Tracking Number:  155154

Title:  "Lehman Calls the NPT Review Conference Successful." Ronald Lehman, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, says the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference was very successful. Corrected by NT-402. (900918)

Date:  19900918


09/18/90 1Ac Re LEHMAN CALLS THE NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE SUCCESSFUL (Says basic features of treaty reaffirmed) (630) By David Pitts USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- The recently-concluded Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference was "very successful" despite the lack of consensus on a concluding document, says Ronald Lehman, director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA).

Lehman, who testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee September 17, said the blocking of a consensus concluding document by Mexico and Iran "was disappointing, but overall the conference went well." He added, "The basic features of the treaty were reaffirmed by almost all of the countries present."

The principal subject of Lehman's testimony was the Senate's consideration of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT) and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET) and the verification protocols to those treaties signed by President Bush and President Gorbachev at the Washington summit.

In recommending Senate ratification of the treaties, Lehman said, "We are confident that compliance with the two treaties can now be verified effectively if the measures provided for in the new Protocols are used." The arms control official called the verification measures "a sound foundation for the important work ahead of us in other areas of arms control."

There were a number of questions from senators concerned about the administration's commitment to a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Lehman said the president "is firm in his commitment to the step-by-step process and to a comprehensive test ban as a long-term objective of the United States." But he also said, "We are convinced that so long as the U.S. must rely on nuclear weapons for deterrence, we must also have a sensible test program."

Senator Timothy Wirth said that the logic of the administration position is that, "We'll never have a CTBT until we have a nuclear-free world." Lehman said the important point is to continue the step-by-step process. Asked what the next step would be, Lehman said the administration has "not yet identified a next step" and wants to engage in "a period of reflection" when and if

GE 2 POL201 implementation of the TTBT and PNET occurs to assess progress. However, the ACDA official said he did not anticipate what he called a pause in the step-by-step process would be long. "We're not talking about years," he remarked.

Senate ratification of the treaties was also urged by the other witnesses at the hearing: Ambassador Paul Robinson representing Secretary of State Baker; Robert Barker, assistant to Secretary of Defense Cheney; Rear Admiral Thomas Fox, deputy director for international negotiations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and, Dr. Victor Alessi, director of the Office of Arms Control at the Department of Energy.

The witnesses were closely questioned about the subject of safeguards in regards to the two treaties. Senators wanted to know whether five safeguards, recently stipulated by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of which is the right to continue underground nuclear testing, were satisfactory to the administration or whether the administration would stick to six safeguards it had proposed in 1987.

Lehman said it was his understanding that the administration "has agreed to the five safeguards" proposed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Barker said the five safeguards "capture the full intent of the administration's position" and include the provision for continued underground nuclear testing, something the defense official stressed in his prepared testimony. However, the witnesses said they would conduct further consultations within the administration on the subject of safeguards.

Senator Sam Nunn, chairman of the committee, urged that any intra-administration consultations on the subject of safeguards be speedy since the Senate "may take up these treaties" as early as September 20. NNNN