Letter of Transmittal and Article-by-Article Analysis of the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions

By Bush, George W. | Arms Control Today, July/August 2002 | Go to article overview

Letter of Transmittal and Article-by-Article Analysis of the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions


Bush, George W., Arms Control Today


On June 20, President George tN. Bush sent to the Senate for its advice and consent the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, which the United States and Russia signed May 24. Also known as the "Moscow Treaty," the accord would require the United States and Russia to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear arsenals to less than 2,200 warheads each by the end of 2012.

Following traditional practice, Bush provided the Senate with an article-by-article analysis of the treaty, which was accompanied by a letter of transmittal.

The letter and the treaty analysis both highlight the accord's "flexibility." In his letter, Bush stressed that improving relations with Russia allow Washington and Moscow to no longer "narrowly regulate every step" they take. The treaty analysis underscores this point, indicating that the accord does not set an interim schedule for reductions or dictate how the two countries should implement their reductions. In addition, the analysis points out that the treaty has a more lenient withdrawal option than past arms control agreements in order to permit each side "greater flexibility... to respond to unforeseen circumstances."

The Senate is expected to begin treaty hearings July 9 and to hold a vote sometime this fall. The full text of the letter of transmittal and the treaty analysis appears below.

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Strategic Offensive Reductions, signed at Moscow on May 24, 2002 (the "Moscow Treaty").

The Moscow Treaty represents an important element of the new strategic relationship between the United States and Russia. It will take our two nations along a stable, predictable path to substantial reductions in our deployed strategic nuclear warhead arsenals by December 31, 2012. When these reductions are completed, each country will be at the lowest level of deployed strategic nuclear warheads in decades. This will benefit the peoples of both the United States and Russia and contribute to a more secure world.

The Moscow Treaty codifies my determination to break through the long impasse in further nuclear weapons reductions caused by the inability to finalize agreements through traditional arms control efforts. In the decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union, both countries' strategic nuclear arsenals remained far larger than needed, even as the United States and Russia moved toward a more cooperative relationship. On May 1, 2001, I called for a new framework for our strategic relationship with Russia, including further cuts in nuclear weapons to reflect the reality that the Cold War is over. On November 13, 2001, I announced the United States plan for such cuts - to reduce our operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads to a level of between 1700 and 2200 over the next decade. I announced these planned reductions following a careful study within the Department of Defense. That study, the Nuclear Posture Review, concluded that these force levels were sufficient to maintain the security of the United States. In reaching this decision, I recognized that it would be preferable for the United States to make such reductions on a reciprocal basis with Russia, but that the United States would be prepared to proceed unilaterally.

My Russian counterpart, President Putin, responded immediately and made clear that he shared these goals. President Putin and I agreed that our nations' respective reductions should be recorded in a legally binding document that would outlast both of our presidencies and provide predictability over the longer term. The result is a Treaty that was agreed without protracted negotiations. This Treaty fully meets the goals I set out for these reductions.

It is important for there to be sufficient openness so that the United States and Russia can each be confident that the other is fulfilling its reductions commitment. …

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