October 3, 1995


I am grateful to Georgetown University to be here tonight and honored to share the "Jit" Trainor award with Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala. Also, I want to mention the important contribution the independent U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, under the farsighted leadership of Director John Holum, has made and is making to international peace and stability. The following are some personal thoughts on the arms control process.

War has been the scourge of humankind since the beginning of time. As soon as humans began living together in large groups they began making war on their neighbors to seize their goods or their land and much later to advance their religion or ideology. Attempts at long term peace between neighboring groups, tribes, and nations were made from time to time with very limited success. For several millennia, the implements of war did not appreciably change -- the technology of war remained roughly the same -- and victory went to the largest or best trained armies.

This condition slowly began to change during the Middle Ages with the advent of the English longbow and the crossbow and the invention of gunpowder. At this time began the first attempts to limit the technology and implements of war to enhance the cause of peaceful settlement and to reduce the likelihood of war. This is what we today refer to as arms control. One of the first attempts at arms control was the outlawing of the crossbow in 1139 by the medieval papacy as "hateful to God and unfit for Christians." Arms control policy has been criticized from time to time for not keeping pace with technology. This early example is no exception in that in the following century it was overwhelmed by the English longbow which in turn was later rendered obsolete by the destructive firepower of the cannon.

Military technology gradually improved over the centuries and war became more and more destructive. The rifle (itself proscribed by the Church for several centuries), the machine gun, poison gas, aerial bombardment, among other such developments, slowly followed one another culminating in World War II, the most destructive of all wars in which approximately 60 million people died. Attempts at arms control were few and far between and for the most part unsuccessful. One of the earliest arms control agreements, the Rush-Bagot Agreement of 1817 between the United States and Great Britain, had as its objective the limitation of armament on the Great Lakes. It was honored largely in the breach rather than the observance. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, among other things, prohibited the use of poison gas in war, but failed to prevent its widespread use in World War I. The Washington Naval Convention of 1922 did not forestall the race in naval armaments of the 1920s and 1930s. In contrast, the Geneva Protocol of 1925, still in force, and largely a reaction to the use of chemical weapons in World War I, prohibits the first use in war of poison gas and biological weapons. It was the forerunner of the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 as well as the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. It is also given credit as being partly responsible for the non-use of poison gas in World War II. Of course, it did not prevent the use of such weapons by Italy in Ethiopia in 1936, Egypt in Yemen in 1967 and during the Iran and Iraq war.

Everything changed on July 16, 1945 with the successful testing of the first atomic bomb. The technology of war had now advanced to the point where humanity had created a weapon of such power that it had in hand the ability to cause its own destruction. All modem arms control comes after that date and is based on the essential necessity to control and limit nuclear weapons, as well as other weapons of mass destruction, if humanity is to be preserved. What can happen was graphically displayed at the end of World War II by the horror of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the massive conventional bombings of Tokyo, Dresden, Hamburg, London, and Coventry.

The United States acquired nuclear weapons in 1945, the Soviet Union followed suit in 1949, followed by the United Kingdom in 1952, France in 1960 and China in 1964. This increase in the number of nuclear weapon states took place against the background of predictions during the Kennedy Administration of 25-30 nuclear weapon states -- states with nuclear weapons integrated into their military arsenals -- by the late 1970s. If such a trend had continued unchecked that number could probably be doubled for 1995.

The principal reason that this did not happen was the result of a successful arms control negotiation in the 1960s -- the negotiation and conclusion of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), signed in 1968 and entered into force in 1970. Before 1970, the acquisition of nuclear weapons had been a point of national pride. The NPT, by establishing a norm of international behavior, converted this former act of national pride into a violation of international law.

The NPT has been the most successful arms control agreement in history. It has 180 parties with only a small number of nations currently outside this "Club of Civilization." It has added immeasurably to the security of the United States and of the entire world. If the trend predicted during the Kennedy Administration had not been checked by the NPT, we would be living today in a world of unending nightmares. From day to day the question would arise whether civilization, or perhaps humanity itself, would survive.

But this did not happen. The NPT was successful in retarding the proliferation of nuclear weapons. However, it is important to keep in mind that the NPT was directed not only against horizontal proliferation, but against vertical proliferation as well. The world community decided in negotiating the NPT in the 1960s -enough! we will draw a line where we are, it will be agreed that no additional nation will acquire nuclear weapons; and the five states that have them (in 1968) will agree to engage in disarmament negotiations to reduce the number of nuclear weapons that they possess with the ultimate objective of the complete elimination of these weapons. Or expressed in different terms, the ultimate objective of the NPT is a verifiable and enforceable nuclear-free world.

In terms of preventing horizontal nuclear weapon proliferation the NPT has largely done what it was intended to do. It established a rule of international law against nuclear weapon proliferation. The number of declared nuclear weapon states is still the same as it was in 1968 -- five. There remain three states outside the NPT world system with unsafeguarded nuclear facilities and compliance problems have occurred with two or three parties -- but 175 countries have stated their intention under the NPT never to acquire nuclear weapons. There are now less than ten states that are not now part of the NPT system and several of these have pledged to become NPT parties at an early date.

With respect to controlling and reversing vertical proliferation, only limited progress was possible during the Cold War, but much has been possible since its end.

In 1969, the United States and the former Soviet Union began the strategic arms limitation process which led to the SALT I agreements as well as to the SALT II Treaty, and as the Cold War passed into history the INF, START and START II Treaties, as well as the 1991 Bush-Gorbachev informal agreement on tactical nuclear weapons. The initial effort was to stabilize and ultimately reverse the nuclear arms race by capping the number of nuclear weapon delivery vehicles, i.e., missiles and bombers. As the Cold War ended, there was agreement to actually reduce the number of nuclear weapons as well as their delivery vehicles. Pursuant to all of these agreements the United States has already eliminated approximately 60 percent of its nuclear weapon stockpile with approximately 80 percent to be eliminated by the end of the decade. Russia has undertaken similar measures. We must now look ahead to the next phase of this process and the eventual involvement in it of all five nuclear weapon states.

In 1968 it could not be agreed to give the NPT permanent status, even though that was the outcome preferred by most of the 17 negotiating parties at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. But these negotiations operated on the basis of consensus -- nothing is agreed until all agree -- as have all the other multilateral arms control negotiations in Geneva. Uncertainty about the ramifications of the Cold War for international security and the impact of safeguards on nuclear commerce led to a compromise to give the NPT a 25 year trial period and then have a Conference of the parties decide, by majority vote, not by consensus, whether or not to make the NPT permanent. The 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the NPT in 1970 took place on March 5 and the Conference of the parties met in New York from April 17th to May 12th of this year. The Conference, with 175 of the then-178 parties participating, decided by consensus to give the NPT permanent status. But this decision also included a commitment by the parties to certain non-proliferation principles and objectives as well as the establishment of an enhanced NPT review process to enforce this commitment.

This commitment included vigorous pursuit of the nuclear weapon disarmament process that I have referred to above, priority negotiation of a fissile material cut-off agreement, which is under discussion at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, as well as an undertaking to support nuclear weapon free zones, to achieve universality of membership in the NPT, and to conclude a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT) by the end of next year.

The NPT is, after the UN Charter itself (which has 185 adherents as opposed to now 180 NPT parties, with one more soon on the way), the central document of world peace and security. To truly be part of the civilized world, a state must be an NPT member in good standing. That is the unmistakable import of the 1992 UN Security Council Presidential Statement describing nuclear weapon proliferation as a threat to the peace as well as Security Council consideration of the cases of Iraq and North Korea. Let us hope that by the NPT Review Conference in the year 2000 -- at the millennium -- universality of membership in the NPT will have been achieved or at least be clearly in sight, to the enhancement of everyone's security.

The expansion of nuclear weapon free zones is an important trend which strengthens the world-wide NPT regime. It adds emphasis to the important regional aspect of the control of weapons of mass destruction. The Treaty of Tlatelolco -- the Latin American Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty -- is nearing full implementation. Nearly all Latin American countries are parties and the five nuclear weapon states and relevant extraterritorial states are party to its protocols. The decision in New York encouraged the same degree of support for the Protocols to the Treaty of Raratonga -- the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty -and the recently concluded Treaty of Pelindaba -- the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty. On September 15 at the South Pacific Forum meeting in Papua New Guinea, the United States stated that it is moving quickly to take a final decision on adhering to the Raratonga Protocols. The United States hopes to make the same commitment to the Treaty of Pelindaba when it is opened for signature early next year. In addition, I would note, the United States has committed to Indonesia that it would be prepared to consider positively the development of an agreement for a Southeast Asian nuclear weapon free zone, assuming the standard U.S. criteria for such zones are met.

The pursuit of a CTBT is the oldest arms control objective of the nuclear age. The quest began in the late 1950s, the first step being the informal testing moratorium which commenced in 1958 and collapsed in 1961. An impasse in the test ban negotiations in 1962 over the issue of on-site verification for underground tests led to the by-passing of this issue in 1963 and the conclusion of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits the testing of nuclear weapons anywhere but underground. A refinement was agreed by the United States and the former Soviet Union in 1976 which limited underground tests to 150 kilotons, or roughly 10 times the explosive power of the Hiroshima bomb.

In spite of those agreements, the nuclear arms race continued unabated. The five nuclear weapons states by the early 1990s had conducted almost 2000 nuclear weapon tests, the United States more than half of the total. However, whereas a creditable argument could be made for the need for nuclear weapon tests during the Cold War and the associated Superpower thermonuclear confrontation, the rationale for continued testing was substantially diminished by the end of the Cold War and the nuclear confrontation as well as the rise of nuclear weapon proliferation as overwhelmingly the greatest threat to the security of the civilized world. In this new world, continued nuclear weapon testing by the nuclear weapon states reduces rather than enhances security in that it encourages proliferation and undermines efforts to strengthen the NPT regime. This fact is what led President Clinton to support in 1993 the continuation of the current nuclear testing moratorium and the prompt negotiation of a CTBT, along with a scientific plan to ensure the safety and reliability of existing weapons without testing. President Clinton gave further impetus to this effort by his statement on August 11 of this year that the United States supports a "zero yield" outcome for the CTBT which would prohibit even very small nuclear explosions.

We now have a new commitment by all of the NPT parties -- most importantly by all the nuclear weapon states -- as part of the decision to extend the NPT indefinitely to conclude the CTBT negotiating process by 1996. This will be a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, not a threshold test ban treaty. The United States is committed to this goal, to quote Vice-President Gore at the Conference in New York "If the Conference on Disarmament does its job, the United States is prepared for the conclusion that it has conducted its last nuclear test."

And we must go on as we look ahead to further strengthen the NPT regime. Verification must be enhanced and such efforts are underway at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna pursuant to the "93+2" program. In addition, enforcement must be improved. The NPT regime needs more than just an ad hoc process to refer compliance cases from the IAEA to the UN Security Council. In addition, a strengthened and now permanent NPT regime will be the basis for further efforts to enhance peace and stability through arms control. In this regard, it is essential to worldwide peace and stability, as well as United States national security, that both the START II Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention be promptly brought into force. These Treaties are currently pending in the U.S. Senate. The importance of these two Treaties cannot be underestimated. They are both indispensable elements of the global arms control and nonproliferation agenda. Also, a serious look must be undertaken at how to regulate the worldwide destructive potential of conventional arms.

Achieving indefinite extension of the NPT was an important policy objective for many parties. The United States sees itself as directly threatened by any further proliferation of nuclear weapons. Other parties, many of them from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) were disturbed over their perception of a lack of progress by the nuclear weapon states in fulfillment of their Article VI disarmament obligations and the resultant inequality in the NPT system. They wanted to see the completion of the arms control agenda which existed at the time of NPT signature in 1968 and which related to the basic NPT bargain, most importantly a CTBT. Therefore, these states believed it important to maintain leverage over the nuclear weapon states to ensure progress toward a CTBT and other disarmament measures and were as a result reluctant to agree to indefinite NPT extension -- even though they strongly supported the NPT regime. As a result of the case for the benefits of a permanent NPT regime being made all over the world, a narrow majority for indefinite extension existed even before the Conference began. This majority consisted of the traditional Western and Eastern Groups, as well as most of Latin America and a few NAM countries such as the Philippines and several states in West and East Africa. But the overwhelming support for indefinite extension which would most strengthen the Treaty was not yet there.

South Africa, supported by all of Southern Africa, stepped forward to provide a bridge between the two sides -- to permit indefinite NPT extension to be agreed by a very large vote and at the same time provide assurances that the disarmament objectives of many parties would be vigorously pursued. South Africa therefore proposed the negotiation of nonproliferation principles and objectives and an enhanced review process which by the end of the Conference were agreed to by all parties. This is the meaning of the commitments in the Non-proliferation Principles and Objectives and it was this compromise that permitted indefinite extension to be achieved by consensus, the best possible outcome.

Looking to the future, the evolution of the NPT extension process suggests that just as the Cold War is part of the past, so is narrow bloc politics in multilateral arms control negotiations. The reflexive antagonism between East and West and North and South has been overtaken by history. In preparation for the NPT extension decision, states of all sizes and compositions all over the world took a serious look at where there true interests lay and chose to put their security, and the security of the world, over "traditional" bloc interests. The new arena of multilateral diplomacy is characterized by independent states voting their interests both individually and as a part of regional groupings. Regional politics more than bloc politics likely will be the most important focus of diplomacy in the multilateral arena in the future. And further, the NPT extension process demonstrated that there is support for the NPT regime all over the world and that in the new world order, when appealed to directly, all states are prepared to make their own decisions about their own security.

The pursuit of peace and stability throughout history has always been difficult. The limitation of armaments through treaty negotiation has been a long slow uphill climb with many blind alleys but with a few real achievements. Now that the world is nearing perhaps the end of the first stage of this climb with the reduction of nuclear weapon stockpiles, the indefinite extension of the NPT and the imminence of a CTBT, we must not relax our efforts. We must continue to press forward. The path will be tortuous with many obstacles to overcome, but the stakes are high and the reward for all of us will be great. In the face of all the difficulties that lie in the path toward peace and stability through international arms limitation, if I may roughly paraphrase Winston Churchill, we must "never, never give in."