February 16, 1995

DR. LAWRENCE SCHEINMAN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
NONPROLIFERATION AND REGIONAL ARMS CONTROL
U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY

"Global Security and the NPT"

I welcome the opportunity to participate in the seventh Regional Disarmament Meeting sponsored by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific. The title of this meeting is "Openness, Assurance of Security and Disarmament." I can think of no better topic for my presentation than to highlight the important role of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in promoting the security of all nations and in encouraging concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament.

This is a crucial year for the NPT as the parties to the Treaty will meet in April at a Conference in New York to make a decision on extending the Treaty. The United States and many of the countries represented here believe that the NPT has played a critical role in stemming what could have been a tide of nuclear proliferation and is an essential element of global and regional security that should be extended unconditionally, and indefinitely. Before making the case for the NPT, however, I want to focus on another arms control success story which I believe is not fully appreciated. That story is the impressive pace of progress toward nuclear disarmament in recent years.

Progress on Nuclear Disarmament

Article VI of the NPT places a clear obligation on all states to engage in negotiations on nuclear disarmament. The United States has always taken this responsibility very seriously. Last May in a joint statement with Indian Prime Minister Rao, President Clinton offered his support for efforts to reduce all weapons of mass destruction with the goal of their ultimate elimination. On December 5 of last year, following the entry into force of the START I Treaty, President Clinton stated that the governments involved in that effort had "helped to beat back the threat of nuclear war and lighted the way to a more peaceful day when the shadow of that destruction is finally vanquished from the Earth." This is eloquent testimony of the aspiration of the United States to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.

Progress toward this goal since entry into force of the NPT has been uneven. We wish there had been more success sooner, but the political realities of the Cold War hindered drastic progress toward nuclear disarmament. What we were able to accomplish, which was no small feat given the level of tension that existed, was a commitment to keep the arms control dialogue alive, regardless of political differences. The result was the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), the SALT I and II Treaties, the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and START I and II.

The early years of negotiations were centered on trying to stabilize the nuclear forces of both the United States and then Soviet Union through a freeze on construction of new long-range land-based ballistic missiles and avoiding a costly effort to build missile defenses against strategic missiles. In the 1980s, the emphasis shifted to efforts to reduce nuclear forces and the first major breakthrough occurred in 1987 with the INF Treaty. This treaty eliminated all United States and USSR intermediate and short range nuclear missiles that had been threatening to create new instability in Europe.

In 1991 progress accelerated with the signing of the START I Treaty and decisions by the United States and USSR to withdraw and dismantle thousands of tactical nuclear weapons. And in early 1993, the United States and Russia signed START II, which when implemented along with START I, will reduce the inventory of United States nuclear weapons to less than one-fourth of pre-existing stockpiles. START I is now in force, and ratification hearings for START II began late last month before the United States Senate. The United States and Russia have also agreed to disengage all affected nuclear warheads once START II enters into force, instead of waiting until the controlled bombers and missiles are dismantled. And they will intensify their dialogue on the possibility of further reductions of nuclear forces once START II is ratified.

The United States and Russia are also focussing on efforts to ensure the transparency and irreversi-bility of nuclear weapons reductions. We are involved in joint efforts to develop a monitoring regime to confirm inventories of plutonium and highly enriched uranium from nuclear arms reductions. We are discussing the exchange of nuclear weapons stockpile information. We reached an agreement on removing 500 tonnes of highly enriched uranium from Russia's nuclear weapon stockpile and converting it to low enriched fuel for power reactors.

In addition, the United States has placed nuclear material in excess of defense needs under international safeguards. The International Atomic Energy Agency now undertakes monthly safeguards inspections at these storage sites. We expect to place additional quantities of excess materials under international safeguards during this calendar year.

Fissile Material Production Cut-Off

The United States no longer produces fissile material for nuclear weapons and has encouraged all nuclear-capable states to join us in a declaration in support of the global ban on such production. So far, Russia is the only country to issue such a public declaration.

In December 1993, the United Nations adopted by consensus a resolution recommending negotiation of a non-discriminatory, multilateral, and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. Before the Conference on Disarmament (CD) can begin formal negotiations, agreement must be reached on language for a negotiating mandate. Agreement on mandate language has been sought by the CD Special Coordinator for the cut-off, Canada's Ambassador Gerald Shannon. The United States hopes that the CD will be able to agree promptly to a negotiating mandate when it reconvenes.

Comprehensive Test Ban

The United States has not conducted a nuclear weapons test since 1992; and President Clinton recently decided to extend the United States moratorium on nuclear testing until a comprehensive test ban treaty enters into force. At present, we are working toward signature of such a treaty by 1996.

Negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a comprehensive nuclear test ban began in January 1994. A "rolling text" which contains agreed treaty provisions with disputed text in brackets was released after the third negotiating round. Although still under discussion, verification provisions are likely to include a global network of seismic stations and radionuclide sensors, and the right to conduct on-site inspections.

The United States is working to resolve all outstanding treaty provisions in 1995 and produce a treaty that brings all nuclear testing to an end. Such a treaty would raise the barrier against developing new generations of nuclear weapons. It would permanently and significantly constrain the development of nuclear explosive capability by the established nuclear weapon states. Several key states, including India, Pakistan, and China all support the negotiation of the treaty.

Several issues remain, however, that threaten successful completion of a CTBT. Discussions continue among the NWS as well as with all CD members to reach provisions acceptable to all parties. Along these lines, the United States recently announced that it would extend its moratorium on testing until a CTB enters into force and that it would withdraw its proposal for a special "right to withdraw" from the CTBT 10 years after entry into force of the Treaty.

Taken together, these are momentous developments. Clearly, there is a success story to tell on progress toward nuclear disarmament. The nuclear arms race is over. We are focussing on how to bring down force levels as quickly, safely, and securely as possible; on ensuring that the excess fissile material from these reductions is never again used in nuclear weapons; on banning forever the production of new fissile material for nuclear weapons; and on a permanent halt to nuclear testing.

The Role of the NPT

What is important is to ensure that the conditions enabling us to take these exceptional measures are sustained and to that end we need to ensure the permanence of the NPT. We need to make this Treaty, the only major arms control treaty that does not enjoy permanent status and that contains disarmament commitments as well, a permanent part of the international security fabric.

We are engaged in nuclear weapons reduction because we want to do it; we want to do it because we believe it is in our interest to do it; that it is in the collective interest to do it; we want to be able to continue to do it. We are not doing it because we have been pressured to do it.

There is an interdependence between the state of the international security environment and progress in nuclear disarmament. The first steps of addressing strategic and tactical nuclear force structures have been taken because changes in the international security environment enabled us to do so; we want to continue along that path. To do so will require that arms control is institutionalized, i.e., placed in a legal framework so that all states are legally constrained from pursuing nuclear weapons and the NWS are constrained from adding to their arsenals. Over time these developments will lead to de-emphasis on nuclear weapons, which should in turn eventually enable us to eliminate them all together.

Some have suggested that NPT extension be held hostage to the establishment of deadlines for further progress in arms control. That is the wrong way to achieve our shared objective; it seriously risks working in the reverse direction from what all of us want. Not only would this be a serious mistake but it conveys a grave misunderstanding of how best to enhance security through arms control. As we bring down the pillars of the nuclear world order, we must build up alternative security structures and arrangements in which states all around can have confidence. This is time consuming. We cannot put attainment of this new world order on a timetable. Progress depends on a very wide range of factors, including human factors which are the most difficult to predict and the least certain.

Tying the future of security to timetable commitments to completely eliminate nuclear weapons by those states that have them, without any consideration of what the security order will be as we move down the road, is imprudent and a recipe for potential disaster. As the French philosopher August Comte remarked upon assessing the debris of the French Revolution which tore down an old order, the ancien regime, without having a structure to replace it, "on ne detruit que ce qu'on remplace" -- the risk of doing so is chaos, or in the case of the French Revolution, the Terror. Chaos is not something the world can afford to have, especially in an era when technology has given us the capacity to utterly destroy civilization.

As ACDA Director John Holum has noted, those who think the NPT is a bargaining chip ignore a cardinal rule: don't gamble with something you can't afford to lose.

Regional Factors and Regional Arms Control

For reasons that include geography, the states 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 those states located in regions of tension.

The United States recognizes that holes have existed in the NPT regime which permitted countries such as Iraq and North Korea to pursue clandestine nuclear weapons programs, but we are working to plug those holes and strengthen the role played by IAEA safeguards. It is also important to note, that although we did have concerns regarding North Korea's nuclear program, they were addressed through and because of the NPT framework.

The NPT has benefited us in other ways as well. Export restrictions placed on non-member states such as India, Pakistan and Israel, have made it costly and politically burdensome for them to pursue a nuclear weapon capability and has helped to force their programs out into the open. The political pressure placed on these states will only increase in the future as tension is reduced in the Middle East, and as India and Pakistan work to join the global economy. Finally, all states, including non-members, have benefited from the NPT -- security concerns, expressed by India and Pakistan following the breakup of the FSU, that Central Asian states on their borders would retain a nuclear capability were substantially reduced when Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus entered the NPT as NNWS.

For all those whose votes will decide its fate, the NPT is a source not of leverage, but of security. It has the same value for every country: not as a lever, for moving the nuclear states, but as a shield, to ward off the dangers and costs of regional nuclear arms races.

The Cold War's passing has made it clearer than ever that arms control is not the exclusive preserve of superpowers, or of Europe and North America. States in other regions are not viewing arms control as mere spectators. Instead, they are playing active roles -- recognizing that the methods of arms control can be used to enhance their own security, on a regional basis.

More and more states -- including some in the most tense parts of the globe -- are pursuing regional measures designed to build confidence and transparency, halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and prevent expensive and destabilizing arms races. Recent years have seen the introduction of regional dialogues in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and the East Asia/Pacific region, the continuation of long-standing efforts in Europe, and the pursuit of nuclear weapon free zones around the world.

The ASEAN Regional Forum, created in July 1993 at a meeting of ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is the newest among a growing number of regional fora designed to address regional issues and concerns. Participants include 18 countries with security interests in the region -- among them the six ASEAN states, the United States, Japan, the European Union, Australia, South Korea, Russia, and China. Its first meeting was held in July to discuss regional security issues. While it has been operating only a few short months, its inauguration is itself a very positive development.

Deputy Secretary of State Talbott said in his opening statement to the first ASEAN Regional Forum, "...fighting proliferation is no longer the sole responsibility of a handful of powers. Many countries in Asia and elsewhere can produce the chemicals, electronics, and other material sought by would-be weapons states." It is up to all states to act regionally and globally to stop and eventually reverse proliferation.

Such regional measures complement and strengthen global efforts such as the NPT by providing a framework within which regions can establish and codify agreements that enhance their security. In turn, international security is also enhanced.

Arms control, whether pursued on a regional or global basis, is a positive-sum process that nations engage in, not because it is fashionable, but because it is in their mutual interest to do so. When potential adversaries reduce arms, increase transparency, or forgo pursuit of destabilizing force levels, war becomes less likely. Risks and uncertainties are reduced, and all states stand to benefit politically and economically.

Finally, mention should be made of nuclear weapon free zones. Nuclear weapons free zones can make an important contribution to regional security by prohibiting the acquisition and deployment of nuclear weapons in the territories of states in a defined geographical area. The 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco is a good model and the United States has supported that Treaty through adherence to two Protocols which commit us to respect the denuclearization provisions of the zone and not to use nuclear weapons against regional parties to the Treaty.

We know that the member governments of other regions including Africa and Southeast Asia are in the process of negotiating nuclear weapons free zones. The United States is generally supportive of the effort to establish such zones, but we can take no position on any particular nuclear weapons free zone treaty until the negotiations are completed and there is an opportunity to review its provisions. Our position in any case would be determined largely on the basis of certain well-established criteria. I will not list all of these factors, but point out that in our view it is essential that the Treaty not disturb existing security arrangements; that it should not impose restrictions on the exercise of rights on the high seas including innocent passage through territorial seas or the right of transit passage through international straits. In addition, it also should not affect existing rights of parties under international law to grant or deny port calls and overflights.

Conclusion

To conclude I would like to return to the theme that unprecedented progress toward nuclear disarmament is underway; and global and regional nonproliferation measures provide an essential foundation for these efforts. The NPT is the key treaty that provides a framework for nuclear disarmament, and its indefinite and unconditional extension is necessary if we are to realize our dream of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Let us work toward creating that order that will preserve our civilization; let us do it incrementally, building continuously on the foundations we have labored so hard to put in place, not by a fatuous strategy of "change by fiat and declaration." Let us use the NPT foundation for all its worth, as a key element in a stable and equitable world order. Let us do that by firmly embedding it in the constellation of security measures already adopted. Let us make it permanent.