Title: "US Urges Vigilance Against Missile Proliferation." Remarks by Reginald Bartholomew, Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs, at the opening session of
a meeting of the 18-nation Missile Technology Regime. (911105)
11/05/91 HU.S. URGES VIGILANCE AGAINST MISSILE PROLIFERATION SH(Text: Bartholomew remarks before MTCR) (1060)
TWashington -- Nations which have united in an effort to halt the proliferation of missile technology "must remain vigilant and continue to examine areas of potential weakness" in the regime they have set up for that purpose, a high-ranking State Department official says.
Speaking at the opening session of a meeting of the 18-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) November 5, Reginald Bartholomew, under secretary of state for international security affairs, recalled that during the Persian Gulf war, Iraq's use of missiles against civilian targets "brought home to all of us the nature of the threat posed by the unscrupulous possession of missile technologies."
Bartholomew said MTCR "stands as a bulwark against the flow of (such) technology from our countries to those who would use missiles to threaten international security."
In reducing East-West export controls in conjunction with the end of the Cold War, he cautioned the delegates, "we must ensure that we do not inadvertently create opportunities for proliferation."
The U.S. official also reminded participants in the meeting of the "active efforts of some countries to sell ballistic missiles to volatile regions" and the efforts of others "to acquire missiles and even to build their own systems."
The eight-year-old Missile Technology Control Regime is a cooperative arrangement by which the members agree to stem the proliferation of equipment and technology necessary to construct ballistic and cruise missiles.
Nations in the regime have agreed to implement its guidelines -- and the accompanying equipment and technology list of covered items -- in accordance with each country's national laws.
At the November 5-7 meeting, the delegates will focus on information sharing, possible guideline revisions of technology covered by the agreement, and the issue of assurances on end use/transfer of missile technology.
The MTCR member nations are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and United States.
Following is a text of Bartholomew's remarks, as prepared for delivery:
I welcome you all to Washington for this plenary meeting of the Missile Technology Control Regime. It was in this very room, eight years ago, that the first multilateral conference on missile technology control occurred.
The world has changed in ways beyond the imagining of those who assembled here eight years ago. We are collectively passing through a great phase of history, one marked by profound change and transition. It is an age of great promise and great uncertainty.
In this transitional period, the international commitments represented by the MTCR assume a heightened importance. The regime stands as a bulwark against the flow of technology from our countries to those who would use missiles to threaten international security.
The eruption of conflict in the Persian Gulf brought home to all of us the nature of the threat posed by the unscrupulous possession of missile technologies. This conflict, in which we witnessed Iraq's missiles striking civilian targets, demonstrated to us one possible scenario for the future. And this is not merely a theoretical scenario, given the active efforts of some countries to sell ballistic missiles to volatile regions, and the active efforts of other countries to acquire missile and even to build their own systems. The nations assembled here, the members of the MTCR, confront the challenge of ensuring that this scenario is not the one that dominates our future.
Your work here, then, is all the more important for the challenge it must meet.
Our efforts to stem proliferation must be more unified to become more effective. Through an increasingly harmonized approach, we can act decisively and give our control efforts more teeth. To start down this road, we need a better understanding of how each country implements the regime using its national policies. And I am pleased to note that a good portion of the proceedings of this plenary meeting is devoted to this process of information-sharing on matters of implementation.
I am heartened to see that membership in this vital body has increased yet again since the last plenary in Tokyo. In that regard I would like to take this moment to welcome our newest members, Sweden and Finland. Each new member strengthens the regime by widening the circle of governments committed to making it increasingly difficult for proliferating countries to procure items necessary to their missile programs.
There are still more countries we as a group would like to see join us, and even more that have indicated a desire for membership. I know you will address membership issues in your deliberations here, and will grapple with the very real issue of how to usefully expand the membership of our regime without fundamentally altering its character or undercutting its utility. I look forward to hearing a report of your efforts in this regard.
We also must redouble our efforts to ensure that all countries, whether they be partners of the regime or not, make adherence to the regime guidelines a cardinal element of their national policies. I can assure you that adherence to the guidelines is a prominent point in my discussions with many important non-member governments.
I understand you have just concluded a thorough updating of the regime's equipment and technology annex. I applaud this effort, which strikes to the heart of how the regime is able to keep its controls current and appropriate to the evolving proliferation threat. But of course I realize that important technical matters remain to be considered.
A final challenge I see confronting the regime is a paradoxical one: to ensure that we do not become victims of our own success. As we improve controls in one area, proliferators move to exploit others. So we must remain vigilant and continue to examine areas of potential weakness in our controls. Also, in reducing the East-West export controls as a result of the free world's great success in winning the Cold War, we must ensure that we do not inadvertently create opportunities for proliferation.
I have seen your agenda. You have much to do. And while the task is daunting, I exhort you to work hard at finding the solutions we need to make the MTCR ever more effective.
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