Created August 13, 1992


Listed below are some of the key events in the chemical weapons negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament or CD (and its predecessors, the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament, and the Committee on Disarmament), which have brought us to the point where it is possible to foresee the signing of a Chemical Weapons Convention this year.

March 15, 1962 - The United States and the Soviet Union submit plans for general and complete disarmament to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee which include provisions for eliminating chemical and biological weapons.

August 15, 1968 - Chemical weapons are placed on the agenda of the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (CCD) in Geneva.

June 27 - July 3, 1974 - At the Moscow Summit, the United States and the Soviet Union agree to hold bilateral talks in an effort to develop a joint proposal, to be submitted to the CCD, on the prohibition of chemical weapons.

March 17, 1980 - The Ad Hoc Working group on Chemical Weapons is established in the Committee on Disarmament (CD). (The CD is the successor to the CCD.)

February 4, 1983 - Vice President Bush announces at the CD the following US requirements for a verifiable prohibition on the production, stockpiling, and transfer of chemical weapons:

June 1983 - The United States presents a paper at the CD showing how stockpile destruction can be verified. The US approach combines extensive use of on-site instruments with continuous monitoring by international inspectors.

August 23, 1983 - The United States invites CD member and observer delegations to participate in a workshop at the US chemical weapons destruction test bed facility at Tooele, Utah. The Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact (except Romania) decline the invitation.

November 14-16, 1983 - Fifty diplomats from 30 CD nations attend the Chemical Weapons Verification Workshop at Tooele, Utah.

April 18, 1984 - At the Conference on Disarmament (the new title for the Committee on Disarmament), Vice President Bush presents a US draft treaty that provides for a worldwide ban on the development, acquisition, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. The plan calls for systematic on-site inspection of chemical weapon facilities to ensure compliance.

The Soviet Union dismisses the US draft treaty immediately. However, it is essentially the 1984 draft which becomes the basis of discussion for the Ad Hoc Working Group of the CD. The document, reflecting agreed changes as a result of the CD negotiations, is informally referred to as the "rolling text."

July 10, 1986 - The United States provides to the Conference on Disarmament information about its chemical weapons stockpiles and storage site locations -- the first CD member to do so.

August 6, 1987 - The Soviet Foreign Minister addresses the CD, accepting the principle of mandatory challenge inspections without the right of refusal. He invites the CD delegations to Shikany military facility and extends a future invitation to the CW destruction facility under construction near Chapayevsk. On October 3-4, 1987, a multilateral delegation from the CD visits the Soviet CW installation at Shikany to view munitions and a mobile destruction site.

July 28, 1988 - In a speech to the CD, US Ambassador Max Friedersdorf declares the location of all US CW production facilities and outlines plans for their elimination under a CW ban. The US calls on the Soviet Union and other states to do the same.

February 21-23, 1989 - The United States conducts a trial inspection of a private American chemical production plant. This is part of an experiment to develop procedures for a routine inspection regime, which would satisfy confidence and security requirements without significantly disrupting the civilian chemical industry.

The Soviet Union and other members of the CD subsequently conduct similar trial inspections of their own chemical industry.

February 7-9, 1990 - Secretary of State Baker and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze agree on a framework for action to expedite the negotiation at the CD for a Chemical Weapons Convention.

June 1, 1990 - At the Washington Summit, Presidents Bush and Gorbachev sign the US/Soviet Agreement on Destruction and Non-Production of CW and on Measures to Facilitate the Multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Key provisions of this important accord are:

May 13, 1991 - President Bush announces a new series of steps to strengthen the prospects of an early successful conclusion of the Chemical Weapons Convention. To this end the President declared that the US would take the following actions:

July 15, 1991 - The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan jointly table a draft Challenge Inspection proposal at the CD, followed by a US proposal on handling inspection of declared facilities.

March 19, 1992 - Australian Foreign Minister Garth Evans presents a draft treaty offering compromise solutions to outstanding issues as a basis for early completion of the CD negotiations. The US applauds the Australian effort and supports the process it represents. The Australian text differs from US positions on a number of important issues. The US, however, expresses hope that it will aid resolution of remaining issues and permit completion of the CWC in 1992 -- as President Bush has repeatedly urged.

June 22, 1992 - The Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Chemical Weapons at the CD, Adolph Ritter von Wagner of Germany, in an effort to speed the process, released a draft "final text" for consideration. This draft is a complete text and embodies consensus compromises as well as the Chairman's own proposed compromise language on unresolved major issues.

June 26, 1992 - The second CD session concluded with meetings during the last few days devoted to the Chairman's explanations of the new text.

July 20, 1992 - The CD resumes.

July 23, 1992 - The United States accepts the Chairman's draft Chemical Weapons Convention.

August 7, 1992 - Chairman von Wagner puts forth a package of changes to the draft Convention in an effort to satisfy the concerns of some members of the CD.

August 13, 1992 - President Bush announces strong United States support for the draft Chemical Weapons Convention completed at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The President states that the US is committed to be an original party to the treaty once it is open for signing, and calls on all other nations to support the treaty and to pledge adherence to it.

The Chemical Weapons Convention, when concluded, will ban the production, acquisition, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons.