The negotiations resulted in the Agreement that was signed in Washington September 15, 1987, by Secretary of State Shultz and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze.
Under the Agreement, which is of unlimited duration, each party agreed to establish a Nuclear Risk Reduction Center in its capital and to establish a special facsimile communications link between these Centers. These Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers became operational on April 1, 1988. The American National Center (known as the NRRC) is located in Washington, D.C. in the Department of State. The Soviet National Center became the Russian National Center with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and is located in Moscow in the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense.
The Centers are intended to supplement existing means of communication and provide direct, reliable, high-speed systems for the transmission of notifications and communications at the Government-to-Government level. The Centers communicate by direct satellite links that can transmit rapidly full texts and graphics. In this respect, the Centers have a communications capability very similar to -- but separate from -- the modernized "Hot Line," which is reserved for Heads of Government.
The Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers do not replace normal diplomatic channels of communication or the "Hot Line," nor are they intended to have a crisis management role. The principal function of the Centers is to exchange information and notifications as required under various arms control treaties and other confidence-building agreements.
There are two protocols to the NRRC Agreement. Protocol I identifies the notifications the parties agreed to exchange. These include ballistic missile launches required under Article 4 of the 1971 Agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War and under paragraph 1 of Article VI of the 1972 Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents on and over the High Seas.
The Agreement provides that the list of notifications transmitted through the Centers may be altered by agreement between the Parties as relevant new agreements are reached. Since the Agreement was signed, the Parties have additionally agreed to exchange through the Centers inspection and compliance notifications, as well as other information, required under the INF Treaty, and notifications called for under the Ballistic Missile Launch Notification Agreement.1
The Centers may be used for the transmission by either side of additional communications as a display of "good-will" and with a view to building confidence.
Protocol II establishes the technical specifications of the communications and facsimile links, the operating procedures to be employed, and the terms for transfer of, and payment for, equipment required by the system.2
To help ensure the smooth operation of the Centers, the Agreement calls for regular meetings at least once a year between representatives of the two national centers to discuss operation of the system.
1 Additionally, the Parties have agreed to use the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers to transmit notifications under the following: the Agreement on Advance Notification of Major Strategic Exercises; the START I and START II Treaties, the Wyoming MOU; the Threshold Test Ban Treaty; and the Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes Treaty. Both the American and Russian Centers have also assumed responsibility for their governments in transmitting messages related to the CFE Treaty, the CSBM notifications under Vienna Document 94 and the Open Skies Treaty via the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Communications Network.
2 Both Parties have agreed to a modernization of communications equipment that updates the
terminal equipment (replacing the facsimile capability with scanned files transfer) and should
become fully operational in late 1995. Under separate agreements with Belarus, Kazakstan, and
Ukraine, the U.S. NRRC operates similar communications links with those countries in support
of the START I and INF Treaties.
The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties,
Affirming their desire to reduce and ultimately eliminate the risk of outbreak of nuclear war, in particular, as a result of misinterpretation, miscalculation, or accident,
Believing that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,
Believing that agreement on measures for reducing the risk of outbreak of nuclear war serves the interests of strengthening international peace and security,
Reaffirming their obligations under the Agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of September 30, 1971, and the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Prevention of Incidents on and over the High Seas of May 25, 1972,
Have agreed as follows:
Each Party shall establish, in its capital, a national Nuclear Risk Reduction Center that shall operate on behalf of and under the control of its respective Government.
The Parties shall use the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers to transmit notifications identified in Protocol I which constitutes an integral part of this Agreement.
In the future, the list of notifications transmitted through the Centers may be altered by agreement between the Parties, as relevant new agreements are reached.
The Parties shall establish a special facsimile communications link between their national Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in accordance with Protocol II which constitutes an integral part of this Agreement.
The Parties shall staff their national Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers as they deem appropriate, so as to ensure their normal functioning.
The Parties shall hold regular meetings between representatives of the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers at least once each year to consider matters related to the functioning of such Centers.
This Agreement shall not affect the obligations of either Party under other agreements.
This Agreement shall enter into force on the date of its signature.
The duration of this Agreement shall not be limited.
This Agreement may be terminated by either Party upon 12 months written notice to the other Party.
DONE at Washington on September 15, 1987, in two copies, each in the English and Russian languages, both texts being equally authentic.
FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
George P. Shultz
FOR THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS:
Eduard A. Shevardnadze