USIS Washington File

28 March 2000

Transcript: U.S. Official Discusses Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

(March 23: Holum says continue ABM Treaty with modest amendments)

It is in Russia's interest "to avoid putting a U.S. President in a
position where he has to choose between defense and the
[Anti-Ballistic Missile] Treaty," U.S. State Department official John
Holum said March 23.

Holum, Senior Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Arms
Control, Non-Proliferation and Security Affairs, was speaking to arms
control experts and journalists in Kiev, St. Petersburg, and Moscow on
a State Department Worldnet "Dialogue" broadcast.

"We can find a third way," Holum suggested, "which is to continue the
[ABM] Treaty with modest amendments to allow the defense to proceed. I
think that strengthens the Treaty, because it demonstrates ... that it
is not a barrier to rational adjustments dealing with new security
situations. It seems to me the real threat to the Treaty would be if
we treated it as frozen in time and unable to accommodate new serious
security realities."

Holum explained that President Clinton will make a decision whether to
proceed with a national missile defense in the summer of 2000 based on
four criteria: cost, technical feasibility, threat, and strategic
environment, including arms control.

He emphasized that the United States regards the ABM Treaty as the
"cornerstone of strategic stability." The U.S. objective, he said, "is
to amend the Treaty in a way that preserves its core values, that
preserves its contribution to strategic stability, at the same time as
we equip ourselves to meet new threats that have emerged since the
Treaty was negotiated in 1972."

The specific threat the United States is responding to is the danger
that North Korea will develop an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
(ICBM) "capable of reaching the United States with a payload including
weapons of mass destruction," Holum said.

Holum further explained that, while it would take the United States
five years to build a national missile defense, North Korea "could
break out of any agreement not to continue its missile programs" with
just a few months' notice.

The ABM Treaty allows 100 interceptors, and Russia has an operating
ABM system around Moscow. "The difference in what we are proposing is
an amendment to the ABM Treaty that would allow 100 interceptors, but
to allow it to be part of a national as opposed to a regional
defense," Holum said.

"So this isn't a dramatic change in the ABM Treaty," he continued.
"It's a very precisely targeted set of amendments that would allow a
limited defense against new countries of concern, while not upsetting
the strategic balance between the United States and Russia. This
system would not have any significant capability against Russia. And
it is not aimed at Russia."

The United States is considering cooperative measures and new
confidence-building verification measures to help persuade Russia that
amending the ABM Treaty would not damage its security. "We, for
example, have talked about assistance to Russia's early-warning
network, and a number of other steps -- joint satellite, senior
satellite operation programs -- that would make this a cooperative
venture operationally in the same way as we are trying to make it a
cooperative venture diplomatically," Holum said.

Holum also underscored the "very urgent joint challenge in the arms
control and non-proliferation area" presented by the 2000 Review
Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which will
be held in New York in the last part of April and the first part of

The NPT Review Conference promises to be "contentious," he said,
adding that there is "a lot of dissatisfaction with the pace of

Both the United States and Russia would like to move faster, he said,
but in the meantime, "it makes no sense to jeopardize the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty because of dissatisfaction over the pace of
disarmament." If Russia were to act on START II [Strategic Arms
Reduction Treaty II], he said, it would have "a very significant
effect" on the upcoming NPT Talks in New York "because it would
demonstrate tangibly that this strategic arms reduction process is

Following is the State Department transcript of the Worldnet program:

(begin transcript)

Office of Broadcast Services
Washington, D.C.

GUEST: John Holum, Senior Advisor to the President and Secretary of
State for Arms Control, Non-Proliferation and Security Affairs


POSTS: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev

HOST: Terry Bazyluk

DATE: March 23, 2000 

TIME: 09:00 - 10:00 EST

MR. BAZYLUK: Good afternoon, and welcome to a special edition of
Worldnet's "Dialogue." I am your host, Terry Bazyluk.

It's been almost 30 years since Presidents Nixon and Brezhnev signed
the ABM Treaty. Since then the Treaty has been a cornerstone of
strategic stability and arms control.

(Begin videotape.)

MR. BAZYLUK: But the global security environment has changed
dramatically since 1972. The bipolar nuclear standoff is over, and in
its place proliferation threats from third countries have proven to be
real, rising and increasingly unpredictable.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: If we have the potential to protect our people
against missiles that could be loaded with nuclear weapons or chemical
or biological weapons, coming to us from other countries -- and this
does not include the Russians, with whom we have this ABM Treaty, but
all these other countries that are trying to get missile technology --
it would be the responsible thing to try to deploy such a system. The
problem is any such system, even a ground-based one, would violate the
literal terms of the ABM Treaty.

Now, there are, as you said, Mary, there are people in the United
States Congress who would like to just tear up the ABM Treaty and go
on. I personally think that would be a terrible mistake. So what we
are trying to do is to see whether or not we can work with the
Russians in a way that enhances their security and ours to share some
of the benefits of these developments and to go forward in a way that
convinces them that they are not the problem. We are also trying to do
other things to minimize the problem. As you know, we have been
working very hard with North Korea to try to end the missile program

So I do not want to throw the ABM Treaty away. I do think it is the
responsible thing to do to continue to pursue what appears to be far
more promising than many had thought (including me a few years ago) in
terms of missile defense. But we have to try to work the two things
out together. And I am confident that if the Russians believe it is in
their security interests to do so, that we can. And that will happen
if we work with them. If we just scrap the ABM Treaty it won't happen,
and our insecurity will increase.

MR. BAZYLUK: Administration officials emphasize the limited nature of
the national missile defense that President Clinton is contemplating.
They stress that he has made no decision yet on actual deployment. And
they note that Acting President Putin, among others, has acknowledged
the need to meet the growing danger from third countries.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: When I raised the arms control issue, what I found
interesting was that he did not deny the fact that there were new
threats and that there needed to be a way to deal with them.

MR. BAZYLUK: Meanwhile, the United States is pressing ahead on all
fronts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. A leading means is
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, and its system of
strengthened safeguards. Another is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,
which the administration has continued to work for since its rejection
by the Senate in October.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: The overriding point is that this Treaty needs to
be dealt with in a more full and fair and nuanced process. And I am
delighted that we have a superb team in place, led by a superb
general, to see that it is.

With their help, I am convinced that America will ultimately ratify
the CTBT, and thus help to ensure that the nuclear arms race becomes a
relic of the 20th century, not a recurring nightmare of the 21st.

(End videotape.)

MR. BAZYLUK: We are most fortunate to have with us today a senior
government official who has been at the center of these issues since
early in President Clinton's first term. John D. Holum is the
administration's senior advisor for arms control, non-proliferation
and international security affairs. Previously he was Director of the
U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Mr. Holum, welcome to the
program -- we are delighted you could be here with us. I understand
you have a few opening comments before we get to the questions.

MR. HOLUM: I do. Thanks, Terry. First of all, let me say how happy I
am to be conversing with colleagues, interlocutors, in Russia and in
Ukraine, both key countries in the international arms control and
non-proliferation regimes.

I want to underscore, as the President and the Secretary of State did
in the clip, that the United States remains firmly committed to the
process of arms control and toward its ultimate objectives. This CTBT
[Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty] vote in the Senate, the test ban vote,
was a setback for us which we are working very hard to remedy with the
help of former chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, John Shalikashvili,
who is quietly working with members of the Senate to begin to answer
their concerns in a more deliberate way.

We also are continuing to work with Russia to pursue and complete the
strategic arms reduction process. It's very important -- and many
countries aren't aware of this -- that Russia and the United States
are both ahead of schedule in implementing the very large reductions
in the START I Treaty. And for the United States part, we have
eliminated 13,300 warheads and bombs. And that process is continuing
-- roughly 60 percent of all the weapons that were ever in the
stockpile or deployed have been taken out of existence.

We want to approach the ABM Treaty in a way that preserves the
benefits of the Treaty, that preserves arms control. We regard the ABM
Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability. The President has said
that many times. And our objective is to amend the Treaty in a way
that preserves its core values, that preserves its contribution to
strategic stability, at the same time as we equip ourselves to meet
new threats that have emerged since the Treaty was negotiated in 1972.
And we believe that can be done. As the President said, we want to do
that in a way that cooperates with our treaty partners.

In the meantime, I want to underscore in this program particularly at
this time we have a very urgent joint challenge in the arms control
and non-proliferation area, and that is the 2000 Review Conference for
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That will be held in New York
beginning next month, in the last part of April and the first part of
May. The NPT is an extremely important security instrument for all of
its members, the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon
states alike. This promises to be a contentious conference. But what
we need to underscore is that all countries benefit from the Treaty.
There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the pace of disarmament. I
think it's true the United States and Russia in particular are also
dissatisfied. We would like to move faster. But in the meantime, it
makes no sense to jeopardize the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
because of dissatisfaction over the pace of disarmament. The Treaty
serves the security interests of all of its members. Ukraine of course
has a particularly credible role in the NPT, because Ukraine
considered and then rejected the option of maintaining its own nuclear
forces. And that is given special credibility and strength of voice
in, for example, addressing the spread of nuclear weapons in South
Asia, as well as calling for the long-term future and protection of
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

So I am very happy to be here to engage in a discussion of these and
other issues. I would be happy now to take your questions.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, Mr. Holum, for that overview. I would now like
to welcome our participants in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev for the
interactive portion of our broadcast, as well as the rest of our
viewing audience. Moscow, you are first up, so please let's go ahead
with your first question in Moscow.

QUESTION: Could you possibly tell us how in Washington they are
assessing the idea of the new initiative in Russia on creating a
global system of monitoring or verification of missiles as one of the
ways of alternatives, or ways of raising strategic stability without
reviewing the ABM Treaty? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Thank you. Well, first, we don't consider it as an
alternative to reviewing the ABM Treaty, but as a supplement. I think
there are three basic approaches to the growing missile threat. One is
to prevent the threat and the initiative that Russia has taken falls
into that area. In addition, deterrence remains important, and we
certainly rely on that. Defense is a third element in cases where we
are not confident deterrence would work, and where we haven't been
successful in preventing the threat from emerging.

So we have been engaged with our Russian colleagues on the question of
GMS [Global Monitoring System]. We think there are some areas where we
can collaborate: on early warning, a number of other areas including
pre-notification of space launches, a number of other steps that are
already in train. We think it's important to pursue this in
collaboration with our partners in the Missile Technology Control
Regime. We also think there is some question about the viability of
trying to do a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with missile
proliferation. We think it's probably more sensible to collaborate on
regional or country-specific strategies that don't necessarily carry
over all the same inducements or disincentives from one part of the
world to another. But it's an area where we certainly want to
collaborate with Russia in terms of -- and with other partners -- in
terms of doing our best to prevent the threat. That is clearly the
preferable approach here.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, Moscow. Now let's move on to St. Petersburg
for our next question. St. Petersburg, please go ahead.

Q: Nikolai Duskov (ph), Izvestia, St. Petersburg. Mr. Holum, today
some of the Russian politicians, after what happened in Chechnya and
Yugoslavia, feel that the modern concept of defense for Russia does
not correspond to various treaties on limiting nuclear arms. Could you
say that there are feelings like this in the United States? And, if
so, how widespread are they? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: There are some elements on the political spectrum that have
doubts about any arms control agreements. They argue that agreements
can't be trusted, that you can't entrust your security to a piece of
paper. But I think that's a very small proportion of our political
system. By and large I think most of the leadership in the country
certainly, and the leadership of our political parties, agree that
arms control has an important contribution to make to national
security and to international stability.

I referred earlier to the test-ban vote in the Senate, and some have
taken that as a signal that the United States has lost interest in
arms control. I think there were some legitimate questions raised,
that Senators needed more information and there wasn't time to provide
it -- things like verification, on maintaining the stockpile -- that
we should address in a more deliberate way. I don't think that vote
signified a retreat from arms control in general. I think the option
that arms control offers -- as the START treaties have offered, to
verifiably remove and reduce the military balance in a reliable and
stable way -- offers immense security benefits. And I think that's
generally recognized.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, St. Petersburg. Now let's go on to Kiev for
your first question.

Q: Does the United States count on support from Ukraine on introducing
into the ABM Treaty certain amendments? And how about Kazakhstan,
Belarus, Ukraine on how the next ABM Treaty will look like? These have
not been ratified in some of these countries, and some of them don't
participate as full-fledged members of ABM. Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: As you know, the U.S. process for the succession agreement,
the Memorandum of Understanding on succession to the ABM Treaty, has
not yet been completed. We have not yet submitted that agreement to
the Senate, which by its terms and by our agreement with the Senate is
required before that agreement enters into force, along with the
demarcation agreement between national missile defenses, which the
Treaty now prohibits, and theater defenses, which it allows.

We are in the meantime briefing our colleagues in the Standing
Consultative Commission. Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus have been
participating in the processes of the SCC, the ABM Treaty implementing
body. I am hopeful that at some point that agreement will be ratified,
but at this stage the membership in the Treaty, and therefore the
membership in any successor agreement or modification to the treaty,
is still by the United States' standards unclear. It still remains to
be fully resolved.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, Kiev. Now let's return to Moscow for more
questions. Moscow, please go ahead.

Q: ABM on limiting strategic offensive weapons, on non-proliferation
of missile technology, on banning -- in other words, Non-Proliferation
Treaty. This is one of the packages of treaties. When we talk about
any individual treaty, whether we want to or not, we touch upon
another one. In other words, it's an integrated issue. How do you do
it so that this whole set can be moved to the international level? In
other words, to look at a package within the framework of, say, the
United Nations or some wider global body? Thank you. How do you view

MR. HOLUM: Well, there's no question, as I said earlier, that the ABM
Treaty is important to strategic stability. That's why the President
has made clear that we don't want to walk away from the ABM Treaty.
And what we are proposing with respect to the ABM Treaty is a very
limited set of adjustments that would allow for a first stage or a
first phase, very modest deployment designed to deal with the specific
threat that the intelligence community tells us is emerging within the
next four or five years: that is, the danger that North Korea will
develop an ICBM capable of reaching the United States, with a payload
including weapons of mass destruction.

Now, the ABM Treaty presently allows 100 interceptors. And in fact
Russia has an ABM system, an operating ABM system around Moscow. The
difference in what we are proposing is an amendment to the ABM Treaty
that would allow 100 interceptors, but to allow it to be part of a
national as opposed to a regional defense. So this isn't a dramatic
change in the ABM Treaty. It's a very precisely targeted set of
amendments that would allow a limited defense against new countries of
concern, while not upsetting the strategic balance between the United
States and Russia. This system would not have any significant
capability against Russia. And it is not aimed at Russia. What we have
been trying to do in our discussions is to demonstrate that.

So our whole interests -- and I think the U.S. and Russia have a
common interest here -- is to try to do this, to deal with new threats
in the context of the ABM Treaty, to preserve the Treaty, to preserve
the START process, and to recognize and to continue to value the
contributions of our own strategic arms reduction and arms control
process to what you describe correctly as an international web of
agreements that we all depend upon.

Q: Alexander -- (inaudible) -- newspaper. In the case that Russia
ratifies the START II Treaty, or is the United States prepared to move
to some sort of a compromise, and during the START III talks move to a
parity at a certain level, in other words, to move the talks into the
non-nuclear club? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Well, we certainly have made clear that once Russia
ratifies START II we are prepared to proceed with the START III
negotiations. In fact, we have already begun general discussions of
START III as well as the ABM issue at a variety of levels between the
United States and Russia. Remember that at Cologne, Germany, the
Cologne G-8 Summit last year, Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton agreed
that we would discuss in parallel -- not negotiate but discuss the
possibilities of amending the ABM Treaty, as well as the possible
elements of a START III Treaty. We are very anxious to get those
entire processes going, and we are very encouraged by reports that
Russia is moving up to consider the START II Treaty. We hope that
process will be successful so that we can get on with the next phase
of arms control.

I might add that Russia's action on START II would also have a very
significant effect on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review
conference in April and May, because it would demonstrate tangibly
that this strategic arms reduction process is continuing.

Now, where this will go will certainly be -- in START III -- will
certainly be to a lower level and parity in numbers. We have -- the
Helsinki agreement, which is the basis for START III, will take us
down to a range of 2,500 warheads, deployed warheads, on each side.
That's 80 percent below the levels that were in existence at the peak
of the Cold War. So there has been an enormous amount of progress. Too
few countries recognize how far we have gone, and I think part of our
challenge in the NPT review is to explain that.

The ultimate objective of this process is to get to the complete
elimination of nuclear weapons. I don't think we can put a timetable
on that, but I think the trend is very steeply downward, and that the
international community should be told about that and should take it
into account when it considers the success of the Non-Proliferation

Q: (Inaudible) -- speaking. Mr. Holum, why does the U.S. side feel it
necessary to solve the issue of nuclear threats from missiles from
North Korea by setting up new anti-ballistic missile system? Look, the
United States is carrying on with North Korea a dialogue with a
quadripartite and a bilateral level. What is the view of the United
States on all of this?

MR. HOLUM: That's a fair question, and a good one, because, as I said
earlier, the best solution is to prevent the threats from emerging.
You'd certainly save a lot of money if you don't have to act to defend
against them. So we have been devoting a lot of effort through the
Perry process and in other ways to try to prevent the threat in North
Korea from emerging. That's been true through multilateral efforts in
the Missile Technology Control Regime, as well as directly with North

The difficulty we face is the difference in time between how long it
takes to deploy a national missile defense and how quickly North Korea
might break out of any, or conceivably could break out of any
agreement not to continue its missile programs. As you know, there is
a moratorium on missile flight tests in place now that North Korea has
agreed to. It's not formal, but thus far they have withheld testing of
a new Taepodong missile, three-stage missile, that likely could reach
the United States. But it's hard to imagine any agreement under which
they would withhold further action with this missile that would give
us more than a few months' notice if they decided to reject that
agreement, break out of that agreement and proceed with the program.
In the meantime, it will take five years -- not just a few months, but
five years to build a national missile defense.

So our assessment based on what the intelligence community tells us is
that the North Korea danger is virtually there already, despite all of
our efforts to prevent it. That's why we think it's responsible to go
ahead with a very limited first phase system. Prevention has not
entirely succeeded.

Let me add that the fact that we have pursued non-proliferation
efforts with North Korea has not failed. It just has not been entirely
successful. But it has succeeded to the extent that we can address the
threat through a very limited system. If it hadn't been for
international constraints -- if North Korea had free access to
technology in the missile and nuclear realm -- then the kind of
limited defense we are talking about likely would not be feasible. So
we have pursued in a complementary way prevention, and are now looking
at defense. I think the efforts have been worth it, but they haven't
entirely succeeded. That's why we need to consider defense.

Q: (Inaudible) -- Itar-Tass. You are talking about -- you are saying
that in the ABM Treaty you are proposing to put in very modest
amendments. What are you going to do if Russia does not agree to
introducing these modest amendments to the ABM Treaty? Is the United
States going to unilaterally withdraw from ABM? And is this going to
take place before the new presidential elections?

MR. HOLUM: The primary objective of the discussions I have underway
and that Deputy Secretary Talbott, Secretary Albright and ultimately
the President have underway with our Russian counterparts, is to avoid
precisely that choice. I can't answer what the President will do if we
come to the time when he must make a decision on whether to proceed
with the national missile defense, but we haven't yet reached an
agreement with Russia.

My objective is not to speculate on what the President is likely to
do, but rather to try to avoid putting him in a position where he has
to choose between the treaty and the defense that he believes is
necessary to protect the American people.

Now, the negotiations, if they do become negotiations, will have a
window of time. The current timing is that the President would make a
decision sometime this summer based on four criteria: based on the
cost, based on technical feasibility, based on the threat and based on
the strategic environment, including arms control. We'll make sure
that he has the maximum amount of information on all of those
subjects. I can't predict how he will ultimately decide, but I think
it is in the United States' interests -- and it's also in Russia's
interests -- to avoid putting a U.S. president in a position where he
has to choose between defense and the Treaty. We can find a third way,
which is to continue the Treaty with modest amendments to allow the
defense to proceed. I think that strengthens the Treaty, because it
demonstrates, as we did in the demarcation agreement dealing with
capable theater defenses, that it is not a barrier to rational
adjustments dealing with new security situations. It seems to me the
real threat to the Treaty would be if we treated it as frozen in time
and unable to accommodate new serious security realities. So I hope we
can agree. I can't predict the outcome if we don't.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, Moscow. Let's now return to St. Petersburg for
our next set of questions. St. Petersburg, please go ahead.

Q: (Inaudible) -- newspaper. Tell us what is the result going to be in
a dialogue between Moscow and Washington, and what kind of concessions
you could possibly go. And what would Moscow demand in order to
introduce amendments to the ABM Treaty? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Well, I don't want to get into the specifics of our
discussions, because the negotiation process has to be confidential to
be effective. But what I will say is that we think it's -- there are
several ways we can proceed to help persuade Russia that this Treaty
amendment would not damage their security. One way is by pursuing
cooperative measures. We for example have talked about assistance to
Russia's early-warning network, and a number of other steps -- joint
satellite, senior satellite operation programs -- that would make this
a cooperative venture operationally in the same way as we are trying
to make it a cooperative venture diplomatically.

In addition to that, to demonstrate that the system would not be a
threat or capable against Russia, we are looking at new
confidence-building verification measures that might be employed. Keep
in mind that the ABM Treaty relies entirely now on national technical
means of verification. In 1972, when the Treaty was negotiated, we had
no real experience with on-site inspection and with additional kinds
of verification. Now through the START process, as well as the CFE
Treaty [Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty] and other agreements, we
have abundant experience and have developed a great deal of confidence
in on-site inspection measures. So those kinds of steps could also be
taken in the context of the ABM Treaty. So those measures I think
would help allay Russia's concerns, and also demonstrate that it's in
Russia's interests, given the location of the various missile programs
around the world, that it is in Russia's interests as well to explore
the possibility of missile defenses.

Q: Daniel -- (inaudible) -- weekly. Mr. Holum, in your conviction -- I
am citing now -- arms control is the basic principal of policy in the
United States. Does this mean that the human rights is no longer going
to be the principal foundation for U.S. policy overseas? In other
words, what I am saying is when you put arms control as the main stone
in your structure vis-a-vis other things -- Yugoslavia and the former
Soviet Union and what's being done by a superpower -- like Yugoslavia
-- it hurts human rights in Kosovo and other places, Chechnya and
Russia -- doesn't this seem to be a consequence of the United States
becoming no longer the leader in human rights? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: No, I am glad you raised that point, because I don't
describe arms control as the sole or the only essential element of
U.S. international policy. It's a keystone in our national security
strategy. It's not even exclusive in that area. Obviously we need to
also maintain strong defenses and a strong diplomatic capability to be
effective around the world. And I think human rights is and will
continue to be a key element of our strategy, basically because we
believe that countries who support and respect fundamental human
rights are less likely to go to war with each other, are more likely
to work out their disagreements in a peaceful way. So our security
strategy depends on human rights as well as on arms control, as well
as on strong defenses, as well as on an effective diplomatic
structure, and a variety of other kinds of international engagements.
These all work together. They are not in competition; they are
complementary to each other.

Q: (Inaudible.) Mr. Holum, I would like to continue the thought of my
colleague, but from a different aspect. In which way does a
successfully prosecuted ABM Treaty affect on the atmosphere in the
world if the sides in these treaties, U.S. and Russia, will out
diverse policies in various parts of the world -- in other words, in
the conflict of continental China vis-a-vis Taiwan, which is growing
today? In which way can these treaties help in getting both of these
superpowers into these conflict areas together? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Well, I think it's an important area of our collaboration.
It's very significant to me that the relationship between the United
States and Russia has broadened and has so many dimensions now that it
didn't have during the Cold War. At that time the entire dialogue
between the two countries was concentrated on avoiding the nuclear
holocaust that was inherent in the strategic arms race that we found
ourselves wound up in. And there was a considerable amount of progress
during that period, and most importantly we managed to avoid the worst
consequences of the large strategic arsenals we had in place.

Now our relationship I think is profoundly different. We still have
the mutual challenge of safely and carefully bringing down the
overhang of nuclear weapons built up during the Cold War. But we also
have the potential for collaboration in a variety of areas through the
affiliation of Russia through the Permanent Joint Council in the NATO
structure, through our routine discussions and collaborations on
issues like the Non-Proliferation Treaty, through our efforts to
dampen the fires of conflict and the risks of an arms race in South
Asia. So we have a much broader and much richer and more productive
relationship. The economic cooperation and the various endeavors in
health and agriculture that have been pursued between the commissions
operating at the prime minister and vice presidential level I think
have enriched our relationship.

So I think we have -- we are beginning to realize, although we haven't
fully -- the potential for productive collaboration on issues that
affect the livelihoods of both of our peoples, and also on issues that
can help make the world a more peaceful place.

When we have conversations in Moscow across the range of issues,
questions like China and the China-Taiwan question are routinely on
the agenda. We exchange views and I think benefit from each other's
thinking as we address all of these global concerns. The Middle East
Peace Process is another good example. Moscow just hosted an
international conference focused on the Middle East Peace Process. So
these are areas where I hope we can continue to collaborate and
further strengthen our cooperation.

Q: (Inaudible) -- Izvestia from St. Petersburg. Mr. Holum, I would
like to return to the issue which one of my colleagues had asked
earlier vis-a-vis Chechnya and Yugoslavia. Many politicians in Russia,
especially the radical ones, feel that the mutual understanding
between our countries stopped at the moment when the bombing started
in Yugoslavia. What do you feel? Is this really a dramatic moment in
relations between our countries, and did it not affect the policy of
the United States on its policy, and as a matter of fact that which is
happening in Chechnya as well? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: I don't think it affected U.S. policy on arms control. I
know that the disagreement over Kosovo had an impact for example on
Russia's process of ratifying START II, and that it concerns many
members of the Duma and other officials in Russia. We did have a
disagreement, a difference of opinion, on the appropriate approach to
what we saw as a brutal campaign of elimination against the Albanians
in the population in Kosovo and felt it was necessary to act.

At the same time, I think that difference was minimized or reduced
substantially by the fact that the process of achieving a cease-fire
in Kosovo was largely the work of Russia, in collaboration with the
United States and others. So I think the -- while we had a difference
over the initial engagement, that it has been resolved at least in
part by virtue of our close efforts together to try to bring the
conflict to an end, and by Russia's subsequent involvement in the
peace process.

Now, in the case of Chechnya, let me underscore that the United States
supports Russia's territorial integrity. We at the same time are very
much concerned because we see this in Russia's interests to have a
dialogue with Chechen leaders in order to bring the conflict to a
conclusion. This also bears, as you know, on our ability to bring in
the force to submit to the Senate as well as to other parliaments in
Europe the adaptations to the CFE Treaty, which depend in part on
Russia coming into compliance with the undertakings it made on the
flanks, which the Chechnya campaign has undercut.

So we are anxious to be supportive. We have obviously had serious
questions about the human rights aspects of the Chechnya conflict,
which the Secretary of State and others have voiced. But our main
interest there is to support Russia's territorial integrity and to
encourage a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, St. Petersburg. Now let's return to Kiev for
the next portion of our program. Kiev, please go ahead.

Q: (Inaudible.) Mr. Holum, why is the United States demanding or
insisting on the deployment of a limited anti-ballistic missile
defense system, the effectiveness which has not really been proved
yet. From three tests, only two have been successful, and the fourth
one has now been delayed or postponed because of technical problems
let's say. Russia will never allow the ABM regime to be changed.
Wouldn't it be easier for Washington to concentrate its efforts -- or
at least take the path that is being proposed by Canada, which is a
strategic partner of the U.S. Lloyd Axworthy yesterday -- their
foreign minister -- said that the missile shield so-called, which is
against the rogue states, will only increase the threat. This minister
feels that the best collective security guarantee of the world of
course would be the nuclear non-proliferation regime and stiffening
the control over nuclear technology. Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: I just can't agree with the proposition that the building
of defenses causes offenses to come into play. That's similar to
suggesting that if you open your umbrella it will start to rain. It
just doesn't seem to me that that necessarily follows.

What we are doing is dealing with a circumstance that is emerging
internationally, and the defense is a reaction rather than an
initiation of that process.

Now, you raised also the question of technology, and I want to
underscore that the technical feasibility of this system is very much
a part of the President's deliberation. The process will include a
careful deployment readiness review by the Secretary of Defense,
evaluating the results of the test program and the technical
feasibility of the system before the issue ever goes to the President.
So we will know that the system has great promise that it will work
before the decision to proceed is made.

Now, there is another reason why the decision is timely, or will be
timely this summer, and that is that the ABM Treaty requires us to
have an amendment in place before certain steps are taken. And the
decision-making has to precede that amendatory process in order to
meet the ultimate five-year deployment timetable, to have the system
in place by 2005. So you shouldn't assume that if we do a successful
flight test, and the President makes the decision to proceed that we
are going to ignore the results of another 10 or 15 or 20 flight tests
after that. There will be continuous test programs. The deployment
readiness review will basically be a decision that this system has
sufficient promise that we can safely proceed toward deployment.

MR. BAZYLUK: Mr. Holum, the last questioner mentioned the importance
of the non-proliferation regime, and I know that you mentioned earlier
the NPT review conference coming up next month. What would the United
States see as a successful outcome to that conference, and what roles
do you believe Ukraine and Russia could play in bringing that about?
And, most importantly, why do you believe they would want to -- why do
you believe that such an outcome is in their interests as well as the
United States?

MR. HOLUM: Well, the successful outcome I think would be one that
focuses on all the purposes of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Treaty does in Article VI support the disarmament process, and
that certainly should be part of the discussion in New York. But the
Treaty also has important benefits in the area of peaceful nuclear
cooperation that should be addressed in a complete way. And the
Treaty, most importantly, has benefits in the area of preventing the
spread of nuclear weapons to more countries. And we should examine
both the success and the failures, or lack of success of the Treaty in
the non-proliferation area.

One of the great successes of the Treaty has been Ukraine's decision
to forgo nuclear weapons and to become a leader in the international
non-proliferation process. But in addition to that, we need to look
candidly at cases where the Treaty hasn't been successful -- the South
Asia tests are a prominent example; the fact that the Treaty is not
yet universal, that India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba still remain
outside the Treaty. The conference should look at the enforcement
difficulties in the Middle East in the case of Iran, Iraq and in
Northeast Asia -- the doubts about North Korea's full compliance with
its Treaty obligations.

So what I am arguing for, and I think what we all have an interest in,
is a balanced review conference that examines all the purposes of the
Treaty fully and fairly. And that in the end reaffirms the importance
of the Treaty to the international security system. And that I think
is manifestly in Ukrainian and Russian and U.S. interests.

Q: Yes, Valentin Badrak (ph), Union Wire Service, Kiev. Mr. Holum, the
United States is carrying out a rather active negotiation process with
the purpose of affecting India and Pakistan in realizing their nuclear
programs. If it doesn't work, or if they somehow are not able to
affect them or convince them, can we expect appropriate sanctions
against these countries from the United States? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Yes. In fact, the sanctions are in place. We have refined
our sanctions decision-making, but the United States still is
maintaining for example export control sanctions against a number of
entities in India as well as in Pakistan that are involved in programs
of concern. So these sanctions are there for the long term, unless
there is progress.

We also are opposing international financial institution support to
India. We made a one-time exception for Pakistan because of its
economic distress. We don't want to see Pakistan collapse. But we also
insist on non-proliferation standards as part of our support for
lending through the international financial institutions.

Now, the tests in May 1998 did pose a serious challenge to the
non-proliferation effort. The South Asia Task Force -- which both
Russia and Ukraine are active participants in -- closely monitors
agreed benchmarks that would lead toward more normal relations. Those
include ultimate adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as
non-nuclear weapons states for both India and Pakistan. The diplomacy
that we have been engaged in in close consultation with our South Asia
Task Force partners has been focused on the near term. To avoid the
problem becoming worse as we work to resolve it for the long term
through NPT membership. That means we want to avoid the production of
more fissile material for weapons which would lead to an arms race or
facilitate an arms race. We want to stop nuclear testing. And of
course both countries have a moratorium in place presently. They
should join the Comprehensive Test Ban and make that a legally binding
commitment. We want them to deal with the risks that their technology
will leak out to other countries. So we want them to strengthen their
export control systems.

And perhaps the hardest, but I think the most important part, is we
want them to exercise restraint in their nuclear and missile
capabilities. The great risk in South Asia grows from the fact that
they are very close to each other. They are right next door. During
the Cold War the United States and the former Soviet Union would have
had 30 minutes or so of warning of a war breaking out, of a missile
being launched. India and Pakistan would have virtually no warning.
And under those circumstances you can see how having deployed nuclear
forces would create an incentive almost for one side to strike first
to avoid having this nuclear capability wiped out if the other side
struck first. So in moments of tension there would be virtually a hair
trigger on nuclear war. That's why we think it's especially important
in the near term to avoid deployment of missile and nuclear
capabilities. And that's the fourth of the elements that Deputy
Secretary Strobe Talbott been pursuing through 10 rounds of
discussions with India and Pakistan.

The President's trip as you know has featured non-proliferation
prominently on the agenda. So we are not backing away from this effort
at all. We are in it for the long term. And we obviously are very
dependent and appreciative of the engagement as well of Ukraine and

Q: (Inaudible) -- People's Army Daily. During the dialogue most of the
focus was concentrated on the security of the United States and
Russia. I would like to attract your attention to the fact that we
have somehow forgotten the interests of Ukraine, because Ukraine has
given itself its own security over to others, and now there is an
increasing concern for its security. In other words, security is
lessening, because the United States does so-and-so on ABM, Russia
responds. They are using possibly other warheads, new warheads, et
cetera. What role should the Ukraine be playing here? I mean, if it
takes the position of the United States, then Russia will press it on
gas. If it takes -- various contracts might be affected if we take
Russia's side. Credits for instance from the West -- there will be
difficulties. Correspondingly, I would like to ask you to model a
situation with this kind of pressure. The economy of Ukraine will
fall. I mean, maybe we could end up as a dictatorship. Maybe in Russia
you might see that -- I don't know -- India, Pakistan and all the
other countries together don't have as much nuclear warheads say as
the Ukraine had. Now Ukraine eliminated 176 of its warheads, a lot of
its bombers, et cetera. Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Thank you. I think first of all what I would like to stress
is the United States greatly values its strategic partnership with
Ukraine, and we regard that as a serious and continuous effort -- not
a one-time arrangement. So we are very much interested in Ukraine's

What we argued, and I think what Ukraine concluded when it joined the
Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state, was that its
security was better served by becoming a part of the international
structure, by aligning itself with countries who were interested in
removing rather than increasing nuclear dangers. And I -- I know
Ukraine has enormous difficulties, economic and otherwise. You have a
very hard task of deciding a course of action with your neighbor in
Russia, and your friendship with a number of Western countries,
including the United States. I don't minimize the complications of
balancing all those concerns for Ukraine, but I would argue very
strongly that when Ukraine chose to be a non-nuclear country it made
the right choice for its own security.

If you just compare Ukraine's circumstances now in a strategic
security context with that of, say, India and Pakistan, who are
isolated, who have earned the condemnation of the world, and who have
now an increasingly tense situation between each other, I think
Ukraine for all of its challenges is immensely better off because of
the choice it made.

MR. BAZYLUK: Well, Mr. Holum, I am afraid we are almost out of time.
Do you have any brief closing thoughts before we say good-bye?

MR. HOLUM: Well, I'll be very brief, because I think we have covered a
broad range of issues in considerable depth here today. I just want to
compliment the participants in Moscow and in St. Petersburg and in
Kiev for some very probing insightful and thoughtful questions. I have
enormously valued this dialogue, and it wouldn't have been possible if
everyone who participated hadn't taken it very seriously, hadn't
prepared for it carefully, and hadn't raised questions that go to the
heart of our decision-making on ABM, on the NPT Review Conference, on
nuclear proliferation generally, and on global security and stability.
So I just want to say thank you to all those who contributed their
questions and comments during the course of what I found to be a very
enlightening and useful hour-long discussion.

MR. BAZYLUK: Well, I am afraid we have run out of time, even if we
haven't run out of questions. I would like to thank our distinguished
guest here in the studio, John Holum, once again for joining us, as
well as our participants in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev for some
very perceptive questions. From Washington, I'm Terry Bazyluk. From
everyone here in Studio 48, thanks for watching. We hope to see you
next time for another edition of Worldnet's "Dialogue."

(end transcript)

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