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Public Papers - 1993 - January

Message to the Senate Transmitting the Russia-United States Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms

1993-01-15

To the Senate of the United States:

I am transmitting herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the START II Treaty) signed at Moscow on January 3, 1993. The Treaty includes the following documents, which are integral parts thereof:

-- the Protocol on Procedures Governing Elimination of Heavy ICBMs and on Procedures Governing Conversion of Silo Launchers of Heavy ICBMs Relating to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the Elimination and Conversion Protocol);

-- the Protocol on Exhibitions and Inspections of Heavy Bombers Relating to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the Exhibitions and Inspections Protocol); and

-- the Memorandum of Understanding on Warhead Attribution and Heavy Bomber Data Relating to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the Memorandum on Attribution).

In addition, I transmit herewith, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State and letters exchanged by representatives of the Parties. The letters are associated with, but not integral parts of, the START II Treaty. Although not submitted for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, these letters are provided because they are relevant to the consideration of the Treaty by the Senate.

The START II Treaty is a milestone in the continuing effort by the United States and the Russian Federation to address the threat posed by strategic offensive nuclear weapons, especially multiple-warhead ICBMs. It builds upon and relies on 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) signed at Moscow on July 31, 1991. At the same time, the START II Treaty goes even further than the START Treaty.

The START Treaty was the first treaty actually to reduce strategic offensive arms of both countries, with overall reductions of 30 - 40 percent and reductions of up to 50 percent in the most threatening systems. It enhances stability in times of crisis. It not only limits strategic arms but also reduces them significantly below current levels. In addition, the START Treaty allows equality of forces and is effectively verifiable. Finally, commitments associated with the START Treaty will result in the elimination of nuclear weapons and deployed strategic offensive arms from the territories of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine within 7 years after entry into force, and accession of these three states to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as non-nuclear-weapon States Parties. As a result, after 7 years, only Russia and the United States will retain any deployed strategic offensive arms under the START Treaty.

The START II Treaty builds upon and surpasses the accomplishments of the START Treaty by further reducing strategic offensive arms in such a way that further increases the stability of the strategic nuclear balance. It bans deployment of the most destabilizing type of nuclear weapons system -- land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple independently targetable nuclear warheads. At the same time, the START II Treaty permits the United States to maintain a stabilizing sea-based force.

The central limits of the START II Treaty require reductions by January 1, 2003, to 3000 - 3500 warheads. Within this, there are sublimits of between 1700 - 1750 warheads on deployed SLBMs for each Party, or such lower number as each Party shall decide for itself; zero for warheads on deployed multiple-warhead ICBMs; and zero for warheads on deployed heavy ICBMs. Thus, the Treaty reduces the current overall deployments of strategic nuclear weapons on each side by more than two-thirds from current levels. These limits will be reached by the end of the year 2000 if both Parties reach agreement on a program of assistance to the Russian Federation with regard to dismantling strategic offensive arms within a year after entry into force of the Treaty. Acceptance of these reductions serves as a clear indication of the ending of the Cold War.

In a major accomplishment, START II will result in the complete elimination of heavy ICBMs (the SS - 18s) and the elimination or conversion of their launchers. All heavy ICBMs and launch canisters will be destroyed. All but 90 heavy ICBM silos will likewise be destroyed and these 90 silos will be modified to be incapable of launching SS - 18s. To address the Russians' stated concern over the cost of implementing the transition to a single-warhead ICBM force, the START II Treaty provides for the conversion of up to 90 of the 154 Russian SS - 18 heavy ICBM silos that will remain after the START Treaty reductions. The Russians have unilaterally undertaken to use the converted silos only for the smaller, SS - 25 type single-warhead ICBMs. When implemented, the Treaty's conversion provisions, which include extensive on-site inspection rights, will preclude the use of these silos to launch heavy ICBMs. Together with the elimination of SS - 18 missiles, these provisions are intended to ensure that the strategic capability of the SS - 18 system is eliminated.

START II allows some reductions to be taken by downloading, i.e., reducing the number of warheads attributed to existing missiles. This will allow the United States to achieve the reductions required by the Treaty in a cost-effective way by downloading some or all of our sea-based Trident SLBMs and land-based Minuteman III ICBMs. The Treaty also allows downloading, in Russia, of 105 of the 170 SS - 19 multiple-warhead missiles in existing silos to a single-warhead missile. All other Russian launchers of multiple-warhead ICBMs -- including the remaining 65 SS - 19s -- must be converted for single-warhead ICBMs or eliminated in accordance with START procedures.

START II can be implemented in a fashion that is fully consistent with U.S. national security. To ensure that we have the ability to respond to worldwide conventional contingencies, it allows for the reorientation, without any conversion procedures, of 100 START-accountable heavy bombers to a conventional role. These heavy bombers will not count against START II warhead limits.

The START Treaty and the START II Treaty remain in force concurrently and have the same duration. Except as explicitly modified by the START II Treaty, the provisions of the START Treaty will be used to implement START II.

The START II Treaty provides for inspections in addition to those of the START Treaty. These additional inspections will be carried out according to the provisions of the START Treaty unless otherwise specified in the Elimination and Conversion Protocol or in the Exhibitions and Inspections Protocol. As I was convinced that the START Treaty is effectively verifiable, I am equally confident that the START II Treaty is effectively verifiable.

The START Treaty was an historic achievement in our long-term effort to enhance the stability of the strategic balance through arms control. The START II Treaty represents the capstone of that effort. Elimination of heavy ICBMs and the effective elimination of all other multiple-warhead ICBMs will put an end to the most dangerous weapons of the Cold War.

In sum, the START II Treaty is clearly in the interest of the United States and represents a watershed in our efforts to stabilize the nuclear balance and further reduce strategic offensive arms. I therefore urge the Senate to give prompt and favorable consideration to the Treaty, including its Protocols and Memorandum on Attribution, and to give its advice and consent to ratification.

George Bush

The White House,

January 15, 1993.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
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