Created: 8/18/1969

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Intelligence Report

Disarmament: Chemical-Biological Warfare Controls and Prospects for Improvement

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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligenceugust9


Disarmament: Chemical-Biological Warfare Controls and Prospects tor Improvement

Accelerating interest in disarmamentalpable increase in efforts to gain international control over the development, production, and use of chemical and biological(CBWJ agents. While primary attention since World War II has focused on the nuclear arms race, popular concern over CBW has grownesult of press reporting on the use of harassing aqents in Vietnam by the US, >ubiii

_ puDiic disclosures of research programs an foreign deployment, and various incidents involving CBW. In international forums diplomatic initiatives reminiscent ofre once more directed to finding ways and means of eliminating the threat of CBW. In particular, the Unitedponsored Geneva Disarmament Committee (referred to here as the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee, or ENDC, in spite of its recent enlargement) is nowCBW. The UN General Assembly is expected to take up the issue in the fall.

The diplomatic history of CBW controlengthy one, the first efforts in the field going back to the last third ofh century. of new initiatives are therefore confounded



by the multiplicity of existing internationaland diverging interpretations thereof that make up the body of law on the subject. Moreover, in addition to the tangle of legal opinions,international customs are sometimes cited as constituting implicit international restraints having the force of formal agreements. Theof efforts to regulate CBW within thecontext of disarmament,iscussion of recent developments on the subject and theirfor success follow. Conclusions appear in paragraphs


Documents of Historical and Current Interest General

"unnecessary suffering"has given rise to earlier attempts toclass of weapons referred to as CBW agents,for the perennial controversy as toshould fall within the class. The listagents has varied with time and withof science. The principle itselfseveral mutations. Inh andh centuries, nationsto have generally agreed on the axiom, ifimplementation, that devices causingof proportion to their military effect, oracting upon military forces andpopulations alike, should be shunned. Intimes, massive retaliation strategiespopulations appear to have renderedobsolete, and it has been supersededmore comprehensive goal in disarmamentoutlawing all weapons of mass destructionway to general and complete disarmament. the old philosophic disputes havelegacy of confusion to the various documentsthat make up CBW law today.

Declaration of St. Petersburg

0 states signed theSt. Petersburg, which prohibited "thearms which uselessly aggravate the sufferingsmen or render their deathto the laws of humanity." Thisused frequently at later conferences to"unnecessary suffering" principle and,to argue against waging gas warfare or It is considered the earliestthe contention advanced from somethat CBW weapons are proscribed byand customary international law.

Hague Peace Conferenceas Declarationhich provided in part:

Inspired by the sentiments which foundin the Declaration of St.. . .

The Contracting Powers agree to abstain from the use of projectiles tho sole object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases.

Tho declaration ultimately was ratified bytates. Both it and the so-called Convention IV of7 Hague Peace Conference, which banned the use of and poisonedere in effect but were largely ignored during World War I.

Gas Declaration was deficient in It outlawed only projectiles with theof spreading gas. The phrasedeleterious gas" was open to variousand the uncertainty over the noxiousbe controlled has yet to be resolved. Theover tear gas and other harassingbe traced to the Gas Declaration. interpretation, as well as broad-gauged disregard

of it and Convention IV during World War I, haverendered both ineffectual as viable commitments of states.

Treaty of Versailles, and theat the close of the war, includedthe defeated states from manufacturing"asphyxiating, poisonous, or otherall analogous liquids, materials, orby some to be an effort to rehabilitate agreements, others nevertheless soughtmeasures andime the focus for CBWwas in tho League of Nations.

The Treaty of Washington

partomprehensive attempt tothe USonferencether things, produced the Treaty of Washington


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It never went into effectof those signing, France never ratified. The language pertaining to chemical warfare, owever, survived to be used almost intact in the Geneva Protocol.

Geneva Protocol (Protocol Prohibiting the Use

in War of Asphyxiating or other Gases, and of

Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. Geneva. June

7. Following presentationeague ofgroup of expertseport on chemical and bacteriological warfare that emphasized theeffects of these weapons on civilianthe Conference for the Supervision of the International Trade in Anns, Anmunition, andof War was convened in Geneva. After muchrotocol was drafted that made use of the language in the Treaty of Washington andlause on bacteriological warfare. The finalreads in part:

Whereas the use in war of asphyxiating,or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices has been justly condemned by the general opinion of theworld, and

Whereas the prohibition of such use has been declared in treaties to which the majority of the Powers in the world are Parties; and

To the end that this prohibition shall be universally accepted as part ofLaw, binding alike the conscience and practice of nations;


That the High Contracting Parties, so far as they are not already Parties toprohibiting such use, accept thisagree to extend this prohibition to the use of bacteriological methods ofand agree to be bound as betweenaccording to tho terms of this.















Holy See











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Paraguay Poland


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Ugandaof South AfricaKingdom


Venezuela Yugoslavia

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Geneva Protocol is currently ineffect. To date it has been acceded to bystates (see chart). In spite of continuingamong members of the League to improve uponstands overears later as the mostundertaking on the subject. Almostand most minor, military powers haveit with the important exception of theand Japan. Few documents ofhave experienced the difficulties ofhowever, that have surrounded tho

United Nations and CBW

changing emphasis in arms controlWar II is reflectedesolution ofommission for Conventionaldated:

eapons of mass destruction should be do-fined to include atomic explosive weapons, radioactive material weapons, lethal chemical and biological

This category of 'weapons of mass destruction" has occupied the attention of arms control experts almost exclusivelyith nuclear controlstho bulk of the effort. Nevertheless, for CBW the resolution quoted abovehift of CBW's identification as of comparablecapability with nuclear devices focused attention on the difficulties of enforcing andcompliance with any new measures socking to control the development, production and stockpiling of CBW agents. It is generally conceded, moreover, that these verification problems with regard to CBW promise to be more difficult than equivalentin nuclear disarmament.

number of nations have maintainedpressure, primarily at the UN, to gainadherents to the Protocol in orderits effectiveness. The Sovietcharges, in the aftermath of the Koreanthe US had used biological warfare (BW)North Koreans and Chinese, and,eans of

miking the allegations more plausible, pointed to the failure of the US to ratify the Protocol. The Soviets havo made use of tho UN and other forums to state their support for the Protocol and urge other nations to ratify it.

he UN General Assemblyresolution that called for strict observancestates of the principles and objectives ofencouraged its widespread acceptance,all actions contrary to itsresolution passedotenopposed, and three abstentions. umber of other nations that have notthe Protocol voted for the resolution,not bind them to accede to the Protocol itself.

The Secretary General's Report

In responseequest by the UN's Eight-een Nation Disarmament Committee, the8 commissioned the Secretary General totudy of the effects of the uses of CBW. That report, which was preparedrouprom various countries whom the Secretaryappointed, was made public

It emphasized the dangers to international security of developing, perfecting, producing, and stockpiling CBW agents. It observed that thecharacteristic of CBW is theof waging it. The impactiven application could bo devastating or negligible, depending upon conditions and the particular agent used, and upsets of ecological balances could result. Civil defense against CBW was termed prohibitively costly and administratively impossible. The report also emphasized the danger that escalation to even more formidable weapons uclear anddevices) could be triggered by the use of CBW. Moreover, because the means for acquiring these weapons is well within the capability ofall countries, proliferation is stressed as

a frightening eventuality. The report concludes:



It is the hope of the authors that thiswill contribute to public awareness of tho profoundly dangerous results if these weapons were ever used, and that an aroused public will demand and receive assurances that Governments are working for theeffective eliminationeapons.

a foreword to the report, thogave his full endorsement to itsconclusions, and called upon the members ofNations to undertake the following measures:

To renew the appeal to all States to accede to the Geneva Protocol;

Tolear affirmation that thecontained in the Protocol applies to the use in war of all chemical,and biological agents (including tear gas and other harassing agents), which now exist, or which may be developed in the future;

To call upon all countries to roachto halt the development, production and stockpiling of all chemical and (biological) agents for purposes of war and to achieve their effective elimination from the arsenal of weapons.

recommendations were transmittedENDC and the General Assembly as part andthe report* Simultaneously with its receiptthe UK delegation of the ENDC introducedtreaty to govern the use, development,of BW weapons. The ongoingthat forum and the further discussions ofarc axpected to follow when the Generalconvenes in September will be stronglyby interpretations of the report,and of course the body of lawby the documents outlined above.

The Existing Law of CBW as Currently Interpreted

the consideration of CBW controls,questions have received attention mora They are: A. Whatand devices are referred to in the Gonova B, What activities regarding them are C. What nations are bound by theare they effectively bound?

A. What weapons, agents, and devices arc referred to in the Geneva Protocol?

English version, "asphyxiating,or other gases,all analogousor devices" appears on its face broadly

to encompass all agents and substances commonlywith chemical warfare- Commentators and official policies seem in general agreement that it includes the common varieties of gas intended topermanent disabilities or death. Among these are numbered the nerve agentslister agentshoking agents loodnd toxins (botulinum toxin). The clause that prohibits 'bacteriological mothods ofindisputably refers to such pathogenic bacteria as cause anthrax, typhoid, and tularemia in human

this consensus is recorded,and unofficial opinions alike diverge onthe Protocol outlaws certain other categoriosagents. Of perhaps greatest current interestcontroversy over tear gas and otherand "incapacitating" agents likeo induce temporary mental aberrations. the Protocol's English text seems broad enoughthese agents, the equally-authenticraises doubts. It refers to "gasou similaires, ainsi que de tousou procodeshe French, nottranslation of the English, has inspirodthat tho Protocol was intended to banclasses of agents: those intended topermanently disable. Advocates of this position

frequently maintain that to stretch tho "unnecessary suffering" principle to include nonlethal harassing and incapacitating CM agents extends the ban byinference to most other weapons of modern warfare. Underroad construction would come smoke, white phosporous, incendiaries, napalm, and evenexplosives, all of which give off gas, and perhaps even asphyxiating gas, omprehensive interpretation, the argument goes, would certainly produce results not intended by the Protocol'shence, harassing and incapacitating gases should be exempted.

19- To draw the lino at "lethal" gases, however, occasions still other disagreements. For, ifin great quantity, harassing and incapacitating agents can prove lethal. This matter has long sinceolitical,uridical, controversy. The Protocol's imprecise language and overears ofhave failed to produce accord. Other differences have focused on the status of antiplant and antilive-stock chemical agents. Probably the balance of opinion favors an interpretation of the Protocol outlawingand incapacitating as wall as antiplant and antilivestock chemical weapons.

20. The meaning of the ban on "bacteriological methods of warfare" has also provoked disagreement. Other pathogenic micro-organisms including certain fungi, rickottsiae, and viruses, which do notfall into the "bacteriological" category, havo been discovered It has been argued, but without much conviction, that their use would not be prohibited by the Protocol. Thisclearly distorts the intended objective of the Protocol, however, which was to make illegal the use of germ warfare, or warfare with "microbes-" similar to those regarding chemical agents also arise with respect to harassing and incapacitating biological agents, and biological agents directed against plants and livestock. But it appears that tho consensus on this point leans toward an inclusive interpretation of "bacteriological warfare."

What activities regarding CBW are proscribed?

statement is soraotimcs made bylaw exportseneral, customaryban on the use of CBW is in offect. their contention on the various documentsto above taken in the aggregate, on theof CBW, on official statements of(including those like the US whichaccepted the Genevand on thefrom CBW by both sides in World War II. language suggests that the generalof the civilized world has condemned the use But the language therein also appears tocommitments among only those nationsthe Protocol. There have been officialof policyumber of powers, includingthe USSR, tho UK, and France, that they will not

be first to use lethal CBW agents. Whether all these circumstances add upeneral customary international law banning CBW use may be academic. But the hypothesis has exerted pressure onover the years, and has molded world public opinion, which now operateseasonablyde facto deterrent against the use of CBW.

legal sanctions exist at present,against the development, production, andof CBW agents, and until lately evenseemed to accept these activities asaspects of the arms race, howeverGeneva Protocol does not treat these matters,

and deals exclusively with use. Current initiatives, of course, seek to develop verifiable controls over these other aspects.

C. What nations are bound, and how eiiectively?

Thereistinction between customary and contractual undertakings.

international law, tho formor exist as

a general expression of intent among nations, honored informally by practice and custom, but do notthe mutual exchanges of promises. The latter

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depend upon formal documents of state and have as their basis the mutual exchanges of promises with contingencies and definitions spelled out to mutual satisfaction. For an undertaking to bethat is, augmented by guarantees of compliance beyond the mere good will of the obligor nation, it must in nearly every case be contractual. In some fashion it will probably infringe the sovereignty of the obligor nation, for example by granting other nations the right,eciprocal basis, ofout inspections inside its territorialfor the purpose of verifying compliance. In general, customary law is less binding thanand bare contractual law is less binding than self-enforcing contractual law on the consciences and practices of nations.

At present there exist no self-enforcing restraints in tho field of CBW. While language in the Geneva Protocol taken alone does appear tocontractual restraints among ratifyingumber of nations, when ratifying, stipulated various reservations. France, in its reservation, which has been usedattern by other nations, said it considered its obligation to be contractual with other ratifying countries only. It further stated that France would terminate its obligations with any state whose armed forces or allies should "fail to respect" the Protocol. The Soviet Union reserved the right to disregard the Protocol in the case of states whose armed forces or allies either de jure or in fact "do not respect" the Protocol. Some have concluded that Moscow might interpret the mere failureountry to adhere to the Protocole jure failure to respect it. In short, the Geneva Protocol probably does create contractual commitments among its assenting parties, but subject to the terms of whatever reservations they have stated.

Other language in the Protocol suggests an attempt to bind even nonadherents by referring to world opinion condemning the use of CBW. As noted above, many experts believe this and otherhaveustomary restraint which binds all nations. Beyond its utilityevice to underscore public moral outrage in the event of

a CBW attack, however, any such customary law has little force or effect.

26. In summary, the existing restraints are not self-enforcing. Among adherents to the Geneva Protocol, the minimum common contractual obligation is to forbear from the first use of CBW. that have unilaterally eschewed first usehe US) have probably assumed customary obligations nearly as strong as if they had ratified theand nonadherents with no formally declaredare presumably only bound by whatever force moral suasion might have.

CBW in tho Context of Disarmament Negotiations The Pinccmeal Approach

27. The new international trend inhas been pragmatic. Where the US and USSR have been able to agree on limited objectives in specific areas, some disarmament progress has Hence we have the Outer Space Treaty, the Limited Test Ban Treaty, and the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). This piecemeal approach hasearlier efforts toingleagreement on general and complete disarmament. In pursuit of further progress, the US and USSR may soon undertake negotiations in the field ofarms limitation talks (SALT). The ENDC is now studying various separate items, including pros pacta for agreementeabed arms controla comprehensive test ban, and the UK-proposcd ban on BW. he primary focus in the ENDC has beenact that has detracted from prospects for progress in CBW.

The BW Draft Treaty at ENDC

26. 9 tho UK delegate to the ENDCraft treaty that, according to itsis designed to reinforce the Geneva Protocol. It spells out two undertakings. In Article I, all parties engage never to use biological warfare,as agents causing death or disease byor infestation. In Article II, all parties agree not to produce, acquire, or assist in theor acquisition of these agents in quantities


except for peaceful uses or of equipment totheir hostile use; they agree not to conduct* permit or assist in research programs pursuant thereto; they agree to destroy or divert to peaceful uses all their stocks and equipment.

Any party believing itself to beW attack in violation ofay ask the UK Secretary General to investigate and report to the Security Council, Any party believing that another nation is breaching eitherr II may complain to the Security Council and request that it authorize an investigation. All parties further undertake to cooperate with the Secretary General and the Security Council, and to negotiate for achievement of effective chemical warfare Once in effect, the treaty would be ofduration, although it does include anclause. By' itsountry which felt that its supreme national interests were jeopardized by events relevant to the treaty could- upon three months1 notice to the other parties, disavow its obligations under the treaty. ompanion to the draft treatyraft Security Council resolution that empowers the Secretary General to makeinvestigations of allegediolations.

Public debate on CBW has been quite active in Britain over the past several years, and London has taken the lead in seekina enforceable controls.

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on the use of harassing and antiplant agents in Vietnam by the US, as well as on the nerve gas incidents in Utah and Okinawa, The British government has remained sensitive, however, to the fact that tho US considers tear gases and other non-lethal substances permissible under the Genevaand international custom. Deference to the US no doubtart in Britain's decision not to treat CW in ita present initiative, since debate on the tear gas issue, part and parcel of any CW discussions, is potentially embarrassing to the US. London has adopted the "piecemeal" methodubject upon which agreement is possible whileotentially volatile issue. In this case, both Britain and the US are apprehensive of reopening US-USSR debate on tear gas in the ENDC,

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The British have contended that BW merits separate treatment since it is "totallywhereas cw can be usedcertain amount of precision". They also maintain that to forgo production of BW agents is no substantial concession,ation exercising its prerogative to renounce the treaty could reactivate its BWhort time.

The British draft has met with considerable resistance in the ENDC from the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies . Their fundamental objection has been that it separates CW and BW, which, they argue, weakens and undermines the Geneva Protocol. Moscow's spokesman has charged that to treat BWmight cause an indefinite postponementolution toreater "real threat" than BW, and that it could even accelerate the CW arms raco. The Soviets have also informally expressed reservations as to tho verification scheme, which affordsowerful role. They havesought to limit the powers of that office,

and honce would prefer an arrangement conferring more discretion on the Security Council.

The Soviets in preventing meaningfulof BW in the ENDC, may be hoping to raise tho issue in the General Assembly this fall. Soviet propaganda efforts in Southeast Asia and in their domestic publications, together with hints in Gromyko's recent policy speech, suggest tho possibilityoviet CBW initiative in that forum. Considering the number of countriesin discussing CBW and their sensitivity to the use of tear gas by the US in Vietnam and the fact that Washington does not accept the Genevait will be difficult to treat the issueembarrassing the US- It is not thought,that Moscow really intends to press for new international controls on CBW at this time.

The Polish delegate in the ENDC has echoed Moscow's general line on the UK draft treaty. orking paper he urged strengthening of the Geneva Protocol and called on all UN members to affirm that it applies to the use in war of all chemical and bacteriological agents, including tear gas. Warsaw also indicated an interest in new measures, but with


joint treatment of CW and BW. The Bulgarians have endorsed Moscow's position and have pointed to the "grave accidents of recent weeks" as reminders of the need for progress on CBW. Romania seems to have been alone among Soviet allies in favoring thedraft.

Other ENDC members have made statements, generally in support of tho UK initiative, butnegotiations to develop agreement on specific issues have not materialized. The Canadian delegate has stated his approval of the draft, observing that BW is more easily dealt with because it is not now part of NATO's strategic doctrine. Ottawa desires greater restrictions on CBW and would be pleasedew initiative could resolve the differences of interpretation surrounding the Geneva Protocol.

The Dutch see the draft treaty asthe Protocol, but have questioned the wisdom of extending the ban to research in view of the obvious difficulties of verifying compliance. The Dutch press has closely followed recent disclosures that the US stockpiles CBW agents in Okinawa and West Germany. Increasing public anxiety in theledecent official statement by the minister of defense that no such US stockpiles were present in the Netherlands.

new member in themeasures to the Protocol and supports the outlawing of development and production in spite of the inherent verification problems, in light of the lnciccnt or. Okinawa, Dokyo advocates a zor.plezo on the use and production of biological and chemical weapons. Italy's initial reaction was quite negative. The Italian delegate pointed out even the tabling of the BW initiative undermined the Protocol since it reflected the feeling of one of its adherent! that the Protocol is inadequate.

In Sweden, the press has charged that both the US and USSR are indifferent to the BW initiative. The newspapers have emphasized tho need for giving CBW as serious consideration as tha nuclear weapons problem, and have made much of "nerve gas accidents" in the US and Okinawa, which were followed by US acknowledgment of its stockpiles in Germany. has urged that the ENDC follow the Secretary

General's recommendations on CBW (seend hasesolution for the ENDC to approve and submit to the General Assembly to implement the Secretary General's second recommendation, which spells out the agents prohibited. The draftis apparently worded so as to minimize conflict over the tear gas Question. Its operable portion

ondemns and declares as contrary to the laws of war the use for hostile purposes of any chemical agents of warfare: chemical substances, whether gaseous, liquid or solid, which might be employed because of their direct toxic effects on man, animals or plants, and any biological agents ofliving organisms, whatever their nature, or infective material derived from them, which are intended to cause disease or death in man, other animals or plants, and which depend for their effects on their ability to multiply in the person, animal or plant

prefers to treat CW and BWand has included in the draft resolutionto negotiations in the ENDC to "reachagreements on the cessation of theproduction of chemical and biological meansand on the elimination of such meansas have been produced or otherwisehostile purposes."

appears wholly unlikely that thewill be able to present the Assembly thisa BW treaty modeled on the UK draft. onsensus favoring the UK's initiativeand no other drafts have been tabled. however, appear to favor continuingdebate in the Assembly this fall, and in spiteSwedish effort to minimize disagreements indiscussions in New York could prove lengthy

Pro^pucts for CBW inh General Assembly and Beyond

will probably occupytime inh General Assembly,eptember. The nonnuclear countries aredisturbed over what they see as anuclear monopoly. Their anxieties overwhich many chargedrepetuation ofwere assuaged temporarily by theVI, whose language was intended tonuclear powers to negotiate new disarmament umber of countries delayed signingthe NPT to see if the two principalUS and USSR, could agree on meaningful newprovisions during the two ENDC sessions It is now becoming doubtful that the ENDCable to present such agreements toeabeds treaty, consideredmost promising area for US-USSRlately dimmed. Bilateral US-USSRstratogic arms limitation talks have noproducing results in time for the Assembly's llonce the nonnuclear countries, distressedlack of progress and anxious to have amay implement their threat to reconvene Disarmament Commission n unwieldyof the whole of the Assembly, which hasfor over ten years. This could well resultshrill debates that the superpowers will

be able to guide only with difficulty.

CBW issue is certain to receiveeven should there be no UNDCGeneral Thant's report on CBW will bein the light of his three recommendations.

inimum, his inclusion of harassing agents within the category of CBW will be hotly debated. It is possiblereat deal of support for his second recommendation will develop, which could conceivably result in an Assembly resolution affirming that the Geneva Protocol applies to the use of harassing agents. Heated discussions of CBW in the Assembly might well aggravate the problems of future ENDC sessions concerning CBW. Even if the tear gas issue were put to rest, any enforceable ban on all aspects of CBW poses difficult problems of verification.

The scheme proposed in the UK draft, making use of UN machinery, might avoid the difficulties ofreciprocal national inspection rights. On the other hand, this might resultessverification system, and it is problematical whether it would gain broad acceptance.


The UK initiative on BW in the ENDC will probably founder, whatever its merits. The Soviets and their allies seem intent upon avoidingconsideration of it in Geneva in favor ofthe problem to the Assembly. Once the issue is opened in New York, as it most probably will be,UN members can be expected to exploit the tear gas issue at US expense.

Recent international interest, whileconsiderable CBW debate, has nevertheless failed to stimulate attitudes that are sufficiently forthcoming to force new international agreements. The basic disputes over existing constraints no longer appear to hinge on philosophic interpretations of

the "unnecessary suffering" principle or technical legal argumentation. Instead, they have becomeissues in the larger context of general and complete disarmament.

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