September 1, 1988

Soviet Statement in Connection with the Third Review of the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems

In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty Between the USSR and the United States on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, talks were held in Geneva August 24-31, 1988 between representatives of the USSR and the United States to review the Treaty after another five years of its operation.

The Soviet side proceeded on the basis that the review should lead to the strengthening of the ABM Treaty, which is of key significance for ensuring further progress in the disarmament sphere and strengthening strategic stability and international security. The preservation and strengthening of this Treaty is the common concern of its participants -- the USSR and the United States.

The USSR delegation conducted all the discussions in a non-confrontational spirit, with the aim of seeking mutually acceptable decisions both as regards the political reaffirmation of the sides' commitment to the objectives and tasks of the Treaty, and as regards the quest for concrete technical decisions that could lead to the removal of mutual concerns in unclear situations that have arisen in the exchange of opinions between the sides.

The Soviet delegation sought to ensure that the reaffirmation of commitment to the Treaty and the agreed outlines concerning ways of eliminating the two sides' concerns would be reflected in a joint statement or communique, that would be published as a result of the review of the Treaty's operation. Unfortunately, this proved impossible because of the American side's reluctance to give practical consideration to the Soviet side's concerns and its desire to reduce the entire review of the operation of the ABM Treaty to the acceptance by the Soviet side of the American demand for the dismantling of the Kranoyarsk radar station, which does not yet exist.

On the basis of the results of the discussion, the American side published a unilateral statement which gives an unobjective assessment of the existing situation.

The present statement by the USSR delegation sets forth the facts that give a true picture of the situation as regards compliance with the ABM Treaty and the nature of the discussions that took place.

On the question of the radar station under construction in the Krasnoyarsk region, the Soviet side once again confirmed that this station is intended for the tracking of space objects and does not come under the ABM Treaty restrictions. Despite this, the United States continues to attribute missile attack warning functions to it. These American claims are based not on facts, but on assumptions, and subjective evaluations.

In order to show goodwill, and in an attempt to remove the concern that had arisen on the part of the United States, we expressed readiness to dismantle the equipment of this station in a way that would be verifiable and would cause the United States no doubts, if an accord were reached on compliance with the ABM Treaty in the form in which it was signed in 1972.

The American side also expressed concern in connection with the relocation of individual components of radar stations known in the United States as "Pawn Shop" and "Flat Twin" from the Sary Shagan testing range to the Gomel region, which the American side regards, without foundation, as the start of the deployment of ABM radar stations.

On the basis of the facts we cited and a visit by US official representatives to the Gomel region, the American side saw for itself that in fact the individual components of the "Flat Twin" radar station and the "Pawn Shop" van are being used in the region in question in order to set up measurement testing grounds for the testing and tuning of mirror antennas that are used widely in the country's national economy. These operations are in no way contrary to the ABM Treaty.

At the same time, we stated that in the context of removing the two sides' concerns over questions of compliance with the ABM Treaty, the Soviet side would be prepared for a radical solution to the question of the remaining individual components of the "Flat Twin" radar station and the "Pawn Shop" van to which the American side refers.

The American side once again raised the question that the Soviet Union could be preparing an ABM defense system for its territory. Here, the assertions cited earlier were enumerated, assertions to which the Soviet side had supplied the necessary replies. Neither any one of the questions raised individually nor all of them together provide grounds for the expression of such concern by the United States.

The Soviet side also submitted a number of constructive proposals which, in the event of their implementation, would promote the resolution of other questions raised on both sides, namely:

  • To draw up an accord to the effect that the sides would inform each other beforehand about plans for the construction of large phased-array radar stations and indicate their purpose.

  • To agree on features making it possible to distinguish ABM radar stations from other radar stations.

  • To draw up procedures for the dismantling or destruction of ABM radar stations on testing ranges.

  • To permit Soviet representatives to visit the American radar station in Greenland and the construction of a launch site for "balloon rockets" on Shemya Island, to enable the Soviet Union to study on the basis of factual material US actions which, according to the information available, it assesses either as a violation of the Treaty (the Greenland radar station) or as a situation causing concern (the Shemya Island construction site).

Unfortunately, our proposals did not meet with a positive response from the American side. Contrary to the true state of affairs, it continues to issue unfounded denials or to claim that it does not see that serious Soviet concerns exist with regard to US compliance with Treaty commitments. The American side did not respond to some of our proposals, and its answers on the other questions cannot be deemed satisfactory.

Nor did the American side show willingness to take any steps to rectify the violations of the ABM Treaty which it has committed.

Since 1975, the Soviet side has been expressing concern over the US deployment of large phased-array radar stations of the "Pave Paws" type on US territory and elsewhere. The essence of our concern is that these large radar stations have parameters sufficient to carry out the tasks of ABM radar stations. In conjunction with the radar station at the Grand Forks base, these stations could provide a radar base for an ABM defense of US territory, which is incompatible with the provisions of Article 1 of the ABM Treaty prohibiting the creation of a base for ABM defense of the country's territory.

Particular concern is caused on the Soviet side by the US violation of the ABM Treaty in the deployment of a new "Pave Paws" large phased-array radar station in Greenland after the Treaty came into force, and the construction of a similar radar station in Britain. Under the ABM Treaty, the deployment of large phased-array radar stations having a potential exceeding 3 million watts is strictly regulated, taking into account the purpose of such radar stations. Missile attack warning radar stations with the above characteristics are permitted to be deployed only on the periphery of the national territory, oriented outward.

The American large phased-array radar station at Thule (Greenland) has a potential considerably in excess of 3 million watts. The Thule region does not constitute a position on the perimeter of US national territory. The American side itself has indicated that the radar station at Thule is intended for missile attack warning. Consequently, the deployment of a large phased-array radar station in the Thule region is a violation of the ABM Treaty.

The construction that has begun of a similar radar station at Fylingdales (Britain) is a similar violation.

The Soviet side also expressed other concerns with regard to US compliance with the provision of the ABM Treaty.

Seeking to find solutions to the specific issues that have arisen, the Soviet side demonstrated in practice its readiness to eliminate the two sides' concerns. Naturally, the quest for solutions should take place on a reciprocal basis and should not distract attention from the most important thing -- the sides' reaffirmation of their commitment to the objectives and provisions of the ABM Treaty.

Through no fault of ours, it proved impossible to achieve positive solutions to the questions examined at the talks. However, the Soviet side believes that joint efforts with the aim of seeking fundamental solutions could be continued, and we will work toward this. In particular a mechanism established by the Treaty exists for the examination of concerns expressed by the sides -- the Standing Consultative Commission. The next session of the Soviet-American Standing Consultative Commission in Geneva in the fall of this year should be used specifically for this work, including work in accordance with instructions that could be given to the Standing Consultative Commission as a result of the forthcoming meeting between the USSR Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State.