February 6, 1995

AMBASSADOR RALPH EARLE II, DEPUTY DIRECTOR
U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY
REMARKS AT THE OLOF PALME INTERNATIONAL CENTER

Before I come to the substance of my remarks, I want to express my appreciation to the Olof Palme International Center for inviting me to come to the Center and to join this distinguished panel. It is especially appropriate, I think, that a panel on the NPT is being held in the capital city of Sweden. Sweden was one of the first nations to propose a limit on nuclear proliferation, was an important participant in the negotiation of the NPT, and has long been a strong supporter of the Treaty.

The focus of the seminar, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is of particular importance to my Government, and, I believe, to all Governments party to the NPT.

I want to talk today about the position of the United States Government on the Treaty and on the decision that the parties must make later this spring on extending the Treaty. In particular, I want to explain why the United States takes the position it does and why it takes a position contrary to some that take the view that the Treaty should not be extended indefinitely.

That position is simple and straightforward: the United States strongly favors indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT.

We believe that extending the Treaty indefinitely and unconditionally will reinforce the effectiveness of the NPT as the only global legal barrier against the further spread of nuclear weapons because it will establish for all time the intemational norm that nuclear proliferation is unacceptable. Indefinite and unconditional extension will provide the soundest possible basis for a regime of intemational cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Finally, indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT is the best way to maintain the momentum we have today of achieving significant reductions of nuclear and other weapons. When states consider making major commitments on reducing forces they are far more likely to make these commitments if the future of the nonproliferation regime is certain. Anything less than indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT would necessarily cause some degree of uncertainty about the future of the Treaty and, therefore, about the future of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. And uncertainty would make arms control progress much more difficult.

By way of explaining why the United States takes the position it does (and not some other position), I would like to address some of the more common arguments for not extending the Treaty indefinitely and unconditionally.

First argument: Extending the NPT indefinitely only extends a treaty that is not enforceable and that has not solved all nuclear nonproliferation problems, such as North Korea and Iraq.

It is true, of course, that like any other international convention, the success of the NPT is in large measure dependent upon the willingness of its parties to live up to their commitments, and enforcement is in large measure dependent upon the will of other states to act effectively in cases of noncompliance. In the cases of Iraq and North Korea Treaty commitments were not met. Yet, without the NPT it would have been much more difficult to deal with these two cases. The norms of nuclear nonproliferation as embodied in the NPT helped to mobilize and guide the efforts of the international community to resolve the issues. Without the NPT there would have been no criteria for action. These criteria, that did exist, were vital elements in guiding the U.N. Security Council in directing the intemational Atomic Energy Agency to carry out extensive inspections of Iraq's declared nuclear facilities as well as others designated by the United Nations Special Commission. The U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework is similarly guided by the norms of the NPT.

It is unrealistic, I think, to expect that there will be no more challenges to the NPT of the type I have just mentioned. If there are such challenges it is imperative that the NPT be as vital and robust as possible. By contrast, trying to hedge against possible future proliferation threats by limiting NPT extension would reduce, not increase, the capability of the international community in meeting these threats.

Second argument: The NPT should not be extended indefinitely because adherence is not universal or because certain countries have not become parties.

Some states have said, for example, that their support for indefinite extension would be difficult because Israel has not joined the Treaty.

Let me make clear at the outset that the United States supports universal adherence to the NPT and encourages all states that have not yet joined to do so. Nor do we wish to minimize the significance of some of the hold-outs.

Yet, the argument that the Treaty's duration should depend on adherence of some or all states is not a strong one when it is examined closely. As membership continues to grow we continue to hear this argument, although its validity declines with each passing year. With the adherence of Algeria on Jan. 12 and the Republic of Marshall Islands on Jan. 30, the NPT now has 170 parties, more than any other arms control treaty in history. Since the Fourth Review Conference in 1990, 34 states have joined the Treaty and several more will be joining shortly in all probability. The numbers speak for themselves.

But let's look at specific areas to see how the NPT has strengthened regional security, even when in some instances not all states in a region have joined. In the Middle East, for example, the NPT is the only norm in force against nuclear proliferation, and nonparties are affected by the NPT norms, too. Without the NPT there would simply be no constraints against the spread of nuclear weapons. Moreover, as I explained earlier, without the NPT there would be no effective means for dealing with violations of the international norms of nonproliferation. Would the Middle East be better off without the NPT? We think not.

When the Soviet broke up into a dozen new independent states the NPT served to ease tensions and reduce risks inherent in the revolutionary changes taking place in that region. Adherence is now virtually universal among the newly independent states. Ukraine's accession at the CSCE Budapest Summit last Dec. 5 completed NPT accession of all non-Russian states that had signed the Lisbon Protocol. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have now joined the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states. In fact, some have said that had there been no NPT at the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union, we would probably have needed to invent it!

Africa is another region where increased adherence has greatly strengthened security The accession of the Republic of South Africa as a non-nuclear weapon state is a particularly notable achievement of NPT adherence.

To summarize my point: Increased adherence to the NPT strengthens the Treaty. But not extending the Treaty indefinitely and unconditionally would not improve the chances for universal adherence. To the contrary, a decision not to extend the Treaty indefinitely would reduce the chances for the adherence of hold-outs. The incentive to join the Treaty would be less, not more, for its durability would be called into question.

Third argument: The NPT should not be extended indefinitely because it discriminates against non-nuclear weapon states and, at the same time, legitimizes nuclear weapons - in the hands of a few -- for all time.

It is true, of course, that the Treaty distinguishes between nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states. Non-nuclear weapon states, for example, must conclude a full-scope safeguards agreement with the IAEA within 18 months of becoming a party to the NPT; the five declared nuclear weapon states are not required to have such safeguards, although I note in passing that the United States has had a safeguards agreement with IAEA since 1977. This distinction between nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states is simply a pragmatic recognition of reality existing at the time the Treaty was concluded.

This does not mean, however, that nuclear weapons are legitimized forever. Article VI of the Treaty states the following: "Each of the Parries to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effecfive measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control." Clearly, the goal is to achieve not only the ending of the nuclear arms race but also nuclear disarmament.

Fourth argument: The NPT should not be extended indefinitely and unconditionally because the nuclear weapon states have not fully complied with Article VI.

The statements one often hears to support this argument are that we have not yet concluded a comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT), or that there are more nuclear weapons today than when the NPT was concluded in 1968, or that w'e have not agreed to a timebound framework for future nuclear disarmament agreements. The corollary to this argument is that by using the NPT as leverage, that is holding it hostage to the achievement of other specific agreements, the nuclear weapon states will be under more pressure to negotiate agreements. On the other hand, indefinite extension, so the argument goes, will simply let the nuclear weapon states off the hook forever.

This argument fails on two grounds. First, the argument is wrong in asserting that the nuclear weapon states have not lived up to their Article VI com@itments. The Article calls ioT the "cessation of thenucleat arms race." That has been achieved. The nuclear powers have negotiated in good faith to achieve dramatic reductions in nuclear forces. Here are just a few items that are indicative of the progress we have made.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (@F), which entered into force in 1988, marked the end of the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race. The @F Treaty eliminated an entire category of nuclear delivery systems, requiring the destruction of the missiles, launchers, and support systems. All destrucfion required by the Treaty was completed by June 1, 1991.

The START Treaty, which entered into force on Dec. 5,1994, will enable the United States and the former Soviet Union to achieve substantial reductions of strategic offensive arms, roughly 40 percent. These reductions are to take place in three phases over the course of seven years. The START II Treaty, which Presidents Bush and Yeltsin signed in January 1993, will achieve by the year 2003 even more substantial reductions -- two-thirds of Cold War levels -- and will result in the elimination of destabilizing multiple warheads and heavy ICBMs. In the meantime, the United States and Russia have begun to discuss ways to make that process both transparent and irreversible.

But we have not completed our arms control agenda. Achieving a CTBT is a high priority for the United States, and we are firmly committed to that goal. As President Clinton stated last year in a message to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, of all items on the CD agenda, "none is more important" than negotiating a CTBT "at the earliest possible tune." A CTBT will strengthen the global norm against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and constrain development of nuclear weapons capability in proliferant states. A CTBT will also strengthen international security and stability by constraining the qualitative development of nuclear weapons. In the meantime, President Clinton has extended the U.S. moratorium on nuclear testing until the Fall of 1996 or the achievement of a CTBT, whichever comes first.

There is other unfinished business as well. For example, the United States supports negotiation of a worldwide fissile material production cutoff treaty. Such an agreement would cap the amount of material available for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. It could bring unsafeguarded nuclear programs of certain non-NPT states under some measure of restraint for the first time. Finally, it would prevent any future production of separated plutonium and highly-enriched uranium.

My Government takes its Article VI obligation seriously. The obligation is to undertake negotiations "in good faith" on ending the arms race and achieving nuclear disarmament, as stated in Article VI. This is what we have been doing for more than 25 years. Moreover, we believe that these negotiations have been productive.

Second, the argument that the NPT should be used as leverage on the nuclear weapon states seems to suggest that without such leverage serious arms control efforts would slow down or even cease. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Nuclear weapon states, including the United States, engage in arms control negotiations because it is directly in their national security interest to do so. We would make the effort even if there were no NPT. But the task would be much more difficult. The constructive impact of the NPT is not that it pressures nuclear weapon states to negotiate agreements but that it enables them to reach agreements with the assurance that their commitments are not being made in an environment of nuclear proliferation. At the same time, Article VI makes the nuclear weapon states accountable to all other NPT parties for their actions. This accountability is exercised through the mechanism of periodic review conferences. As long as there is an NPT there will be review conferences and, hence, accountability of nuclear weapon states to non-nuclear weapon NPT states.

In conclusion, let me say that by almost any standard the NPT has been a successful treaty. At the time of its negotiation there were various concems -- concerns over adherence, over the viability and burden of the safeguards system, concerns over the future of arms control. Twenty-five years of experience and growth in the NPT regime have met these concerns. As I said earlier, adherence is extremely strong and continuing to grow even stronger. The safeguards system has not proved burdensome and is also being strengthened. Arms control negotiations, undertaken in good faith as the Treaty requires, have yielded significant accomplishments in a number of areas, including nuclear weapons.

There may have been doubts in 1968 that the norm of nuclear nonproliferation could take root. Those doubts have been dispelled.

Extending the NPT indefinitely and unconditionally will not only acknowledge the significance of the NPT in promoting international security, it will strengthen the effectiveness of the Treaty. By contrast, anything less than indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT will mean that all states, parties and non-parties, would then have to reconsider their security interests in an environment that at some point might possibly lack an NPT. This would not promote adherence. It would not promote arms control. And it would not promote regional or world security.