USIS Washington File

12 April 2000

Text: State Dept.'s Holum on Multilateral Export Controls

(U.S. continues pressing for stronger regime, he says) (2560)

John Holum, the State Department's senior adviser for arms control,
says that the United States continues pressing to strengthen the
Wassenaar Arrangement multilateral regime for controlling exports of
advanced technology and conventional armaments.

In April 12 testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs
Committee, Holum said the United States wants more disclosure by
Wassenaar members about the exports they approve.

Now a Wassenaar member discloses a decision undercutting another
member's denial of an export license only for the most-sensitive
items. Holum said the United States wants the undercutting provision
applied more broadly.

He said the United States also wants Wassenaar agreements on
controlling portable surface-to-air missiles.

The Wassenaar Arrangement succeeded the much more powerful Cold
War-era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls
(COCOM). Holum said the annual Wassenaar meeting in December
demonstrated that the 33 members are converging more on ways to make
the regime more responsible, transparent and accountable.

"This is a noteworthy achievement after just four years," he said.
"Nonetheless, significant national differences remain, both in
substance and procedure, that will require patient persuasion and
diplomacy to resolve."

He said the best way for the United States to achieve its
export-control objectives is in multilateral regimes such as

The United States must realize that it cannot regain the veto of other
countries' proposed exports as it had under COCOM.

"Our allies simply would not agree to it," he said.
Following are terms and abbreviations used in the text:

-- COCOM: Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls.

-- dual-use goods: goods with both civilian and military applications.

-- WA: Wassenaar Arrangement.

-- WMD: weapons of mass destruction.

-- Australia Group: multilateral export-control regime for chemical
and biological weapons.

Following is the text of Holum's testimony as submitted for the
committee's record:

(begin text) 

Statement of John D. Holum
Senior Adviser for Arms Control and
International Security
Department of State
Before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee

Wassenaar Arrangement and the Future of Multilateral Export Controls

The Department of State appreciates this opportunity to discuss the
Wassenaar Arrangement and the future of multilateral export controls.
I am encouraged by congressional interest in this important subject,
and look forward to working closely with the Committee on this and
other multilateral export control issues. I would like to begin my
testimony by describing the Wassenaar Arrangement, then discussing
Wassenaar's strengths and weaknesses.

It is important to note at the outset that Wassenaar is not, and
cannot be, COCOM. COCOM, and other multilateral control mechanisms
faced a clearly defined, mutually agreed strategic threat, and
addressed that threat by embargoing exports of arms and sensitive dual
use items to proscribed destinations. Along with our allies, we agreed
upon procedures for controlling exports to these destinations,
including allowing for any nation to veto a specific export.

The end of the Cold War, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, moves
toward democracy and market-based economies in the former Warsaw Pact,
deep cuts in the strategic arsenals of both sides, and the goal of
assisting economic and political reform in East Europe, Russia and the
other newly independent states -- rather than retarding their economic
development -- all led our allies to the view that the COCOM,
arrangement had outlived its strategic rationale and could not be
sustained. The U.S. eventually joined this view when it became clear
that our trading partners would no longer agree to follow the
procedures outlined in the COCOM arrangement. In the waning days of
COCOM, the U.S. sought to preserve the controls for as long as
possible, and pushed to establish a new worldwide arrangement to cover
conventional arms and related technologies. It was only through U.S.
leadership that we were able to stem the flow of arms and sensitive
technologies to places such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Libya,
destinations largely ignored by the former COCOM.

The world has changed for the better. Many of the targets of COCOM now
are members of Wassenaar, as well as trading partners, friends, and in
some cases treaty allies.

Our former COCOM partners recognize that responsible national export
controls and policies remained indispensable to promote international
peace and security in the post-Cold War environment, even though they
opposed, and continue to oppose, any COCOM-like control regime.
Despite this broad agreement, it was only through persistent and
strong U.S. leadership that COCOM members, eventually with
participation by Russia, designed a new multilateral export control
regime to address the new challenges posed by regional instability and
states whose behavior threatened international security.

That new regime is the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) -- the first global,
multilateral arrangement covering both conventional weapons and
sensitive dual-use goods and technologies. It was negotiated and
established in the mid-1990s at the same time that COCOM was
disbanded, when it became apparent that the Cold War's East-West
export controls no longer were appropriate. However, Iraq's buildup of
arms before the Gulf War demonstrated the need for some form of global
export regime and the Wassenaar Arrangement responded to this
challenge by covering more than just dual-use items, as had been
COCOM's focus. The Wassenaar Arrangement received final approval by 33
co-founding countries in July 1996, and began operations in September

The WA is designed to prevent destabilizing accumulations of arms and
dual-use goods and technologies. The Arrangement encourages
transparency, responsibility, consultation and, where appropriate,
national policies of restraint. In doing so, the WA fosters
accountability in transfers of arms and dual use goods and
technologies. The Arrangement also provides a venue in which
governments can consider collectively the implications of various
transfers on their international and regional security interests. It
also seeks to enhance cooperation to prevent dangerous transfers.

WA members maintain export controls on items covered by the Wassenaar
Munitions and Dual Use lists. These lists regularly are reviewed by
experts of the Participating States and revised as needed. However,
the decision to transfer or deny any controlled item remains the
responsibility of individual member states. There are not, as there
were in COCOM, case-by-case prior reviews of proposed exports to
proscribed destinations, or vetoes on proposed exports. To facilitate,
meeting the WA'S principal objective of preventing destabilizing
accumulations, members report on their decisions to transfer or deny
to non-members certain classes of weapons and dual-use technologies.
Again unlike COCOM, Wassenaar members are not constrained to honor
each other's denials, but consultations are encouraged in such cases.

In order to enhance transparency in arms transfers, Wassenaar members
report semiannually on their deliveries to non-members of seven
weapons categories derived from the UN Register of Conventional Arms.
These categories are Battle Tanks, Armored Combat Vehicles, Large
Calibre Artillery Systems, Combat Aircraft, Attack Helicopters,
Warships, and Missiles and Missile Launchers.

In order to promote transparency and like-mindedness, Wassenaar
members also report on their transfers to non-members of dual use
goods. The Wassenaar List of Dual Use Goods and Technologies consists
of a Basic List of controlled items, on which members semiannually
report aggregated license denials. The Basic List is subdivided into a
Sensitive List of technologies on which members report individual
denials of licenses within 30-60 days. In addition to these individual
denials, members also report semiannually aggregated numbers of
licenses issued or transfers made. Finally, the Sensitive List is
further subdivided into a Very Sensitive List, consisting of
technology subject to extreme vigilance in national licensing

Although no country is an explicit target of the WA, members are
committed to dealing firmly with states whose behavior is a cause for
serious concern. There is broad agreement that these states presently
are Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea. Wassenaar members deal with
these "countries of concern" by preventing, through shared national
policies of restraint, their acquisition of armaments and sensitive
dual use goods and technologies for military end-use.

Wassenaar provides for the first tine a global mechanism for
controlling transfers of conventional armaments, and a forum in which
governments can examine and debate the implications of various
transfers on their international and regional security interests. It
also calls attention to potentially destabilizing accumulations of
weapons, and to situations that may call for concerted actions.

The United States works actively within this unique forum to advance
our national interests. Wassenaar has addressed such topics as the
conflict in Sudan, North Korea's weapons production programs, Iran's
conventional arms procurement objectives, arms flows to areas of
conflict in Africa, and the situation in Kosovo. At the December 1996
Plenary meeting, members issued a public statement confirming that
they do not transfer arms or ammunition to Afghanistan. In 1997,
members reiterated the need to exercise maximum restraint when
considering licenses for the export of sensitive items to destinations
where the risks are judged greatest. This statement was refined in
1998 to include regions in conflict. In 1999 members discussed Small
Arms/Light Weapons and the possibility of developing common export
guidelines for man-portable Surface-to-Air missiles (MANPADS). They
agreed to a modest increase in arms transparency, and reaffirmed their
policies of "maximum restraint" regarding arms exports to areas of

Wassenaar is more than just a forum for discussion. The United States
has helped establish and maintain Wassenaar's control lists, has
benefited from sharing data on arms and technology transfers, and has
gained insight into the policies and positions of other members. It
has also served to promote and reinforce strong norms of responsible
export behavior, which over time has encouraged restraint.

As head of the U.S. delegation to the 1999 Wassenaar Plenary meeting,
I am well aware that the Arrangement falls short of U.S. goals in some
important areas. We would like to see more transparency in both arms
and duel use transfers, more targeted information sharing, more
discussion of common problems and possible solutions, as well as some
form of a no-undercut provision for dual use denials. We would like to
get agreement on guidelines for MANPADS transfers, controls on
brokering, and possibly an arms transfer code of conduct.

These are ambitious, but attainable, goals. I observed at the Plenary
that national views increasingly are converging around the ideas of
responsibility, transparency and accountability. This is a noteworthy
achievement after just four years. Nonetheless, significant national
differences remain, both in substance and procedure, that that will
require patient persuasion and diplomacy to resolve.

We are well aware of the strong advantages to a veto-type arrangement
but it is critical to recognize that we will never be able to impose
one unilaterally. Our allies simply would not agree to it.
Additionally, a veto-style arrangement could actually harm U.S.
exporters by increasing dramatically license processing times by
requiring coordination with as many as 33 countries, ceding to those
outside the regimes the ability to respond in a more timely manner. It
is also important to recognize that in many fields, the U.S. is the
leader technologically; we do not believe that it would be
advantageous to delegate to other countries whose industries are not
as advanced as the U.S. the right to determine which sales can and
cannot be made.

The Future of Wassenaar

As you prepare for your upcoming travel to Europe. I would recommend
looking to the future, rather than the past. Wassenaar is a product of
the post-Cold War period, and faces a dramatically different security
environment than institutions developed during that period.

In the new global economy we must lead by example. I believe we have
made solid steps in this direction, and that a consensus is emerging
among Wassenaar partners that reflects their commitment to responsible
transfers. This commitment already is implemented in the national
policies of Wassenaar partners, and ultimately is what unites us. The
most effective way to achieve U.S. objectives is to continue to act
collectively to assess the risks, and to coordinate policies.

The Wassenaar Arrangement provides a unique venue for the evaluation,
coordination and cooperation that can yield a safer, more peaceful
international environment. We will continue to make a concerted effort
in this forum to foster greater like-mindedness as we examine
sensitive transfers, assess the risks, and determine appropriate
responses at the national level.

The Future of Multilateral Export Controls

While arms and sensitive dual-use technology transfers to State
sponsors of terrorism have dropped dramatically since the beginning of
the decade, we must continue our work to constrain the ability of
these countries to develop weapons of mass destruction and advanced
conventional weapons. Recognizing that the spread of weapons of mass
destruction and sophisticated conventional arms is the most important
security threat in the post-Cold War world, the role of the
multilateral nonproliferation regimes has now shifted to focus on the
behavior of programs of proliferation concern and the entities that
supply and procure for them, rather than targeting particular
recipient countries.

Our export control system for the post-Cold War world responds to
these new security threats. We have emphasized broadening
international adherence to our non-proliferation and export control
goals. Especially since 1991, significant strides have been made in
strengthening the contributions of export controls to nuclear
nonproliferation. Moreover, memberships in both the Zangger Committee
and the Nuclear Suppliers Group together now include all of the
significant nuclear supplier states and almost all relevant suppliers
are members of the other regimes. Increasingly, countries that had
been contributing to the proliferation problem -- such as Argentina,
Brazil and South Africa -- are becoming part of the solution.

With the backing of Congress, we have been able to assist former
Warsaw Pact countries with weak border controls and weaker legislation
to bolster their resources and to resist commercial incentives to
trade in sensitive dual-use items, arms, and components of WMD. Our
overall approach has been to:

-- Reduce the demand for dangerous weapons and technologies through
support for international non-proliferation norms and through
strategies to reduce regional instability;

-- Pursue a multilateral approach to achieving our nonproliferation
goals through the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the
Australia Group (AG), and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG);

-- Implement and further strengthen the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA),
and use the WA to promote responsible transfers of arms, sensitive
duel-use goods, and related technology, and require transparency in
such transfers;

-- Work with key suppliers, transshipment centers, and intermediaries
that are not members of the nonproliferation regimes to adopt export
policies and practices compatible with international standards,
thereby increasing the number of countries, as described in the draft
EAA, "whose policies and activities are consistent with the
objectives" of the regimes; and

-- Retain the ability to impose unilateral controls in those limited
and extreme circumstances that may require them.

We also continue the effort to reduce demand for dangerous weapons
through regional diplomacy -- as in the North Korea, the Middle East
and South Asia -- to respond to the underlying sources of stability
and insecurity.

I would like to thank the Committee for the opportunity to address
this timely topic. Any form of export control requires difficult and
delicate compromises. Multilateral export controls multiply these
difficulties, but also multiply the rewards. The fact that so many
countries participate in these regimes, and try to improve them, says
that the rewards outweigh the difficulties. I look forward to working
further with you on this important subject.

(end text)

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