Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report on Soviet Noncompliance With Arms Control Agreements

February 1, 1985

To the Congress of the United States:

During 1984, at the request of the Congress, I forwarded two reports to the Congress on arms control compliance. The first, forwarded last January, was an in-depth analysis of seven specific issues of violations or probable violations by the Soviet Union of arms control obligations and commitments. The second report, forwarded in October, was an advisory study prepared independently by the General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament. These reports indicate that there is cause for serious concern regarding the Soviet Union's conduct with respect to observance of arms control agreements.

In the FY-1985 Defense Authorization Act and the Conference Report on that Act, the Congress called for additional classified and unclassified reports regarding a wide range of questions concerning the Soviet Union's compliance with arms control commitments. The Administration is responding to these requests by providing both classified and unclassified reports which update theseven issues initially analyzed in the January 1984 report, and analyze a number of additional issues.

In this unclassified report the United States Government reaffirms the conclusions of its January 1984 report that the USSR has violated the Helsinki Final Act, the Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and two provisions of SALT II: telemetry encryption and ICBM modernization. The United States Government also reaffirms its previous conclusions that the USSR has probably violated the SS - 16 deployment prohibition of SALT II and is likely to have violated the nuclear testing yield limit of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty. In addition, the United States Government has determined that the USSR has violated the ABM Treaty (through the siting, orientation and capability of the Krasnoyarsk Radar), violated the Limited Test Ban Treaty, and violated the SALT II provision prohibiting more than one new type of ICBM, and probably violated the ABM Treaty restriction on concurrent testing of SAM and ABM components. Evidence regarding the USSR's compliance with the ABM Treaty provision on component mobility was determined to be ambiguous. In addition, the United States Government is concerned about Soviet preparations for a prohibited territorial ABM defense. Further, the USSR was determined to be currently in compliance with those provisions of the SALT I Interim Agreement and its implementing procedures that deal with reuse of dismantled ICBM sites and with the reconfiguration of dismantled ballistic missile launching submarines.

Beyond the issues that are treated in the unclassified report released today, there are other compliance issues that will not be publicly disclosed at this time but which remain under review. As we continue to work on these issues, we will brief and consult with the Congress in detail and will, to the maximum extent possible, keep the public informed on our findings.

In order for arms control to have meaning and credibly contribute to national security and to global or regional stability, it is essential that all parties to agreements fully comply with them. Strict compliance with all provisions of arms control agreements is fundamental, and this Administration will not accept anything less. To do so would undermine the arms control process and damage the chances for establishing a more constructive US-Soviet relationship.

As I stated last January, Soviet noncompliance is a serious matter. It calls into question important security benefits from arms control, and could create new security risks. It undermines the confidence essential to an effective arms control process in the future. With regard to the issues analyzed in the January 1984 report, the Soviet Union has thus far not provided satisfactory explanations nor undertaken corrective actions sufficient to alleviate our concerns. The United States Government has vigorously pressed, and will continue to press, these compliance issues with the Soviet Union through diplomatic channels.

Our approach in pursuing these issues with the Soviet Union is to ensure that both the letter and intent of treaty obligations and commitments will be fulfilled. To this end the Administration is: analyzing further issues of possible noncompliance; as noted above, seeking from the Soviet Union through diplomatic channels explanations, clarifications, and, where necessary, corrective actions; reporting on such issues to the Congress; and taking into account in our defense modernization plans the security implications of arms control violations. At the same time, the United States is continuing to carry out its own obligations and commitments under relevant agreements. Our objectives in the new negotiations which begin in March are to reverse the erosion of the ABM Treaty and to seek equitable, effectively verifiable arms control agreements which will result in real reductions and enhance stability. While all of these steps can help, however, it is fundamentally important that the Soviet Union take a constructive attitude toward full compliance with all arms control obligations and commitments.

The Administration and the Congress have a shared interest in supporting the arms control process. For this reason, increased understanding of Soviet violations or probable violations, and a strong Congressional consensus on the importance of compliance to achieving effective arms control, will strengthen our efforts both in the new negotiations and in seeking corrective actions from the Soviet Union.

I look forward to continued close consultation with the Congress as we seek to make progress in resolving compliance issues and in negotiating sound arms control agreements.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

February 1, 1985.

Note: The text of the President's unclassified report was included in the White House press release.