March 23, 1995

THE HONORABLE JOHN D. HOLUM, DIRECTOR
U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY
REMARKS TO THE COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL
RELATIONS (CARI), BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

"Arms Control's Year of Decision:
Our Mutual Agenda"

I am especially honored to address this influential audience in the capital of one of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's newest adherents -- and one of the NPT movement's most promising emerging leaders. And I have greatly appreciated this beautiful city and your warm Argentine hospitality.

The nations of this hemisphere -- both North and South -- have taken impressive strides in arms control and nonproliferation. The pathbreaking 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco; the quadripartite nuclear safeguards agreement among Argentina, Brazil, the Argentine-Brazilian nuclear accounting agency, (ABACC), and the IAEA; the 1991 Declaration of Cartagena of the Presidents of the Andean Group; the Declaration of Guadalajara; the ongoing central American efforts to negotiate an arms control arrangement; the Mendoza Declaration; and widespread adherence to the BWC, CWC, and NPT -- all of these reflect regional initiatives and national wisdom that other regions and states would do well to study and emulate.

I have every confidence that Argentina's constructive role -- in this hemisphere and as the newest member of the Western Group in the Conference on Disarmament -- will continue and expand. So I view this visit, and the broad range of discussions it encompasses, as a testament to the maturity of the national security relationship between our two countries.

This is a year of decision for arms control -- a year in which it looms larger than ever before. As President Clinton said this month in a major speech, "In 1995, we face a year of decision -- a year in which the United States will pursue the most ambitious agenda to dismantle and fight the spread of weapons of mass destruction since the atom was split."

Of course, our agenda and yours are not identical -- a fact that brings to mind the adage that speakers in my position are "forever poised between a cliche and an indiscretion." But our arms control agendas are largely mutual. So it may be useful

for me to explicate ours for you, by setting forth its elements and briefly explaining their importance.

The Increased Need for Arms Control

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, many expected the need for arms control to disappear too. But in fact, the opposite has happened.

The bipolar nuclear standoff is largely over. But many of its sharpest teeth still have to be extracted. Despite voluntary reductions, many thousands of weapons remain.

Furthermore, the Soviet-American arms competition has been replaced, as President Clinton has noted, by a world of "rampant arms proliferation," regional and ethnic rivalries, and rogue regimes no longer constrained by Cold War disciplines. Consider:

Technological and Cold War constraints once served as steady, almost gravitational forces against the proliferation of the most destructive arms and means of delivery. But in the years to come, we will have to rely more and more on the barriers to proliferation that we build ourselves -- on arms control.

1995: Year of Decision

Here are some key aspects of the momentous arms control agenda that we face together:

This Spring, the fate of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty will be determined in the 25th-year review and extension conference. President Clinton has left no doubt that "nothing is more important to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons than extending the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and unconditionally." The NPT is the bedrock of all our arms control and nonproliferation efforts.

As reflected in your own principled decision, the NPT works. It should be made permanent. Any other outcome would leave doubts about its dependability over the long term, and thus make it less effective even in the short term. So we value and appreciate Argentina's support for indefinite extension.

But we remain engaged in a real struggle. A number of countries are still attracted to the self-defeating idea that the NPT should be held hostage, to be ransomed by a comprehensive nuclear test ban, further strategic disarmament, or something else. Others, like Iran, think it should be amended to make access to nuclear technology an automatic right of every party -- as if we had no memory of what happened in Iraq . . . and, indeed, no clue about Iran itself.

I applaud your wise steps in joining the NPT. Ten years ago, no one would have predicted them -- yet less than three weeks from now, you will not only be represented in New York, but will be demonstrating global nonproliferation credentials and leadership through support of its indefinite extension. A more impressive evolution would be hard to imagine.

This too is certain: 1995 is our one chance to make the NPT permanent -- the only time, by the NPT's terms, when a simple majority will be able to bind all members to its indefinite extension, with no need for parliamentary ratifications. So we must work together to lift this fateful vote above international politics as usual -- and grasp this singular opportunity to safeguard the Treaty for all nations, all people, all time.

Argentina and the United States also have the opportunity to lead this year in bringing the Chemical Weapons Convention into force, and realizing its immense international security benefits.

The United States is pushing resolutely for full Russian implementation of our bilateral agreements on chemical weapons. Since December, I have led two delegations to Moscow for high-level discussions of those matters.

Coupled with such efforts, the best way to resolve Western concerns is to bring the CWC into force promptly. Then Russia will have the choice of either complying with a legally binding, global regime -- with potential sanctions -- or else isolating itself from a worldwide consensus.

Meanwhile, the CWC will give us a way to deal with at least 25 other countries of concern, who without the treaty can legally stockpile chemical weapons. And it will give us new information about clandestine chemical weapons programs -- even in countries that do not join.

In 1995, the United States and Argentina will also negotiate vigorously for a system aimed at improving compliance with and enforcement of the Biological Weapons Convention.

Of course, you have responded with your own regional ban, the Mendoza Declaration. By having the wisdom to foreswear both chemical and biological weapons, you and your neighbors have avoided the costs and dangers of competition in these ghastly and indiscriminate forms of warfare. And by helping bring the CWC into force and strengthen the BWC, Argentina will ensure that the norms embodied in the Mendoza Declaration will be respected throughout the world.

1995 is also a decisive year for strategic arms control -- particularly with implementation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, and our drive for early ratification of START II.

Signing ceremonies and presidential visits are nice, but the promise of arms control isn't fulfilled until agreed reductions are verifiably made. And when these particular strategic arms obligations are fulfilled, we will slam shut the "window of vulnerability" many saw as the consequence of the heavy Soviet multiple warhead land-based missiles that are on their way to total extinction -- along with two thirds of all deliverable strategic warheads -- when both START Treaties are implemented.

1995 will be a decisive year for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The test ban's time has come -- to ensure that there won't be another qualitative arms race, and also to restrain proliferation, by denying aspiring proliferators the ability to refine weapons and make them easier to deliver.

At a time when the nuclear arms race is over; when the United States has already conducted more than 1,000 tests (to Russia's reported 715 and China's reported 41); when both we and the Russians are eliminating nuclear weapons by the thousands and not developing any new ones; when we can maintain a safe and reliable stockpile without tests -- it simply makes no sense to keep setting off nuclear explosions, at great expense, to further sift the finest particles of knowledge about how nuclear weapons work, when the main effect of doing so would be to give cover to other nations who could actually use the knowledge they would gain.

This year, President Clinton has revised the U.S. negotiating position to speed conclusion of the Treaty, while reaffirming our determination to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile. He has also withdrawn 200 metric tons of fissile material permanently from our nuclear arsenal, and designated Vice President Gore to head the U.S. delegation to the NPT review and extension conference. And the President further extended the United States moratorium on nuclear tests, to overlap with the expected completion of the test ban negotiations.

I hope the international community will take "yes" for an answer. If the Conference on Disarmament does its job, we are prepared for the conclusion that the United States has already conducted its last nuclear test.

Another leading negotiating priority for 1995 is the global cutoff in production of fissile material for weapons. This is our best hope of putting a cap on the potential nuclear programs of the so-called nuclear threshold states -- India, Pakistan and Israel -- that are outside the NPT. I know this is an issue of worldwide interest.

In 1995, the United States, along with other concerned countries, must sustain and intensify a major effort to address nuclear smuggling ... to enhance fissile material security, accounting, and controls worldwide ... and most specifically, to foster safeguards, transparency and irreversibility in the nuclear disarmament of the former Soviet Union.

There is too little focus on the fact that our success in controlling the delivery systems for Russian nuclear weapons is not matched by effective controls on the weapons themselves. So we are negotiating to make the reductions irreversible, and also to tamp down the risks of proliferation. This must be a leading priority this year -- and every year until we succeed.

Also in 1995, the United States has the task of clarifying the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile, or ABM, Treaty, on the dividing line between prohibited strategic defenses and permitted theater defenses. We must find a way to protect the enormous benefits of the Treaty for strategic stability.

I am convinced that any agreement we negotiate will protect technologies for effective theater ballistic missile defense -- including the so-called THAAD system, which is now slated to begin testing this Spring. And I believe just as firmly that it would be a grave mistake to preemptively jettison the ABM Treaty: The deep reductions in offensive forces agreed to by the Russians probably depend on it.

1995 is the critical final year of mandated reductions under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. This is also the year we expect entry into force of the Open Skies Treaty, opening the way for overflights of nations' territories from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

In 1995 the United States and other remaining nonparties must ratify the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), and advance President Clinton's landmines initiative at this year's CCW review conference.

And l995 will be the critical first year of implementation of the Framework Agreement to freeze and roll back North Korea's nuclear program.

Several of these efforts illustrate a major mutual challenge for 1995: what I have been calling (with my Midwest farm roots) the arms control harvest. The world is working to sustain the benefits of older agreements like the Treaty of Tlatelolco, NPT, INF, CFE and ABM Treaties, and your quadripartite nuclear safeguards agreement, while bringing on line new treaties like the CWC, the START Treaties, and Open Skies and planning for future agreements now in process, such as the Comprehensive Test Ban and fissile material cutoff.

Arms control agreements are growing in number and complexity, as are their verification requirements. So both the United States and Argentina face a burgeoning mission in reaping the benefits of arms control.

Hemispheric and Regional Trends and Developments

Of course, this is also an important time for arms control in this hemisphere. More states are pursuing measures to build confidence and transparency, halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and contain expensive and destabilizing arms races. This heartening momentum is reflected in your taking the final steps needed to have the Treaty of Tlatelolco in force for the entire region. And the months to come will see the continuation of a hemispheric dialogue on an issue brought to the fore by Argentine leadership -- Confidence and Security Building Measures, or CSBMs.

Such measures help build trust through openness, and enhance stability by allowing states to observe that their neighbors are not taking threatening military postures. What had potentially looked like a threatening reach into the pocket for a gun is instead revealed as a benign retrieval of the car keys. As one philosopher put it, "A matter that becomes clear ceases to concern us."

So I hope we can build on last year's CSBMs meeting in Buenos Aires at the upcoming Chilean conference in November. Your continued leadership will help inspire and ensure success in Chile, and lay the groundwork for an even more transparent and stable hemisphere.

These developments and others underscore how thoroughly multilateral arms control has become. This is a salutary trend, with the efforts of different nations reinforcing and multiplying one another, and the international community should welcome and prepare for it. In the United States, my Agency is doing its part by helping develop and present a new training course for this purpose. The growth of arms control professionals worldwide is one of the few forms of proliferation I encourage.

And we should intensify our efforts to apply the proven principles and techniques of arms control -- formal and informal, dealing with both conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction -- on a regional basis. We need to work harder to constrain exports of arms and related technology, and

especially to have all supplier countries follow the same rules. But the more promising element (even if more elusive, especially in conventional arms), is to deal with demand, as well as supply.

Ultimately that requires decisions by the customer countries that they don't want or need everything that some supplier is willing to sell.

Our hemisphere has begun a valuable dialogue at the OAS Special Committee on Hemispheric Security, which serves as a useful engine for discussion of arms control and nonproliferation issues. Likewise, OAS General Assembly Resolution 1179, adopted by consensus, remains the cornerstone of the arms control agenda for this hemisphere.

Throughout the world, regional arms control is a painstaking process. But the stakes are high enough to warrant the pain. I genuinely believe, and experience shows, that arms control can be contagious. We must do our best to make it so.

Defense By Other Means

I have drawn an incomplete sketch of the fateful arms control agenda for 1995. But even this much of the picture rebuts two baseless canards: first, that arms control is a relic of the Cold War, and second, that it is the exclusive province of the United States, Russia, and Europe. To the contrary, our massive mutual agenda shows that arms control is bearing ever greater weight as a pillar of national and international security.

Accidents of history and politics led some to the mistaken conclusion that arms control and defense are somehow opposites. They confused a difference in means -- the diplomatic versus the military -- with a difference in ends.

The fundamental purposes of arms control and defense are exactly the same: to make us safer. Defense deters or defeats threats; arms control takes them away more quietly.

Arms control is threat control -- in the apt words of Secretary of Defense William Perry, it is "defense by other means." As President Clinton affirmed recently, "By spending millions to keep or take weapons out of the hands of our potential adversaries, we are saving billions in arms costs and putting it to better use."

So arms control buttresses both national security and economic security. As the President has emphasized, arms control is a source of strength.

For Argentina, for the United States, for every nation that embraces it, arms control has proved sensible as well as statesmanlike. By pursuing it, we help build the kind of world that is in our deepest mutual interests: a world where the worth of nations is measured not by the arms they keep, but by the commitments they keep -- to other nations and their own people.

Working together, let us do everything in our power to aid this noble and necessary enterprise.