December 9, 1996



The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on chemical weapons signed by then Secretary of State James Baker and then Soviet Foreign Minister Edward Shevardnadze in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on September 23, 1989, provides for a bilateral verification experiment and data exchange.

This agreement was proposed by the United States and has been a goal of U.S. policy since 1984. It reflects an effort by the United States and the Russian Federation to facilitate the process of negotiation, ratification and implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a comprehensive, effectively verifiable and truly global ban on chemical weapons.

Two-Phase Agreement

The experiment and data exchange is made up of two phases.

Phase I features:

  • The exchange of general data on the sides' chemical weapons capabilities.
  • Visits to relevant military and civil facilities chosen by the host country.
  • Phase I activities were completed in February 1991.

Phase II features:

  • The signature by both sides of updated implementation documents in January 1994 in Moscow.
  • The exchange of detailed data on the sides' chemical weapons capabilities. This exchange was completed in June 1994.
  • On-site inspections to help confirm the data declarations.
  • Allowed each side to conduct five inspections of facilities chosen from a list of sites declared by the other.
  • Of the five inspections allowed under Phase II, two were routine inspections, one was designated as a trial challenge inspection, and the remaining two were challenge inspections.
The MOU provides that both sides can meet periodically to ask questions about data exchanged and resolve ambiguities and concerns. Experience gained during the bilateral inspections contributes to the work of the Preparatory Commission of the Chemical Weapons Convention in The Hague, the Netherlands. The United States and 159 other countries have signed that Convention, which prohibits the development, production, use and stockpiling of chemical weapons and requires their destruction. It will enter-into-force on April 29, 1997.