Disarmament Conference Agrees on Space Arms Committee

Article excerpt

The Conference on Disarmament on 29 March decided to establish for the first an Ad Hoc Committee on the prevention of an arms race in outer space, thus breaking a deadlock on the matter that had existed for two years.

The 40-member Conference last year had been unable to reach consensus on proposals for such a committee, and on other subsidiary bodies on a nuclear test ban, cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament, and prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters.

The mandate for the new Conference committee on outer space stated that the body should examine, "as a first step at this stage, through substantive and general consideration, issues relavant to the prevention of an arms race in outer space" and take into account all existing agreements and proposals and future initiatives.

Conference President for the month of March, Adolfo R. Taylhardat (Venezuela) proposed the mandate, on the basis of intensive consultations under his guidance. The outer space item was first inscribed on the Conference, agenda in 1982.

The Group of 21 had proposed that the outer space subsidiary body have a mandate calling for "negotiations for the conclusion of an agreement or agreements, as appropriate, to prevent an arms race in all its aspects in outer space."

The socialist countries had proposed in 1984 that the ad hoc committee have a mandate to conduct negotiations on the conclusion of an agreement or agreements as appropriate to prevent an arms race in outer space in all its aspects, taking account of all relevant proposals, including the proposal concerning a treaty on the prohibition of the use of force in outer space and from space against the earth.

A Western proposal had called for identification "in the first instance, through substantive examination, of issues relevant to the prevention of an arms race in outer space".

President Taylhardat said the committee's establishment augured well for the future work of the Conference. He hoped that meaningful, substantive work would be undertaken in that Committee. …