USIS Washington File

03 July 2000

Transcript: U.S. Arms Control Advisor on National Missile Defense

(Holum on State Department's "Dialogue" June 27)  (7,860)

John Holum, President Clinton's senior advisor for arms control,
non-proliferation and security affairs, discussed U.S. policy on
nuclear non-proliferation and the proposed limited national missile
defense (NMD) system during a June 27 interactive television broadcast
on the State Department's "Dialogue" program with participants in
Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Holum said that in consultations with the Russians, the United States
has "laid down ideas for specific amendments" to the Anti-Ballistic
Missile (ABM) Treaty in accordance with the proposed deployment of the
NMD system against threats from so-called countries of concern, such
as North Korea.

"Should there be a political decision that hasn't yet been made by the
Russian leadership to proceed with negotiations on amendments to the
ABM Treaty, we will be in a position to move forward fairly rapidly,
because we have fully examined all the issues."

He noted that the statement of principles on strategic stability
issued by President Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin
during their Moscow summit states that that the ABM Treaty remains the
"cornerstone of strategic stability." The summit statement, Holum
added, also acknowledges that there are emerging threats from weapons
proliferation that "deserve a serious response, because they have the
potential to change the strategic situation and to upset international

The proposed U.S. missile defense system is more limited than
initiatives of the 1980s, he said. "What we are talking about is a
program involving one ABM radar in Alaska, upgrades to five early
warning radars elsewhere -- several in the United States and one in
Greenland and one in the U.K. -- and then 100 total interceptors
capable of knocking down a few tens of unsophisticated incoming
missiles -- no more than that.... It is not designed to deal with
Russia's capabilities whatsoever. It is designed to deal with a few
warheads coming from a country like North Korea. So it's a
dramatically different system -- much more limited."

A flight test of the interceptor is scheduled for July 7, Holum said.
The Secretary of Defense will then make a recommendation to the
President, who will consider a number of factors, among these "the
international security environment -- including arms control and the
views of our allies" in making a decision "on whether to proceed to
the next step."

He stressed that the test program "is in its early phases. There will
be 15 or 16 more tests after this July test that will have a bearing
on the readiness of the interceptors for deployment.... I want to
clear up the notion that once we do this fifth test we stop testing
and proceed with deployment. The tests will continue for a number of
years and for a number of tests before the final decision on the
interceptor is made."

Holum said it was "very constructive" for President Putin to offer
ideas on developing a missile defense system for Europe, but that he
does not see it "as a substitute but possibly as a supplement for the
kind of defense we are talking about."

He also stressed that a radar facility being built in Norway is a
space-tracking radar and has "no ABM or national missile defense role

Following is a transcript of the program:

(begin transcript)

Office of Broadcast Services, Washington, D.C.

GUEST: John Holum, President's Senior Advisor for Arms Control,
Non-Proliferation and Security Affairs

TOPIC: U.S. Policy on Nuclear Non-proliferation

POSTS: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg 
HOST: Terry Bazyluk 
DATE: June 27, 2000 
TIME: 08:00 - 09:00 EDT

MR. BAZYLUK: Good afternoon, and welcome to a special edition of the
American Embassy Network's "Dialogue." I am your host, Terry Bazyluk.

Earlier this month, Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow.
While talks between the two leaders covered a wide range of issues,
arms control figured prominently in their discussions.

(Begin videotape.)

ANNOUNCER: At a Kremlin news conference following their two-day
summit, the leaders announced their decisions to establish a joint
early-warning center in Moscow, and to reduce excess military
plutonium. They also released a joint statement establishing
principles for maintaining strategic stability.

Also prominently discussed were U.S. plans to develop and possibly
deploy a limited national missile defense. While the two leaders were
unable to come to an agreement, the joint statement confirmed the U.S.
and Russia's commitment to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It also
made clear that both nations acknowledged that there is an emerging
missile threat from third countries that must be addressed.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I do not want the United States to withdraw from
the ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] regime, because I think it has
contributed to a more stable, more peaceful world. It has already been
amended once, and its framers understood that circumstances might
change and threats might arise, which were outside the context of U.S.
and now Russian relations. We acknowledge that there is a threat. It
needs to be met. And we are trying to bridge our differences.

ANNOUNCER: Calling the 1972 ABM Treaty "a cornerstone of strategic
stability," the joint statement also pledged that the two nations will
continue working toward a third strategic arms reduction treaty.

(End videotape.)

MR. BAZYLUK: We are most fortunate to have with us today a senior
government official who has been at the center of these issues since
early in President Clinton's first term. John D. Holum is the
administration's senior advisor for arms control, non-proliferation
and international security affairs. Previously he was director of the
U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Mr. Holum, welcome. We are
delighted we could have you on the program.

MR. HOLUM: It's a pleasure to be here.

MR. BAZYLUK: I understand you have a brief opening comment?

MR. HOLUM: Yes, I would like to just begin with a few thoughts, noting
that this is a very opportune time to continue discussions with
Russian colleagues and counterparts about START and ABM issues. The
summit that concluded a few weeks ago established a basis for us to
continue these discussions, and I'll be off to Geneva tonight in fact
for another round with my counterpart. We don't expect to resolve all
of our differences, but we expect to continue making headway based on
the foundation that Presidents Clinton and Putin established at the
summit in Moscow.

The statement of principles, which was referred to in the opening, I
think is a very important measure of our common perception, our
increasingly common perception of the issues. It's very clear that
President Putin does not believe that we should amend the ABM Treaty
or that the United States should deploy an Anti-Ballistic Missile
system. But there are elements of commonality in the Declaration of
Principles that the two presidents sponsored. One is that the ABM
Treaty remains the cornerstone of strategic stability. As you heard
the President say, we don't want to withdraw from the Treaty. But the
other is that there are emerging threats that both countries
acknowledge and both countries recognize deserve a serious response,
because they have the potential to change the strategic situation and
to upset international stability.

So we have got a lot of work to do together. I am grateful for the
opportunity to participate, both in discussions with my Russian
official colleagues and with the press in Russia on this occasion.

The presidents will meet again several times during the remainder of
President Clinton's term, including next month in Okinawa. By that
time I hope we will have some information to report to them.

With that, I'd be happy to turn to your questions.

MR. BAZYLUK: We would now like to welcome our participants in Moscow,
St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg to the program. Moscow, we will be
beginning with you. So can we please have your first question for Mr.

QUESTION: Good afternoon, it's Itar Tass, Konstantin Yelovskiy. Mr.
Holum, you are heading the U.S. delegations at those talks that you
conduct with Russian experts on the ABM issues. The Russian delegation
is headed by Mr. Kapralov. Nevertheless, neither side is calling those
talks "talks," but actually calling them "consultations." What would
be a concrete, if any, outcome of such meeting, such consultation?
Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: You are correct in noting the nomenclature. We have been
operating under the directive that the two presidents, President
Yeltsin and President Clinton, established at Cologne last year, which
was that we would have parallel discussions on START III issues and
ABM issues. They are not negotiations. And we have been very clear in
describing them that way.

What I think we have accomplished, however, what we are accomplishing,
is to identify issues. Should there be a political decision that
hasn't yet been made by the Russian leadership to proceed with
negotiations on amendments to the ABM Treaty, we will be in a position
to move forward fairly rapidly, because we have fully examined all the
issues. We laid down ideas for specific amendments in line with the
program that President Clinton may decide on later this year.
Similarly, in the area of START III, both sides have provided detailed
descriptions of their positions for what the START III treaty should
look like. So we are laying the basis for future negotiations, but it
is correct that we have not begun negotiations. But I think we are in
a better position to negotiate.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, Moscow. We will now go to St. Petersburg for
your first question or comment please for Mr. Holum.

Q: In St. Petersburg, Ivan Vonovoer (ph). Mr. Holum, can you please
explain what is any principal difference between the Star Wars program
and this new program? And who will make decisions on deploying this
new system and when? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Let me start with your second question first. There is a
flight test of the interceptor scheduled for July 7th. That will lead
to a deployment readiness review by the Department of Defense. The
Secretary of Defense will make a recommendation to the President. The
President, considering the technology, considering costs, considering
the status of the threat, and considering the international security
environment -- including arms control and the views of our allies --
will make a decision on whether to proceed to the next step. So it's
the President's decision, obviously with a great deal of input from
his advisors and a great deal of analysis.

Now, this system that we are discussing is dramatically more limited
than the so-called Star Wars or Strategic Defense Initiative of the
1980s. What we are talking about is a program involving one ABM radar
in Alaska, upgrades to five early warning radars elsewhere -- several
in the United States and one in Greenland and one in the U.K. -- and
then 100 total interceptors capable of knocking down a few tens of
unsophisticated incoming missiles -- no more than that. To demonstrate
how limited that capability would be, the existing Treaty already
allows for 100 interceptors. They just have to be configured in a
regional rather than a national defense. And Russia in fact has an ABM
system around Moscow. The United States does not. So this program is
very limited. It is not designed to deal with Russia's capabilities
whatsoever. It is designed to deal with a few warheads coming from a
country like North Korea. So it's a dramatically different system --
much more limited.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, St. Petersburg. We will now go to
Yekaterinburg for your first question for Mr. Holum. Please go ahead.

Q: Hello, my name is Alexei Seiko (ph). I represent the Echo of Moscow
Radio station in Yekaterinburg. Two questions for Mr. Holum. One is
pretty general. In your opinion, did President Clinton find a response
to the question, Who is Mr. Putin? And a second more concrete
question. Usually there are Americans saying a lot of warm, kind words
about the new initiative, the NMD initiative. At the same time, you
probably think about different scenarios, also some negative fall-out
from this project. What negative consequence would have forced your
country potentially to give up on this project? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: In terms of the personal relationship between President
Clinton and President Putin and our assessment, as you may know the
presidents have met three times and will meet another three times
during President Clinton's term. I think they are becoming better
acquainted, and I think they have developed, as you saw at the press
conference in Moscow, a healthy respect for each other's intelligent,
workman-like approach to handling differences as well as areas of
common ground. But I don't think we would profess to have a full
understanding of how President Putin will proceed throughout his term
based on these initial meetings. So it's a work in progress. But I
think the contacts and the relationship are very important.

In terms of negative consequences that might cause the United States
to forego a decision, I don't want to put a precise balance on these,
because it's up to the President to make the decision. But we are
obviously very interested in preserving the international arms control
environment. In preserving the ABM Treaty, in preserving the START
process, the reductions process, we think it's possible to amend the
Treaty in a way that facilitates that, that prevents the international
arms control regime from collapsing. We think a limited defense can be
made consistent with the Treaty, but that kind of arms control
consideration will obviously apply. We'll also take into account the
position of the Russian government, of the Chinese government, of our
allies in Europe, in Asia, and others around the world in making a
recommendation to the President.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, Yekaterinburg. We will now return to Moscow
for a further set of questions. Moscow, please go ahead.

Q: Interfax Agency -- (inaudible) -- Golovanova. Mr. Holum, the
Russian side on many occasions has said that it stands ready to begin
official negotiations about the future START III agreement. In your
opinion, when can those negotiations start, and can this take place
during Putin and Clinton's meeting at the Okinawa summit? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: I suspect that they will have some further discussions on
START-related issues, and we are certainly continuing to discuss those
at the expert level.

In terms of formal negotiations, we have and Russia has taken the
position that it was important for START II to enter into force. The
resolution of ratification has been completed on the Russian side. The
United States ratified START II previously, but there are some
protocols agreed to in 1997 that still need to be submitted to the
Senate. I am not sure whether the need for the Senate to act would
necessarily hold up negotiations, because we are both anxious to
proceed to further refine our ideas for START III. I am hopeful that
we can proceed in parallel, moving from the discussion phase into the
negotiation phase on both START III and ABM in the fairly near term.

Q: Another question, Interfax -- (inaudible) -- Golovanova. Mr. Holum,
the Americans are currently constructing in Norway a radar station. In
this connection, how do you see the initiative of Igor Ivanov, the
foreign minister's initiative to provide access to Russian specialists
to work alongside with Norwegians at that station and for peaceful
exploration of space? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: I haven't had a chance to evaluate that idea. What I can
say is that the radar establishment in Norway that is being
constructed is a space-tracking radar. It has no ABM or national
missile defense role whatsoever. The specific elements that we
described of the radars for the ABM system are well known. The X band
radar in Alaska, the radar in Thule, Greenland, the radar in
Filingdales (ph) in the U.K., and three other radars in the United
States, which would be upgraded. And the Norway radar is not involved
in that kind of activity and isn't capable of serving an ABM role.

Q: Mr. Holum, Konstantin Yelovskiy, Itar Tass Agency. As it is known,
the tests were already conducted by the U.S. for the interceptors, and
you envision those being a part of an NMD of the United States. Those
tests were not too successful. What do you think from a technical
standpoint, how ready is the United States to deploy this NMD system?
Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: I think it's important to keep in mind that the test
program is in its early phases. There will be 15 or 16 more tests
after this July test that will have a bearing on the readiness of the
interceptors for deployment.

The reason for discussing ABM Treaty issues now is that one of the
earlier decisions will be to proceed with the radar. That's the
longest lead time item. I am told by the Department of Defense that
the actual decision on the readiness of the interceptor for deployment
won't be made until about 2003. So there will be a number of
additional tests. They expressed confidence in the technical
capabilities of this system to work.

There was just recently a review by a panel headed by General Larry
Welch, the former Air Force Chief of Staff, that again has stressed
the technical challenges to the interceptor, the need to deal with in
particular the countermeasures problem. But, nonetheless, the panel
does believe that the technology is promising and is likely to be
ready by the time the decision is due. So I want to clear up the
notion that once we do this fifth test we stop testing and proceed
with deployment. The tests will continue for a number of years and for
a number of tests before the final decision on the interceptor is

Q: Russian Information Agency, Novosti, -- (inaudible). Mr. Holum, as
it is known the Russian side proposed alternative proposals to create
a global system, missile-tracking system. They had a proposal to
create in Europe a limited anti-ABM system. As the American side, are
you off the bat ready to refuse those proposals or would you be ready
to view those as some alternatives to the U.S. proposal? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: We are very interested in exploring those ideas. The global
control system idea on missile prevention is something we have been
interested in for a long time in the sense that we prefer preventative
steps over defense or deterrence. Prevention is a lot cheaper and a
lot more certain if you can accomplish it. We have for example in the
case of North Korea been working very hard through the Perry process,
now headed by Ambassador Wendy Sherman with Dr. Perry's involvement as
well, to continue working to formalize their moratorium on testing
long-range missiles. So prevention is very much a part of our concept,
and we see promising ideas in what the Russian side has proposed.

So one of the things we are going to work on is to harmonize Russia
and U.S. ideas on how to prevent the spread of missile proliferation.

In terms of a defense for Europe, a limited defense, again I think the
idea has some promise. I don't see it as a substitute but possibly as
a supplement for the kind of defense we are talking about.

There is a very difficult technical problem that is associated with
providing a territorial defense through theater missile defense
technology because under our agreement, the demarcation agreement on
the ABM Treaty, you can't test interceptors at missiles that would be
at the ranges capable of reaching the United States or many parts of
Europe. So we have to confront in any case issues of the ABM Treaty
constraining effective defenses.

But I think it's very constructive that President Putin has made these
approaches, has laid out some ideas. We want to build on them.

Q: Once again Itar Tass, Konstantin Yelovskiy. Mr. Holum, when the
United States is talking about the need for having a national missile
defense system as one of the key arguments for creating such a system,
they talk about a threat from those rogue states that used to be, or
now you call them states causing concern, or states of concern. At the
same time, in addition to those ballistic missiles, such countries in
theory can have bacteriological weapons. And doesn't this cause
concern in Washington, this potential fact that in theory they can
fail to use any ballistic missile but actually go with the
bacteriological weapons? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Yes, I've heard the argument. And also cruise missiles or
various other ways of delivering weapons of mass destruction. I don't
see those as an argument for not pursuing the kind of defense that is
technically feasible against ICBMs [Inter-Continental Ballistic
Missiles]. I think it is more likely that countries would pursue an
ICBM capability. For example, if you were going to deliver
bacteriological, biological or nuclear weapons by a means other than a
missile, the national leadership of the country that owns it would
have to put it out of its control -- put it in the hands of some
delivery agent, some individual.

Now, countries that have developed nuclear weapons over time
historically have been very careful not to allow that to happen, to
not cede decisionmaking in the final analysis to an agent, even if it
is a citizen or a military personnel person from that country. So it
seems to me there is a lot of disadvantage and unattractiveness to
these alternative methods of threatening weapons of mass destruction
against a country like the United States or Russia. I suspect that
missiles will remain the delivery means of choice. And so I think we
should, if we have the technical capability, and if we can resolve the
other issues, that we should consider missile defense, even if we
can't fully effectively defend against other kinds of delivery.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, Moscow. We will now be returning to St.
Petersburg for a round of questions. St. Petersburg, please go ahead.

Q: Smana Newspapers (ph), Sergei Faticiv (ph). I would like to know
how does the public opinion and the administration of the President,
how do they view the arrest of TV tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky? This
widely resonated in our country.

MR. HOLUM: It created a great deal of concern here as well, because we
have been very supportive of Russian democracy, and very encouraged by
the trends established beginning with President Yeltsin to create a
democratic society and protect a free press. So we have been very
concerned about this. It's something that has been raised at very
senior levels.

The Russian society and economy from our perspective are much more
likely to grow and prosper if ideas are freely exchanged, if the
public has access to all the possible information so that they can
sort it out for themselves and make informed judgments. And steps that
impinge on or threaten retaliation against critics of the government
are harmful to the process of democracy. So this is something we have
been very anxious to address. It's frankly part of the reason why I
wanted to do this program, to reach out to the Russian public
generally, knowing that there are contrary points of view, but
depending on the intelligence and sound judgment of the people, in
your country as well as in our country, to make informed choices.

Q: Olga Smirnov (ph), Radio Gadarka (ph). Mr. Holum, Russia and the
United States have a lot of work ahead of them -- not just in nuclear
arms control, but the United States are facing an upcoming election.
How can you be sure in George Bush's position, the Republican
candidate, to what extent can you guarantee there will be political
continuity in those issues?

MR. HOLUM: Well, I can't, and no one would presume to. If President
Bush is elected, I am sure he will have his own approach to many of
these issues. But I also think that regardless of the outcome of the
election there will be basic continuity in U.S. foreign policy. It is
certainly the case that President Clinton, Vice President Gore and
Governor Bush have all raised concerns about the threat of weapons of
mass destruction and missiles and their proliferation. So I think, for
example, the issue of national missile defense will not go away. We
have an interest, regardless of who is president, in building and
maintaining a strong relationship with the Russian Federation, because
we have so many areas of cooperation where our combined efforts are
indispensable to success.

I am reflecting that earlier this year, this spring we collaborated in
New York in the review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Many
people projected a very difficult and harmful review conference
because of dissatisfaction with the pace of nuclear disarmament, the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty being voted down in the United States
and other issues. I think it was in very large part because of the
combined efforts of the Russian delegation, the U.S. delegation and
several others that that conference was instead a large success. So we
successfully worked together to protect an indispensable part of the
international regime preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. And I
think that's a good guidepost for the way our relationship is likely
to proceed in the future, regardless of who is elected in the United
States, or for that matter over time in Russia.

Q: Mr. Holum -- (inaudible). Our current time is sometimes called an
era after the end of the Cold War. What major threats to U.S. national
security exist today? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: I think your question raises something that troubles me a
great deal, and that is that we have as yet been unable to
convincingly define the new era, so we describe it by what it is not
rather than what it is. But it clearly is the post-Cold War period,
and a lot of the thinking that shaped our approach to the world for
the decades of the Cold War is really outmoded and no longer applies.

I think now from the standpoint of military dangers the largest
threats do lie in the area of the spread of nuclear, chemical,
biological weapons and delivery systems to which the traditional rules
and methods of deterrence might not apply. There are roughly 40
countries now that have the material and technical capability to build
nuclear weapons if they chose to do that. Now, most of them have
chosen not to. They have adhered to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty. But that's the number that have access to the material and the

The issue there, as in other areas, is that with the end of the Cold
War and with the growth of technology, more and more countries have
access to the materials and the technology that would allow them to
make these weapons. The same is true for biological weapons and for
chemical weapons, and it is certainly true in the case of missiles,
where we see increasing numbers of countries deciding they want to
pursue not only short-range but very long-range missile capabilities.
And if you combine those two trends then I think you have a situation
that threatens the United States, that also threatens Russia, and
threatens other peace-loving countries in the world. We don't want to
put ourselves in a position of being coerced by those capabilities;
or, worse yet, coming under attack.

So I think the preventative efforts that we are pursuing largely in
common through the Chemical Weapons Convention, through efforts to
strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention, through the
Non-Proliferation Treaty and through other means are really
indispensable -- are central to the security environment of the

Q: (Off mike.) The Russian side in connection with the U.S. plans to
create a national missile defense system -- the Russian side is
concerned about its own safety. What do you think -- what arguments
does the U.S. side provide when offering to revise the ABM Treaty, in
terms of Russian safety and security? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: That's a really key question, because I have long felt that
in our discussions with Russia on this issue we basically had three
challenges, and the one you addressed is the first -- that is to
demonstrate that this system won't be capable against Russia. The
second is that we have to convey our genuine concern about the threat.
And the third is that we have to convince Russia that it is not in
either of our interests to force the United States to choose between a
defense the President may feel is necessary for the United States and
the ABM Treaty, that we should instead amend the treaty in a way that
is consistent with its purposes, but still allowing defenses to

Now, as to the specific response on the capabilities of the system
against Russia, I'd refer back to the first numerical point -- that
what we are proposing is a system that has only 100 total
interceptors. Now, the system will not be capable of discriminating
between very sophisticated countermeasures of the kind that Russia has
and has been able to deploy and actual warheads in outer space. As a
consequence, many of those interceptors will be fired at decoys. In
order to get the actual warhead, a number of the interceptors will be
wasted if they were to be used against Russia. So you'd end up with a
capability of intercepting hardly any of Russia's forces. So you'd
have both the numbers and the technical limitations of the system to
make the point that this is not directed against, nor is it capable
against Russia's strategic forces.

Now, the best way to ensure that that remains the case is to keep the
ABM Treaty in force, to amend it modestly to allow a limited system,
but to keep the Treaty in place to prevent and to continue to preclude
a more ambitious national missile defense. We don't have any intention
of pursuing such a defense, but we want to make sure that Russia and
the United States are both confident in the stability of their
deterrent capability. And I would emphasize that among the elements of
the Declaration of Principles that the two presidents signed and
issued in Moscow is precisely that: we both believe in the ABM Treaty
as a cornerstone of strategic stability, and we both believe in
deterrence as an element of our stable U.S.-Russian relationship. We
don't want to do anything that would interfere with Russia's

I might add just as a procedural matter that our experts in the
Department of Defense have briefed senior Russian leadership from the
Ministry of Defense, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others
on the limitations of this system in a great deal of detail, so that
they can have an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the
limitations of this system.

MR. BAZYLUK: Mr. Holum, before we go to Yekaterinburg, given what you
just said about the numerical capabilities of our defense and the
repeated attempts of U.S. officials to explain that to Russian
officials, do you sense an increasing understanding or acceptance on
the Russian side of the notion that this system on its face cannot be
a threat to Russia's deterrent? Is there an increasing understanding
of that on the technical side, or is the concern really something

MR. HOLUM: It's hard to say, because I don't want to put words in the
mouths of Russian officials or describe my impression -- the
impression we've made on them.

I would say that I think the military leadership in Russia, in the
strategic rocket forces realm in particular, is well aware of the
limitations of our national missile defense proposal and do not have a
concern that it would be capable of defeating modern Russian forces.
In fact, they have made public statements to that effect.

MR. BAZYLUK: All right, well, thank you St. Petersburg for those
questions. We'll now return to Yekaterinburg for a further round of
questions. Yekaterinburg, please go ahead with your set of questions
for Mr. Holum.

Q: (Inaudible) -- newspaper. The Russian press talks about this NMD
system of the United States and of Russia that could be a cooperative
system between Russia and the U.S., at least in terms of early warning
about ballistic missiles. What's your take on this idea in general?
Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Yes, I think there are a number of elements of cooperation
that we can pursue -- cooperation for example in dealing with ABM
Treaty issues is one area. But I think we also are interested in and
prepared to engage in cooperation relating to early warning as you
just mentioned. And related to exploring concepts that would provide
joint development of elements of missile defense, particularly in the
warning area.

The summit was very successful in producing agreement on the shared
early-warning package that we have had under discussion for more than
a year, and it is, I think, a very important step in which the United
States and Russia will jointly man a center in Moscow that will feed
information from both of our early-warning systems into a common data
point so that the two sides can have the same basic information about
launches of rockets and other similar vehicles around the world. So
there is a -- this will incidentally be the first time that there has
been a permanent U.S.-Russian joint military operation or military
activity. So we are very encouraged by that.

We have other ideas or elements of cooperation on the table. One of
the instructions that we received from the two presidents at the
Moscow summit was for our experts to examine additional cooperative
measures, both in addressing the threat and in preventing the threat
and responding to it. So I think the area of cooperation has great
potential as a way to overcome Russian concerns about our intentions
and as a way for us both to add measurably to our security.

Q: Viktor Pulimov (ph) -- (inaudible) -- newspaper correspondent. To
what extent are Russian actions successful about preventing leaks from
nuclear uranium and brain drain of Russian personnel going to such
countries as Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Pakistan and so forth?

MR. HOLUM: This is an extremely important area of common effort, and I
think there has been a great deal accomplished, but there is still a
great deal yet to do. My sense is from monitoring the various programs
that are underway that we have been -- that Russia has been with some
U.S. support very successful in protecting actual weapons. They are
safeguarded very closely in Russia as they are in the United States.
The risk comes from weapons-grade material either that is coming out
of weapons that are being dismantled or that is available in research
reactors or other parts of the military program. And if I were a
country of concern interested in getting nuclear weapons, I would be
less inclined to want to acquire a whole weapon -- it's hard to
transport, it's hard to handle, it's large and bulky, it includes high
explosives, so it would be risky to deal with and it's fairly easily
detectable. What I would like to do is try to get access to the highly
enriched uranium or plutonium that is coming out of weapons, and then
make my own weapon.

So what is of great concern is to have fully sufficient protections of
the fissile material, the special nuclear material that is coming out
of weapons, as well as the expertise that is resident in thousands of
Russian scientists and engineers who have been part of the nuclear

We have, for the human element, the international science and
technology centers that are employing and providing alternative means
of sustenance to scientists and technical people who come out of the
weapons program, and I think that's proving quite successful. Frankly,
we are also jointly relying on the patriotism and the nationalism of
the scientists themselves. In most cases they wouldn't be inclined to
pick up and move off to another country and take their expertise with
them, but they certainly need a way to support themselves and their

In terms of the materials, there has been a concerted effort to
consolidate the weapons-grade material into a much more limited number
of sites and provide additional protection at those sites through even
relatively simple devices like chain-link fences and code-reading
gates in order to prevent access by unauthorized people.

Now, you recall in the early '90s -- '94 period -- there were a number
of reports of weapons-grade material, or alleged weapons-grade
material being smuggled through Germany or through the Czech Republic
and elsewhere. We haven't seen reports of that kind lately. Many of
those reports were stings -- were the authorities entrapping or
catching people by offering to purchase those kinds of materials. And
a lot of the material was not weapons grade. And those cases have
largely disappeared from the radar screen. Does that mean that it is
not happening any longer? I am not confident. I think there is a much
better job being done to guard the material, but that it is by no
means iron-clad. And I also worry that if smuggling were to occur it
would be unlikely to go through Western Europe. It would be more
likely to go south through traditional routes. So I don't think we
have got this problem resolved. There is a large focus on it in the
President's enhanced threat reduction initiative, in the Cooperative
Threat Reduction program and programs that the Department of Energy is
conducting and the Department of State is conducting to work
cooperatively to try to get a handle on this.

Q: (Inaudible) -- newspaper. Mr. Holum, can you please tell me how
does the U.S. public opinion view this question, this issue? To what
extent does the U.S. public view it in this way that we were just
talking about? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: Yes, I think on the overall threat of proliferation, their
concern about proliferation, it registers quite high in terms of
public concern. On missile defense issues it's odd -- I haven't seen a
poll along these lines for some years, but there were polls a few
years ago suggesting that most people thought we already had a
national missile defense. At the same time, people had been concerned
about the cost of building an elaborate system. So I think there is
probably a mixed view. But on the whole I would expect, particularly
if you can judge votes in the Congress as a reflection, that most
people are favorably disposed toward deployment of a national missile
defense that is calibrated and designed to meet the specific threats
that we are talking about. I don't think, incidentally, that there is
any appetite, at least any widespread appetite, for defense against
Russia. I don't think that's something that -- I don't think the
United States -- I don't think the American people consider Russia to
be an adversary. But they do have concerns about countries like North
Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, other countries that have demonstrated an
interest in this technology.

MR. BAZYLUK: Thank you, Yekaterinburg. We still have time for just a
few more questions, and we will be beginning with Moscow. Moscow,
please go ahead.

Q: Russian Information Agency, Novosti -- (inaudible). Mr. Holum, it
is known that at the present time the U.S. side is having active
contacts with the North Korean side. Its goal is to achieve or to
detect any potential threat coming from North Korea. It is also known
that the results of the Korea-to-Korea summit in Pyongyang were very
positively assessed -- highly assessed in the world at large. What do
you think the result of your bilateral contact and the Korea-to-Korea
summit would enable you to talk about some change in Pyongyang's
change in the missile technology field, and if such changes are taking
place, do you take them into account in creating your national missile
defense system? Thank you.

MR. HOLUM: That is an important question, because as I emphasized
earlier, we certainly prefer prevention as the most reliable means of
defeating a threat to the United States. At the same time, one of the
difficulties we have -- and we are very hopeful about what has been
underway between President Kim Dae Jung and President Kim Jong Il and
also the dialogue that is strengthening between the United States and
North Korea with the active involvement with the Republic of Korea and

The difficulty is that from where they have arrived in terms of
long-range missile capabilities, particularly demonstrated by their
Taepodong launch in August of 1998, North Korea is already a very
short time away from having an ICBM capability. That's what the
intelligence community assesses. We are much longer away. We are five
years away from having a national missile defense capability. So as
the national missile defense program continues to evolve, obviously we
will pay attention to what happens in Korea.

But we can't count on a favorable outcome at this stage, and therefore
decide to forego a national missile defense possibility, given the
very short time between a decision by North Korea to proceed and its
ability to have an ICBM capability that could reach the United States.
That doesn't mean we want to underemphasize or de-emphasize those
efforts. Again, we have worked very hard in the Perry process to
constrain and formalize limits on their missile potential. And we
certainly encourage the North-South efforts that will lead in the same

Q: (Inaudible.) Mr. Holum, can you please tell me to what extent in
your opinion is this control system -- how efficient is it? This is a
question to you as former director of the ACDA agency [Arms Control
and Disarmament Agency]. In your opinion, from 1993 until present,
what has been or is changing in people's attitudes towards this
problem -- not just for policymakers but people at large?

MR. HOLUM: The control system meaning the global regime of prevention
of weapons of mass destruction?

Q: In the world at large in general, if you have a global regime of
world control over weapons?

MR. HOLUM: Well, I think what's happening is that most countries
having committed to forego nuclear weapons or chemical or biological
weapons, most countries abide by that obligation. But there are a
small number who either join these regimes intending to cheat or who
don't join, and decide to stay outside and pursue weapons of mass
destruction. And in those circumstances we need to develop regional
and country-specific strategies.

The global regimes by themselves are important -- for one thing, they
include a legal requirement not to assist another country to acquire
weapons of mass destruction. So for example, if you are a member of
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, you have a legal obligation not
to assist another country, either in or outside the regime, to acquire
nuclear weapons. So the regimes are important in helping to protect on
the supply side. But in addition to that, we need to have tailored
strategies to deal with the specific cases; for example in South Asia
where India and Pakistan have crossed the threshold and conducted
nuclear explosions, or to deal with North Korea, or to deal with Iran.

And you will note in our policy that we have in each of those cases
active efforts underway on both the supply side to prevent the
technology from flowing into the country of concern, and on the demand
side to discourage acquisition of these weapons.

The system, I think, by and large works well. But we are reaching the
stage in a number of states where the system has not sufficiently --
has not fully succeeded. And that's why we are at this stage forced to
consider defenses as part of our strategy.

Now, you'll notice that throughout his administration, President
Clinton has been very resistant to the idea of pursuing national
missile defenses. He has been pressured by the Congress, he has been
pressured by outside groups to go ahead with this technology, and he
resisted all that pressure until the threat, as described by the
intelligence community in its assessment of the North Korean test, and
in the Rumsfeld Commission report, made it timely -- made it necessary
for a responsible national leader to look at the possibility of
defenses. So this is not something President Clinton has been aching
to do. It is something that he approached, I think, in a very measured
and careful and responsible way, and addressed it only when the
international environment made that necessary.

MR. BAZYLUK: Mr. Holum, I wonder if you have any final comments before
we go? We are almost out of time.

MR. HOLUM: Well, this has been a very interesting session. I very much
appreciate the opportunity to share some ideas on a very complex set
of national concerns with interlocutors and questioners who clearly
have prepared for this session, or who have been following these
issues closely. You've asked, I think, the right questions, and you
deserve, and the Russian Federation deserves, very careful and
considered answers, and a continuous dialogue both in the public realm
as well as in our discussions at the official level, to have all these
concerns fully aired and fully addressed. I think that's the
appropriate definition of our partnership -- not that we always agree
on everything. And clearly we have disagreements in a number of areas,
but we are prepared to ventilate these agreements fully and take each
other's concerns into account as we go forward.

So I know these are challenging issues. They are not going to be easy
for either side. I don't envy the President his enormous
responsibility to approach the decision later this year. But I think
this kind of dialogue and the kind of discussions we have had over the
last more than a year will help the President make a fully informed
decision based on all the relevant information. And, again, thank you
for taking the time and making the effort to take part in what I have
found to be a very fruitful dialogue this morning.

MR. BAZYLUK: Well, I am afraid we are now out of time. Before we go,
though, I would very much like to thank John Holum, the
administration's senior advisor for arms control, non-proliferation
and national security affairs, for appearing on the program today.

I'd also like to thank our participants in Moscow, St. Petersburg and
Yekaterinburg for joining us on the program today. For the American
Embassy Network's "Dialogue," I'm Terry Bazyluk saying thanks for
watching and good afternoon.

(end transcript)

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