Prepared Statement by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, Dr. Lynn Davis, Before the House International Relations Committee Hearing: U.S. Nonproliferation Policy

June 19, 1996

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile
  • Chemical
  • Biological

Related Country: 

  • China
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Russia

Preventing the proliferation of dangerous weapons is key to preserving the security of America in the post-Cold War world. The Clinton Administration has made controlling the spread of such weapons one of its highest priorities.

Let me describe our major accomplishments, and then turn to the challenges ahead.


The indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1995, without conditions, provides a permanent framework for our efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

- The U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework has frozen the North Korean nuclear program. Implementation of the Agreed Framework in the coming years will remove the nuclear threat posed by North Korea to regional and global stability.

As a result of the Trilateral Statement brokered by the U.S., Ukraine has joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state, and transferred all nuclear warheads in its territory to Russia for dismantling. We have also been successful in getting Kazakstan and Belarus to accede to the NPT. All nuclear weapons have been removed from Kazakstan, and the small number of the remaining weapons in Belarus will be removed this year.

- Highly enriched uranium extracted from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons is being converted into commercial reactor fuel and delivered to the U.S. for use in our nuclear power plants.

- In the coming year, we will be working with Russia and other NIS countries to improve the security at more than 35 fissile material storage sites, roughly three fourths of all such locations, and provide better accounting for hundreds of tons of weapons-usable nuclear material.

- We have increased cooperation to help ensure the maintenance of security during shipment and storage of Russian nuclear weapons in support of their destruction.

- We are providing Cooperative Threat Reduction assistance including security upgrade kits for nuclear weapons railcars, emergency support equipment, and supercontainers to support the increase in transportation of nuclear weapons scheduled for elimination.

- We have taken concrete bilateral steps to combat nuclear smuggling, as in the case of Project Sapphire where multiple bombs' worth of Highly Enriched Uranium was transferred from Kazakstan to the United States.

- U.S. leadership at the Moscow Nuclear Summit achieved a strong endorsement of international efforts to strengthen the IAEA safeguards system and its ability to detect clandestine nuclear activities; the launching of a multilateral program to combat nuclear smuggling, involving the G-7 countries, Russia, and Ukraine; the initiation of a systematic study for international cooperation to dispose safely of excess plutonium from dismantled weapons; and Russian endorsement of the principle of "safety first" in the operation of nuclear power reactors.

- More than thirteen thousand scientists from Soviet WMD programs are conducting peaceful scientific projects in U.S.-funded science and technology centers in Moscow and Kiev. These centers provide financially rewarding work that will reduce the risk that these scientists will be lured away by money from rogue or terrorist states.

- In 1996, the U.S. signed the relevant Protocols to Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) treaties in the South Pacific and Africa, thereby strengthening the role of these treaties in the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

- The U.S. has played the principal role in helping the United Nations build a strong mechanism to monitor Iraq's capabilities to produce weapons of mass destruction, and in maintaining support for continuing economic sanctions pending Iraq's compliance with all of its Security Council obligations.

- Russia, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, South Korea, and Ukraine have accepted international guidelines preventing the spread of missiles and missile technologies, as called for by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

- The Chinese in 1994 committed to a global ban on sales of MTCR-class ground-to-ground missiles, a more strict commitment than the MTCR requires, and reaffirmed their original commitment to these guidelines.The U.S. obtained clarifications and assurances regarding China's nuclear nonproliferation policies, including a significant new commitment not to provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.

- In an agreement with the United States, Russia agreed to close down its arms sales to Iran in the coming few years and in the future not to transfer arms or arms-related technology. Transfers under existing contracts will be reasonably limited in time and content, and will not provide Iran with new capabilities, alter the regional military balance, or compromise our ability to ensure our security in that part of the world.

- U.S. leadership has brought together more than 30 countries to establish the Wassenaar Arrangement, a new international regime to increase transparency and responsibility for the global market in conventional armaments and dual-use goods and technologies. This regime aims to prevent destabilizing future accumulations of arms and to deal firmly with today's threats to security through restraint in trade to the pariah countries.

The Non-Proliferation Challenges Ahead

The NPT and Beyond

In extending unconditionally the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the parties set three very important goals: concluding in 1996 a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), undertaking negotiations to ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons purposes, and strengthening the IAEA safeguards system so as to increase the ability to detect undeclared nuclear facilities. The Clinton Administration is giving these activities its highest priority.

The CTBT will be a truly comprehensive test ban which will constrain development of nuclear weapons among nuclear aspirants and threshold states, as well as the development of new types of nuclear weapons by nuclear weapon states. Under a CTBT, the United States will retain confidence in the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile. Our goal is to open a CTBT for signature this fall.

The Chemical Weapons Convention

The Clinton Administration also attaches a high priority to strengthening the international norm against chemical and biological weapons. To that end, the President has called upon the Senate to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention as soon as possible. This international treaty outlawing poison gas will make an important contribution to our efforts to stem the spread and use of chemical weapons, including by terrorist organizations. The U.S. is also working closely with other countries to negotiate a new, legally binding protocol to enhance compliance with and deter violations of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

Russian and Chinese Nuclear Cooperation with Iran

We remain deeply concerned by Iran's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons. We have carefully monitored and sought to impede Iran's attempts to procure a range of nuclear technologies that are unnecessary for, and in our view inconsistent with, a purely peaceful nuclear program.

Our policy remains to oppose all nuclear cooperation with Iran and prevent transfers of any nuclear material, equipment, or technology to Iran. We have agreement on that policy among the other G-7 countries. Our focus is now on Russia and China, which continue to engage in certain kinds of nuclear cooperation with Iran.

We have been encouraged by Russian statements opposing Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons, but we will continue to press Russia to cut off all assistance to Iran's nuclear program on the grounds that any nuclear cooperation, even that which may be technically permissible under the NPT and subject to IAEA safeguards, will assist Iran's nuclear development effort, including the provision of light water reactors.

The President recently determined that continuing assistance to support democratic and economic reform in Russia is important to the U.S. national security interest, and thus invoked the waiver provision of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act regarding nuclear cooperation with Iran. The President's decision to take this step reflects the view that cutting off assistance to Russia at this juncture would not positively affect the dialogue on limiting Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran and would undercut the reform process in Russia.

Ours is a long-term strategy. Iran's current financial difficulties will affect its ability to pay for nuclear facilities it hopes to acquire and, with time, we expect there to be more direct evidence of Iran's nuclear intentions. Both of these factors will work in our favor. In the meantime, however, we will continue to press for the termination of all Russian and Chinese nuclear cooperation with Iran.

China has played an active role in Iran's civil nuclear program since the mid-1980s and maintains that its assistance is strictly for peaceful purposes. Chinese sales of nuclear facilities to Iran -- small research reactors and other related facilities -- have been subject to IAEA safeguards. Last fall, China suspended its plans to sell Iran two small power reactors due to difficulties in site selection and financing. Its cooperation with Iran appears consistent with its NPT obligations, and we have no reason to believe that China would knowingly assist Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, we have opposed, and will continue to oppose the Chinese govemment's cooperation with Iran's civil nuclear program, emphasizing to Beijing that such cooperation will help to build a nuclear infrastructure that could assist Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Missile Non-Proliferation

We continue to have serious concerns regarding Chinese missile cooperation with Pakistan and Iran, which could contribute to Pakistan and Iran's acquiring delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction; transfers by Chinese entities of dual-use chemicals and equipment that could be used in Iran's chemical weapons program; and China's transfers of conventional weapons to Iran. We have raised our objections to such activities at the highest levels of the Chinese government.

We keep under continuing review the evidence to see whether any of these activities trigger U.S. sanctions. For example, we are now addressing whether the transfer of Chinese built C-802 cruise missiles is sanctionable under the Iran-Iraq Arms NonProliferation Act of 1992. The Act provides for the imposition of sanctions when a foreign person or country transfers goods or technology "so as to contribute knowingly and materially to the efforts by Iran or Iraq ... to acquire destabilizing numbers and types of (certain) advanced conventional weapons." Similarly, we continue to monitor andevaluate reports that China may have transferred missiles, missile equipment or related technology to Pakistan or Iran, activities that could trigger sanctions trader U.S. law.

As this Administration has demonstrated in the past, we will impose sanctions as required by our law in order to achieve our overall non- proliferation goals.


The challenge of enforcing Iraqi compliance with Security Council resolutions will continue to require Security Council unity and resolve. For our part, this will require alert, energetic diplomacy; solid day-to-day support of U.N. inspection operations; and both political and military readiness to respond to any renewal of Iraqi threats against either U.N. inspectors or Iraq's neighbors.

In March -- when Iraq last blocked access to the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspectors -- Iraq forced the Security Council to act to remind Baghdad of its obligations. The U.S. Government hoped that the message it sent registered. At that time, we explained that Iraq would only respond if the Council acted quickly and forcefully. Having failed to respond adequately then, we now see Iraq blocking U.N. inspection teams again.

Let me be clear. The Iraqi regime must not be allowed to interfere with the work of UNSCOM. As Secretary Christopher noted earlier this week, UNSCOM must receive immediate and unrestricted access to Iraqi facilities.

That is why it is so important that our message be swift and strong - and the U.S. Government is working with other members of the Security Council to assure that the Council acts firmly.Conclusion

Assuring security for Americans, and enhancing international security, is a critical priority of this Administration. Non-proliferation and arms control remain key to accomplishing that goal. To succeed, we need to be sensitive to the underlying causes that drive countries to acquire dangerous arms. We must frame a multilateral approach and be able to use our sanctions legislation to complement our diplomacy. We will not succeed unless we can enlist the cooperation of our key friends and allies. The roles of both China and Russia in our cooperative efforts will be critical to our success.

U.S. leadership has been essential in our successes to date, and we remain committed to continue that leadership as we face these remaining challenges.