FLANK DOCUMENT AGREEMENT TO THE CFE TREATY (Senate - May 14, 1997)

Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Mr. President, I rise in strong support of the resolution of ratification reported by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I want to specifically commend the distinguished chairman, Senator Helms, for his outstanding leadership in moving this resolution promptly and responsibly.

I also want to commend the Foreign Relations Committee for including condition No. 9, which would require the administration to submit any agreement that would multilateralize the ABM Treaty to the Senate for advice and consent. This is an extremely important issue, Mr. President, and this provision ensures that the Senate retains its constitutional prerogatives to advise and consent on international treaties.

By way of background, there is an existing statutory requirement, with precedent, that any substantive change to an international treaty must be submitted to the Senate for advice and consent, as prescribed under the Constitution.

The Clinton administration has spent the better part of the past 4 years negotiating changes to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile [ABM] Treaty. Foremost among these changes are a demarcation agreement that would restrict the performance of certain theater defense programs, and a multilateralization agreement that would expand the ABM Treaty to include the Republics of the former Soviet Union. It is this multilateralization agreement that condition No. 9 would address.

Mr. President, condition No. 9 has become necessary because the administration refuses to submit the multilateralization agreement to the Senate for advice and consent. They have rightly conceded that both a demarcation agreement and the CFE flank limits agreement are substantive changes requiring approval of the Senate, but they adamantly refuse to submit multilateralization for approval.

The administration asserts that the executive branch alone has the authority to recognize nations and determine the successor states on treaties whose participants no longer exist. They also argue that multilateralization is merely a clarification, not a substantive change to the ABM Treaty.

It is a very significant change that will fundamentally alter both the nature of the treaty and the obligations of its parties. It is most certainly a substantive change, and as such, it must be submitted to the Senate for advice and consent.

Mr. President, let me elaborate on exactly why a multilateralization agreement would represent a substantive change. The ABM Treaty was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union. It was premised on the policy of mutual assured destruction and it codified the bipolar strategic reality of the cold war. All negotiations on compliance and all discussions concerning amendments to the treaty were to be bilateral in nature, with any decisions being approved by each side. The negotiating ratio was 1 to 1, the United States versus the Soviet Union.

However, one of these two parties has now ceased to exist. There is no longer a Soviet Union. If the treaty is multilateralized, and thereby expanded to include multiple parties on the former Soviet side, it will dramatically change this negotiating ratio, both theoretically and practically.

Instead of the 1-to-1 ratio that the treaty was premised on, it will become at a minimum a 1-to-4 ratio, of the United States versus Russia, Khazakstan, Ukraine, and Belarus, and perhaps even a 1-to-15 ratio of the United States versus all 15 of the former Soviet Republics. We just don't know and the administration isn't saying.

Under a multilaterlization agreement, each of these former Soviet Republics would have an equal say in negotiations, even though they clearly would have unequal rights and unequal equipment holdings. For instance, only the United States and Russia would be permitted to field an ABM system, but other nations would be free to deploy ABM radars and other related components of a system. Further, while the ABM Treaty prohibits defense of the territory of a nation, the term territory is being redefined to mean the combined territories of all former Soviet Republics who choose to join the treaty.

What does this mean? It means that instead of the treaty applying to the territory of an individual nation, it applies to a number of nations, unevenly and in a manner that is very detrimental to the United States. For example, Russia could legally establish new early warning radars on the territory of other States, well beyond the periphery of Russia, while the United States is restricted to its own borders. Compounding this inequity, the territory and borders of the so-called former Soviet Union could change over time because the multilateralization agreement allows the admission of additional republics even after entry into force.

The bottom line, Mr. President, is multilateralization would by definition and practice create a fundamental asymmetry in the ABM Treaty. Rather than having two parties with equal offensive strategic forces and defensive capabilities, this agreement would create a tremendous imbalance. For us to negotiate any changes to the treaty, such as an agreement to permit multiple sites or to change the location, we would now need to convince all the participating Republics of the former Soviet Union rather than just one.

In essence, each of those countries would be able to veto our position at any time. And they would individually leverage the vote in the Standing Consultative Commission for more foreign aid, or trade recognition, or concessions on a variety of issues. Whenever we finally met any single Republic's demands, another could instantly leverage similar concessions. When would it end? Never. This scenario is very troubling. It is troubling there are people in the Senate who would be willing to accede to that kind of situation. At the very least, it will cause huge complications in our process for negotiating changes to the treaty.

There can be no question, an agreement to multilateralize the ABM Treaty is a substantive change to the ABM Treaty, plain and simple. It must be submitted for advice and consent. Condition 9 merely says that before the CFE Flank Limits Agreement can take effect, the President must certify that he will submit the ABM Treaty multilateralization agreement to the Senate for advice and consent.

Nothing in this condition will require any renegotiation of any provision of the CFE Flank Limits Agreement or, for that matter, require any renegotiation of any provision of the ABM Treaty multilateralization agreement. This condition will not affect any other country or any other treaty or the cause of strategic stability in any respect. That is a fact.

Contrary to the parochial appeals of the administration, it is not going to kill NATO expansion. It will not kill START II. And it will not kill the CFE Treaty. In fact, all the President has to do is send us a letter this afternoon certifying he will submit the agreement to the Senate for advice and consent and we will be done with it. Case closed.

I am pleased the Senate has seen fit, thanks to the tremendous leadership of Chairman Helms, to adopt this very important condition. Senator Helms, as he does so many times and often on the floor of the Senate and in private meetings on issues, stands sometimes alone. I am proud to be standing with him on this very important issue, and I think future generations will thank him for his leadership when we get to the point where this treaty does take effect. People will be thanking him for his leadership on the multilateralization issue.

I thank the Chair.

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