Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the Establishment of the United States Nuclear Risk Reduction Center

 

March 22, 1988

 

The President has directed the establishment of the United States Nuclear Risk Reduction Center in the Department of State and has approved the designation of Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs H. Allen Holmes as the first Director, United States Nuclear Risk Reduction Center. These steps provide for the implementation of the agreement between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the establishment of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers, which was signed at the White House on September 15, 1987.

 

Under this agreement, which is of unlimited duration, each party is committed to establish a Nuclear Risk Reduction Center in its capital, staffing its center as it deems appropriate. The U.S. and Soviet centers will communicate by direct satellite communication links, which are capable of rapidly transmitting full texts and graphics. To help ensure the smooth operation of the centers, the U.S. and Soviet representatives will hold regular meetings at least once each year. The Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers will pass notifications required under a number of existing and, possibly, future arms control agreements, as well as ``good will'' notifications, which may be provided at the discretion of either party. In particular, the centers will be used to transmit the notifications required under the INF treaty once that treaty enters into force. The centers are expected to begin operation in April.

 

Ambassador Holmes will retain his responsibilities as Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs. He will be assisted in the day-to-day management of the center by a staff director appointed by the Department of State and a deputy staff director appointed by the Department of Defense. The centers will operate 24 hours a day.

 

The President is pleased to announce this step, which advances his efforts to increase strategic stability and to reduce the risk of war through accident or miscalculation. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the U.S. center will take place at the Department of State at 11:35 this morning. Secretary Shultz and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze will participate.