Nuclear Disarmament and Arms Control

Nuclear Disarmament and Arms
(Strategic Arms Limitation
SALT -- Background
• Ever since the dropping of the atomic bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, there
have been attempts to bring about either
complete nuclear disarmament or to achieve
some sort of arms control agreement whereby
the growth of nuclear stockpiles might be
SALT -- Background
• The need for some sort of agreement on
restricting or banning altogether nuclear
weapons became more pressing as the USA and
the USSR developed increasingly powerful
nuclear arsenals.
• In 1949 the USSR tested its first atom bomb;
SALT -- Background
• In 1952 the USA developed the H-bomb, closely
followed by the USSR the next year;
• In 1957-1958 the USSR and the USA produced
the first intercontinental ballistic missiles.
• In 1970 the USA developed the first MIRV
(multiple independently-targeted warhead), five
years ahead of the USSR.
SALT -- Background
• By the 1980s, the USA and the USSR each had
over 10,000 nuclear warheads.
• Furthermore the number of countries possessing
nuclear weapons steadily increased; by 1960 the
UK and France had joined the “nuclear club”,
SALT -- Background
• China did so in 1964, India tested a nuclear
device in 1974 and a number of other countries
were working on developing nuclear weapons.
• The desirability of disarmament or arms control
naturally increased as the destructive capacity of
nuclear devices grew and after the Cuban Missile
Crisis of 1962 brought the world close to a
nuclear war.
SALT -- Background
• Proposals for complete disarmament were
discussed quite regularly in the 1950s and
early 1960s but since then arms control has
been the dominant approach.
• No disarmament agreement was successful in
the period up to the mid-1980s.
SALT -- Background
• Thereafter, the USA and the USSR signed a
series of historic disarmament treaties which
reduced the number of nuclear weapons held
by the superpowers; the INF (Intermediaterange nuclear forces) Treaty in 1987, START I
(strategic arms reduction treaty) in 1991 and
START II in 1993.
SALT -- Background
• In 1959 the USA and the USSR produced a
joint resolution on disarmament which led to
the setting up of a Committee of Ten Nations
to draft a Treaty of World Disarmament.
• The Committee met in Geneva in 1960 but no
progress was made.
SALT -- Background
• More successful was the first arms control
agreement, the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, which
banned the military use of Antarctica and was
signed by 40 countries.
The McCloy-Zorin Agreement,
September 1961
• In 1961 the USA and the USSR took part in
disarmament talks to Moscow.
• A “joint statement of agreed principles as a basis
for multilateral negotiations on disarmament”
was issued by the superpowers in September
• This was known as the McCloy-Zorin
The McCloy-Zorin Agreement,
September 1961
• The McCloy-Zorin Principles were adopted by
the general Assembly of the United Nations.
• The UN then set up the Eighteen Nation
Disarmament Committee (ENDC) which met in
Geneva in March 1962.
The McCloy-Zorin Agreement,
September 1961
• Just before the formal proceedings opened the
US, Soviet and British foreign ministers met in
Geneva to discuss Soviet and US proposals for
• There then followed three years of negotiations
which failed to produce any agreement.
Arms Control & Détente
• August 1963
• Test Ban Treaty
• The USA, USSR and Britain signed the Partial
Test Ban Treaty which banned above ground
testing of nuclear devices.
• Over the next two years over 90 other countries
signed the treaty but France and China did not.
Arms Control & Détente
• July 1968
• The Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
• Signed by the UK as well as the USA and the
Arms Control & Détente
• November 1969
• SALT (Strategic Arms Limitations Talks)
• Negotiations between the USA and the USSR
began in Helsinki
Arms Control & Détente
• September 1971
• US-Soviet Nuclear Accidents Agreements
• April 1972
• Biological Weapons Convention
• Signed by 126 countries
Arms Control & Détente
May 1972
SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty)
Signed by Nixon and Brezhnev
This was composed of two treaties: first was the
SALT I Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty
• The second treaty was SALT I Interim
Agreement on Offensive Arms.
Arms Control & Détente
• June 1973
• The Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement
• Signed by the USA and the USSR
Arms Control & Détente
• August 1975
• The Final Act of the Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)
• Signed in Helsinki
• The conference had started back in 1973
• All European governments (except for Albania)
and the USA and Canada participated.
Arms Control & Détente
• The Helsinki Declaration (the Final Act), signed
by 35 governments, covered three broad issues,
or “baskets” as they were referred to: security cooperation and human rights.
• A significant agreement in the security basket
was that all signatories would provide prior
notification of any military exercises involving
more than 25,000 troops.
Arms Control & Détente
• June 1979
• This agreement was signed by the USA and the
USSR and went further than SALT I.
• However, this agreement was never formally
agreed to by the USA because it was not ratified by
the Senate.
• None the less, both sides kept to the agreement
until 1986.
A Return to Disarmament: the UN
Special Sessions on Disarmament
1978 & 1982
• The 1978 US Special Session of the General
Assembly on Disarmament was the first
major international disarmament conference
since the 1932 League of Nations
Disarmament Conference.
A Return to Disarmament: the UN
Special Sessions on Disarmament
1978 & 1982
• The Special Session agreed a Final Document
highlighting the dangers of nuclear war but
no significant action on disarmament
• A second Special Session in 1982 was less
harmonious and achieved nothing.

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