Message to the Congress Transmitting a Study on Soviet-United States Nuclear Testing Cooperation

August 14, 1986

To the Congress of the United States:

In response to the requirements of Section 1003 of the FY 1986 Department of Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 99 - 145), I am pleased to transmit this unclassified interagency study of possible avenues of cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union in the development of verification capabilities consistent with national security restrictions.

The requirement under Section 1003 involves: ``limited exchanges of data and scientific personnel,'' in general, and ``joint technological effort in the area of seismic monitoring,'' in particular. Upon review of a number of possible scientific disciplines, it was concluded that in terms of this study, nuclear testing issues appear to offer the most promising avenues for such ``scientific'' cooperation and data exchange. Therefore, the attached study focuses its examination on matters relating to the verification of limitations in nuclear testing.

While the attached study focuses on nuclear testing limitations, it should be noted that in other arms control areas as well, the Administration believes that exchanges of information would, in addition to various monitoring provisions including types of on-site inspections, play an important role in establishing a verification framework.

In START and INF, for example, areas of possible exchange of information might include the declaration of missile and launcher facilities, the numbers of missiles and launchers at such facilities, and information on the destruction of missiles and launchers that are in excess of agreed treaty limits. In the negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR), we have asked for an exchange of information, to be updated annually, on the structure of forces subject to MBFR limitations. At the Stockholm Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures in Europe (CDE), we believe it important to have an exchange of information both on overall force structures and on specific forces participating in military activities. In chemical weapons arms control, we believe it important, among other things, to have a preliminary bilateral exchange of data on chemical weapons stockpiles and on production facilities as a confidence-building measure prior to the entry into force of a convention banning such weapons.

The prospects for progress in arms control may be significantly enhanced if a regime of cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union in the development of verification capabilities consistent with national security restrictions can be established. The attached interagency study describes some possible avenues of cooperation that could produce benefits in the near term in the nuclear testing limitations area.

As indicated in the attached study, the United States has long sought a meeting with the Soviets to present our concerns about the verification provisions of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT) and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET). The United States and the Soviet Union recently agreed to have experts meet to discuss issues related to nuclear testing.

This meeting of experts, which took place in Geneva July 25 - August 1, allowed the United States to present its ideas and concerns to the Soviet Union and to hear Soviet views. At the meeting, the United States presented its views of verification improvements in existing agreements, which we believe are needed and achievable at this time. A follow-on meeting of U.S. and Soviet experts is scheduled for September. We hope the Soviet Union will join in a constructive dialogue.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

August 14, 1986.