Chapter 15 - Soviet Arms Treaty Violations

warded to the President in late December 1983—some weeks after the October completion and November transmission of the General Advisory Committee’s own classified report. While the GAC report had a much broader scope, the GAC and ACVC reports substantially complemented each other. Both sets of reports were processed by NSC arms control staff through the NSC-led Senior Arms Control Policy Group and were forwarded to the President along with assessments and recommendations.

NSDD 121—on Presidential Judgments—January 1984. In response to the Verification Committee’s interagency report, and with the GAC report also confirming the former’s assessments, Reagan issued NSDD 121—Soviet Non-Compliance with Arms Control Agreements on January 14, 1984. This unprecedented directive, with major NSC/ACVC input, outlined Reagan’s judgments and the tough arms control compliance policy that was a key hallmark of his administration’s integrated defense and arms control strategy. Reagan began by noting that:

[Serious Questions and Linkages] The expanding pattern of Soviet noncompliance with existing arms control agreements raises serious questions for U.S. national security, our Alliances, arms control, and U.S.-Soviet relations. In order to assure that these Soviet activities and their implications receive highest-level consideration within the U.S. Government, the interagency Verification Committee was established and tasked, working with the interagency Senior Arms Control Policy Group, to provide assessments and recommendations for U.S. policy. In addition, we sought to ensure full responsiveness to concerns expressed by many members of Congress. . . .

[Judgments] I have reached the following judgments concerning the initial seven major issues that have been reviewed by the Administration thus far, and which are the subject of a report to be submitted to the U.S. Congress:

1. [Chemical, Biological and Toxin Weapons] . . . The Soviet Union is in violation of its legal obligations under the Geneva Protocol of 1925 . . . and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which entered into force in 1975. . . .

2. [Helsinki Final Act] The judgment previously made when the U.S. government publicly charged the Soviet Union with violations of its political commitments under the Helsinki Final Act is confirmed concerning the provisions of the act that require prenotification and other information concerning exercises exceeding 25,000 troops. A major Warsaw Pact maneuver (Zapad–81) . . . was conducted in 1981 at a time great pressure was being put on Poland. . . .

3. [Encryption] . . . The continued high degree of encryption evident in Soviet missile telemetry since 1979 impedes verification and constitutes, under the SALT II Treaty, a violation of a legal obligation (not to defeat the object and purpose of the Treaty). . . .

4. [Krasnoyarsk Radar] . . . The new radar under construction at Krasnoyarsk almost certainly constitutes a violation of legal obligations under the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 in its associated siting, orientation, and capability. . . .

5. [SS–16 ICBM] . . . Under the SALT II Treaty, the Soviet Union’s activities are in probable violation of a legal obligation . . . and a probable violation of a political commitment subsequent to 1981 that bans deployment of the SS–16 missiles under the SALT II Treaty.

6. [SS–X–25 ICBM] Testing of this missile has raised several serious compliance concerns with respect to: the RV-Weight to Throw-Weight Ratio. . . . The New-Type Missile Issue . . . is probably in violation of their political commitment under the SALT II Treaty . . . the high degree of encryption. . . . is an illustrative example of the commitment under the SALT II Treaty, which prohibits impeding verification of provisions of the Treaty.

7. [Nuclear Testing] . . . Soviet nuclear testing activities for a number of tests constitutes a likely violation of legal obligations under the Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 1974 and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty of 1976. . . . (headings added)2

“Initial Policy Implications.” Under this title, the next section of NSDD 121 listed Reagan’s initial five policy responses to the Soviet treaty violations. As summarized, these were: 1) providing a report on these findings to Congress and undertaking briefings and consultations; 2) taking up this subject in diplomatic channels with the Soviets; 3) undertaking a public affairs approach to include press backgrounders and an unclassified fact sheet; and 4) having the Verification Committee continue its analysis. In summary:

  • Reagan’s Improved Security Policy stated that “existing and potential Soviet noncompliance will continue to be factored into U.S. force modernization plans for strategic and chemical weapons.”

[Book pg. 361]