CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (Senate - April 24, 1997)

[Page: S3613]

Mr. INHOFE.

Mr. President, you have run companies. You know one of the major reasons we are not globally competitive here in the United States is that we are overregulated. There is a tremendous cost to these regulations. If the requirements exceed 50 pages, imagine what the companies would have to do.

Mr. President, in a way I think the other side of this has perhaps used the wrong argument. There is an argument they are overlooking, and that is it does not seem to make a lot of difference whether Russia ratifies this or not because, as we have said several times during the course of this debate, they ratified a lot of treaties, including the 1990 Biological Weapons Destruction treaty, the ABM Treaty--that goes all the way back to the 1970's--the START I, CFE, INF. And while they have ratified these, they have not complied.

There are three steps you go through. One is you have to sign them. Second, you ratify them. But, third, you have to comply. And they have been found out of compliance. I cannot imagine why we would expect that they would comply with this one if they ratified it if they have not complied with the previous ones.

The distinguished Senator from Michigan quoted, somewhat extensively, Gen. John Shalikashvili, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as saying that this would have the effect of reducing the proliferation of chemical weapons.

I would only say, trying not to be redundant, if that is the case, then you are taking his word over four previous Secretaries of Defense: Dick Cheney, James Schlesinger, Don Rumsfeld, and Cap Weinberger, all four of whom said this would have the effect of increasing the proliferation of chemical weapons and their use in the Middle East.

But, one of the statements that was made by the distinguished Senator from Michigan I thought was interesting. He said, if I got it right, and correct me if I am wrong: `The single most important reason to ratify the treaty is to encourage Russia to ratify it.' Again, if they do, it really does not seem to make that much difference because of their past history on what they have done.

I would like to clear up something because I think we have gone through a lot of debate on this issue. It has been clearly implied by both Republicans who are supporting the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as Democrats who are supporting it that this was started in the Reagan administration and that Ronald Reagan was in support of a chemical weapons treaty.

I happened to run across something here that I am going to read. These are the conditions--I am going to save the best one until last--the conditions under which Ronald Reagan said he would agree to the ratification of a chemical weapons convention.

First, the condition was that strategic defense initiative and theater missile defense systems would be deployed and operational as one safeguard against cheating.

As we know, currently we do not have those in place.

No. 2, that the Chemical Weapon Convention's international executive council would consist of 15 members, including the United States as one of the five permanent members, just like the U.N. Security Council. The current treaty gives us a 41-member executive council, each with 2-year terms, and no permanent members; hence, no veto.

Third, that the United States would have absolute veto power over all CWC decisions. Obviously, in this one there is no veto power. Obviously, the President would not have supported this.

President Reagan also, even though it is not on my list, verbally indicated on more than one occasion that one of his conditions would be that we would not have to incur the financial responsibility, in the United States, of other countries complying with it. In fact, right now our compliance costs on this convention appear to be, according to the Foreign Relations Committee report, $13.6 billion and the cost of Russia complying with this would exceed that.

It has been stated on this floor many times that Russia has somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of all the chemical weapons in the world, so, obviously it would be more than that. What is Russia going to do? Are they going to comply? Let us say they go ahead and ratify. If they ratify it, you know, everyone in this Chamber knows, that they are going to look to the United States to pay for their obligation under the treaty. That is what they are doing on START II. In fact, I have to go back and make that statement also, that we are hearing this same argument all over again right now that we heard 2 years ago. Mr. President, 2 years ago we stood in this Chamber and they said: If we don't ratify this, Russia won't ratify it. Here it is 2 years later and Russia has not ratified it.

So I think this is a very significant requirement, the fact that Ronald Reagan said--and this is a direct quote, coming out of his committee at the time--for ratification, `All Soviet obligations of previous arms control agreements would have to be corrected.' And we have five such agreements that have not been corrected to date.

So, I hope no one stands on the floor the rest of the evening and talks about how Ronald Reagan would have ratified this Chemical Weapons Convention.