September 15, 1997


The cornerstone of U.S. missile nonproliferation policy is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The MTCR was formed in 1987 by the United States with our G-7 economic partners (Canada, the former West Germany, Italy, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom). Today, membership totals 29 nations.* In addition to a growing membership, the number of countries unilaterally observing -- or "adhering to"-- the Guidelines is increasing.

The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, unmanned air vehicles, and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogram payload at least 300 kilometers, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The MTCR considers "missiles" to include: ballistic missiles, space launch vehicles (SLVs) and sounding rockets. Unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) include: cruise missiles, drones, UAVs, and remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs).

The MTCR was originally concerned only with nuclear capable delivery systems. In January 1993, the Partners extended the guidelines to cover delivery systems capable of delivering all WMD (nuclear, chemical, and biological).

The MTCR is neither a treaty nor an international agreement but is a voluntary arrangement among countries which share a common interest in arresting missile proliferation. The Regime applies a common export policy to a common list of controlled items. Each member implements its commitments in the context of its own national export laws. The Regime consists of two parts: the Guidelines and the Equipment and Technology Annex.

The Guidelines define the purpose of the MTCR and provide the overall structure and rules to guide the member countries.

The annex of controlled equipment and technology is divided into "Category I" and "Category II" items. It includes equipment and technology, both military and dual-use, that are relevant to missile development, production, and operation.

According to the Guidelines, export of Category I items is subject to a presumption of denial. Category I includes complete rocket systems (including ballistic missile systems, space launch vehicles, and sounding rockets); unmanned air-vehicle systems such as cruise missiles, target and reconnaissance drones; specially-designed production facilities for these systems; and certain complete subsystems such as rocket engines or stages, re-entry vehicles, guidance sets, thrust-vector controls and warhead safing, arming, fuzing, and firing mechanisms. The transfer of Category I production equipment will not be authorized.

Category II covers a wide range of parts, components and subsystems such as propellants, structural materials, test equipment and facilities, and flight instruments. These items may be exported at the discretion of the MTCR Partner government, on a case by case basis, for acceptable end-uses. They may also be exported under government-to-government assurances, which provide that they not be used on a missile system capable of delivering a 500 kilogram payload to a range of at least 300 kilometers.

The MTCR Guidelines specifically state that the Regime is "not designed to impede national space programs or international cooperation in such programs as long as such programs could not contribute to delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction." We are careful with SLV equipment and technology transfers, however, since the technology used in an SLV is virtually identical to that used in a ballistic missile, which poses genuine potential for missile proliferation.

At their 11th Plenary Meeting, October 1996, in Edinburgh, Scotland, MTCR Partners built upon intersessional meetings on the regional aspects of missile proliferation and transshipment issues and agreed to further intersessional meetings on these topics.

Partners agreed to continue to exchange views on missile-related aspects of regional tensions and the role of the regime in contributing towards reducing associated risks to security in the areas involved.

Partners also recognized the importance of controlling the transshipment of missile technology without disrupting legitimate trade and acknowledged the need to strengthen the Regime through cooperation with countries outside the Regime.

Partners noted with satisfaction a continuing readiness by non-member countries to observe the MTCR guidelines. Partners call on all other states producing or trading in missile-relevant equipment and technology to do likewise.


*The following countries are members of the MTCR: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, The Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.