoc Group concluded it work. Disappointingly, there was little recognition that BWC parties regarded current confidence building efforts to be of continuing importance up to the entry into force of the proposed verification protocol and beyond. There were, in fact, no agreements to modify the modalities of existing CBMs and an attempt to clarify what the existing measures required failed.

The Final Declaration simply declared:


...The Conference welcomes the exchange of information carried out under the confidence building measures, and notes this has contributed to enhancing transparency and building confidence. The Conference recognizes that participation in the confidence building measures since the last Review Conference has not been universal, and that not all responses have been prompt or complete. In this regard, the Conference also recognizes the technical difficulties experienced by some States parties with respect to preparing CBM responses. In this regard, the Conference urges all States Parties to complete full and timely declarations in future.


With respect to the work of the Ad Hoc Group, every country that offered a statement during the general debate spoke in favor of the work of the panel and the need to strengthen the BWC. However, a South African proposal for Final Declaration language outlining the elements of a new protocol failed to find consensus, even though several countries had all mentioned similar elements during the general debate. Among the elements included in the South African proposal were comprehensive annual declarations; on site measures, including investigations on non compliance concerns; voluntary confidence building measures; and measures to implement Article X (cooperation for peaceful purposes).

In addition, a proposal calling on the Ad Hoc Group to complete its work by 1998 also failed to generate a consensus despite strong support by the United States, European Union countries, Australia, New Zealand, Romania and the Slovak Republic. Russia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh, among other states, argued against setting such a deadline.

To some extent, this reluctance to set a deadline stemmed from the experience of the CD in negotiating the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) against a deadline during 1995 and 1996. It is likely that Indonesia's representative had this in mind when he told the conference, "Recent developments the Conference of Disarmament has gone through teach us a very valuable lesson."

During the general debate, the statements of five states (Australia, Canada, South Africa, South Korea and Russia) addressed the need for the Ad Hoc Group to move on to a new form of negotiation based on a "rolling text." The Australian statement said, "To date the papers produced by the Friends of the Chair have served us well in consolidating and developing the ideas put forward by delegations. However, we believe that the usefulness of this form of negotiations has run its course and that we should be looking to move to some form of text based negotiations at the March session."

This view was agreed to by the conference and reflected in the Final Declaration, which endorsed the work of the Ad Hoc Group and encouraged it to move on to a negotiating format:


The Conference welcomed the decision of the Ad Hoc Group, in order to fulfil its mandate, to intensify its work with a view to completing it as soon as possible before the commencement of the Fifth Review Conference and submit its report, which shall be adopted by consensus, to the States Parties, to be considered at a Special Conference. The Conference encourages the Ad Hoc Group to review its method of work and to move to a negotiating format in order to fulfil its mandate.


There appears to be growing recognition that no new measures are needed for an enhanced BWC verification regime—the necessary measures currently exist as part of other agreed arms control regimes. What the AHG needs to do is to integrate and tailor the essential measures to meet the requirements of the BWC. Given the political will demonstrated at the review conference, there is a real opportunity for the Ad Hoc Group to make substantial progress when it resumes its negotiations in Geneva in March 1997.

It would be a real service to the Ad Hoc Group if participants at the March meeting arrived in Geneva with draft language that draws upon the deliberations of the AHG to date. Indeed, it is possible that a party such as South Africa, which put forward excellent proposals at the review conference, could table a draft text for a verification protocol at the outset of the meeting. It would be even better if South Africa were able to do this in consultation with other states that had also made clear their wish to see the AHG talks move on to text based negotiations.


Peaceful Cooperation

Since the third review conference, the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio Earth summit) and the signing and entry into force of the conventions on biological diversity and on climate change meant that the developed world had acknowledged to a much greater extent the needs of the developing world. Consequently, at the fourth review conference there was an appreciation that there is no strong argument for BWC parties to duplicate actions being taken in other fora for environmental and health reasons. Instead, the states parties emphasized the potential synergy between such actions and the increased transparency and confidence being sought through the BWC for improved international security.

As a result, the review conference took note of the significant steps to promote cooperation in the biological field taken at the Rio summit (including the adoption of "Agenda 21" and the Rio declaration) and through the Convention on Biological Diversity, and underlined their importance in the context of implementing Article X of the BWC. The conference also shared the worldwide concern about new, emerging and re emerging infectious diseases and considered that the international response to them offered opportunities for increased cooperation in the context of Article X.

There was also much discussion by BWC parties of the relationship between Article X and Article III (under which states parties undertake not to transfer or to assist any state in manufacturing or acquiring any of the agents, toxins, weapons or means of delivery specified in Article I). It is this relationship that lies at the heart of the perceived tension between developing and developed countries, with the former seeking to emphasize Article X while the latter are conscious of their obligations under Article III to counter proliferation. The developing countries are arguing for multilaterally agreed guidelines to counter proliferation. This debate will clearly continue into the future. However, the review conference usefully agreed that states parties should consider ways and means to ensure that individuals and subnational groups are effectively prevented from acquiring, through transfers, biological agents and toxins for other than peaceful purposes, thereby helping to counter possible terrorist use of such materials.


Next Steps

The fourth review conference took an important step forward in reaffirming the importance of the BWC and the norm against biological warfare. The language in the Final Declaration making it clear that all advances in molecular biology and any applications of genome studies are covered by the regime, and the strong statements that use of biological weapons—at any time and under any circumstances—is prohibited represent valuable advances.

In the wake of the Japanese experience with nerve gas attacks, the importance of national measures to exclude use of biological and toxin weapons in terrorist or criminal activity was rightly emphasized. The need to strengthen the convention was clearly recognized by the widespread support for the work of the Ad Hoc Group, as was the continued importance of providing full and timely declarations under the agreed confidence building measures.

There is consequently no doubt that biological weapons are totally prohibited and that there are no loopholes resulting from advances in biotechnology and related sciences over the years since the BWC entered into force. The weakness of the convention—its lack of verification provisions—was universally recognized, and the political will by states parties to strengthen the regime was demonstrated by encouraging the Ad Hoc group to intensify its work to negotiate a legally binding instrument. In its meetings this year, the AHG should make good progress in developing the text of the instrument as nothing novel is required for strengthening the BWC. Rather, measures already internationally accepted in other arms control regimes need to be tailored and integrated into a verification regime for the BWC. The developments since the third review conference make it clear that the strengthening of the BWC is an urgent task, and as President Clinton said in September 1996, "We should aim to complete this task by 1998." The time for action is now.

Graham S. Pearson is honorary senior visiting research fellow in peace studies at the University of Bradford in Bradford, England. He was formerly director general and chief executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down, Wiltshire, England.



  1. Statement of John D. Holum, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency to the Fourth BWC Review Conference, November 26, 1996.
  2. UN Security Council Document S/1995/864, 11 October 1995, paragraph 42.
  3. BWC/CONF.IV/4, Add.1; Add.2.
  4. A useful summary of the debate is provided in Annex I to the Report of the Committee of the Whole, BWC/CONF.IV/COW/CRP.1 and Corr.1.

Wassenaar Members End Plenary; First Data Exchange Falls Short

Sarah Walkling

DESPITE THEIR December 1996 deadline for enacting new export control guidelines for conventional arms and dual use goods and technologies, members of the so called Wassenaar Arrangement concluded their December 12 13 plenary meeting in Vienna with the regime far from fully operational. While the 33 participating countries agreed on a budget and program of work for the coming year, the impasse continued as to who would head the new Secretariat in Vienna. More important, however, the results of the regime's first data exchange suggest its emphasis on promoting transparency is not yet shared by all members.

Formally titled the Wassenaar Arrangement for Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual Use Goods and Technologies, the group seeks to avoid destabilizing transfers of weapons and sensitive technologies through the coordination of national export control policies. As the successor regime to the Cold War era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), the arrangement includes many of the countries once targeted by the former NATO member based organization. Unlike COCOM, however, Wassenaar members have no veto power over other members' weapons deliveries or technology transfers and the regime is not directed against a particular group of states. Rather, it targets regions or states whose behavior is a cause of concern to participants. The United States has identified Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea as "rogue" states that should be included in that category.


Cloudy Transparency

The regime's first voluntary exchange of data, which was initiated in September 1996, covered four categories of arms and dual use technology transfers to non members: actual weapons deliveries; license denials for "basic" dual use items; license approvals for "sensitive" dual use equipment; and license denials for "very sensitive" dual use items such as encryption and supercomputer technology.

Thirty Wassenaar members submitted data on their transfers of seven categories of conventional weapons (battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, attack helicopters, combat aircraft, warships, heavy artillery, and missiles and missile launchers) that correspond to the categories in the UN Conventional Arms Register. State Department officials, emphasizing the confidentiality of the new regime, declined to identify the non participating states. In the most recent reporting period for the UN register (covering calendar year 1995), all Wassenaar members submitted data on their weapons transfers. (See ACT, November/December 1996.) However, in the Wassenaar exchange, only half of all members submitted data on their dual use transfers to non members. Several countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Bulgaria, reportedly failed to pass the necessary national implementing legislation in time to participate in the exchange. (Russia and Ukraine passed the necessary legislation in October and December 1996, respectively.) Other countries are expected to have passed the necessary legislation before the next exchange, scheduled to begin March 31.

For 1997, the budget for Wassenaar Secretariat operations will total $1 million to $2 million, with contributions assessed on a scale similar to that used by the United Nations. Under this formula, the U.S. assessment is expected to cover nearly 25 percent of the total budget. In addition, members agreed to hold at least one plenary meeting in 1997, an expert group meeting February 24 25 and a working group meeting June 2. These groups will monitor implementation progress and discuss information exchange procedures and deadlines.

Without ongoing consultations or veto power for its members, however, it is unclear whether the Wassenaar Arrangement can effectively serve as a forum for resolving disputes over transfers of conventional weapons and dual use technology. During the December plenary, participants reportedly did not discuss several of the most controversial arms sales involving regime members, such as Russia's proposed sale of S 300 anti aircraft missiles to the Greek Cypriot government, a transfer which the United States and Turkey have described as "destabilizing." In their only public statement issued following the plenary, a 10 sentence press statement, Wassenaar members addressed only one conflict: Afghanistan. The statement declared that "as a matter of national policy," no Wassenaar member transfers arms or ammunition to the parties involved in the conflict.

The Wassenaar Arrangement

By the time COCOM dissolved on March 31, 1994, negotiations on a successor regime had been underway for a year. The new group of 28 countries, known as the "New Forum," reached agreement on principles for export controls on September 11-12, 1995. It then developed into "The Wassenaar Arrangement for Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual Use Goods and Technologies," deriving its name from The Hague suburb where it was agreed on December 18, 1995. The "Initial Elements" foundation document was adopted on July 12, 1996, and the Secretariat opened in the fall of 1996. The first review conference will be held in 1999.

Member States

South Korea
Czech Republic
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States

The Wassenaar Arrangement

UNSCOM Head Says Iraq Has 'Operational' Missile Force

Howard Diamond

IRAQ HAS MANAGED to retain an operational force of ballistic missiles in violation of UN prohibitions against possessing such weapons with ranges above 150 kilometers, according to Rolf Ekeus, head of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM). UNSCOM has long suspected Iraq of possessing missile capabilities beyond those permitted under UN Security Council Resolution 687. Ekeus' assessment, offered during a January 29 luncheon speech sponsored by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, indicates that Baghdad may have an operational force of between 18 and 25 Scud or Scud variant missiles.

"Every piece of what is necessary to constitute an operation[sic] force is available in Iraq," Ekeus said, including transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles, rocket fuel and "an organization to operate these missiles." The missiles, whose range of up to 650 kilometers would allow Iraq to reach targets in Israel and Iran, are of particular concern because of Iraq's past use of ballistic missiles against neighboring countries and the missiles' potential to deliver weapons of mass destruction. According to Ekeus, Iraq has used a variety of deceptive methods used to hide the missiles and related equipment.

During the past several months, Ekeus said Baghdad has become increasingly uncooperative in response to UNSCOM's ongoing effort to establish a "material balance" of Iraq's past ballistic missile programs. In November 1996, Iraq refused to permit UNSCOM to take 150 destroyed rocket engines, which Baghdad claims it destroyed and buried in the summer of 1991, to the United States for metallurgical analysis by a Department of Defense laboratory. UNSCOM inspectors want to confirm whether the engine metal matches that of the old Soviet produced rocket motors, because it believes Iraq destroyed inferior, indigenously produced engines instead of operational Soviet produced motors.

Under Resolution 687, Iraq is permitted to possess ballistic missiles with ranges under 150 kilometers, but the Gulf War cease fire resolution mandates destruction of Iraq's longer range Scud and Scud variant missiles. In April 1991, Iraq gave 48 missiles to UNSCOM for destruction and claimed to have destoyed and buried 85 others without UNSCOM supervision. While the sites identified by Iraq did appear to hold the declared number of destroyed missiles, further investigation by UNSCOM showed that Iraq had, in some cases, simply transferred "buried" missiles from one site to another so they would be double counted. UNSCOM also found that some of the sites did not actually contain operational missiles systems, but training missiles. Iraq is also believed to have removed and stored critical missile components, such as turbo pumps, which they are unable to produce domestically.

Iraq's refusal to comply with the UN resolutions persists even in the face of economic sanctions, which have cost Iraq more than $100 billion in lost oil revenue. Ekeus claims that Iraqi obstruction of UNSCOM's mission has gotten worse as Baghdad perceives Security Council support for UNSCOM to be waning. As a case in point, Ekeus cited Security Council inaction after the Iraqi refusal to allow analysis of the destroyed rocket motors. Instead of approving a resolution demanding Iraqi compliance, the Security Council issued a statement that "deplores" Iraq's non cooperation, and notes "that such action complicates the implementation by the Special Commission of its mandate." The result, according to Ekeus, is that UNSCOM is now facing "serious obstructions" by Iraq for simple document requests and for the removal from the country of chemical munitions for analysis.

Panel Upholds NIE Assessment of Ballistic Missile Threat to U.S.

Craig Cerniello

ON JANUARY 23, the CIA released the unclassified version of the independent panel review of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) 95 19—the controversial assessment that concluded that no countries, other than the declared nuclear weapon states, will develop a ballistic missile capable of threatening the contiguous 48 states or Canada in the next 15 years. The panel, headed by former CIA Director Robert Gates, rejected the claim made by congressional conservatives that NIE 95 19 was politically influenced by the Clinton administration in order to downplay the longer range missile threat to U.S. territory. Although acknowledging several deficiencies in the intelligence estimate, the panel reaffirmed the estimate's conclusion that the United States is unlikely to face a limited missile threat from any "rogue" country before 2010. Congressional critics of the NIE have now taken aim at the panel's findings.


Gates Panel Review

One of the most hotly contested issues in the current national missile defense (NMD) debate is the nature of the threat to the United States posed by longer range ballistic missiles. When the NIE was released in November 1995, it posed a significant challenge to congressional Republicans who advocated the early deployment of an NMD system to defend against what they claim is an emerging missile threat to U.S. territory. In subsequent months, several congressional members challenged the NIE's findings and argued that the estimate was politically influenced by the administration in order to justify its decision not to commit to the early deployment of an NMD system.

As a result of the controversy generated by NIE 95 19, Congress, in its fiscal year 1997 defense authorization bill, required the director of the CIA to convene a panel of "independent, nongovernmental individuals with appropriate expertise and experience" to review the underlying assumptions and conclusions of the estimate. Then CIA Director John Deutch appointed Gates to chair the independent panel, which included Ambassador Richard Armitage, Sidney Drell, Arnold Kanter, Janne E. Nolan, Henry S. Rowen and retired Air Force General Jasper Welch. The conclusions reached by the seven panel members were unanimous.

The Gates panel dismissed the charge that NIE 95 19 was politically influenced. "The Panel found no evidence of politicization and is completely satisfied that the analysts' views were based on the evidence before them and their substantive analysis," the report stated. Moreover, it concluded that, "unsubstantiated allegations challenging the integrity of Intelligence Community analysts by those who simply disagree with their conclusions, including Members of Congress, are irresponsible."

The Gates panel noted that there were several deficiencies with respect to the process in preparing the NIE and the manner in which it was presented. The panel said those in senior management positions were not sufficiently involved in the preparation of the estimate, especially given the controversial nature of the issue being addressed. "The result was not a politicized Estimate but one that was politically naive," the report said. The panel also claimed that the estimate lacked a clear scope and was "rushed to completion."

The Gates panel pointed out that one of the most serious problems in NIE 95 19 was that its main conclusion on the missile threat to the United States was based on "a stronger evidentiary and technical case than was presented in the Estimate." The panel's report illustrates several examples of how the NIE's key judgment could have been strengthened. For instance, the panel stated that the estimate could have analyzed the length of time it took countries with successful missile programs, such as China, to develop an ICBM capability. Such an analysis, they claimed, would have revealed that it took China more than 20 years to develop its 4,750 kilometer range CSS 3 ICBM—a clear indication that states with much less resources (e.g. North Korea) have a long way to go before successfully developing an ICBM capable of reaching U.S. territory.

The panel also identified several analytical shortcomings in NIE 95 19. Most important, the panel claimed that the intelligence estimate failed to thoroughly address the motives and objectives of those states seeking an ICBM capability. The panel's report said insufficient attention was devoted to the potential threat to the United States posed by land attack cruise missiles and shorter range, sea based ballistic missiles. Other deficiencies included the failure to ask whether potential adversaries could acquire an ICBM capability through channels not considered by the intelligence community, and an overemphasis on the Missile Technology Control Regime as a means of slowing ballistic missile proliferation.

In the final analysis, however, the Gates panel concluded that "the Intelligence Community has a strong case that, for sound technical reasons, the United States is unlikely to face an indigenously developed and tested intercontinental ballistic missile threat from the Third World before 2010, even taking into account the acquisition of foreign hardware and technical assistance. That case is even stronger than presented in the NIE."

Clearly dissatisfied with the panel's findings, Representative Curt Weldon (R PA) argued in a January 17 letter to Gates that the independent review failed to adequately refute the charge that NIE 95 19 was politically influenced by the administration. "Not once did your panel provide an opportunity for Members who charged politicization to be heard. Given your harsh condemnation, I believe you had a responsibility to explore those allegations and to offer a detailed rebuttal of them," Weldon wrote. The letter also rejected the notion that Congress was responsible for rushing the estimate to completion.


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