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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

07 February 2002

Text: New U.S. Envoy Says Peace, Security Are Disarmament Goals

(Compliance with arms control agreements is critical, he says) (2460)
U.S. Ambassador Eric Javits, speaking at the plenary session of the
U.N. Conference on Disarmament, says the United States places
international peace and security as a primary goal, but national
security is also necessary and essential.
Javits, the newly appointed U.S. representative to the 66-member
Conference on Disarmament (CD), said February 7 that in order for any
arms control treaty to be effective, the security of all states --
termed mutual advantage -- is vital. He spoke during the annual CD
session in Geneva, Switzerland, which meets from January 21 to March
In arms control development, Javits said "basic obligations need to be
well-focused, clear, and practical, so States will have a rational
basis for committing themselves to the future treaty. Compliance and
enforcement are priority issues and also quite critical."
Javits told the plenary session that unenforceable arms control
agreements are easily ignored and do not make any positive
contribution to international peace and security.
"Ineffective treaties can create false illusions of security that may
impede or prevent realistic and quite appropriate preparations for
individual or collective self-defense," Javits said.
The Conference on Disarmament (CD), established in 1979 as the single
multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international
community, was a result of the first Special Session on Disarmament of
the United Nations General Assembly held in 1978.
The terms of reference of the CD include practically all multilateral
arms control and disarmament problems. Currently the CD focuses on:
cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention
of nuclear war, including all related matters; prevention of an arms
race in outer space; effective international arrangements to assure
non-nuclear-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear
weapons; new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of
such weapons including radiological weapons; and a comprehensive
program of disarmament and transparency in armaments.
Following is a text of Javits' remarks:
(begin text)
[U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva
Geneva, Switzerland
February 7, 2002]
Statement by 
Ambassador Eric M. Javits
United States Representative to the
Conference on Disarmament
February 7
Mr. President,
As a recent arrival to Geneva and a newcomer to duties in this body, I
would like to express my appreciation to you, Mr. President, and to
many other colleagues who have welcomed me in such warm and friendly
ways. I assure you that I shall do everything I can to cooperate with
your efforts in the Presidency, and with theirs, to reinvigorate the
Conference on Disarmament and begin fulfilling our primary task:
negotiating global treaties in the field of arms control and
Much of what I will say today has already been said by others, and I
ask your indulgence if I echo sentiments often expressed here. Yet
letting each other know where we stand is an indispensable element of
seeking consensus in this august body.
So, to be perfectly blunt: After so many years of deadlock and delay,
to waste yet another year would be an evasion of our collective
responsibility. History may judge at what point this comatose body
actually expired, or at what stage continued inaction became
dereliction of duty or even inexcusable negligence. In any case, these
questions would eventually arise.
I do not want them asked or answered. No, Mr. President, my government
and I want the Conference at long last to adopt a comprehensive
program of work along the lines proposed by one of your most
distinguished predecessors, Ambassador Celso Amorim of Brazil.
New patterns and methods
Last September 11, criminal terrorists carried out perfidious and
appallingly destructive attacks in New York and Washington. Within the
ensuing days and weeks, many countries joined with the United States
in confronting and combating this assault on innocent civilians and on
the fundamental tenets of civilization itself.
We deeply appreciated this demonstration of solidarity in the common
cause. We are encouraged that there has been substantial progress in
rooting out the al-Qaida network, and that the oppressive Taliban
regime has been overthrown. This has enabled the people of Afghanistan
to form an interim government that is far more attuned to their
aspirations and needs.
History may eventually cite the September 11 events as a turning point
in our mutual quest for a better world, since utter revulsion at the
terrorist attacks created unprecedented patterns of cooperation among
governments and peoples.
On November 14, President Bush and [Russian] President [Vladimir]
Putin issued a joint statement in which they declared that the United
States and Russia "have overcome the legacy of the Cold War," adding
that "Neither country regards the other as an enemy or threat." The
two Presidents cited their joint responsibility to contribute to
international security, then said that the United States and Russia
"are determined to work together, and with other nations and
international organizations, including the United Nations, to promote
security, economic well-being, and a peaceful, prosperous, free
On December 13, President Bush announced that the United States would
withdraw from the 1972 ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] Treaty, pursuant
to its provisions that permit withdrawal after six months notice. The
United State knows with certainty that some States, including a number
that have sponsored terrorist attacks in the past, are investing
heavily to acquire ballistic missiles that could conceivably be used
against the United States, its Allies, and friends. Although this is
an especially sinister development in and of itself, it is compounded
by the fact that many of these same States, not content just to
acquire missiles, are also seeking to develop chemical, biological,
and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. As President Bush emphasized
last week in his State of the Union address, "We must prevent the
terrorists and regimes who seek chemical, biological or nuclear
weapons from threatening the United States and the world."
To reduce the possibility that missiles will be used as tools of
coercion and aggression, the United State needs updated means of
dissuasion. Judiciously limited missile defenses do not just provide a
shield against a stray missile or accidental launch; they are also an
essential element of a strategy to discourage potential adversaries
from seeking to acquire or use weapons of mass destruction and
ballistic missiles -- by removing the assurance that such weapons
would have military utility.
History teaches us that despite the best efforts of statesmen and
strategists, intelligence gathering, diplomacy, and deterrence
measures will not always prove entirely effective. Missile defenses
will provide an insurance policy against the catastrophic effects of
their failure, at least in relation to a handful of missiles that
might be launched by accident, by a non-State actor, or by a State of
particular concern.
The United States is now engaged in discussions with Russia on
measures to verify reductions in nuclear warheads under the general
framework established by the START I Treaty. I am confident that in
the coming months, greater attention will also be given to
transparency, confidence-building measures, and expanded cooperation
on missile defenses. At the same time, there will also be more
extensive joint work in the critically important field of
non-proliferation. And the work we need to do in these regards will
not be with Russia alone, by any means.
In discussions with a wide range of Allies and friends,
representatives of the U.S. Government have explained why we believe
that moving beyond the ABM Treaty will contribute to international
peace and security. Although the details of these discussions must of
course remain private, we find it particularly significant that in
mid-December representatives of the United States and China met in
Beijing to review our withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and discuss the
possible start of a broad strategic dialogue. The United States looks
forward to further opportunities to explore strategic issues and
appropriate methods for enhancing mutual understanding and confidence
in the context of increasingly cooperative relations between the U.S.
and China -- as will be discussed on February 21 and 22, when
President Bush visits Beijing at the invitation of Chinese President
Jiang Zemin.
Arms control approaches
Some critics have interpreted the U.S. decision to withdraw from the
ABM Treaty as evidence of so-called "unilateralism," i.e., a general
lack of support for multilateral arms control agreements. This
interpretation is lamentably mistaken.
The United States agrees that multilateralism is "a core principle in
negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation with a
view to maintaining and strengthening universal norms and enlarging
their scope" -- as stated in this year's U.N. General Assembly
resolution 56/24 T. The resolution also underlined the fact that
"progress is urgently needed in the area of disarmament and
non-proliferation in order to help maintain international peace and
security and to contribute to global efforts against terrorism," and
we fully agree with that.
Certain other consensus resolutions of the General Assembly were even
more directly aimed at the Member States of the Conference on
Disarmament. For example, resolution 56/24 J urged that the CD agree
on a program of work that includes the immediate commencement of
negotiations on a treaty that would ban the production of fissile
material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive
devices. Further, resolution 56/26 B reaffirmed the role of the CD as
"the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the
international community" and called on it "to fulfill that role in the
light of the evolving international situation."
Let no one doubt that the United States values this Conference and its
role as the only existing multilateral forum for arms control and
disarmament negotiations. As Under Secretary of State [for Arms
Control and International Security John] Bolton pointed out, the
United States supports and upholds many multilateral arms control
agreements. For example:
-- The Non-Proliferation Treaty (1967).
-- The Outer Space Treaty (1967).
-- The Biological Weapons Convention (1972).
-- The Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (1990).
-- The Chemical Weapons Convention (1992).
Although maintaining international peace and security is our primary
goal and overarching purpose, in the final analysis preserving
national security is likewise necessary and essential. Mutual
advantage is one key factor, for any arms control treaty must enhance
the security of all States Parties. Basic obligations need to be
well-focused, clear, and practical, so States will have a rational
basis for committing themselves to the future treaty. Compliance and
enforcement are priority issues and also quite critical. After all,
unenforceable agreements that are easily ignored make no positive
contribution whatever to international peace and security.
To the contrary, ineffective treaties can create false illusions of
security that may impede or prevent realistic and quite appropriate
preparations for individual or collective self-defense. One cogent
example is the treaties of the 1920s and 1930s that limited the
tonnage of naval warships that States Parties were permitted to build.
These treaties clearly failed the test, for certain States evaded the
limits by building larger and more powerful warships than those the
negotiators envisioned.
In sum, Mr. President, arms control and disarmament approaches are not
all equally effective. Further, they are only a means to an end, a
tool that States can choose to employ -- or not -- in our mutual
efforts to ensure international peace and security. And just as a
screwdriver would be a poor choice for a carpenter who needs to hammer
in a nail, it is clear that arms control and disarmament approaches
may not always be suited to the circumstances at hand.
So the issue is how this forum should be employed now, after years and
years of paralysis. The work-program proposals that Brazilian
Ambassador Amorim tabled on August 24, 2000 (CD/1624) specified that
the Conference would conduct negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff
Treaty, pursuant to a thoughtful and complete framework that the
international community has repeatedly reaffirmed -- the so-called
Shannon mandate and report, as drafted by former Canadian Ambassador
Gerald Shannon, the CD's special coordinator, and published on March
24, 1995 (CD/1299).
Ambassador Amorim also envisioned the establishment of ad hoc
committees on two other high-priority topics, nuclear disarmament and
outer space. In contrast, however, he proposed broad-ranging
discussion of these other two high-priority topics, not treaty
negotiations. This, of course, is the only appropriate approach when
Member States have not reached agreement on a realistic framework for
seeking to negotiate a multilateral treaty.
In order to develop such a framework, Member States would have to work
out convincing answers to the key questions I identified earlier. In
other words, Member States would need to believe that some new
multilateral agreement actually would make an effective contribution
to international peace and security, and that it also would not have
adverse effects on national security. These conclusions, in turn,
would have to be closely associated with cogent analysis of several
key issues (e.g., mutual advantage, clear and practical focus on
appropriate technical aspects, assurance of compliance, effective
measures of enforcement).
These questions are highly complex. The answers certainly do not exist
now, and the United States sees no reason to believe they will
suddenly become evident. To the contrary, we are firmly convinced that
multilateral outcomes can only be the result of an extended process of
transparency and engagement: Transparency in regard to actions and
goals, engagement in a joint search for practical solutions and mutual
advantage. In that sincere and earnest search, there is no substitute,
there can be no substitute, for serious and thoughtful discussion.
There should likewise be no doubt, Mr. President, that the U.S.
delegation will engage, actively and energetically, in the work of all
subordinate bodies the Conference decides to establish.
To permit any and all forms of active engagement, the Conference on
Disarmament must finally get down to work. We have an agreed mandate
for negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. We have
agreement in principle that Member States can conduct broad-ranging
discussion in ad hoc committees that will deal with the other two
high-priority issues, nuclear disarmament and outer space. In
addition, we all agree that the Conference's overall program of work
can include appropriate consideration of several other substantive and
procedural topics. So let us seize on commitments and goals we all
Mr. President, the international community's enhanced cooperation in
the aftermath of September 11 gives us added reason to hope that every
Member State will agree to end the deadlock and have the wisdom to
engage, thereby applying our collective energies to constructive and
productive tasks. In that event, history would record that the
Conference on Disarmament was ultimately destined to succeed, not to
wither and fade away.
Thank you, Mr. President.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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