"We have to provisionally implement the whole treaty."

Ambassador Lynn M. Hansen,
U.S. CFE Treaty Negotiator



Following the Oslo conference, attention turned to completing ratification and exchanging final treaty documents at the CSCE summit in Helsinki on July 9-10, 1992. Of the 29 states that were party to the treaty, 11 had not ratified and deposited their instruments of ratification at The Hague as of mid-June. As stipulated by the treaty, entry into force would occur 10 days after all the states had deposited their ratification articles. Turkey ratified on June 18, Moldova on July 1, and Russia on July 8. Five other nations deposited their ratification articles on July 6, 8, and 9. That left three nations--Armenia, Belarus, and Kazakstan--that would not, or could not, act in time for the CSCE summit in Helsinki, slated for July 9-10. Treaty diplomats in Vienna viewed this inaction as disastrous; the 26 states that had completed ratification held more than 90 percent of the treaty's TLE, units, territory, and zones. Further delay might dissipate the momentum created in the past seven months.

When Ambassador Hansen returned to Vienna from Osloin mid-June, he realized that the Helsinki summit might be held without a ratified CFE Treaty and no entry into force. "Near panic struck," he recalled. "One night, in the middle of the night, I concluded what we had to do. I said: `We have to provisionally implement the whole treaty.'"47 For a multinational, 29-nation treaty, this was a radical idea. The next day when Hansen called Washington and discussed the idea with U.S. international treaty lawyers, "They rejected it totally." Then, he recalled, "We had a bit of a screaming match."48 Hansen won; but the president and key U.S. senators had to approve the concept before U.S. officials could discuss it with the NATO allies and the other signatory nations. When the secretary of state, the president, and the senators approved, events moved swiftly.


Over the next 10 days, Ambassador Hansen and the other state negotiators in Vienna explained, cajoled, and succeeded in persuading their colleagues to accept the concept of provisional implementation of the CFE Treaty. Meanwhile, new documents were prepared in six languages for the 29 states to approve and sign in Helsinki. On July 10, 1992, representatives of all state parties met in Helsinki for the fourth extraordinary conference on the CFE Treaty. They signed three documents. In the first, the individual states agreed to provisionally implement the CFE Treaty. In the second, the individual states affirmed the relationship between the CFE Treaty and the CFE 1A agreement, officially titled: The Concluding Act of the Negotiations on Personnel Strength of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. Essentially, CFE 1A was a "political" statement by each of the treaty states declaring that they would not exceed self-imposed limits on military manpower strength. The limits were, in fact, quite high. Consequently, the treaty's national manpower figures were not as significant as the fact that they were declared in a politically binding treaty. These figures were subject to monitoring and questioning, and if exceeded, the guilty states would be subject to international censure. This was the first time in the twentieth century that the European nations, acting collectively, had agreed to limits on their national military forces. In the third document, each signatory state declared it would provisionally implement the CFE 1A Concluding Act. Then, and only then, could treaty implementation begin.49

These actions set the clock running on entry into force, but they did not complete the formal ratification process. Armenia deposited its ratified CFE Treaty instruments at The Hague on October 12, 1992. Belarus and Kazakstan completed the group of original states by depositing their instruments of ratification on October 30. Ten days later, on November 9, the CFE Treaty and the CFE 1A Concluding Act officially entered into force.50


It had taken 24 months--November 1990 to November 1992--to move from treaty signature through the national ratifications to official entry into force. Along the way a series of treaty-related crises had been resolved: TLE relocations, resubordinations, reclassifications, new state parties, redistribution of the former USSR's entitlements and obligations, and new national manpower ceilings. But the larger, more serious crisis of the Soviet Union's collapse struck at the existence of the CFE Treaty. In the face of turmoil and revolution, German, French, American, Russian, British, and Central European leaders and diplomats had fought hard to retain the treaty. Throughout these difficulties, the CFE Treaty retained its importance for the future of Europe. With treaty operations about to start, attention turned to the national inspection agencies and their inspectors who would monitor the treaty, and the military services that would reduce and account for thousands of items of treaty-limited equipment.

For the United States, the On-Site Inspection Agency had the mission of conducting the CFE Treaty inspections and escorts. During the long and arduous two-year ratification process, OSIA's European Operations Command underwent what Colonel Lawrence Kelley, Chief of Operations, called "Standing Up the Unit."



Table 3-4. CFE Treaty Original State Parties
State Ratified Deposited
Czechoslovakia 19 July 1991 5 August 1991
Hungary 9 September 1991 4 November 1991
Netherlands 6 November 1991 8 November 1991
Bulgaria 13 September 1991 12 November 1991
United Kingdom November 1991 19 November 1991
Canada 7 November 1991 22 November 1991
Poland 22 November 1991 26 November 1991
Norway 29 November 1991 29 November 1991
Belgium November 1991 17 December 1991
Germany December 1991 23 December 1991
Iceland 14 December 1991 24 December 1991
Denmark December 1991 30 December 1991
Luxembourg 19 December 1991 22 January 1992
United States 26 December 1991 29 January 1992
France 16 March 1992 24 March 1992
Romania NA 21 April 1992
Italy 21 December 1991 22 April 1992
Spain 26 February 1992 1 June 1992
Georgia NA 6 July 1992
Moldova 1 July 1992 6 July 1992
Greece 28 May 1992 8 July 1992
Turkey 18 June 1992 8 July 1992
Azerbaijan NA 9 July 1992
Ukraine NA 9 July 1992
Portugal NA 14 August 1992
Russia 8 July 1992 3 September 1992
Armenia NA 12 October 1992
Belarus 21 October 1992 30 October 1992
Kazakstan NA 30 October 1992


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