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Public Papers - 1992

Message to the Senate Transmitting a Protocol to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty


To the Senate of the United States:

I am transmitting herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Protocol to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the Protocol) signed at Lisbon, Portugal, on May 23, 1992. The Protocol is an integral part of the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the START Treaty), which I transmitted for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification on November 25, 1991. The Protocol is designed to enable implementation of the START Treaty in the new international situation following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Protocol constitutes an amendment to the START Treaty, and I therefore request that it be considered along with the START Treaty for advice and consent to ratification.

I also transmit for the information of the Senate documents that are associated with, but not integral parts of, the Protocol or the START Treaty. These documents are letters containing legally binding commitments from the heads of state of the Republic of Byelarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Ukraine concerning the removal of nuclear weapons and strategic offensive arms from their territories. Although not submitted for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, these documents are relevant to the consideration of the START Treaty by the Senate. No new U.S. security assurance or guarantees -- beyond the assurances previously extended to all nonnuclear-weapon States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty -- are associated with any of these letters.

The START Treaty represents a nearly decade-long effort by the United States and the former Soviet Union to address the nature and magnitude of the threat that strategic nuclear weapons pose to both countries and to the world in general. As I indicated in transmitting that Treaty to the Senate, the United States had several objectives in the START negotiations. First, we consistently held the view that the START Treaty must enhance stability in times of crisis. Second, we sought an agreement that did not simply limit strategic arms, but that reduced them significantly below current levels. Third, we sought a treaty that would allow equality of U.S. strategic forces relative to those of the former Soviet Union. Fourth, we sought an agreement that would be effectively verifiable. And, finally, the United States placed great emphasis during the negotiations in seeking an agreement that would be supported by the American and allied publics.

I was fully convinced in 1991 and I remain fully convinced that the START Treaty achieves these objectives. In addition, the Protocol transmitted herewith has allowed us to achieve another important objective: ensuring that only one state emerging from the former Soviet Union will have nuclear weapons. To gain the benefits of START in the new international situation following the demise of the Soviet Union, it is necessary that Byelarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine -- the four former Soviet republics within whose territory all strategic offensive arms are based and all declared START-related facilities are located -- be legally bound by the START Treaty. The Protocol accomplishes this, while recognizing the sovereign and independent status of each of these four states.

Of equal importance, the Protocol obligates Byelarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as nonnuclear-weapon States Parties in the shortest possible time. In addition, the letters transmitted with the Protocol legally obligate these three states to eliminate all nuclear weapons and all strategic offensive arms located on their territories within 7 years following the date of entry into force of the START Treaty. The Protocol and the associated letters thus further one of our most fundamental non-proliferation objectives -- that the number of nuclear-weapon states shall not be increased. Together with the START Treaty, the Protocol helps ensure that nuclear weapons will not be used in the future.

The START Treaty serves the interest of the United States and represents an important step in the stabilization of the strategic nuclear balance. With the addition of the Protocol, the START Treaty can be implemented in a manner consistent with the changed political circumstances following the demise of the Soviet Union and in a manner that achieves important non-proliferation goals. I therefore urge the Senate to give prompt and favorable consideration to the START Treaty, including its Annexes, Protocols, Memorandum of Understanding, and this new Protocol, and to give advice and consent to its ratification.

George Bush

The White House

June 19, 1992.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
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