Chemical and biological weapons (CBW) can be many times more destructive than conventional high-explosive bombs and shells, yet the technology and materials to design and manufacture CBW munitions are far more readily available than those needed for nuclear weapons. While the difficulties associated with employing these weapons render them of dubious utility against military targets, their possible use by terrorists against innocent civilians is a matter of great concern.

In the past year we have continued to make notable strides toward the ultimate goal of totally eliminating chemical and biological weapons.


The U.S. is pursuing chemical disarmament in three ways. In one, we are urging universal adherence to, and effective implementation of, the multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). In the second, we seek full implementation of two bilateral agreements with the Russian Federation: the Wyoming Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the Bilateral Destruction Agreement (BDA). Finally, we seek through the Australia Group, export controls, and sanctions to prevent chemical weapons proliferation.


The CWC prohibits all development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. It requires destruction of all existing chemical weapons within 10 years after the treaty enters into force, with a five-year extension possible only on the recommendation of the Executive Council of the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and final approval of its Conference of the States Parties.

More than 20 years of negotiations on the CWC were completed on September 3, 1992, when the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva forwarded the finished treaty to the United Nations General Assembly. On November 30, 1992, the General Assembly endorsed by consensus the supporting resolution, cosponsored by 145 countries.

The CWC was opened for signature at a ceremony in Paris on January 13-15, 1993; 130 countries, including the United States, became original signatories.

The CWC will enter into force 180 days after the date of deposit of the 65th nation's instrument of ratification. As of the end of 1995, 160 countries had signed the CWC and 45 had deposited instruments of ratification. Signatories include China, India, Pakistan, Israel, all of the European countries except the former Yugoslav states of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, all former Soviet republics, and all Western Hemisphere states except Suriname and some English-speaking Caribbean nations. While significant non-signatories include Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, North Korea, and Syria, three-fourths of the countries of chemical weapons concern have signed the Convention.

President Clinton submitted the CWC to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to ratification on November 23, 1993, stating that "This Treaty is one of the most ambitious in the history of arms control, banning an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. It is a central element of my Administration's nonproliferation policy. The Treaty will significantly enhance our national security and contribute to greater global security."

The Administration seeks prompt Senate advice and consent to CWC ratification.

If verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention proves to be less than perfect, what risk does this add to U.S. national security?

None. Under the previous Republican Administration, the United States Government decided that, with or without the CWC, we have no need for chemical weapons and will destroy our stocks entirely. Therefore, the only impact of the CWC on U.S. national security is to improve our security by revealing, reducing, and eliminating the chemical weapons of our potential adversaries.

A Russian former senior official has recently been accused by his government of planning to sell chemical weapons for personal profit. Because the United States was unaware of his intentions at the time of the negotiations, what is the risk that we allowed him to plant loopholes for later exploitation?

We always negotiate on the presumption that other parties are seeking to create and exploit loopholes. A very large portion of our negotiating effort is always dedicated to closing such loopholes. Without knowing of the specific situation that later emerged, we nevertheless took all the precautions we would have taken had we known about it.

Arms Control and Nonproliferation Objectives. The CWC is both a disarmament treaty and a central element of U.S. nonproliferation policy. It will result in the destruction of existing chemical arsenals while strengthening the global norm against the proliferation of these mass-destruction weapons.

CWC Implementation. Because CW facilities are similar to many commercial chemical plants, and because many member nations have a developed commercial chemical industry, CWC implementation will be a far more significant and ambitious undertaking than for any previous arms control agreement.

Verification and other aspects of implementation of the CWC will be overseen by a new international agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW will have a full-time staff of approximately 500, including some 215 inspectors trained and equipped to inspect military and industrial facilities throughout the world.

To enable treaty verification to begin as soon as the Convention enters into force, the signatories have established a Preparatory Commission (PrepCom) to develop detailed implementing procedures, procure inspection equipment, hire and train inspectors, and lay administrative groundwork for the OPCW. A Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) provides technical and administrative support to the PrepCom. The Hague, capital of the Netherlands, was chosen as the location of both the PrepCom and the future OPCW.

Since it was formed, the PrepCom has held 12 formal plenary meetings to consider recommendations prepared by expert groups working year-round on specific issues. PrepCom accomplishments include:

Several important issues remain for PrepCom resolution.

A few developing countries including Iran have used PrepCom discussions of technological cooperation and assistance to argue for the removal of all trade restrictions among States Parties on chemicals and chemical technology. The U.S. and most PrepCom participants have vigorously opposed these efforts. The vast majority of countries regard export licensing as a sovereign right, and support maintenance of export controls consistent with CWC obligations.

In response to widespread opposition, one country modified its positions regarding declaration, verification, and conversion requirements of chemical weapons production facilities. Nevertheless, its modified positions still fell short of some CWC requirements. No other PrepCom members expressed support for the modified proposals as presented. Another country requested special status for facilities that had never produced a chemical for weapons purposes but had made small quantities of supertoxic chemicals for medical or pharmaceutical purposes. This proposal also received no support.

Progress toward entry into force accelerated during the latter half of 1995. Many countries are looking to the United States for leadership; the status of preparations for implementation of the CWC and the impetus for resolving those issues which remain will depend to a considerable extent on the status of U.S. ratification.

ACDA's Role. ACDA is the lead U.S. Government agency on CWC implementation. Its responsibilities include:

Our industry outreach informs U.S. companies about their obligations under the CWC. ACDA's outreach is built around industry seminars around the country and includes information papers, presentations at trade meetings, and coordination with U.S. chemical trade associations including the Chemical Manufacturers Association and the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association.

In 1995, ACDA held seven CWC seminars, produced a CWC video, published four information papers, gave presentations to trade associations, participated in Department of Commerce seminars around the country, and responded to scores of inquiries and requests for copies of the CWC. On October 1, 1994, the Department of Commerce formed a Treaty Compliance Office with which ACDA is now coordinating its industry-outreach efforts to achieve maximum dissemination of up-to-date CWC information. Future CWC industry seminars, jointly sponsored by ACDA and Commerce, are planned for execution shortly after the U.S. ratifies the CWC.


The Russian Federation has the world's largest stockpile of declared chemical weapons. The United States has negotiated CW agreements with the former Soviet Union, in parallel with completing the multilateral CWC.

Wyoming Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

On September 23, 1989 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a two-phased CW data exchange and verification experiment. This initiative was designed to build confidence in the CW area and thus facilitate completion and implementation of the CWC.

Phase I provided for an exchange of general data on chemical stocks and production facilities, and for a series of reciprocal visits to CW facilities. This phase was successfully completed in February 1991.

Phase II provided for an exchange of detailed data and for reciprocal inspections at facilities that had been declared as part of each country's CW program. Its implementing documents provided for:

Phase II began with signature of implementing documents at the Moscow summit on January 14, 1994. During 1994, the two sides exchanged and consulted on the data, and conducted the agreed inspections. Consultations are continuing at both the political and expert level to resolve outstanding issues.

Bilateral Non-Production and Destruction Agreement (BDA)

In this agreement, signed June 1, 1990, the United States and the Soviet Union (now Russia) each agreed to destroy all but 5,000 tons of their respective chemical agents and to halt any further production. The BDA has not yet, however, entered into force. By mutual agreement, the BDA schedule has now been aligned with the CWC schedule, which will require destruction of U.S. and Russian CW stockpiles within 10 years after entry into force.

ACDA's Role. In March 1993, ACDA led a United States delegation to Geneva which conducted the complex and detailed negotiations for implementation of the BDA including draft protocols to the BDA. Formal agreement is still pending on the protocols provisionally agreed in Geneva in March 1993. The United States supported the protocols as final, but upon further review in Moscow, Russia sought further changes in the protocols because of concerns relating to the conversion of chemical weapons production facilities. We continue to seek both Russian agreement to the protocols and implementation of the BDA.

United States - Russia CW Destruction Program

On July 30, 1992, the United States and Russia signed an agreement under the CTR program to cooperate in destroying the Russian CW stockpile. Pursuant to this agreement, the U.S. offered to provide $25 million in assistance under the CTR legislation to help Russia plan CW destruction facilities and demonstrate CW destruction technology. A work plan outlining an approach to U.S. assistance in the Russian CW destruction program was concluded in January 1994. In May 1994, the U.S. Government selected Bechtel National, Inc. to help develop the Russian CW destruction program. The 1995 work plan was signed in April 1995 and includes an additional $30 million of CTR funds to help Russia establish and equip the Central Analytical Laboratory for reliable and efficient environmental control of CW destruction. The work plan also initiated a joint evaluation of the Russian two step CW destruction process which was successfully completed in late 1995.

ACDA's Role. ACDA participates in interagency policy coordination for the CW destruction agreement, which is executed by the Department of Defense.

We are concerned about the pace of the Russian CW destruction program, including the question of availability of sufficient funds.


The 137 Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 (BWC) undertake not to develop, produce, stockpile, or acquire microbial or other biological agents or toxins, whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposes.

Arms Control Objective. Over the two decades since entry into force of the BWC, confidence in the effectiveness of the Convention has been undermined by instances of non-compliance, notably on the part of the former Soviet Union. To deter noncompliance and reinforce the global norm against proliferation of biological weapons, we support negotiation of a legally binding protocol that provides for reasonable, cost-effective, and mutually reinforcing mandatory measures that enhance compliance with the BWC. These measures would include both off-site and on-site measures as a means of providing openness and transparency.

Status of Negotiations. The 1991 BWC Review Conference mandated the convening of an Ad Hoc Group of Technical and Scientific Experts which, meeting four times in 1992 and 1993, adopted a consensus report on the scientific and technical merit of 21 potential verification measures.

A Special Conference held in Geneva in September 1994 established another Ad Hoc Group, open to all Parties, to consider measures to strengthen the BWC and incorporate them into a legally binding document. The Group held productive working sessions in July and November 1995, and will report to the Fourth Review Conference of the BWC in the fall of 1996.

Prospects for the Forthcoming Year. The Ad Hoc Group has established its work program for 1996. The group will complete its work as soon as possible and will submit its report, which shall be adopted by consensus, to the States Parties for consideration at the Fourth Review Conference in the fall of 1996.

ACDA's Role. ACDA is the lead U.S. Government agency for BWC negotiations. Our responsibilities include:

U.S.-British-Russian Trilateral Process. In a Joint Statement in September 1992, senior government officials from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation affirmed their commitment to full compliance with the BWC and declared that biological weapons have no place in their armed forces. The Russian Government agreed to take tangible steps to resolve U.S. and British concerns about the offensive BW program inherited from the former Soviet Union.

Russian President Yeltsin proposed a number of steps to remove ambiguities about BWC compliance, including visits to non-military biological facilities. A delegation of U.S. and U.K. officials visited Russian non-military sites in October 1993 and in January 1994. The Russians reciprocated during February-March 1994, visiting three U.S. non-military facilities and one British facility. The three governments also agreed to hold expert working group sessions and to visit military biological facilities. The U.S. and the U.K. continue in an effort to work with the Russian government to ensure complete termination of the illegal BW program.


Progress toward entry into force of the CWC and establishment of an Ad Hoc Group to draft a legally binding protocol to the BWC are significant advances toward international control of both types of weapons.

But all the news is not good. Some twenty countries either have or are seeking to acquire a chemical weapons capability. A number of countries, including Iraq and Libya, have chemical weapons stockpiles. In many cases, BW programs have historically followed closely on the heels of CW programs.

We must, therefore, strengthen international barriers against chemical and biological weapons proliferation by enhancing multilateral export-control regimes.

Status of Activities. In 1995, the U.S. led the international community in CBW nonproliferation, including:

ACDA's Role. In 1995, ACDA continued to participate in CW and BW nonproliferation initiatives, and in the U.S. delegation to the Australia Group. ACDA was instrumental in diplomatic efforts with non-member states which supply chemicals, and in efforts to expand the Group.

During 1995, ACDA reviewed approximately 700 license applications to ensure that U.S. companies were not contributing to foreign CBW programs, and sought opportunities to harmonize U.S. CBW export controls with those of other nations.

As a charter member of the U.S. Government's interagency Chemical and Biological Weapons Interdiction Group (SHIELD), ACDA was instrumental in stemming the flow of chemical weapons precursors to rogue states including Iran and Libya. This U.S. effort has included arrest and successful prosecution of individuals attempting illicit trade in precursors and dual-use equipment. ACDA also led efforts to encourage countries that possess chemical or biological weapons to adhere to the future CWC and the BWC by admitting possession of these weapons and destroying them.