A Thaw in the Cold War eText - Primary Source

Primary Source

U.S. President Jimmy Carter, left center, and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev, right center, shake hands after signing the SALT II Treaty on June 8, 1979. AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION. U.S. President Jimmy Carter, left center, and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev, right center, shake hands after signing the SALT II Treaty on June 8, 1979. AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION. Published by Gale Cengage AP/WIDE WORLD PHOTOS. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION.

"Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction"

Treaty

By: United Nations General Assembly and the Conference of
the Committee on Disarmament

Date: April 10, 1972

Source: "Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction." April 10, 1972, signed in Washington, D.C., London, and Moscow. Available online at http://www.state.gov/www/global/arms/treaties/bwc1.html; website home page http://www.state.gov (accessed May 25, 2003).

Notes About the Organization: The United Nations (UN) tackled the issue of chemical and biological weapons disarmament in 1969 through its Conference of the Committee on Disarmament, encompassing twenty-six member nations. The committee gained momentum for its mission after President Nixon (served 1969–1974) announced that the United States unilaterally renounced the use of chemical, biological, or other toxic weapons in two separate declarations in late 1969 and early 1970. The following year, the Soviet Union agreed to undertake negotiations through the UN committee on the matter, who produced a draft resolution endorsed by the UN General Assembly in December 1971. On April 10, 1972, the Biological Weapons Convention, as it was commonly known, was signed by the governments of seventy-nine nations.

"Interim Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms"

Treaty

By: The governments of the United States of America and
the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Date: May 26, 1972

Source: "Interim Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms." May 26, 1972, signed in Moscow. Available online at ; website home page: http://www.atomicarchive.com (accessed May 25, 2003).

Notes About the Authors: The "Interim Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms," commonly known as the SALT I Treaty, resulted from two-and-a-half years of negotiations between the two countries. Viewed as an important step in slowing down the nuclear arms race, the agreement opened the door to future arms-reduction talks between the two world superpowers.

President Richard Nixon's Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1973

Speech

By: Richard M. Nixon

Date: January 20, 1973

Source: Nixon, Richard M. "President Nixon's Second Inaugural Address." January 20, 1973. Available online at http://www.watergate.info/nixon/inaugural-speech-second.sht... ; website home page: http://www.watergate.info/ (accessed May 25, 2003).

Notes About the Author: Richard M. Nixon (1913–1994) served as the nation's thirty-seventh President at the time the Biological Weapons Convention and SALT I Treaty were negotiated. Nixon highlighted these accomplishments as he spoke at his second inauguration in January 1973, yet he would be forced to resign from office in August 1974 as a result of the Watergate affair.

Introduction

For generations after the end of World War II (1939–1945), Americans lived under the threat of nuclear war. "Duck-and-cover" safety drills to prepare for a nuclear attack became a routine part of the grade-school curriculum across the country, and some families even built bomb shelters in their backyards in case of a nuclear attack. Despite these fears, a direct, nuclear confrontation between the capitalist West and communist Eastern Bloc never occurred. Although "proxy wars" between the two camps broke out in Korea (1950–1953), Vietnam (1964–1975), and a host of other countries, the Cold War mostly lived up to its name.

As tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union gradually eased in the 1960s, a spirit of détènte replaced the nervous anxiety and outright suspicion that had characterized their past relationship. Although the Vietnam War still raged as President Nixon took office in 1969, he surprised the international community later that year by offering a unilateral ban on the use of biological weapons, and he pledged that the United States would never offensively use chemical weapons. Nixon's announcement revitalized the United Nations's attempts to negotiate such a treaty for its member states, and a subsequent convention banning biological, chemical, and other toxic weapons was signed by seventy-nine nations on April 10, 1972.

On the heels of the biological weapons convention, Nixon traveled in May 1972 to Moscow for a summit meeting with Soviet general secretary Leonid Brezhnev. At the meeting's conclusion, the two leaders signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I), the result of negotiations over the previous two-and-a-half years. Although the SALT agreement did not ban the manufacture or possession of nuclear weapons by the two countries, it was a major step in easing their proliferation by the superpowers. SALT also promised to create a bilateral system of observation over the agreement, another step in linking the two countries together and easing Cold War tensions.

Significance

President Nixon used the momentum generated by the weapons agreements in his 1972 reelection campaign and went on to win a decisive victory. Together with the large-scale withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, it appeared that the country was indeed putting the more lethal confrontations of the Cold War behind it. Nixon's international achievements, however, could not prevent the gradual corrosion of his presidency by the ongoing Watergate scandal, and he left office in disgrace in August 1974.

Of the two 1972 agreements, the SALT I treaty proved to be a more lasting contribution to world peace, as it opened up a permanent dialogue between the United States and the Soviet Union on arms control. Assuming that the United States would not abide by the convention on biological and chemical weapons, however, the Soviet Union made little attempt to destroy its existing stockpiles of the weapons. It continued to operate the largest chemical and biological weapons programs in the world through the eventual dissolution of the country in 1991. In contrast to the policies of the Soviet Union, the United States actually did live up to the convention and immediately destroyed its biological and chemical weapons in accordance with the agreement. It was only after the break up of the Soviet Union that the rest of the world learned how flagrantly the country had violated the international accord.

Although President Ronald Reagan (served 1981–1989) jumpstarted the arms race after taking office in 1981, the United States maintained its arms negotiations with the Soviet Union, even as it dramatically increased its own defense spending. As proxy wars between East and West flared up in Central America, central Asia, and Africa, the fact that two superpowers had remained committed to direct arms negotiations helped the conflicts from developing into regional, or even world, wars.

Primary Source: "Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction" [excerpt]

SYNOPSIS: International agreements to limit biological and chemical weapons dated back to the nineteenth century, yet by 1972 no comprehensive ban on the weapons had been enacted in the post-World War II era. In addition to banning the use of biological and chemical weapons, this Convention orders all such existing stocks to be destroyed and empowers the United Nations Security Council to supervise the maintenance of the agreement.

Signed at Washington, London, and Moscow
April 10, 1972
Ratification advised by U.S. Senate
December 16, 1974
Ratified by U.S. President January 22, 1975
U.S. ratification deposited at Washington,
London, and Moscow March 26, 1975
Proclaimed by U.S. President March 26, 1975
Entered into force March 26, 1975

The States Parties to this Convention,

Determined to act with a view to achieving effective progress towards general and complete disarmament, including the prohibition and elimination of all types of weapons of mass destruction, and convinced that the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons and their elimination, through effective measures, will facilitate the achievement of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control,

Recognizing the important significance of the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on June 17, 1925, and conscious also of the contribution which the said Protocol has already made, and continues to make, to mitigating the horrors of war,

Reaffirming their adherence to the principles and objectives of that Protocol and calling upon all States to comply strictly with them,

Recalling that the General Assembly of the United Nations has repeatedly condemned all actions contrary to the principles and objectives of the Geneva Protocol of June 17, 1925,

Desiring to contribute to the strengthening of confidence between peoples and the general improvement of the international atmosphere,

Desiring also to contribute to the realization of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Convinced of the importance and urgency of eliminating from the arsenals of States, through effective measures, such dangerous weapons of mass destruction as those using chemical or bacteriological (biological) agents,

Recognizing that an agreement on the prohibition of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons represents a first possible step towards the achievement of agreement on effective measures also for the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons, and determined to continue negotiations to that end,

Determined, for the sake of all mankind, to exclude completely the possibility of bacteriological (biological) agents and toxins being used as weapons,

Convinced that such use would be repugnant to the conscience of mankind and that no effort should be spared to minimize this risk,

Have agreed as follows:

Article I

Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:

  1. Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;
  2. Weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.

Article II

Each State Party to this Convention undertakes to destroy, or to divert to peaceful purposes, as soon as possible but not later than nine months after the entry into force of the Convention, all agents, toxins, weapons, equipment and means of delivery specified in article I of the Convention, which are in its possession or under its jurisdiction or control. In implementing the provisions of this article all necessary safety precautions shall be observed to protect populations and the environment.

Article III

Each State Party to this Convention undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever, directly or indirectly, and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any State, group of States or international organizations to manufacture or otherwise acquire any of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment or means of delivery specified in article I of the Convention.

Article IV

Each State Party to this Convention shall, in accordance with its constitutional processes, take any necessary measures to prohibit and prevent the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition, or retention of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment and means of delivery specified in article I of the Convention, within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction or under its control anywhere.

Article V

The States Parties to this Convention undertake to consult one another and to cooperate in solving any problems which may arise in relation to the objective of, or in the application of the provisions of, the Convention. Consultation and cooperation pursuant to this article may also be undertaken through appropriate international procedures within the framework of the United Nations and in accordance with its Charter.…

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed this Convention.

DONE in triplicate, at the cities of Washington, London and Moscow, this tenth day of April, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-two.

Primary Source: "Interim Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms" [excerpt]

SYNOPSIS: Although the nuclear arms race was not limited to the United States and the Soviet Union, the two superpowers possessed the overwhelming majority of such weapons. This agreement, commonly known as the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT), was the first significant arms-reduction treaty between the two countries and led to future negotiations between them. Another treaty, SALT II, resulted from later negotiations but was not ratified by the U.S. Senate.

Signed at Moscow May 26, 1972
Approval authorized by U.S. Congress September
30, 1972

Approved by U.S. President September 30, 1972 Notices of acceptance exchanged October 3, 1972 Entered into force October 3, 1972

The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties,

Convinced that the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and this Interim Agreement on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms will contribute to the creation of more favorable conditions for active negotiations on limiting strategic arms as well as to the relaxation of international tension and the strengthening of trust between States,

Taking into account the relationship between strategic offensive and defensive arms,

Mindful of their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,

Have agreed as follows:

Article I

The Parties undertake not to start construction of additional fixed land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers after July 1, 1972.

Article II

The Parties undertake not to convert land-based launchers for light ICBMs, or for ICBMs of older types deployed prior to 1964, into land-based launchers for heavy ICBMs of types deployed after that time.

Article III

The Parties undertake to limit submarinelaunched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers and modern ballistic missile submarines to the numbers operational and under construction on the date of signature of this Interim Agreement, and in addition to launchers and submarines constructed under procedures established by the Parties as replacements for an equal number of ICBM launchers of older types deployed prior to 1964 or for launchers on older submarines.

Article IV

Subject to the provisions of this Interim Agreement, modernization and replacement of strategic offensive ballistic missiles and launchers covered by this Interim Agreement may be undertaken.

Article V

  1. For the purpose of providing assurance of compliance with the provisions of this Interim Agreement, each Party shall use national technical means of verification at its disposal in a manner consistent with generally recognized principles of international law.
  2. Each Party undertakes not to interfere with the national technical means of verification of the other Party operating in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article.
  3. Each Party undertakes not to use deliberate concealment measures which impede verification by national technical means of compliance with the provisions of this Interim Agreement. This obligation shall not require changes in current construction, assembly, conversion, or overhaul practices.

Article VI

To promote the objectives and implementation of the provisions of this Interim Agreement, the Parties shall use the Standing Consultative Commission established under Article XIII of theTreaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems in accordance with the provisions of that Article.

Article VII

The Parties undertake to continue active negotiations for limitations on strategic offensive arms. The obligations provided for in this Interim Agreement shall not prejudice the scope or terms of the limitations on strategic offensive arms which may be worked out in the course of further negotiations.

Article VIII

  1. This Interim Agreement shall enter into force upon exchange of written notices of acceptance by each Party, which exchange shall take place simultaneously with the exchange of instruments of ratification of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems.
  2. This Interim Agreement shall remain in force for a period of five years unless replaced earlier by an agreement on more complete measures limiting strategic offensive arms. It is the objective of the Parties to conduct active follow-on negotiations with the aim of concluding such an agreement as soon as possible.
  3. Each Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Interim Agreement if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Interim Agreement have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give notice of its decision to the other Party six months prior to withdrawal from this Interim Agreement. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events the notifying Party regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.

DONE at Moscow on May 26, 1972, in two copies, each in the English and Russian languages, both texts being equally authentic.

FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
RICHARD NIXON

President of the United States of America

FOR THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS:
L.I. BREZHNEV

General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU

Primary Source: President Richard Nixon's Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1973 [excerpt]

SYNOPSIS: Nixon prided himself on his foreign relations experience and frequently noted his success in normalizing relations with the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China during his reelection effort in 1972. After winning the election, Nixon returned to these themes in his inaugural address, challenging Americans to "build a structure of peace in the world in which the weak are as safe as the strong … in which those who would influence others will do so by the strength of their ideas, and not by the force of their arms."

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, Senator Cook, Mrs. Eisenhower, and my fellow citizens of this great and good country we share together:

When we met here four years ago, America was bleak in spirit, depressed by the prospect of seemingly endless war abroad and of destructive conflict at home.

As we meet here today, we stand on the threshold of a new era of peace in the world.

The central question before us is: How shall we use that peace? Let us resolve that this era we are about to enter will not be what other postwar periods have so often been: a time of retreat and isolation that leads to stagnation at home and invites new danger abroad.

Let us resolve that this will be what it can become: a time of great responsibilities greatly borne, in which we renew the spirit and the promise of America as we enter our third century as a nation.

This past year saw far-reaching results from our new policies for peace. By continuing to revitalize our traditional friendships, and by our missions to Peking and to Moscow, we were able to establish the base for a new and more durable pattern of relationships among the nations of the world. Because of America's bold initiatives, 1972 will be long remembered as the year of the greatest progress since the end of World War II toward a lasting peace in the world.

The peace we seek in the world is not the flimsy peace which is merely an interlude between wars, but a peace which can endure for generations to come.

It is important that we understand both the necessity and the limitations of America's role in maintaining that peace.

Unless we in America work to preserve the peace, there will be no peace.

Unless we in America work to preserve freedom, there will be no freedom.

But let us clearly understand the new nature of America's role, as a result of the new policies we have adopted over these past four years.

We shall respect our treaty commitments.

We shall support vigorously the principle that no country has the right to impose its will or rule on another by force.

We shall continue, in this era of negotiation, to work for the limitation of nuclear arms, and to reduce the danger of confrontation between the great powers.

We shall do our share in defending peace and freedom in the world. But we shall expect others to do their share.

The time has passed when America will make every other nation's conflict our own, or make every other nation's future our responsibility, or presume to tell the people of other nations how to manage their own affairs.

Just as we respect the right of each nation to determine its own future, we also recognize the responsibility of each nation to secure its own future.

Just as America's role is indispensable in preserving the world's peace, so is each nation's role indispensable in preserving its own peace.

Together with the rest of the world, let us resolve to move forward from the beginnings we have made. Let us continue to bring down the walls of hostility which have divided the world for too long, and to build in their place bridges of understanding—so that despite profound differences between systems of government, the people of the world can be friends.

Let us build a structure of peace in the world in which the weak are as safe as the strong—in which each respects the right of the other to live by a different system—in which those who would influence others will do so by the strength of their ideas, and not by the force of their arms.…

America's record in this century has been unparalleled in the world's history for its responsibility, for its generosity, for its creativity and for its progress.

Let us be proud that our system has produced and provided more freedom and more abundance, more widely shared, than any other system in the history of the world.

Let us be proud that in each of the four wars in which we have been engaged in this century, including the one we are now bringing to an end, we have fought not for our selfish advantage, but to help others resist aggression.

Let us be proud that by our bold, new initiatives, and by our steadfastness for peace with honor, we have made a break-through toward creating in the world what the world has not known before—a structure of peace that can last, not merely for our time, but for generations to come.

We are embarking here today on an era that presents challenges great as those any nation, or any generation, has ever faced.

We shall answer to God, to history, and to our conscience for the way in which we use these years.

As I stand in this place, so hallowed by history, I think of others who have stood here before me. I think of the dreams they had for America, and I think of how each recognized that he needed help far beyond himself in order to make those dreams come true.

Today, I ask your prayers that in the years ahead I may have God's help in making decisions that are right for America, and I pray for your help so that together we may be worthy of our challenge.

Let us pledge together to make these next four years the best four years in America's history, so that on its 200th birthday America will be as young and as vital as when it began, and as bright a beacon of hope for all the world.

Let us go forward from here confident in hope, strong in our faith in one another, sustained by our faith in God who created us, and striving always to serve His purpose.

Further Resources

BOOKS

Alibek, Ken, with Stephen Handelman. Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World. New York: Random House, 1999.

Miller, Judith, et al. Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001.

Payne Jr., Samuel B. The Soviet Union and SALT. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT University Press, 1980.

Sheehan, Michael J. Arms Control: Theory and Practice. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1988.

Smith, Gerard. Doubletalk: The Story of the First Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980.

Stern, Jessica. Chemical and Biological Weapons in Our Times. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999.

WEBSITES

"Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (SALT I)" Available online at ; website home page http://www.state.gov (accessed May 25, 2003).