April 25, 1994

ADDRESS OF THE HONORABLE JOHN D. HOLUM
DIRECTOR, U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY
TO THE CENTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY NEGOTIATIONS
WILTON PARK CONFERENCE, UNITED KINGDOM

I want to thank Wilton Park, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Science Applications International Corporation for hosting this conference. You have provided a valuable opportunity to explore leading arms control and nonproliferation issues and to further U.S.-European cooperation in this critical area.

With the end of the Cold War, some felt that the need for arms control would recede. The Soviet-American arms race, after all, is over. But paradoxically, the need for arms control has grown. The bipolar nuclear standoff has been replaced by what President Clinton described in the last State of the Union address as "rampant arms proliferation, bitter regional conflicts, ethnic and nationalist tensions in many new democracies ... and fanatics who seek to cripple the world's cities with terror."

President Clinton decided last year to revitalize the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for a central role as we face these new post-Cold War security challenges. As director of that strengthened Agency, I am pleased to join you tonight with some observations.

I will hew somewhat to my assigned topic, "Objectives, Norms, and Achievements to Date" -- but I'll also comment about areas requiring particular attention in the months and years to come. In discussing the tools at our disposal for reducing the risks of proliferation, I will at times employ two labels: one, "supply side" tools intended to make it more difficult to obtain nuclear weapons, and two, "demand side" tools that lessen their appeal.

Achievements

The contributions of arms control and nonproliferation are many and manifest. Such measures reduce the risk of war by limiting and reducing destabilizing military forces, by preventing -- or even reversing -- the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, and by building confidence and trust through greater transparency. As they bolster the security of all nations, such measures can foster the values of democracy and free markets worldwide. They can also help resolve persistent regional disputes.

You know the main achievements -- remarkable agreements involving the United States and the former Soviet Union have both contributed to and codified the end of the Cold War. We have eliminated two thousand warheads from an entire class of weapons under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. We are committed under START and START II to removing another 17,000 weapons and retiring their means of delivery -- steps that would wipe out two decades of the arms race. Voluntary reciprocal steps have taken down additional weapons from tactical systems like short range missiles and artillery. The United States alone is dismantling around 2000 nuclear weapons a year -- a rate limited not by political will but by physical capacity to do more.

All this has come in the context of a broader system of multilateral arrangements designed to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their missile delivery systems. Among these are the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which I will address in some detail -- and the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, which represent humanity's effort to rid the planet entirely of these vile weapons.

Cooperation in export controls has also expanded significantly in recent years. Governments are coming to understand that common rules promote commercial fairness as well as nonproliferation goals.

Daunting challenges remain -- among them the implementation of agreements and unilateral measures already in place.

One key measure is the 1992 Lisbon Protocol, under which Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan agreed to ratify START, remove the Soviet nuclear arms found in their territories, and join the NPT as non-nuclear states. Belarus and Kazakhstan are already in compliance. On February 3 the Ukrainian Rada overwhelmingly ratified START I and the Lisbon Protocol without reservations.

Early action by Ukraine on NPT adherence will permit START's entry into force, pave the way for START II ratification, and open the door to consideration of further measures.

Non-Proliferation Treaty Extension

Important as these measures are, none is of greater consequence than the NPT -- the fundamental legal standard and political framework for virtually all of our nuclear nonproliferation efforts. just a year from now, parties to the NPT will be in session in New York to consider its future.

The NPT has been a towering success. During the 1960's, when it was negotiated, many predicted that there would be 20-30 avowed nuclear weapon states today. In fact, there are only five declared nuclear weapon states -- the same as in 1970, when the NPT was brought into force -- and only a handful of "threshold" states.

The NPT has won 163 adherents, and there has been considerable progress in recent years to solidify the regime. China and France have joined the Treaty. South Africa decided to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, join the NPT, and accept comprehensive international safeguards. Argentina and Algeria have announced their intentions to join the NPT. Seven of the twelve newly independent states of the former Soviet Union have adhered, as have all three Baltic states.

The NPT is the bedrock on which our nuclear arms control and nonproliferation efforts are built. If it crumbles -- indeed, if cracks are detected -- a great deal of the nuclear security architecture painstakingly constructed by the international community may begin to collapse.

Under Article X of the Treaty, next year's conference will decide -- by majority vote of the parties -- whether to extend the Treaty indefinitely or for a limited fixed period or periods.

Almost all NPT parties acknowledge that the Treaty contributes to their security. But some want to use their position on extension as leverage for other aims -- proposing only a short-term extension until there is a comprehensive test ban in place, for example, or until some particular country has forsworn nuclear arms. In so doing, they are violating a cardinal rule: don't gamble with something you can't afford to lose.

The NPT's true value is not as a lever or bargaining chip, but as a shield. Of course it offers nations the meaningful security guarantees and assurances that stem from participation in treaties, regional regimes, and global norms. But even more, it gives them the security of knowing that their neighbors and regional rivals will not be able effectively to pursue nuclear-weapons ambitions -- not only because they have agreed not to, but also because there is a global system to verify that they haven't.

The countries most immediately put at risk by nuclear proliferators are their immediate and regional neighbors -- not the United States. We support the NPT in our own interests, to be sure. But it is even more strongly in the interests of countries located in regions of tension.

We often hear from Arab states that support for indefinite extension would be difficult without Israel's adherence to the NPT. The United States is committed to a universal NPT, and Israel's leadership is well aware of that position. But the NPT's survival should not hinge on this issue.

The NPT is the only norm against nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Should it expire after only a limited extension, there would be no constraints on Libyan or Iranian nuclear weapons programs, for example, and no basis for acting against them. This would heighten regional proliferation pressures and hinder the effort for peace. The best chance for Israel's eventual adherence to the NPT is a strong Treaty that is a permanent part of the international security system.

Extending the Treaty for a fixed term won't work. Because it presently contains no provision for a separate extension after the first, it would have to be amended at such time or else expire. And amendment would require not only the votes of a daunting list of countries -- including all members of the IAEA Board -- but also ratification by their national legislatures. These hurdles make it plain that 1995 is our one best chance to make the NPT a durable, dependable regime for all time.

Little wonder that the United States, all of Europe, and many others are strongly supporting the only outcome that will safeguard the NPT regime and all that it means to global security -- indefinite and unconditional extension of the Treaty. This is my agency's highest priority in the coming year.

Regional Arms Control

Changes in the world have focussed attention on particular regions where proliferation pressures are great and global nonproliferation norms have not yet taken hold. I'd like to comment on some of our leading regional arms control, confidence-building, and nonproliferation efforts.

The Middle East Arms Control and Regional Security Working Group -- cosponsored by the United States and Russia -- is one of five multilateral groups formed after the October 1991 opening round of the Middle East peace process. Fourteen parties from the region are discussing steps such as declaratory measures, verification, a crisis prevention center, information exchanges, and the first region-wide communications network. And a number of extra-regional participants, including Great Britain and other European nations, are playing a useful facilitating role in the process.

Progress in this working group obviously will be influenced by the pace of events in the overall peace process. No dramatic achievement is just around the corner. But by fostering a healthy discussion among historic adversaries, this working group has already demonstrated the positive role that confidence-building and other arms control measures can play in promoting regional security. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that all key regional states -- including Israel -- have supported the ultimate goal of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region. South Asia is another region of high concern and intensive effort. Both India and Pakistan are working on missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons, which would compress warning times to less than reaction times, and thus put a hair trigger on nuclear war. Missiles and weapons of mass destruction are even harder to manage for close neighbors than they are for rivals half a world apart. These armaments bring neither prestige nor security -- but only greater peril and heavier burdens.

The United States recently launched an initiative to place a cap on the missile and nuclear programs of both India and Pakistan and to convene multilateral talks on nonproliferation, arms control and regional security issues. Deputy Secretary of State Talbott visited New Delhi and Islamabad earlier this month to discuss U.S. proposals.

Many obstacles stand in the way. India's general resistance to regional measures and concerns about China are well known. But China has agreed in principle to participate in multilateral talks. And the United States believes that its proposals for negotiating global treaties to ban nuclear explosive tests and all further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes have the potential for placing meaningful legal constraints on the nuclear programs of Pakistan and India for the first time.

Of course, India and Pakistan themselves bear the primary responsibility for reducing the nuclear risk in South Asia. But the United States wants to help ease this process, and I believe many other countries share this desire. A nuclear arms and missile race would dissipate resources and leave both India and Pakistan less secure.

Export Controls

The principal "supply-side" tool at our disposal is the control of exports -- limits on sales of goods and technologies that pose proliferation risks. In a world where advanced technology is widely available, we look increasingly to multilateral controls.

The Zangger (or NPT Exporters) Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Australia Group (which controls commodities related to chemical and biological weapons), form the core of export control efforts designed to thwart proliferation. They deserve political support from the highest levels of government. They have accomplished much, but to remain effective they must be better implemented and adapted to match the evolving threat.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group recently welcomed Argentina as its newest member. The Group is working to secure China's adherence to its principles, and to develop an effective common approach on nuclear exports to suspect NPT states such as Iran. The partners of the Missile Technology Control Regime have agreed to give new emphasis to steps beyond export controls that would deal directly with missile proliferation threats. And the Australia Group is pursuing an outreach effort designed to encourage certain non-members to adopt controls comparable to its own.

In addition, efforts are underway to establish a regime to succeed COCOM, which expired on March 31. The goal of the new arrangement would be greater transparency and restraint in transfers of both conventional weapons and sensitive dual-use items to regions of potential instability and countries of concern. Limiting sensitive dual-use items can control the proliferation of advanced arms manufacturing capabilities. But it makes little sense to limit indigenous manufacture in these countries and not at the same time seek a common approach to the transfers of the arms themselves.

The specific procedures of the new regime are still being developed. Meanwhile, items on the previous COCOM lists are being controlled on a national basis.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union created serious risks that sensitive military technologies will migrate to states actively pursuing weapons of mass destruction. This gives us good cause to encourage the states of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to adopt multilateral guidelines and establish effective national export controls. That may be a long-term project, but it deserves our every effort.

Enforcement of Nonproliferation Norms

As much as we are concerned with the proper design, implementation, and verification of nonproliferation norms, our efforts will matter little if we ignore the final step in our "demand side" efforts -- enforcement. The effectiveness of the NPT, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions all will depend on strong international support for rigorous verification and firm enforcement measures.

The Treaty mechanisms themselves provide the first source of protection. The price of confidence in the treaties is to accept exacting verification measures.

IAEA safeguards have improved with the lessons of Iraq and the use of challenge inspections and enhanced technology and information. We must keep strengthening these safeguards. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague will implement rigorous standards for verification of the CWC -- including intrusive on-site routine and challenge inspections. And the BWC must be strengthened through mandatory measures to enhance transparency and build confidence.

Another significant source of protection for these global norms is the United Nations, specifically the Security Council. In January 1992, the Council declared in a statement by Heads of States that:

"The proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The members of the Council commit themselves to working to prevent the spread of technology related to the research for or production of such weapons and to take appropriate action to that end."

If a compliance problem cannot be solved within the terms of a given treaty, the Security Council must be willing to take effective action. The Council has set important precedents in recent years in its action against Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and missiles and its response to North Korea's violation of its NPT safeguards agreement. The costs to proliferant states can be high when the international community acts with unanimity and resolve.

We will continue to place great emphasis on our efforts in the Security Council.

Ballistic Missile Defense and Nonproliferation

I turn now to a growing menace that has led some people mistakenly to surmise that we are lessening our commitment to one of the sacred texts of arms control -- the antiballistic Missile, (or ABM) Treaty.

More than two dozen countries in the world are developing weapons of mass destruction, and ballistic missiles are becoming the means of choice for delivering them. What's more, traditional theories of deterrence are of doubtful utility against rogue regimes. They continue to strong-arm and threaten their neighbors, assuming that the world's most powerful weapons will not be used against them.

President Clinton has strongly reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the ABM Treaty I've testified and spoken out on this topic, and I care deeply about it. The Treaty's preservation is essential to stability, to the START and START II reductions, and to longer-term strategic arms control opportunities.

At the same time, security requires (and technology enables) a response to the growing threat of missiles and weapons of mass destruction in various regions. We can respond to this threat -- and avoid the development of ABM capabilities in both the United States and the former Soviet Union -- by clarifying the demarcation between ABM and non-ABM defenses. The ABM Treaty itself leaves the demarcation unresolved.

This demarcation is now being addressed in the Treaty's implementing forum, the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC). The United States, Russia, and other states of the former Soviet Union are working to provide for multilateral succession to the Treaty, and also to permit effective defenses against theater ballistic missiles.

Despite significant differences, the Geneva negotiations have revealed substantial common ground. The participants agree that the threat of third-country ballistic missile proliferation is real; that there is a shared interest in permitting defenses against this threat; that the ABM Treaty must be clarified to allow for adequate theater ballistic missile defenses; and that the Treaty should allow defenses against missiles of up to an agreed velocity and range.

I want to emphasize that there is no conflict in this instance between arms control and the military backstop we seek in theater missile defenses. As a broad proposition, I think that arms control generally has more to offer our national security today than do more weapons systems. We look first to arms control and second -- where it has failed or simply come on the scene too late -- to defenses. We follow in this respect Winston Churchill's maxim that "To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war."

My point about our present ABM demarcation efforts is that we don't have to choose in this case between negotiated solutions and military ones. Clarification of the ABM Treaty will add to U.S. and allied security by permitting needed theater defenses while fully maintaining the Treaty's protections in the strategic realm -- the realm where it has always worked well and where we continue to need it. In short, the Clinton Administration's ABM Treaty policy does not divorce arms control from defensive systems -- it marries the two. We will continue to defend the Treaty even as we prepare to defend our armed forces and our allies.

CTBT and the Fissile Material Cutoff

I want to mention two "demand side" initiatives that are made possible by the new security environment -- and will in turn substantially improve it. These are the efforts to achieve a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT, and a fissile material cutoff treaty.

Arms control can point to three decades of considerable progress, beginning with the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and culminating with the START II treaty signed in January of 1993. Now we are in a position to transform an even more venerable goal into a reality.

Achieving a CTBT is critical to overall U.S. strategy -- a fact underscored earlier this year when I delivered a personal message from President Clinton to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

He said that of all the items on the Conference's agenda, " none is more important" than negotiating a CTBT "at the earliest possible time." A permanent ban on testing will prevent any new qualitative arms race among the nuclear powers. And it will stem nuclear proliferation in other states by placing all but rudimentary designs out of reach.

CTBT negotiations are well underway in Geneva. This past ten-week session has seen important progress on verification and legal aspects of the treaty. We hope that the pace will pick up even more when delegates return on May 16 -- rested and resupplied with fuller instructions.

An important contribution to the negotiations has been the testing moratorium observed by most of the nuclear weapons powers. When President Clinton announced U.S. support for negotiating a CTBT last July, he noted that U.S. nuclear weapons were safe and reliable, but acknowledged that additional testing could add further to our margin of confidence. Nevertheless, he concluded that this benefit was outweighed by the importance of U.S. nonproliferation goals and decided to continue the moratorium on U.S. nuclear tests.

As you know, President Clinton last month extended the U.S. moratorium on testing to September 1995, despite China's nuclear test of last fall. I urge all countries to call upon China to reconsider its position and refrain from further testing. Such a change in China's policy would provide tangible support to the Geneva negotiations and to objectives we all share.

The fissile material cutoff is also a priority of the United States. In his address to the United Nations last September, the President stressed the need for an international agreement to ban all further production of plutonium and highly-enriched uranium for weapons purposes. Achieving a cutoff treaty would cap the amount of material available for nuclear explosives. While not a substitute for NPT adherence, it could bring the unsafeguarded nuclear programs of non-NPT states under some measure of restraint for the first time. And it would likewise halt the production of plutonium and highly-enriched uranium for weapons purposes in the five declared nuclear-weapon states. We hope the CD will soon establish an Ad Hoc Committee to begin negotiating a fissile material cutoff.

In themselves, the CTBT and the fissile material cutoff cannot prevent nuclear arms, but they are vitally important steps. They could, for example, effectively cap the nuclear programs of countries not yet willing to join the NPT, and thus make substantial headway toward that ultimate goal.

The CTBT and fissile cutoff -- combined with the dramatic arms reductions of recent years -- also demonstrate a serious commitment to the disarmament obligations found in Article VI of the NPT.

Conclusion

The events of the past few years have led to expanded U.S.-European cooperation in arms control and nonproliferation, ranging from specific matters such as the dissolution of the Soviet Union to institutional initiatives in NATO and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. I applaud this cooperation -- knowing that we must build on it further if we are to meet new threats to global safety successfully.

We must preserve our achievements -- and be willing to reconsider old ways of thinking about global security. We must realize the promise of the START treaties -and begin looking beyond them to other steps that could increase stability and reduce reliance on nuclear weapons. We must take into account traditional concepts of deterrence -- and think anew about what our policies say to others about the value of weapons of mass destruction.

I do not pretend all this will be easy. For as long as it is easier to summon memory than imagination, the old ways will have their disciples.

As a partnership of free nations wielding enormous political, economic, and moral influence -- as well as massive nuclear and conventional arsenals -- the United States and its allies will always have a special responsibility to lead. The path we take together in the next few years will chart the course of global relations well into the 21st century.

But two very different routes beckon. Will international power and prestige be defined principally by military might -- or by traits such as prosperity, harmony, and fairness? One path leads us backward to a world perpetually governed by fear and vulnerable to the violent whims of rogues. The other is not well marked; it will demand both creativity and discipline in unprecedented measure.

Yet this is the path we must choose. For our interests lie in building a world where nations are deemed worthy not because they keep arms, but because they keep their commitments -- and uphold values that lift the human condition. In this time of profound change -- of peril and promise -- let us redouble our efforts to make such a world.