The United States and
the BTWC Protocol
This book began by noting President's Nixon crucial role in abandoning the US offensive biological weapons programme and how this led on to the successful conclusion of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1972. In Chapter 2 reference was also made to the vital part President George Bush senior played in the negotiation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Unfortunately for the BTWC Protocol, it appears that the United States has abandoned that leadership role. Reference has been made in this book, for example, to the opposition of relevant sectors of US industry to critical aspects of a strong Protocol, to the inability of the American government to formulate an effective position, to lack of real input into the Protocol negotiations and to the debilitating consequences of US inability to resolve differences with its allies on this issue. Where then did the United States stand when the Chairman formally introduced his composite Protocol text to the Ad Hoc Group at the start of the 23rd Session in late April 2001?
In a report on 25 April, the International Herald Tribune stated: ‘The Bush administration is reviewing the U.S. position on an inspection program, and diplomats here say no progress in the Geneva talks was likely until that was finished.’ 1 Of course, the United States is not solely to blame for the difficulties encountered in the negotiations, but its positive leadership is certainly a necessary condition for a very rapid and successful conclusion. Writing in the March 2001 edition of the CBW Conventions Bulletin, the editors stressed the critical nature of the decisions being made for hopes of completing the Protocol, as agreed, by the end of the year. They added: ‘The first and potentially most important decision is to be made in the United States, where the new administration of President George W. Bush has launched what is reported to