THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 17, 1995
FACT SHEET Conventional Arms Transfer Policy
U.S. conventional arms transfer policy promotes
restraint, both by the U.S. and other suppliers, in
transfers of weapons systems that may be destabilizing or
dangerous to international peace. At the same time, the
policy supports transfers that meet legitimate defense
requirements of our friends and allies, in support of our
national security and foreign policy interests.
Our record reflects these considerations. U.S. arms
sales remain close to our historical average --
approximately $12 billion in government-to- government
sales agreements in FY 1994. U.S. arms deliveries have
also remained flat. Sales and deliveries sales have been
primarily to allies and major coalition partners such as
NATO member states and Israel.
The policy issued by the President will serve the
1) To ensure that our military forces can continue to
enjoy technological advantages over potential
2) To help allies and friends deter or defend themselves
against aggression, while promoting interoperability with
U.S. forces when combined operations are required.
3) To promote regional stability in areas critical to
U.S. interests, while preventing the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction and their missile delivery
4) To promote peaceful conflict resolution and arms
control, human rights, democratization, and other U.S.
foreign policy objectives.
5) To enhance the ability of the U.S. defense industrial
base to meet U.S. defense requirements and maintain
long-term military technological superiority at lower
Supporting Arms Control and Arms Transfer Restraint
A critical element of U.S. policy is to promote
control, restraint, and transparency of arms transfers.
To that end, the U.S. will push to increase participation
in the UN Register of Conventional Arms. We will also
take the lead to expand the Register to include military
holdings and procurement through national production,
thereby providing a more complete picture of change in a
nation's military capabilities each year.
The U.S. will also support regional initiatives to
enhance transparency in conventional arms such as those
being examined by the OAS and ASEAN, and will continue to
adhere to the London and OSCE guidelines, while promoting
adherence to such principles by others. The United States
will continue its efforts to establish a successor export
control regime to the Cold-War era COCOM. Our goals for
this regime are to increase transparency of transfers of
conventional arms and related technology, to establish
effective international controls and to promote restraint
-- particularly to regions of tension and to states that
are likely to pose a threat to international peace and
The United States will also continue vigorous support
for current arms control and confidence-building efforts
to constrain the demand for destabilizing weapons and
related technology. The United States recognizes that
efforts such as those under way in the Middle East and
Europe bolster stability in a variety of ways, ultimately
decreasing the demand for arms in these vital regions.
The United States will act unilaterally to restrain
the flow of arms in cases where unilateral action is
effective or necessitated by overriding national
interests. Such restraint would be considered on a
case-by-case basis in transfers involving pariah states
or where the U.S. has a very substantial lead on weapon
technology, where the U.S. restricts exports to preserve
its military edge or regional stability, where the U.S.
has no fielded countermeasures, or where the transfer of
weapons raises issues involving human rights or
indiscriminate casualties, such as anti-personnel
Finally, the U.S. will assist other suppliers to
develop effective export control mechanisms to support
responsible export policies. The United States will also
continue to provide defense conversion assistance to the
states of the former Soviet Union and Central Europe as a
way of countering growing pressures to export.
Supporting Responsible U.S. Transfers
Once an approval for a transfer is made, the U.S.
Government will provide support for the proposed U.S.
export. In those cases the United States will take such
steps as tasking our overseas mission personnel to
support overseas marketing efforts of American companies
bidding on defense contracts, actively involving senior
government officials in promoting sales of particular
importance to the United States, and supporting official
Department of Defense participation in international air
and trade exhibitions when the Secretary of Defense, in
accordance with existing law, determines such
participation to be in the national interest and notifies
Decisionmaking on U.S. Arms Exports: Criteria and
Given the complexities of arms transfer decisions and
the multiple U.S. interests involved in each arms
transfer decision, decisions will continue to be made on
a case-by-case basis. These case-by-case reviews will be
guided by a set of criteria that draw the appropriate
balance between legitimate arms sales to support the
national security of our friends and allies, and the need
for multilateral restraint against the transfer of arms
that would enhance the military capabilities of hostile
states or that would undermine stability.