Following an inspection of SS-23 missiles at Saryozek, USSR, Commander John C. Williams, U.S. Navy,(r) the American team leader, shakes hands with Nikolai Golovatsky, a Soviet observer.


President Reagan stood next to General Secretary Gorbachev in the Kremlin on June 1, 1988. As the two leaders exchanged the INF Treaty and the instruments of ratification, President Reagan made a brief formal statement. Setting the treaty into the context of recent Soviet-American relations, he praised the negotiators and concluded, "These are historic moments. As we exchange these documents, and the instruments of ratification, this treaty--the terms of which we formally agreed to last December in Washington--enters into force."1

On that day, all parts of the INF Treaty entered into force. They included the treaty (preamble and 17 articles), Protocol on Eliminations, Protocol on Inspections, the Special Verification Commission, the requirement to communicate through the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers, and the requirement to establish a treaty data base using the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).2 This memorandum became immediately the focus of attention. It was the starting point for critical treaty data on the INF missile systems (numbers and types of INF missiles and support equipment at each site, technical specifications, photographs of each type of missile and support equipment, and geographical coordinates for each site) that had to be exchanged before any inspections could be conducted.



    On June 1, the United States and the Soviet Union provided a revised and updated MOU, listing deployed and nondeployed missiles, launchers, support equipment, and missile structures.3 It described the location of these treaty items according to degrees, minutes, and seconds of longitude and latitude. It listed the mutually agreed upon technical characteristics for each missile system, including number of warheads per missile, length of first and second stages, diameter by stages, weight by missile stage, and weight by canister. Other MOU technical data described missile launchers, launch canisters, support equipment, and support structures.

Finally, the updated MOU contained corrected site diagrams, outlining the perimeter of the areas subject to on-site inspection. In this memorandum the United States certified it had 2,332 treaty-limited items, including 846 missiles and 289 launchers, located at 31 current and former INF missile sites and missile-related facilities. The Soviet Union declared it had 5,439 treaty-limited items, including 1,846 intermediate- and shorter-range INF missiles and 825 launchers, located at 130 INF missile sites.

    INF Baseline Inspections Defined
    The first INF Treaty on-site inspections, called baseline inspections, had to be conducted between 30 and 90 days after the treaty entered into force. Both the United States and the Soviet Union initiated baseline inspections on July 1, 1988, and completed them by August 29. Every INF missile site and missile-related facility authorized by the treaty was inspected.

The function of the baseline inspections was "to verify the numbers of missiles, launchers, support structures and equipment, and other data, as of the date of entry into force of this Treaty."4 Physical observation by the on-site inspectors had to confirm or, if necessary, correct the data published in the MOU. According to the treaty's Protocol on Inspections, the inspecting party had the right to "inspect the entire inspection site, including the interior of structures, containers or vehicles, or including covered objects, whose dimensions are equal to or greater than the dimensions specified in Section VI (Technical Data) of the Memorandum of Understanding...." Those dimensions described the length, diameter, and weight of the missiles and stages; as well as those of launchers and support equipment for the INF missile systems.


From an operational viewpoint, this concept of implementing the treaty with baseline inspections had several implications. First, it meant that the most intensive period of on-site inspection operations during the entire treaty would be during the first 90 days. American inspection teams had to be ready to go to two or three sites a week for eight consecutive weeks in order to inspect all 130 Soviet sites. Soviet teams would have to inspect all 31 U.S. INF missile sites and facilities during the same period. Escorting teams had to be prepared to conduct the inspection teams to each and every INF site. Transportation, specifically military airlift, had to be ready for a maximum effort in the initial 90 treaty days. Communications centers also would be operating at peak effort. Assimilating information about the on-site inspections would be particularly intense. Thus, from both an operational and a logistical point of view, the baseline inspections were critical.

Both the Soviet and American military services had committed considerable time, money, and people to preparing each and every site for a baseline inspection. The Soviets conducted mock inspections to train inspectors and escorts. At many Soviet missile sites, temporary living quarters were rehabilitated in preparation for American inspectors. At six Soviet elimination sites new facilities were constructed for the American inspection teams. At U.S. military bases in Europe and the United States, special sections of temporary housing quarters were set aside for the Soviet inspection teams.5



The 130 Soviet INF sites included missile main operating bases, deployment areas, and launcher production facilities, missile and launcher storage facilities, repair facilities, test ranges, training sites, and elimination facilities. U.S. on-site inspectors went to all of these sites and conducted baseline inspections in July-August 1988.


Previous Chapter | Table of Contents | Next Section