I have come to Geneva -- I've been here since Sunday evening -- to reiterate and confirm President Clinton's very strong interest, and the United States' very strong interest, in the achievement of a comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) at the earliest possible date. And to underscore that, my agency and the rest of the U.S. government, will be doing all we can to make sure our ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Steve Ledogar, and his delegation have all the instructions and the support they need to proceed in these negotiations expeditiously.
I've also spoken to the conference about the importance of moving ahead with the second initiative, the fissile-material cutoff, with a simple negotiating mandate, so that we can get the process under way, in line with the U.N. General Assembly resolution at the earliest possible time. And it's very important, I think, that both of those initiatives receive the attention of the conference.
I have been very encouraged, in the conversations I have had here, by the seriousness of the work that is going on in the Conference on Disarmament, by what I think is a universal commitment in this organization, notwithstanding some disputes over particular issues, to accomplish a test ban.
A key point to keep in mind is that all five of the nuclear-weapon states last year joined the United Nations consensus resolution in support of a comprehensive test ban. There are some who suggest that there should be a linkage between a test ban and the accomplishment of an indefinite extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) next year. Obviously, all of these issues have relationships to each other; they are mutually reinforcing. But there should be no artificial linkage, because both the Nonproliferation Treaty and the comprehensive test ban stand on their own two feet.
Our instructions, as I have said, are to negotiate a comprehensive test ban as soon as possible. If we are completed with the comprehensive test ban by April of next year, that will be within the United States'national interest. If we haven't, and if the Nonproliferation Treaty is extended indefinitely, our negotiating instructions will still be to negotiate a comprehensive test ban at the earliest possible time. We are committed to both of these outcomes.
With that, I'll be happy to take your questions.
A: Well, I think it's important to have a negotiating mandate agreed upon by the end of current CD session, which will be September 7, so that the process can get under way. Ambassador Shannon of Canada, who's been the special coordinator for the cutoff, suggested this moming what he would plan to do if that were done. They would first elect a chairman for the ad hoc committee, and then take some next steps to plan for how to proceed. One thing that I think could usefully be done in the interim period would be to invite experts to provide options papers and background papers that would inform the Conference on Disarmament's deliberations on the cutoff, that could begin formally next year.
Q: Why do you think the committee for a test ban treaty has been dragging its feet -- why is it taking so long?
A: I just don't agree with that characterization. This is a complicated negotiation. I don't know of any state's position, any country's position, that has had the impact of delaying the ultimate realization of a comprehensive test ban. Countries come to this negotiation with differing perspectives. The United States probably was ahead in its consideration of a test ban, because we went through all the internal deliberations in our government, and, as I said this morning, came to the conclusion that we were prepared for a test ban. We were prepared for the conclusion that we'll never test again if things work out here and elsewhere. And so, when we announced that position, when President Clinton announced that position last July, we were ready to go ahead then. That stimulated the same kind of review by a number of other countries, who've taken a little bit longer to come to that same conclusion. All the nuclear-weapon states, however, had agreed to the completion of a test ban. The working groups, both of the working groups, are proceeding to identify issues, to resolve issues. There are some hard issues that will take longer to resolve than others. There's a verification regime to be designed, and that takes a great deal of work.
But I don't sense that there's an effort to slow this down. I think it's proceeding at a good pace. It would be useful, it would certainly be helpful, to have this process very far along by next April, at the time of the Nonproliferation Treaty extension Conference. But I don't know how long it would legitimately take to negotiate a test ban, to resolve the verification issue. And I think that work is being done diligently and at a good pace.
Q: On the fissile-material cutoff issue, you referred to helping, on page three, to bring in some of the non-NPT states under some measure of restraint.
A: Yes. There are several states that are outside of the Nonproliferation Treaty, that are sometimes referred to as threshold states -- India, Israel and Pakistan. I think the cutoff should those countries and others choose to participate, would make a very dramatic contribution to overall nonproliferation objectives. If we can't achieve the outcome that we ultimately desire, which is universal adherence to the NPT, in the near future, it certainly makes sense, as far as the United States is concerned, to at least put a cap on the nuclear potential of the threshold states, and then go to work on the effort to roll back those capabilities.
Q: As you mentioned, all nuclear countries are agreed on the earlier conclusion of the CD meeting, but China doesn't have any moratorium on nuclear tests at this moment, and they just implemented their nuclear test recently. What kind of effect -- are they dragging their feet in this process, or what kind of effect will it have? Apparently the Chinese are insisting upon the no-first-use clause in the CTBT draft document, and what kind of effect will it have on the process?
A: Well, I will address the no-first-use question. As far as China's overall demeanor in the negotiations, we are engaged with them in discussions among the nuclear-weapon states, and I'd just as soon not anticipate what that process is going to be. We've very strongly encouraged the Chinese to take a forthcoming role in the negotiations there and in the CD as a whole.
As to the moratorium, the United States has strongly urged China, as well as the other nuclear-weapon states, to continue the moratorium on nuclear testing. We have deeply regretted their tests, and I want to repeat here today that we strongly urge China to join the other nuclear-weapon states in a moratorium. There's no reason for continued testing, in the context of the global security environment as it stands now.
With regard to the no-first-use issue, our view is that that really doesn't belong in the test ban negotiations, because it would be an undertaking among the five nuclear-weapon states. What really is of concem to the Conference on Disarmament, and rightfully has a role here, is the issue of negative security assurances, which is being addressed in an ad hoc committee. Because that's the undertaking of the nuclear- weapon states with respect to non-nuclear-weapon states. So I don't think the no-first-use issue really should play a role in these negotiations.
Q: On page four you mention that the CD should not be a place for scoring political points. Has this become the case, and if so, who has been doing the political score counting?
A: Well, I think less and less so. That was meant to be both a commendation of the CD and an encouragement to do even better. There's a temptation in any global arms control regime or any global political regime for countries to pursue political advantage or long-sought political aims. I'm not unfamiliar with those, as an individual, because I worked on Capitol Hill for many years, for Senator McGovem, and we were very idealistic during all of that period, in trying to achieve the maximum outcome. But I think it's important, especially in the Conference on Disarmament, to concentrate on what can actually be accomplished, and reserve the political rhetoric and the point -- making for other institutions that aren't deeply engaged in binding arms control agreements. This work is too important to be diverted with that kind of activity.
Q: The Chinese, and to a lesser extent the French, have maintained that some testing is or may be necessary in the future to insure the viability and safety of the nuclear arsenals. As I understand it, you are confident that technology which the United States now possesses is capable of insuring the safety and reliability without testing. Has there been any talk among the five nuclear-weapon states of sharing that technology?
A: I can't go into that kind of discussion, because the P-5 conversations are private. But let me look at the broader question. It is a necessary element of a comprehensive test ban that the nuclear-weapon states be able to maintain their stockpiles reliably and safely, as we take further steps, separate from the comprehensive test ban, to reduce those stockpiles. The dividing line for the negotiations is between development of new weapons, which should be prohibited by a comprehensive test ban, and maintenance of existing weapons, including seeing to their safety and reliability, which is only dealing with them responsibly, which should be permitted under a comprehensive test ban. That will entail a number of things -- stockpile maintenance -- including things like taking weapons apart and putting them back together. It will include various kinds of experiments, to make sure that they are safe and reliable. And all nuclear-weapon states will need to conduct that kind of activity, and should. But as to the specific details of each country's position, I think that remains to be worked out.
Q: You hope for a completion of the treaty next year, in '95. From the stand of negotiations, how reasonable is that hope?
A. Is it a reasonable hope? I think it's possible. But, again, referring to what I said a little bit earlier about not really knowing how long it takes to do the technical part, and to resolve a great many differences that I don't expect to rise to big arguments -- but one country will have a particular formulation it likes for a verification element or an on-site inspection element; another country will have a different formulation. It may not be a big difference, in terms of substance, but countries have put forward alternative ways of dealing with things. Those, I would expect, would be resolved fairly quickly. And I think it can be useful if the chairman of the ad hoc committee makes recommendations on that kind of issue, to help move the process along. At the same, there'll be other issues that will be more contentious, and that will take longer to resolve and may require political movement and political decisions. Then there is the legitimate work of the technical work of dealing with verification. The verification working group under Ambassador Hoffman has made dramatic progress, but there is still work to be done in understanding the various technologies and deciding which ones are necessary.
So all of that legitimately takes time. What we're saying is, let's work, not only to the end of the session on September 7, but also let's continue to work during the inter-sessional period, obviously leaving time for U.N. first-committee and NPT Prep-Com and other activities involving many of the same delegates. But let's continue the effort; let's press on with this. And if we do that, I think there's a good chance, that it's a reasonable hope, that we can be very close to completion of the test ban by next April.But I don't suggest that as a deadline; it's a target, and certainly an interesting objective to aim for. But I don't think, if we fail, that that should have an impact on the NPT extension, because the NPT extension is so very important in its own right.
Q: What is your present assessment, please, of the number of countries that have the potential to make, as distinct from buying, nuclear weapons. Secondly, if you do not yet have the complete list, do you have a fair knowledge of the names of suppliers, as far as Iraq was concerned?
A. Could you repeat the first part of your question?
Q: For the last ten or fifteen years there's been a sort of stock list of countries that could acquire -- make -- nuclear weapons fairly quickly. Have you made any additions to that list or does it remain unchanged?
A: I'd have to look at the list. I don't know if we have an official one in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. I asked that same question recently, and one of my staff members talked with a nongovernmental organization who makes a current listing, a current analysis, and I think they suggested that there were as many as forty, or maybe a little more, countries that, if they made a decision that they wanted to be nuclear-weapon states, they could, over a period of time, within their existing technological capabilities, probably develop a nuclear weapon. I don't have that list in mind, but I guess I'd refer you to the Arms Control Association. I think that's where, in Washington, that list came from. It's not something I can authenticate, but that's a very prestigious and reliable organization.
It underscores, obviously, the contributions of the Nonproliferation Treaty, because part of the Nonproliferation Treaty's accomplishments that is so often neglected, is the fact that all the countries that have the ability to develop nuclear weapons but have foregone that pursuit of nuclear weapons because they are confident that their neighbors or their rivals aren't building them, because they belong to the Nonproliferation Treaty or other regimes prohibiting nuclear weapons.
In terms of supplies to Iraq, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency participates with other agencies, as well as working with LTNSCOM (UN Special Commission) in the IAEA, in connection with its investigations in Iraq. I suspect there is a fairly comprehensive understanding of the sources of supply. I'm a little bit vague on this, but I believe that had been one of the issues in contention, on Iraq's compliance with the U.N. resolutions, was whether it was prepared to provide information on its sources of supply of weapons of mass destruction, and that it has subsequently cooperated on that front. So I believe there is a fairly good sense of who had been supplying materials, relevant materials, to Iraq. Such lists are useful in terms of past investigations. However, I'd also caution that, when countries are trying to acquire materials that the supplier states are trying to deny them, it's very often done with front organizations that reorganize. and are re-formed on a very rapid pace. So any existing list is probably unreliable.
Q: Mr. Director, I was wondering if you could shed some light, if the U.S. administration is carrying out an investigation into the report in the Sunday Times of two weeks ago that the Saudi government had given up to five billion dollars in funds to Iraq, and also supplied material to assist its nuclear-weapons program.
A: I can only respond to that very generally. I've been away from Washington since the beginning of the week. But, as I understand the state of play when I left, those allegations were under investigation, and we had found no evidence that that report was accurate.
Q: Could you not envisage a moratorium between the five official nuclear-weapon states but a cutoff. Because, as I understand it, they have more than enough of this stuff which is used only as a trigger for thermonuclear weapons that don't need big amounts. I understand also there is a safeguard problem; some weeks ago, for the first time, a man has been arrested in Germany who tried to sell weapon-type plutonium, who was apparently from a Russian military installation. So would it not be possible, if only as an example for other states, to make the cutoff or moratorium between the five big powers?
A: I certainly favor that. As you know, the United States is no longer producing weapons-grade fissile material, either highly enriched uranium or plutonium. We are working very diligently with the Russians to accomplish the same outcome, in two respects: in respect to highly enriched uranium, as they are removing it from nuclear weapons, we have engaged, have agreed to purchase 500 tons -- what is the quantity? -- five hundred tons of highly enriched uranium. With respect to plutonium, they still have reactors that they use for production of power that also produce plutonium. And they have agreed, in an agreement between Secretary O'Leary and Minister Mikhailov, to close down those reactors. We are working now on alternative sources of power supply. So I think there is significant progress. The United States has also voluntarily this year - in September we put ten tons of highly enriched uranium under international safeguards. That's ten tons of HEU that has come out of the weapons program and is surplus to the needs of the weapons program. We'll add some plutonium to that quantity later in the year, and we are working with the Russians on a bilateral transparency regime. So I think the conditions are right for the nuclear-weapon states to freeze their weapons-grade material production.
Q: Could you expand, please, on the first paragraph of page three of your statement -- linkage between NPT and progress in other areas?
A: Yes, my basic point there is that I think it would be a serious mistake to link -- to hold the NPT extension hostage in exchange for progress on, for example, a comprehensive test ban, or some other country joining the Nonproliferation Treaty, or whatever the linkage is. And the reason I think that is that it jeopardizes the Nonproliferation Treaty, needlessly and dangerously. The provisions of the Nonproliferation Treaty give the review conference only three options next year. One is to extend it indefinitely. The others are to extend it for an additional fixed period, or fixed periods. If the treaty is only extended for a short time, pending progress on these other issues, it will, after that short extension, by its terms expire, unless it's amended. And amendment requires not just a vote of all the parties, as the three options next year provide for, but ratification by a majority of the states, and ultimately to be effective, ratification by all the sates, as to their own obligations.
Q: But, more explicitly, which other areas and which other countries are linking the two things?
A: Well, there is a temptation on the part of a number of non-nuclear-weapon states to link it to achievement of a comprehensive test ban. A number of the G-21 countries have made that argument here. There is also some temptation to link extension of the NPT to participation by Israel, or some other state. In my mind, what that does is violate a fundamental principle, which is that you shouldn't gamble, or try to use as a bargaining chip, something you can't afford to lose. The Nonproliferation Treaty is of enormous security importance, but to the very countries who are thinking about those kinds of linkages. It is the treaty that provides, or has resulted in, instead of those 40 or so states that potentially could have nuclear weapons, only five do, plus a few threshold states, and the possibility of Korea having made that development. So it has made dramatic accomplishments, and it is a serious mistake, in my view, for countries who are benefiting most directly from those accomplishments of the NPT to suggest, well, let's eopardize it because we want some additional progress in other areas.
Q: A North Korean dissident claimed that North Korea had five atomic bombs. This was later dismissed. What is your assessment of the present potential or actual capabilities of North Korea?
A: I have not seen any indication anywhere that North Korea has a potential capability of more than one or two nuclear weapons. And that's based on the amount of plutonium North Korea may have diverted when it last shut down its reactor in 1989. The United States has paid very close attention to this detector's story, and in fact participated in conversations some time ago with the South Koreans, and agreed with their conclusion that this was not a credible report.
Q: And what about the missile capabilities of North Korea? What is your assessment on this?
A: Well, it's something of serious concern. Because they are developing additional missile capabilities beyond the Scuds, with longer-range potential. And that's based on public reporting by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, which is what I rely on for reports in that regard.
Q: As you know, the U.N., with U.S. help, has set up virtually a unique surveillance system in Iraq, covering Iraqi installations that could be dangerous in one way or aother. Would you advocate, then, that a familiar system be incorporated as part of the verification regime? Because, obviously, if it's going to be fully effective, it would have to be in all the countries that had nuclear installafions of one kind or another.
A: I am all in favor of strengthening the IAEA's capability to safeguard nuclear facilities. I think the very aggressive provisions that the IAEA has applied, and UNSCOM have applied, in Iraq are designed for a unique circumstance, and probably are not necessary in other condidions or other places. In substantial part because the IAEA is itself expanding its capability, in response to the Iraqi disclosures. Most importantly, the IAEA has reaffirmed its right to conduct special inspections of non-safeguarded facilities, or of undeclared facilities. And, of course, the first rime that authority has been exercised is in North Korea. The IAEA has also adopted a voluntary reporting of nuclear transfers by nuclear supplier states. It is testing additional technologies, that are being field-tested right now. So I think the IAEA's capability, in the wake of the Iraqi disclosures, is much further along.
Q: I asked this question last time you came here, but I'd like to confirm that again -- what's your posifion of this moment on the possible North Korean membership in CD? Would it depend on the results of the U.S.-North Korea talks, or -- ?
A: No, the last time you asked the quesfion I referred it to Ambassador Ledogar. If I remember, what he said last rime -- the principle which I'd establish on the membership issue is very specific, and that is, a country that is under comprehensive U.N. Security Council sanctions, under Article 7, should not be a member of the Conference on Disarmament. If things were to go badly in the case of North Korea, which I fervently hope is not the case, and they were to be brought under U.N. sanctions, then that principle would apply in their case. But it does not apply in their case -- absent the U.N. sanctions. Is that right, Steve?
LEDOGAR: That's right.
Q: Are you looking at South African nuclear abilifies? Or South African networks or anything like that, between South Africa and other countries like Brazil?
A: I can't give you a current sort of intelligence update on what's going on in South Africa in terms of safeguarding their facilities and their compliance with their nonproliferation treaty obligations. But I would just note -- I know those activities are under way, but as to specific details, I'd like to take the quesfion with me. It is important to keep in mind the particular challenge that's created by the South African decision to give up a nuclear weapons program, because it is the first case where the IAEA has a responsibility to confirm the absence of a program that once existed. And that's a very substantial challenge. I've seen no indicafions that the IAEA is failing in that responsibility. It's a very happy problem to have! But it's one that we're confronting for the first time.
Q: Just a quick question on the U.S. position on the verification regime. Can you give us a synopsis of how periodic these on-site inspections might be, and what sort of rhythm you would envision?
A: Well, on-site inspections would, as I understand it, relate to specific requests or specific concems, rather than be a continuous form of monitoring, for example, as is the case of the Chemical Weapons Convention. There are initial verification inspections, and review inspections, which I do not think would be part of the on-site inspection regime in the case of the test ban. Rather, they'd be limited, or linked, to specific requests for information.
Q: You are not thinking of having a system of routine inspections analogous To the Chemical Weapons Convention?
A: Let me ask Ambassador Ledogar to speak on this.
LEDOGAR: That's correct. In the CTBT, there will not be anything that would be analogous to the routine inspections that we have in the Chemical Weapons Convention. But with regard to on-site inspections, in the U.S. view, they would closely parallel the challenge inspection provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Specifically, the U.S. believes that in order to trigger an on-site inspection, it should be sufficient for a state-party to posit concerns and doubts, even as other means of dialogue and other means of explanation are being carried out. We would not want the on-site inspection to be held up in view of the importance of catching a "smoking gun," i.e. the importance of getting to a particular geographical location promptly, if you are going to be able to verify a nuclear explosion.