Home » Research » Public Papers - 1991
Facebook Twitter Youtube Flickr

Events Newsletter

Click here to become a member of our e-club and receive news about special events and offers.

National Archives

Public Papers - 1991

Message to the Congress Reporting on the National Emergency With Respect to Chemical and Biological Weapons Proliferation

1991-06-21

To the Congress of the United States:

1. On November 16, 1990, in Executive Order No. 12735, I declared a national emergency under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (``IEEPA'') (50 U.S.C. 1701, et seq.) to deal with the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States caused by the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons. In that order I directed the imposition of export controls on goods, technology, and services that can contribute to the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons and delivery systems. I also directed the imposition of sanctions on foreign persons and foreign countries involved in chemical and biological weapons proliferation activities under specified circumstances.

2. I issued Executive Order No. 12735 pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, including IEEPA, the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3 of the United States Code. At that time I also submitted a report to the Congress pursuant to section 204(b) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(b)). Section 204 of IEEPA requires follow-up reports, with respect to actions or changes, to be submitted every 6 months. This report is submitted in compliance with that requirement.

3. Since the issuance of Executive Order No. 12735, the United States Government has implemented additional export controls under the Enhanced Proliferation Controls Initiative (EPCI), announced on December 13, 1990. Three provisions implementing EPCI and Executive Order No. 12735 amend the Export Administration Regulations and were published in the Federal Register (56 FR 10756 - 10770, March 13, 1991), copies of which are attached. These regulations impose additional controls on exports that would assist a country in acquiring the capability to develop, produce, stockpile, deliver, or use chemical or biological weapons or ballistic missiles. The first two regulations were issued in interim form for public comment and implemented immediately. The third regulation was issued in proposed form for public comment.

The three regulations can be described as follows:

The first regulation expands from 11 to 50 the number of chemical weapons precursors whose export is controlled by the United States Government to all countries except the 20-member Australia Group of countries that cooperate against chemical and biological weapons proliferation and the NATO member countries. Prior to this regulation the United States had controlled the 39 additional chemical weapons precursors only to Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, and the four embargoed countries of Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, and North Korea.

The second regulation imposes a requirement for individual validated licenses for export of certain chemical and biological weapons-related dual-use equipment to 28 designated destinations.

The third regulation will impose a requirement for individual validated licenses where an exporter knows or is informed by the United States Government that any export is destined for the design, development, production, or use of chemical or biological weapons or missiles. This regulation also will impose an individual validated license requirement for U.S. persons who knowingly provide assistance to such a project, as well as for U.S. person participation in the design, construction, or export of whole chemical plants that make chemical weapons precursors.

The United States Government, in bilateral contacts, at the Australia Group meetings of December 1990 and May 1991, and at the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) partners meeting of March 1991, has pursued negotiations with foreign governments to persuade them to adopt measures comparable to those the United States has imposed. At the May 1991 Australia Group meeting, the members agreed that by the next Australia Group meeting in December 1991 they would place controls on the export of all 50 chemical weapons precursors identified by the Group. They also agreed in principle to control the export of dual-use chemical weapons-related equipment. The United States Government is seeking greater harmonization of national export control laws, particularly in the areas of chemical and biological weapons-related equipment, including whole chemical plants, and curbs on citizen proliferation activities and end-user controls. At the MTCR partners meeting, significant progress was made toward adopting an updated annex of controlled missile-related technologies. The MTCR partners also agreed to consider further harmonization of controls and implementation procedures. We will continue to pursue efforts to obtain foreign adoption of comparable measures.

An interagency chemical and biological weapons sanctions working group chaired by the Department of State has been established to evaluate intelligence and identify potentially sanctionable chemical or biological weapons activity that has taken place since November 16, 1990. This group has met and vetted information on potentially sanctionable activities but has not completed its analysis. The Administration has not as yet made any sanctions determinations but is reviewing potential sanctions cases.

On May 13, 1991, I announced a further U.S. initiative aimed at completing a comprehensive global chemical weapons ban in the Geneva Conference on Disarmament within 12 months. The initiative contains a series of concrete, forward-looking proposals that we believe will help inspire other governments and make this result possible.

In addition, on May 29, 1991, I announced a Middle East arms control initiative intended to curb the spread of chemical and biological weapons as well as conventional arms, missiles, and nuclear weapons. With regard to chemical and biological weapons, the initiative calls for the establishment of guidelines for restraints on transfers of conventional arms, weapons of mass destruction, and associated technology. It calls for all states in the Middle East to commit to becoming original parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention and for confidence-building measures by regional states. The initiative also calls for strengthening the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention through full implementation of its provisions, an improved mechanism for information exchange, and regional confidence-building measures.

4. The proliferation of chemical and biological weapons continues to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. I shall continue to exercise the powers at my disposal, including export controls and sanctions, and will continue to report periodically to the Congress on significant developments, pursuant to 50 U.S.C. 1703(c).

George Bush

The White House,

June 21, 1991.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
Telephone: (979) 691-4000 | Facsimile: (979) 691-4050 | TTY: (979) 691-4091