Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Binary Chemical Munitions Program

 

July 29, 1986

 

The President today certified to Congress that certain conditions required by Congress for the release of fiscal year 1986 funds for the binary chemical weapons modernization program have been met.

 

This certification to Congress will allow the United States to proceed with the modernization of the chemical weapons deterrent stockpile so critical to our nation's security. U.S. policy on chemical warfare remains unchanged. The United States renounces the first use of lethal and incapacitating chemical weapons. A comprehensive, effectively verifiable global ban on all chemical weapons remains our foremost priority. However, until such a ban is attained, we will pursue deterrence through a strong defensive posture and a credible retaliatory capability. The chemical weapons threat to U.S. forces is a worldwide threat, not limited to NATO. The small, readily deployable stockpile of binary munitions which we seek will provide the flexibility to meet and deter this threat.

 

Specifically, the legislation requires that the President certify to Congress that:

 

 -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has adopted a binary chemical munitions force goal addressed to the United States;

 

 -- the United States has developed, in coordination with the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, a plan for the deployment of binary chemical munitions under appropriate contingencies; and,

 

 -- the United States has consulted with NATO member nations on that plan.

 

On May 15 NATO's Defense Planning Committee in Permanent Session, composed of the Permanent Representatives to NATO of the 15 nations participating in the alliance's military structure, adopted the NATO force goals for 1987 to 1992, including the binary chemical munitions force goal addressed to the United States. Defense Ministers, meeting as the Defense Planning Committee in Ministerial Session on May 22, according to normal NATO procedures ``noted'' the Permanent Representatives' action. The Defense Ministers' action completes the established NATO procedure for adopting force goals for alliance.

 

The United States has developed, in coordination with SACEUR, a plan for the deployment of binary chemical munitions under appropriate contingency plans. The United States has conducted extensive consultations with allied governments on chemical weapons issues, including consultations on the plan for deployment of chemical weapons under appropriate contingencies. On June 19 consultations with allies on this military contingency plan were completed in the appropriate NATO forum: NATO's Military Committee, which is composed of senior military representatives from nations to NATO. The U.S. Military Representative to the Military Committee briefed the Military Committee on the U.S. plan for contingency deployment of chemical weapons. Recognizing the conclusions reached in the Defense Planning Committee, and within the context of those conclusions and of national statements and reservations expressed in the Defense Planning Committee, the Military Committee took note of the briefing of the U.S. plan for the contingency deployment of chemical weapons.