ACCESSION NUMBER:357489 FILE ID:EUR407 DATE:08/18/94 TITLE:EXPERTS TESTIFY ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (08/18/94) TEXT:*94081801.PFE *EUR407 08/18/94 EXPERTS TESTIFY ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (Disagree on ratification) (650) By David Pitts USIA Staff Writer Washington -- Two leading arms control experts August 18 urged Senate ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Michael Moodie, president of the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute, and Amy Smithson, a senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center, both said that ratification, on balance, is in the security interest of the United States. "The CWC is not a perfect document for any of the 39 states at the Conference on Disarmament involved in the negotiations, including the United States. Yet, more than 150 nations have signed the CWC as a sign that they deem the convention to be in their national interest," Moodie remarked. Moodie said the CWC meets U.S. security needs in four important respects: -- It establishes "a global norm against which the behavior of states in the international community can be measured." -- It creates "an important legal regime criminalizing a range of behavior deemed unacceptable by the international community and providing a concrete basis for action against those involved in illicit activity." -- It represents "a lever to mobilize the international community in the face of chemical weapons threats." -- It poses "a deterrent to those contemplating pursuit of a chemical weapons program," by making it more difficult and costly to pursue. Under questioning, Moodie said that monitoring the evolution of chemical weapons programs "will continue to be a challenge" for U.S. intelligence agencies. "As we get the CWC up and running, we must also guard against complacency," he added. Smithson stressed the importance of U.S. ratification of the treaty in helping to get Russia on board. "Since the Russian parliament is also now considering the convention and its associated implementing legislation, U.S. ratification will help apply pressure from within and without for Russian ratification," she remarked. "Reformers in Russia who support the treaty can argue that Russia, which inherited the world's largest chemical weapons stockpile, must reciprocate with punctual ratification," she added. In addition, Smithson said the ratification of the treaty would provide "sorely needed access" to get "to the bottom of questions regarding ongoing Russian chemical weapons programs." However, "concurrent with ratification, the United States should unmistakably express its expectations that Russia be more forthcoming regarding its chemical and biological weapons programs," she noted. Smithson also acknowledged concerns that there is no totally foolproof method of preventing production of chemical weapons. But she stressed what she called the centerpiece of the convention's verification protocol -- "the ability to conduct 'suspect site' inspections." Two dissenting views were offered by Frank Gaffney Jr., director of the 1enter for Security Policy, and Kathleen Bailey, a senior fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Both counseled against ratification of the Convention, calling it unverifiable. Gaffney cited three concerns about the CWC: -- It "does not actually ban all chemical weapons or production capabilities." -- It "does not require all nations, or even all nations suspected of having dangerous chemical arsenals, to subscribe before it goes into effect." -- Covert chemical weapons production and stockpiling prohibited by the Convention "cannot be confidently detected or proven." "Come what may, the terms of the treaty will be binding upon the United States, whether or not dangerous countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, or North Korea, are signatories," Gaffney warned. Bailey said the treaty would be too costly as well as unverifiable. In addition, she said "it eliminates the option of a U.S. chemical deterrent. While there may be no current need for these weapons in light of U.S. conventional superiority, the situation could change," she noted. "Until there has been a more thorough look at how the U.S. will deter chemical use by others in the future, the unilateral renunciation of chemical weapons should not be cemented," she added. NNNN .