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U.S. Department of State
93/05/11 Testimony to SFRC on START II Treaty Approval Urged
Office of the Spokesman


Statement by
Secretary Christopher
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Washington, DC
May 11, 1993

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.  Thank you for the 
opportunity to speak to you today about the START II Treaty.  As you 
both have said, few tasks of the Senate are as important as your 
constitutional duty to give advice and consent to the ratification of 
treaties, especially this treaty.  Today, as the committee and the 
Senate begin their consideration of the START II Treaty, we have entered 
a new era of US-Russian relations.  This historic arms control 
achievement, if ratified, would have the paradoxical but positive effect 
of moving the arms control process away from the center of the stage in 
our relations.

Now, the two former Cold War adversaries are forging a new partnership, 
based upon common interests and marked by increasing political and 
economic cooperation.  This new relationship is what made the START II 
Treaty possible.  Prompt ratification of the START II Treaty will, in 
turn, strengthen and deepen both our national security and US-Russian 
relations.

First and foremost, START II is in the national security interest of the 
United States.  By eliminating the most destabilizing weapons facing the 
United States, it will reduce tensions and contribute significantly to 
US security.  It will solidify the broader cooperative relationship that 
the United States and Russia are now building.  It will bolster the 
partnership between the United States and Russia by encouraging Russia 
to strengthen democratic institutions and free markets rather than 
focusing on maintaining large and unnecessary nuclear arsenals.

START II is also in Russia's interest.  I do not mean to suggest, of 
course, that all of our interests and Russia's will converge in all 
cases.  We will, of course, on occasion disagree, just as we sometimes 
disagree with our other friends.  But with respect to the ratification 
of START II, United States and Russian interests converged to a striking 
extent.

Evolving Relations Between the United States and Russia

While the era of confrontation has ended, the central importance of 
Russia to US foreign policy continues.  No development outside our 
borders will do more to help ensure a peaceful and prosperous world than 
for Russia to continue the process of democratization and economic 
reform.

All of us who support Russian democracy and reform were heartened by the 
outcome of last month's referendum in Russia.  The substantial turnout 
was also compelling evidence that Russian democracy is taking hold and 
that the Russian people are prepared to continue the difficult task of 
reform.

As President Clinton reaffirmed to President Yeltsin in Vancouver, the 
United States stands ready to do its part to help reform and democracy 
succeed.  That kind of support is fundamentally in America's interest.  
No relationship is more important to the long-term security of the 
United States than our strategic relationship with Russia.

We have seen the development of a cooperative and constructive 
relationship with Russia in many areas.  Last week, I was in Moscow for 
consultations on the crisis in Bosnia.  During these discussions, Russia 
pledged that it would participate in the implementation of a negotiated 
settlement in Bosnia if an agreement can be reached.  The prospect of US 
and Russian forces working together as peace-keepers demonstrates how 
far this relationship has come.

Ultimately, the success of democracy in Russia and the transformation to 
a market economy are the best guarantees of international strategic 
stability.  The Congress has done much to encourage Russia's movement to 
a free market democracy governed by the rule of law.  I urge you to 
continue that support as the Russian people and their government face 
even greater challenges in the months ahead.

START II and the US National Interest

While arms control is only one element of our new relationship with 
Russia, it remains a very important one.  START II, along with the 
initial START Treaty, remains in our interest as we move into the post-
Cold War era.  It offers enhanced stability, it fosters transparency and 
openness, and it eliminates the first-strike capabilities and strategies 
of a bygone era.  Its formal, binding structure undergirds the political 
elements of our relationship.  And the cooperative work necessary to 
implement the sweeping reductions will lead to collaboration on other 
security issues.

As we consider this treaty, we must be mindful of our former adversary's 
capability, in case, by some tragic miscarriage of history, their 
intentions should change.  This treaty meets that important test.  
Should the era of confrontation return, the provisions of START II will 
significantly increase stability and, thus, reduce the risk of war.

START II mandates reductions in the strategic forces of the two sides 
that would have been unthinkable even 2 years ago.  By January 1 of the 
year 2003, strategic forces will be cut to one-third of their current 
levels.  Indeed, if we and the Russians are able to agree on a program 
of US assistance in dismantling the strategic offensive arms, these vast 
reductions could come even earlier--by the end of the year 2000--which 
would be an encouraging milestone for the new millennium.

Mr. Chairman and members, more important than the reductions themselves 
is the elimination of the MIRVed ICBMs, especially the heavy ICBMs, the 
most dangerous and destabilizing legacy of the era of nuclear 
confrontation.  Under START II, all of the Russian SS-18 heavy missiles 
will be destroyed and all of their silos will be destroyed or converted.  
No single act better symbolizes the end of the superpower nuclear arms 
race.  While economic pressures may well have required Russia to reduce 
its strategic offensive weapons in a drastic way, it is the START II 
Treaty that will ensure that Russia actually reduces and does so in a 
stabilizing way.  And it is the START II Treaty that will remove the 
issue of strategic force size from the Russian political debate.

As the Chairman has said, START II completes the work of the first START 
Treaty.  Where the first START Treaty discouraged MIRVed ICBMs, START II 
bans them.  Where the first START Treaty eliminated half the heavy ICBM 
launchers, START II eliminates all of them--and their missiles as well.  
At the same time, START II preserves the US force structure needed for 
deterrence, and it allows us to adapt our bomber force to our future 
needs.

The benefits of START II extend well beyond the United States and 
Russia.  The deep reductions in US and Russian forces well below START I 
levels enhance the security of the other START I parties--Ukraine, 
Kazakhstan, and Belarus.  START II also supports our efforts to gain 
universal adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

When coupled with START I, the START II Treaty will lead to a world in 
which nuclear weapons have been eliminated from all of the states of the 
former Soviet Union except Russia.  It will also lead to a world in 
which the strategic forces of Russia are dramatically reduced and 
restructured.  START II will complement the political integration of 
Russia into the family of nations by codifying a strategic relationship 
appropriate for an era of cooperation, not confrontation.

START II and Russian Interests

Enduring treaties must be in the interest of both parties. START II is 
such a treaty.  I have already mentioned the advantages of the treaty 
for the United States, but I've also noted START II is in Russia's 
interest as well.

Let me just mention some of the ways in which START II will serve our 
mutual interests.  START II will bring economic benefits to Russia.  It 
will allow Russia to avoid the future burden of large strategic arsenals 
and the need to invest significant resources to maintain modern 
strategic forces at or near current levels.  In this way, START II will 
facilitate Russia's shift from a military-dominated economy to a free 
market economy dedicated to meeting the needs of the Russian people--a 
free market economy that also serves as a potential US market.  As a 
reflection of the new cooperative relationship between our two nations, 
START II also represents a political symbol of great importance.

Finally, the START II Treaty will move both Russia and the United States 
toward more stabilizing force structures.  One of the main 
accomplishments is the elimination of the MIRVed ICBMs, traditionally 
regarded as a major threat to strategic stability.  The less-threatening 
forces that will result from the treaty will increase stability and 
improve Russia's political relationships with its neighbors as well.

Status of Ratification in the Former Soviet UnionMr. Chairman, in 
inviting me to appear today, you specifically asked that I discuss the 
remaining obstacles to ratification of the START I Treaty by Ukraine and 
the adherence to the NPT Treaty by Kazakhstan and Ukraine.  These 
developments are crucial, since START II cannot enter into force until 
START I has been brought into force first.

The legislatures of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan have already 
consented to START I ratification.  In approving START I, the Russian 
parliament imposed a condition that Russia would not exchange 
instruments of ratification until Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine each 
accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear-
weapon states parties.  Thus far, only Belarus, as you mentioned, has 
approved both treaties.  Kazakhstan has ratified START I, and we expect 
the Kazakhstani legislature to authorize accession to the NPT Treaty in 
the near future.

The Ukrainian parliament has begun hearings on the START I Treaty and 
the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Although some Ukrainians are urging delay 
in joining the NPT, the Government of Ukraine remains committed both to 
START I and to a non-nuclear Ukraine.  We have taken a number of steps 
to meet the concerns Ukraine has expressed and are looking forward to 
having both Ukraine and Kazakhstan complete action on START and the NPT 
soon.

Mr. Chairman, just before I came up here this morning, I talked on the 
telephone to Strobe Talbott, who is in Moscow today, having returned 
from Ukraine.  He reports that his conversations in the Ukraine were 
encouraging.  He was received by the President of the country, who 
reaffirmed the intention of the leadership of that country to proceed 
with the ratification of START I and accession to the NPT.

Mr. Talbott indicated that the tone of the discussions, he thought, was 
improved, although the parliament there continues to have some 
difficulties.  I was encouraged to find that President Kravchuk will 
continue to press for ratification of START I and accession to the NPT 
Treaty.

I know that many Members of Congress--of this committee, in particular--
are concerned over the delay.  I share these concerns, but I'd like to 
put that delay in context for just a moment.  I think that all Americans 
would rather see a free debate than the rubber-stamped approval of the 
Soviet-style legislature.  There is a time, however, we all feel, for 
debate and discussion, and a time for action.  I hope that the time for 
action is soon going to arrive in Ukraine for the approval of these two 
treaties.  Then our two governments can work together on the broader 
agenda for cooperation and partnership that we will wish to establish 
with Ukraine, a major European nation.

That's essentially the message that Mr. Talbott brought to the 
Ukrainians, that we can get over this hurdle of ratification and 
accession which was promised in the Lisbon protocols.  The relationships 
between our two countries can greatly improve.

In any event, I believe the delay on START I is no reason for us to 
defer action on START II.  START II, after all, reduces the threat to 
all of Russia's neighbors by reducing Russian nuclear forces.  Thus, 
prompt Senate action to approve START II will encourage rapid action on 
the part of Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Summary

As I conclude here, let me say, Mr. Chairman, that regardless of the 
outcome of the struggle for democracy and free markets in Russia, START 
II dramatically improves the strategic stability by eliminating the 
final vestiges of the old Soviet first-strike strategic forces.  It is 
thus in our interest and, indeed, in the interest of the entire world 
that this treaty be promptly ratified.

START II, as you indicated in your comments, Mr. Chairman, is an unusual 
treaty, negotiated by one Administration to be ratified and implemented 
by its successor Administration of another party.  As this committee is 
aware, President Clinton warmly endorsed the negotiation of this treaty 
and supported its basic concepts before taking office.  In the months 
since January, we have reviewed the details of the START II Treaty 
carefully.  That review has convinced us that the treaty is sound and 
should be approved without change.  Therefore, on behalf of the 
President, I urge the Senate to give prompt approval to this important 
treaty.

As you know, Mr. Chairman, I'll be followed by many other witnesses on 
behalf of the Administration--the Secretary of Defense, the Director of 
the Central Intelligence Agency, experts who negotiated the treaty--but 
I'll be very glad to try to respond to any questions that you and the 
other Senators have.  

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