Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report on Soviet Noncompliance With Arms Control Agreements
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
In response to congressional requests as set forth in Public Law 99-145, I am forwarding herewith classified and unclassified versions of the Administration's report to the Congress on Soviet Noncompliance with Arms Control Agreements.
Detailed classified briefings will be available to the Congress in the near future.
I believe the additional information provided, and issues addressed, especially in the more detailed classified report, will significantly increase understanding of Soviet violations and probable violations. Such understanding, and strong congressional consensus on the importance of compliance to achieving effective arms control, will do much to strengthen our efforts both in seeking corrective actions and in negotiations with the Soviet Union.
SOVIET NONCOMPLIANCE WITH ARMS CONTROL AGREEMENTS
At the request of the Congress, I have, in the past three years, provided four reports to the Congress on Soviet noncompliance with arms control agreements. These reports include the Administration's reports of January 1984, and February and December 1985, as well as the report on Soviet noncompliance prepared for me by the independent General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament. Each of these reports has enumerated and documented, in detail, issues of Soviet noncompliance, their adverse effects to our national security, and our attempts to resolve the issues. When taken as a whole, this series of reports also provides a clear picture of the continuing pattern of Soviet violations and a basis for our continuing concerns.
In the December 23, 1985, report, I stated:
The Administration's most recent studies support its conclusion that there is a pattern of Soviet noncompliance. As documented in this and previous reports, the Soviet Union has violated its legal obligation under, or political commitment to, the SALT I ABM Treaty and Interim Agreement, the SALT II Agreement, the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons, and the Helsinki Final Act. In addition, the USSR has likely violated provisions of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty.
I further stated:
At the same time as the Administration has reported its concerns and findings to the Congress, the United States has had extensive exchanges with the Soviet Union on Soviet noncompliance in the Standing Consultative Commission (scc), where SALT-related issues (including ABM issues) are discussed, and through other appropriate diplomatic channels.
I have also expressed my personal concerns directly to General Secretary Gorbachev during my meetings with him, both in 1985 in Geneva and then again this past October in Reykjavik.
Another year has passed and, despite these intensive efforts, the Soviet Union has failed to correct its noncompliant activities; neither have they provided explanations sufficient to alleviate our concerns on other compliance issues.
Compliance is a cornerstone of international law; states are to observe and comply with obligations they have freely undertaken.
In fact, in December 1985, the General Assembly of the United Nations recognized the importance of treaty compliance for future arms control, when, by a vote of 131-0 (with 16 abstentions), it passed a resolution that:
Urges all parties to arms limitation and disarmament agreements to comply with their provisions;
Calls upon those parties to consider the implications of noncompliance for international security and stability and for the prospects for further progress in the field of disarmament; and
Appeals to all UN members to support efforts to resolve noncompliance questions "with a view toward encouraging strict observance of the provisions subscribed to and maintaining or restoring the integrity of arms limitation or disarmament agreements."
Congress has repeatedly stated its concern about Soviet noncompliance. The U.S. Senate, on February 17, 1987, passed a resolution (S. Res. 94), by a vote of 93 to 2, which:
... declares that an important obstacle to the achievement of acceptable arms control agreements with the Soviet Union has been its violations of existing agreements, and calls upon it to take steps to rectify its violation of such agreements and, in particular, to dismantle the newly-constructed radar sited at Krasnoyarsk, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, since it is a clear violation of the terms of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty . . .
Compliance with past arms control commitments is an essential prerequisite for future arms control agreements. As I have stated before:
In order for arms control to have meaning and credibly contribute to national security and to global or regional stability, it is essential that all parties to agreements fully comply with them. Strict compliance with all provisions of arms control agreements is fundamental, and this Administration will not accept anything less.
I have also said that:
Soviet noncompliance is a serious matter. It calls into question important security benefits from arms control, and could create new security risks. It undermines the confidence essential to an effective arms control process in the future ..... The United States Government has vigorously pressed, and will continue to press, these compliance issues with the Soviet Union through diplomatic channels.
The ABM Treaty
Today I must report that we have deep, continuing concerns about Soviet noncompliance with the ABM Treaty. For several reasons, we are concerned with the Krasnoyarsk radar, which appeared to be completed externally in 1986. The radar demonstrates that the Soviets were designing and programming a prospective violation of the ABM Treaty even while they were negotiating a new agreement on strategic offensive weapons with the United States.
The only permitted functions for a large, phased-array radar (LPAR) with a location and orientation such as that of the Krasnoyarsk radar would be space-tracking and National Technical Means (NTM) of verification . Based on conclusive evidence, however, we judge that this radar is primarily designed for ballistic missile detection and tracking, not for space-tracking and NTM as the Soviets claim. Moreover, the coverage of the Krasnoyarsk radar closes the remaining gap in the Soviet ballistic missile detection and tracking screen; its location allows it to acquire attack characterization data that could aid in planning the battle for Soviet defensive forces and deciding timely offensive responses—a standard role for such radars.
All LPARs, such as the Krasnoyarsk radar, have the inherent capability to track large numbers of objects accurately. Thus, they not only could perform as ballistic missile detection and tracking radars, but also have the inherent capability depending on location and orientation, of contributing to ABM battle management.
LPARs have always been considered to be the long lead-time elements of a possible territorial defense. Taken together, the Krasnoyarsk radar and other Soviet ABM-related activities give us concerns that the Soviet Union may be preparing an ABM defense of its national territory. Some of the activities, such as construction of the new LPARs on the periphery of the Soviet Union and the upgrade of the Moscow ABM system, appear to be consistent with the ABM Treaty. The construction of the radar near Krasnoyarsk, however, is a clear violation of the ABM Treaty, while other Soviet ABM-related activities involve potential or probable Soviet violations or other ambiguous activity. These other issues, discussed fully in the body of the report, are:
The testing and development of components required for an ABM system that could be deployed to a site in months rather than years;
The concurrent operation of air defense components and ABM components;
The development of modern air defense systems that may have some ABM capabilities; and
The demonstration of an ability to reload ABM launchers in a period of time shorter than previously noted.
Soviet activities during the past year have contributed to our concerns. The Soviets have begun construction of three additional LPARs similar to the Krasnoyarsk radar. These new radars are located and oriented consistent with the ABM Treaty's provision on ballistic missile early warning radars, but they would increase the number of Soviet LPARs by 50 percent. The redundancy in coverage provided by these new radars suggests that their primary mission is ballistic missile acquisition and tracking.
This year's reexamination of Soviet ABM-related activities demonstrates that the Soviets have not corrected their outstanding violation, the Krasnoyarsk radar. It is the totality of these Soviet ABM-related activities in 1986 and earlier years that gives rise to our continuing concerns that the USSR may be preparing an ABM defense of its national territory. The ABM Treaty prohibits the deployment of an ABM system for the defense of the national territory of the parties and prohibits the parties from providing a base for such a defense. As I said in last December's report:
This would have profound implications for the vital East-West balance. A unilateral Soviet territorial ABM capability acquired in violation of the ABM Treaty could erode our deterrent and leave doubts about its credibility.
Chemical, Biological, and Toxin Weapons
The integrity of the arms control process is also hurt by Soviet violations of the 1925 Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons and the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Information obtained during the last year reinforces our concern about Soviet noncompliance with these important agreements. Progress toward an agreement banning chemical weapons is affected by Soviet noncompliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Because of the record of Soviet noncompliance with past agreements, we believe verification provisions are a matter of unprecedented importance in our efforts to rid the world of these heinous weapons—weapons of mass destruction under international law.
The Soviets have continued to maintain a prohibited offensive biological warfare capability. We are particularly concerned because it may include advanced biological agents about which we have little knowledge and against which we have no defense. The Soviets continue to expand their chemical and toxin warfare capabilities. Neither NATO retaliatory nor defensive programs can begin to match the Soviet effort. Even though there have been no confirmed reports of lethal attacks since the beginning of 1984, previous activities have provided the Soviets with valuable testing, development, and operational experience.
The record of Soviet noncompliance with the treaties on nuclear testing is of legal and military concern. Since the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) came into force over twenty years ago, the Soviet Union has conducted its nuclear weapons test program in a manner incompatible with the aims of the Treaty by regularly permitting the release of nuclear debris into the atmosphere beyond the borders of the USSR. Even though the debris from these Soviet tests does not pose calculable health, safety or environmental risks, and these infractions have no apparent military significance, our repeated attempts to discuss these occurrences with Soviet authorities have been continually rebuffed. Soviet refusal to discuss this matter calls into question their sincerity on the whole range of arms control agreements.
During their test moratorium, the Soviets undoubtedly maintained their sites because they quickly conducted a test soon after announcing intent to do so. Furthermore, there were numerous ambiguous events during this period that can neither be associated with, nor disassociated from, observed Soviet nuclear test-related activities.
Soviet testing at yields above the 150 kt limit would allow development of advanced nuclear weapons with proportionately higher yields of weapons than the U.S. could develop under the Treaty.
The United States and the Soviet Union have met on four occasions during the past year for expert-level discussions on the broad range of issues related to nuclear testing. Our objective during these discussions consistently has been to achieve agreement on an effective verification regime for the TTBT and PNET. I remain hopeful that we can accomplish this goal.
The Helsinki Final Act
In 1981 the Soviet Union conducted a major military exercise without providing prior notification of the maneuver's designation and the number of troops taking part, contrary to its political commitment to observe provisions of Basket I of the Helsinki Final Act.
During the past year, we have reached an accord at the Stockholm Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures that contains new standards for notification, observation, and verification of military activities, including on-site inspection. We will be carefully assessing Soviet compliance with these new standards, which went into effect January 1, 1987.
At the end of 1986 and during the early weeks of 1987, new information pertaining to some of the issues in this report became available, but it was judged that the data did not necessitate a change in any of the findings. This was partially due to the developing nature of the information at the time and certain ambiguities associated with it. Furthermore, the Soviet Union resumed underground nuclear testing on February 26, 1987.
SALT H and the SALT I Interim Agreement
The Soviet Union repeatedly violated the SALT II Treaty and took other actions that were inconsistent with the Treaty's provisions. In no case where we determined that the Soviet Union was in violation did they take corrective action. We have raised these issues for the past three years in the SCC and in other diplomatic channels.
The Soviets committed four violations of their political commitment to observe SALT II; they were:
The development and deployment of the SS-25 missile, a prohibited second new type of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM);
Extensive encryption of telemetry during test flights of strategic ballistic missiles;
Concealment of the association between a missile and its launcher during testing; and
Exceeding the permitted number of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles (SNDVs).
In addition, the Soviets: Probably violated the prohibition on deploying the SS-16 ICBM;
Took actions inconsistent with their political commitment not to give the BACKFIRE bomber intercontinental operating capability by deploying it to Arctic bases; and
Evidently exceeded the agreed production quota by producing slightly more than the allowed 30 BACKFIRE bombers per year until 1984.
Concerning the SALT I Interim Agreement, the Soviets used former SS-7 ICBM facilities to support deployment of the SS-25 mobile ICBM, and thereby violated the prohibition on the use of former ICBM facilities.
Soviet Noncompliance and U.S. Restraint Policy
On June 10, 1985, I expressed concern that continued Soviet noncompliance increasingly affected our national security. I offered to give the Soviet Union additional time in order to take corrective actions to return to full compliance, and I asked them to join us in a policy of truly mutual restraint. At the same time, I stated that future U.S. decisions would be determined on a case-by-case basis in light of Soviet behavior in exercising restraint comparable to our own, correcting their noncompliance, reversing their military buildup, and seriously pursuing equitable and verifiable arms reduction agreements.
The December 23, 1985, report showed that the Soviets had not taken any actions to correct their noncompliance with arms control commitments. In May 1986, I concluded that the Soviets had made no real progress toward meeting our concerns with respect to their noncompliance, particularly in those activities related to SALT II and the ABM Treaty. From June 1985 until May 1986, we saw no abatement of the Soviet strategic force buildup.
The third yardstick I had established for judging Soviet actions was their seriousness at negotiating deep arms reductions. In May 1986 I concluded that, since the November 1985 summit, the Soviets had not followed up constructively on the commitment undertaken by General Secretary Gorbachev and me to build upon areas of common ground in the Geneva negotiations, including accelerating work toward an interim agreement on INF.
In Reykjavik, General Secretary Gorbachev and I narrowed substantially the differences between our two countries on nuclear arms control issues. However, the Soviets took a major step backward by insisting that progress in every area of nuclear arms control must be linked together in a single package that has as its focus killing the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Furthermore, it became clear that the Soviets intended to make the ABM Treaty more restrictive than it is on its own terms by limiting our SDI research strictly to the laboratory.
It was, however, the continuing pattern of noncompliant Soviet behavior that I have outlined above that was the primary reason why I decided, on May 27, 1986, to end U.S. observance of the provisions of the SALT I Interim Agreement and SALT II. The decision to end the U.S. policy of observing the provisions of the Interim Agreement (which had expired) and the SALT II Treaty (which was never ratified and would have expired on December 31, 1985) was not made lightly. The United States cannot, and will not, allow a double standard of compliance with arms control agreements to be established.
Therefore, on May 27, 1986, I announced: In the future, the United States must base decisions regarding its strategic force structure on the nature and magnitude of the threat posed by the Soviet strategic forces and not on standards contained in the SALT structure which has been undermined by Soviet noncompliance and especially in a flawed SALT II Treaty which was never ratified, would have expired if it had been ratified, and has been violated by the Soviet Union.
Responding to a Soviet request, the U.S. agreed to hold a special session of the SCC in July 1986 to discuss my decision. During that session, the U.S. made it clear that we would continue to demonstrate the utmost restraint. At this session we stated that, assuming there is no significant change in the threat we face, the United States would not deploy more strategic nuclear delivery vehicles or more strategic ballistic missile warheads than does the Soviet Union. We also repeated my May 27 invitation to the Soviet Union to join the U.S. in establishing an interim framework of truly mutual restraint pending conclusion of a verifiable agreement on deep and equitable reductions in offensive nuclear arms. The Soviet response was negative.
In my May 27 announcement, I had said the United States would remain in technical observance of SALT II until later in the year when we would deploy our 131st Heavy Bomber equipped to carry airlaunched cruise missiles. The deployment of that bomber on November 28, 1986, marked the full implementation of that policy.
Now that we have put the Interim Agreement and the SALT II Treaty behind us, Soviet activities with respect to those agreements, which have been studied and reported to the Congress in detail in the past, are not treated in the body of this report. This is not to suggest that the significance of the Soviet violations has in any way diminished. We are still concerned about the increasing Soviet military threat.
A number of activities involving SALT II constituted violations of the core or central provisions of the Treaty frequently cited by the proponents of SALT II as the primary reason for supporting the agreement. These violations involve both the substantive provisions and the vital verification provisions of the Treaty. Through violation of the SALT II limit of the one "new type" of ICBM, the Soviets are in the process of deploying illegal additions to their force that provide even more strategic capability.
Soviet encryption and concealment activities have, in the past, presented special obstacles to verifying compliance with arms control agreements. The Soviets' extensive encryption of ballistic missile telemetry impeded U.S. ability to verify key provisions of the SALT II Treaty. Of equal importance, these Soviet activities undermine the political confidence necessary for concluding new treaties and underscore the necessity that any new agreement be effectively verifiable.
Soviet Noncompliance and New Arms Control Agreements
Soviet noncompliance, as documented in this and previous Administration reports, has made verification and compliance pacing elements of arms control today. From the beginning of my Administration, I have sought deep and equitable reductions in the nuclear offensive arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union and have personally proposed ways to achieve the objectives in my meetings with General Secretary Gorbachev. If we are to enter agreements of this magnitude and significance, effective verification is indispensable and cheating is simply not acceptable.
I look forward to continued close consultations with the Congress as we seek to make progress in resolving compliance issues and in negotiating sound arms control agreements.
The findings on Soviet noncompliance with arms control agreements follow.
ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE (ARM) TREATY
Treaty Status: The 1972 ABM Treaty and its Protocol ban deployment of ABM systems except that each Party is permitted to deploy one ABM system around the national capital area or, alternatively, at a single ICBM deployment area. The ABM Treaty is in force and is of indefinite duration. Soviet actions not in accord with the ABM Treaty are, therefore, violations of a legal obligation.
1. The Krasnoyarsk Radar
Obligation: To preclude the development of a territorial defense or providing the base for a territorial ABM defense, the ABM Treaty provides that radars for early warning of ballistic missile attack may be deployed only at locations along the periphery of the national territory of each Party and that they be oriented outward. The Treaty permits deployment (without regard to location or orientation) of large phased-array radars for purposes of tracking objects in outer space or for use as national technical means of verification of compliance with arms control agreements.
Issue: The December 1985 report examined the issue of whether the Krasnoyarsk radar meets the provisions of the ABM Treaty governing phased-array radars. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: The U.S. Government reaffirms the conclusion in the December 1985 report that the new large phased-array radar under construction at Krasnoyarsk constitutes a violation of legal obligations under the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 in that in its associated siting, orientation, and capability, it is prohibited by this Treaty. Continuing construction and the absence of credible alternative explanations have reinforced our assessment of its purpose. Despite U.S. requests, no corrective action has been taken. This and other ABM-related Soviet activities suggest that the USSR may be preparing an ABM defense of its national territory.
2. Mobility of ABM System Components
Obligation: Paragraph 1 of Article V of the ABM Treaty prohibits the development, testing, or deployment of mobile land-based ABM systems or components.
Issue: The December 1985 report examined whether the Soviet Union has developed a mobile land-based ABM system, or components for such a system, in violation of its legal obligation under the ABM Treaty. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: The U.S. Government reaffirms the judgment of the December 1985 report that the evidence on Soviet actions with respect to ABM component mobility is ambiguous, but that the USSR's development and testing of components of an ABM system, which apparently are designed to be deployable at sites requiring relatively limited special-purpose site preparation, represent a potential violation of its legal obligation under the ABM Treaty. This and other ABM-related Soviet activities suggest that the USSR may be preparing an ABM defense of its national territory.
3. Concurrent Testing of ABM and Air Defense Components
Obligation: The ABM Treaty and its Protocol limit the Parties to one ABM deployment area. In addition to the ABM systems and components at that one deployment area, the Parties may have ABM systems and components for development and testing purposes so long as they are located at agreed test ranges. The Treaty also prohibits giving components, other than ABM system components, the capability "to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in flight trajectory" and prohibits the parties from testing them in "an ABM mode." The Parties agreed that the concurrent testing of SAM and ABM system components is prohibited.
Issue: The December 1985 compliance report examined whether the Soviet Union has concurrently tested SAM and ABM system components in violation of its legal obligation since 1978 not to do so. It was the purpose of that obligation to further constrain testing of air defense systems in an ABM mode. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: The U.S. Government reaffirms the judgment made in the December 1985 report that the evidence of Soviet actions with respect to concurrent operations is insufficient fully to assess compliance with Soviet obligations under the ABM Treaty. However, the Soviet Union has conducted tests that have involved air defense radars in ABM-related activities. The large number, and consistency over time, of incidents of concurrent operation of ABM and SAM components, plus Soviet failure to accommodate fully U.S. concerns, indicate the USSR probably has violated the prohibition on testing SAM components in an ABM mode. In several cases this may be highly probable. This and other ABM-related activities suggest the USSR may be preparing an ABM defense of its national territory.
4. ABM Capability of Modern SAM Systems
Obligation: Under subparagraph (a) of Article VI of the ABM Treaty, each party undertakes not to give non-ABM interceptor missiles, launchers, or radars "capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in flight trajectory, and not to test them in an ABM mode .... "
Issue: The December 1985 report examined whether the Soviet Union has tested a SAM system or component in an ABM mode or given it the capability to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in flight trajectory in violation of their legal obligation under the ABM Treaty. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: The U.S. Government reaffirms the judgment made in the December 1985 report that the evidence of Soviet actions with respect to SAM upgrade is insufficient to assess compliance with the Soviet Union's obligations under the ARM Treaty. However, this and other ABM-related Soviet activities suggest that the USSR may be preparing an ABM defense of its national territory.
5. Rapid Reload of ABM Launchers
Obligation: The ABM Treaty limits to 100 the number of deployed ABM interceptor launchers and deployed interceptor missiles. It does not limit the number of interceptor missiles that can be built and stockpiled. Paragraph 2, Article V, of the Treaty prohibits the development, testing or deployment of "automatic or semi-automatic or other similar systems for rapid reload" of the permitted launchers.
Issue: The December 1985 report examined whether the Soviet Union has developed, tested, or deployed automatic, semiautomatic, or other similar systems for rapid reload of ABM launchers in violation of its legal obligation under the ABM Treaty. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: The U.S. Government reaffirms the judgment made in the December 1985 report that, on the basis of the evidence available, the USSR's actions with respect to the rapid reload of ABM launchers constitute an ambiguous situation as concerns its legal obligations under the ABM Treaty not to develop systems for rapid reload. The Soviet Union's reload capabilities are a serious concern. These and other ABM-related Soviet activities suggest that the USSR may be preparing an ABM defense of its national territory.
6. ABM Territorial Defense
Obligation: The ABM Treaty and Protocol allow each party a single operational site, explicitly permit modernization and replacement of ARM systems or their components, and explicitly recognize the existence of ABM test ranges for the development and testing of ABM components. The ABM Treaty prohibits, however, the deployment of an ABM system for defense of the national territory of the parties and prohibits the parties from providing a base for such a defense.
Issue: The December 1985 report examined whether the Soviets have deployed an ABM system for the defense of their territory or provided a base for such a defense. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: The U.S. Government reaffirms the judgment of the December 1985 report that the aggregate of the Soviet Union's ABM and ABM-related actions (e.g., radar construction, concurrent testing, SAM upgrade, ABM rapid reload and ABM mobility) suggests that the USSR may be preparing an ABM defense of its national territory. Our concern continues.
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION AND 1925 GENEVA PROTOCOL
Chemical, Biological, and Toxin Weapons
Treaty Status: The 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) and the 1925 Geneva Protocol are multilateral treaties to which both the United States and the Soviet Union are Parties. Soviet actions not in accord with these treaties and customary international law relating to the 1925 Geneva Protocol are violations of legal obligations.
Obligations: The BWC bans the development, production, stockpiling or possession, and transfer of microbial or other biological agents or toxins except for a small quantity for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes. It imposes the same obligation in relation to weapons, equipment and means of delivery of agents or toxins. The 1925 Geneva Protocol and related rules of customary international law prohibit the first use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and of all analogous liquids, materials, or devices and prohibits use of bacteriological methods of warfare.
Issues: The December 1985 report examined whether the Soviets are in violation of provisions that ban the development, production, transfer, possession, and use of biological and toxin weapons and whether they have been responsible for the use of lethal chemicals. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: The U.S. Government judges that continued activity during 1986 at suspect biological and toxin weapon facilities in the Soviet Union, and reports that a Soviet BW program may now include investigation of new classes of BW agents, confirm the conclusion of the December 1985 report that the Soviet Union has maintained an offensive biological warfare program and capability in violation of its legal obligation under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972.
There have been no confirmed attacks with lethal chemicals or toxins in Kampuchea, Laos, or Afghanistan in 1986 according to our strict standards of evidence. Although several analytical efforts have been undertaken in the past year to investigate continuing reports of attacks, these studies have so far had no positive results. Therefore, there is no basis for amending the December, 1985, conclusion that, prior to this time, the Soviet Union has been involved in the production, transfer, and use of trichothecene mycotoxins for hostile purposes in Laos, Kampuchea, and Afghanistan in violation of its legal obligation under international law as codified in the Geneva Protocol of 1925 and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972.
THRESHOLD TEST BAN TREATY
Nuclear Testing and the 150 Kiloton Limit
Treaty Status: The Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT) was signed in 1974. The Treaty has not been ratified by either Party but neither Party has indicated an intention not to ratify. Therefore, both Parties are subject to the obligation under customary international law to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the TTBT. Actions that would defeat the object and purpose of the TTBT are therefore violations of legal obligations. The United States is seeking to negotiate improved verification measures for the Treaty. Both Parties have separately stated they would observe the 150-kiloton threshold of the TTBT.
Obligation: The Treaty prohibits beginning March 31, 1976, any underground nuclear weapon tests having a yield exceeding 150 kilotons at any place under the jurisdiction or control of the Parties. In view of the technical uncertainties associated with estimating the precise yield of nuclear weapon tests, the sides agreed that one or two slight, unintended breaches per year would not be considered a violation.
Issue: The December 1985 report examined whether the Soviets have conducted nuclear tests in excess of 150 kilotons. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: During the past year, the U.S. Government has been reviewing Soviet nuclear weapons test activity that occurred prior to the self-imposed moratorium of August 6, 1985, and has been reviewing related U.S. Government methodologies for estimating Soviet nuclear test yields. The work is continuing. In December 1985, the U.S. Government found that: "Soviet nuclear testing activities for a number of tests constitute a likely violation of legal obligations under the Threshold Test Ban Treaty." At present, with our existing knowledge of this complex topic, that finding stands. It will be updated when studies now under way are completed. Such studies should provide a somewhat improved basis for assessing past Soviet compliance. Ambiguities in the nature and features of past Soviet testing and significant verification difficulties will continue, and much work remains to be done on this technically difficult issue. Such ambiguities demonstrate the need for effective verification measures to correct the verification inadequacies of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty and its companion accord, the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty.
LIMITED TEST BAN TREATY
Underground Nuclear Test Venting
Treaty Status: The Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water (Limited Test Ban Treaty) (LTBT) is a multilateral treaty that entered into force for the United States and the Soviet Union in 1963. Soviet actions not in accord with this treaty are violations of a legal obligation.
Obligations: The LTBT specifically prohibits nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water. It also prohibits nuclear explosions in any other environment "if such explosions cause radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the State under whose jurisdiction or control such explosion is conducted."
Issue: The December 1985 report examined whether the USSR's underground nuclear tests have caused radioactive debris to be present outside of its territorial limits. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: The U.S. Government reaffirms the judgment made in the December 1985 report that the Soviet Union's underground nuclear test practices resulted in the venting of radioactive matter on numerous occasions and caused radioactive matter to be present outside the Soviet Union's territorial limits in violation of its legal obligation under the Limited Test Ban Treaty. The Soviet Union failed to take the precautions necessary to minimize the contamination of man's environment by radioactive substances despite numerous U.S. demarches and requests for corrective action.
HELSINKI FINAL ACT
Helsinki Final Act Notification of Military Exercises
Legal Status: The Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was signed in Helsinki in 1975. This document represents a political commitment and was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union, along with 33 other States. Soviet actions not in accord with that document are violations of their political commitment.
Obligation: All signatory States of the Helsinki Final Act are committed to give prior notification of, and other details concerning, major military maneuvers, defined as those involving more than 25,000 troops.
Issue: The December 1985 report examined whether notification of the Soviet military exercise "Zapad-81" was inadequate and therefore a violation of the Soviet Union's political commitment under the Helsinki Final Act. We have reexamined this issue.
Finding: The U.S. Government previously judged and continues to find that the Soviet Union in 1981 violated its political commitment to observe provisions of Basket I of the Helsinki Final Act by not providing all the information required in its notification of exercise "Zapad-81." Since 1981, the Soviets have observed provisions of the Helsinki Final Act in letter, but rarely in spirit. The Soviet Union has a very restrictive interpretation of its obligations under the Helsinki Final Act, and Soviet implementation of voluntary confidence-building measures has been the exception rather than the rule. The Soviets have notified all exercises requiring notification (i.e., those of 25,000 troops or over), but have failed to make voluntary notifications (i.e., those numbering fewer than 25,000 troops). In their notifications, they have provided only the bare minimum of information. They have also observed only minimally the voluntary provision providing that observers be invited to exercises, having invited observers to only fifty percent of notified activities.
Note: Identical letters were sent to Jim Wright, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and George Bush, President of the Senate.
Ronald Reagan, Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report on Soviet Noncompliance With Arms Control Agreements Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/252258