Chapter 15 - Soviet Arms Treaty Violations

ed to make the GAC report widely available a year after the Soviet Union’s November 1983 walk-out on the U.S.-Soviet INF and START negotiations in Geneva and to counter charges by Reagan’s political opponents who accused him of not doing enough to get “reasonable” Soviets back to the table.

The Unclassified GAC Report Summary—January 1984. In accordance with Congressional legislation, Reagan soon forwarded both classified and unclassified versions of the GAC report to the Congress. The unclassified version of the GAC study entitled A Quarter Century of Soviet Compliance Practices Under Arms Control Commitments: 1958—1983, includes Reagan’s cover letter and summary. It is recommended as a “must read” for serious students of the Cold War, the Reagan Administration, and Soviet arms control practices. The report covers three historical time periods: 1958–1971, 1972–1978, and 1979–1983 and outlines a pervasive pattern of Soviet compliance problems with a marked increase occuring since the 1972 signing of the SALT and Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) agreements. Its findings strongly corroborated the assessments on the seven issues addressed by the NSC’s Arms Control Verification Committee effort reviewed below.

The Soviet Record—Seventeen Broken Commitments, SCC Insufficiencies. The unclassified GAC report noted seventeen international arms control commitments that had been broken by the Soviet Union. Thirteen of these involved formal treaty clauses and four involved international commitments made by Soviet leaders. Ten further suspicions of Soviet “material breaches” of treaties were noted that GAC members had been unable to resolve. The unclassified report also noted that the confidential diplomacy conducted at the U.S.-Soviet Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) established in 1972 to resolve such issues, had not provided satisfactory Soviet explanations or brought the Soviet Union into compliance. The report warned that U.S. monitoring capability was insufficient and that the U.S. appeared to have no long-range strategy to deter Soviet violations.

Overview and Impact. The GAC reports had a significant impact in shattering any remaining illusions about Soviet trustworthiness and the weak U.S.-Soviet arms control process that Reagan had inherited, particularly as this process had operated to Soviet advantage during the 1970s “détente” period. The broadly circulated unclassified GAC summary reinforced Reagan’s new security-based arms control principles, as it described the Soviet Union’s deliberate deception in arms control negotiations, in signing treaties the Soviet Union was already planning to violate (e.g., the SALT and ABM Treaties), and in concealment and deception practices designed to prevent effective U.S. verification of Soviet treaty compliance by National Technical Means (NTM).

5. The Arms Control Verification Committee Review and the President’s NSDD 121 Decisions—1982 to 1984

When it was established by President Reagan in November 1982, the NSC-led Arms Control Verification Committee (ACVC) was directed to focus the compliance evaluation process by concentrating on six major cases of suspected Soviet cheating (each also covered in the President’s tasking for the GAC’s twenty-five year summary). The six issues were identified as: 1) chemical, biological and toxin weapons conventions; 2) the Helsinki Final Act; 3) encryption of missile tests under SALT II; 4) the development of the new Soviet SS–25 missile under SALT II; 5) Soviet SS–16 missile deployments under SALT II; and 6) the Threshold Test Ban Treaty.

After U.S. intelligence discovered a very large new Soviet radar under construction near Krasnoyarsk in Siberia in the summer of 1983, this likely violation of the ABM Treaty was added as a seventh compliance issue. As part of the NSC’s comprehensive tasking, the AC Verification Committee was directed to study a number of compliance aspects for NSC and Presidential review to include: technical analyses of intelligence data and monitoring capabilities; legal analyses; policy recommendations; diplomatic demarches and exchanges; a classified report for highest-level review; and classified compliance briefings to Congress. In the fall of 1983, directions were also issued on compliance subjects to be taken up with the Soviets at the next confidential session of the SCC—a contentious session that Reagan later publicly characterized in his compliance reports as unsatisfactory.

Congressional Requests and the Verification Committee and GAC Reports—Late 1983. In September 1983, Congress passed a legislative request for an administration report similar to the one Reagan had tasked to the NSC’s Arms Control Verification Committee. The Senate supported this request by a vote of 93–0 as an amendment to the FY 1984 Arms Control and Disarmament Act. At the same time, the Arms Control Verification Committee-coordinated interagency report was prepared at a highly classified level and was for-

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