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U.S. Department of State

Elimination Protocol
Inspections Prococol (with Annex)
Corrigenda, Agreed Minute & Diplomatic Notes


The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, commonly referred to as the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty, requires destruction of the Parties' ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment within three years after the Treaty enters into force.

 In the mid-1970s the Soviet Union achieved rough strategic parity with the United States. Shortly thereafter, the Soviet Union began replacing older intermediate-range SS-4 and SS-5 missiles with a new intermediate-range missile, the SS-20, bringing about what was perceived as a qualitative and quantitative change in the European security situation. The SS-20 was mobile, accurate, and capable of being concealed and rapidly redeployed. It carried three independently targetable warheads, as distinguished from the single warheads carried by its predecessors. The SS-20s 5,000 kilometer range permitted it to cover targets in Western Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and, from bases in the eastern Soviet Union, most of Asia, Southeast Asia, and Alaska.

 In late 1977, NATOs Nuclear Planning Group ordered a study of the Alliances long-term INF modernization needs, consistent with the doctrine of flexible response. In the spring of 1979, NATO established the Special Consultative Group to formulate guiding principles for future arms control efforts involving INF. That summer, NATO produced the Integrated Decision Document, which set forth the basic aims of the Alliances INF policy. It called for complementary programs of force modernization and arms control.

 On November 12, 1979, the NATO ministers unanimously adopted a "dual track" strategy to counter Soviet SS-20 deployments. One track called for arms control negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union to reduce INF forces to the lowest possible level; the second track called for deployment in Western Europe, beginning in December 1983, of 464 single-warhead U.S. ground-launched cruise (GLCM) missiles and 108 Pershing II ballistic missiles.

 Initially the Soviet Union refused to engage in preliminary talks, unless NATO revoked its deployment decision; however, by July 1980, the Soviet position changed, and preliminary discussions began in Geneva in the fall of 1980.

 The U.S. approach to the negotiations, developed through extensive consultations within NATO, required that any INF agreement must: (1) provide for equality both in limits and rights between the United States and the Soviet Union; (2) be strictly bilateral and thus exclude British and French systems; (3) limit systems on a global basis; (4) not adversely affect NATOs conventional defense capability; and (5) be effectively verifiable.

 Agreement to begin formal talks was reached on September 23, 1981. On November 18, President Reagan announced a negotiating proposal in which the United States would agree to eliminate its Pershing IIs and GLCMs if the Soviet Union would dismantle all of its SS-20s, SS-4s, and SS-5s. This proposal became known as the "zero-zero offer."

 At the beginning of the talks, the Soviet Union opposed the deployment of any U.S. INF missiles in Europe and proposed a ceiling of 300 "medium-range" missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft for both sides, with British and French nuclear forces counting toward the ceiling for the West.

 During the first two years of the talks, which ended with a Soviet walkout on November 23, 1983, the United States continued to emphasize its preference for the "zero option" even while introducing the concept of an interim agreement based on equally low numbers of INF systems.

 During 1984 there were no INF negotiations. U.S. deployments were carried out as planned in the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, while preparations for deployment continued in Belgium.

 In January 1985, Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Gromyko agreed to separate but parallel negotiations on INF, strategic arms (START), and defense and space issues as part of a new bilateral forum called the Nuclear and Space Talks (NST). The United States and the Soviet Union agreed that all questions regarding these three areas would be considered in their interrelationship. Negotiations would be conducted by a single delegation from each side, divided into three groups -- one for defense and space, one for START, and one for INF. Formal talks resumed in March 1985 in all three areas.

 In the fall of 1985, the Soviet Union hinted at the possibility of an INF agreement independent of START or defense and space issues. As U.S. GLCM deployments continued, the Soviet Union outlined an interim INF agreement that would permit some U.S. GLCMs in Europe, but which would permit SS-20 warheads equal to the sum of all warheads on U.S., British, and French systems combined. The Soviets also offered to freeze INF systems in Asia -- contingent on U.S. acceptance of their proposals and provided the Asian strategic situation did not change.

 In November of 1985, President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev met in Geneva, where they issued a joint statement calling for an "interim accord on intermediate-range nuclear forces." At the end of 1985, the United States proposed a limit of 140 launchers in Europe for both sides and proportionate reductions in Asia while emphasizing collateral constraints on shorter-range missiles, since these systems can cover the same targets as longer-range systems.

 On January 15, 1986, General Secretary Gorbachev announced a Soviet proposal for a three-stage program to ban nuclear weapons by the year 2000, which included elimination of all U.S. and Soviet INF missiles in Europe.

 In late February 1986, the United States proposed a limit of 140 INF launchers in Europe and concurrent proportionate reductions in Asia. This proposal also called for both sides to reduce their INF missile launchers remaining in Europe and Asia by an additional 50 percent in 1988 and, finally, to eliminate all INF weapons by the end of 1989. There would be no constraints on British and French nuclear forces. Moreover, as of the end of 1987, shorter-range missiles would be limited equally either to current Soviet levels existing on January 1, 1982, or to a lower level. The United States also presented an outline for comprehensive verification.

 A series of high-level discussions took place in August and September 1986 followed by a meeting between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 1986, where the sides agreed to equal global ceilings of systems capable of carrying 100 INF missile warheads, none of which would be deployed in Europe. The Soviet Union also proposed a freeze on shorter-range missile deployments and agreed in principle to intrusive on-site verification.

 Several months later, on February 28, 1987, the Soviet Union announced that it was prepared to reach a separate INF agreement. On March 4, 1987, the United States tabled a draft INF Treaty text, which reflected the agreement reached at Reykjavik, and submitted a comprehensive verification regime. In April the Soviet Union presented its own draft Treaty, and by July, it had agreed in principle to some of the provisions in the U.S. comprehensive verification regime, including data exchange, on-site observation of elimination, and on-site inspection of INF missile inventories and facilities. In a major shift, however, the Soviet side proposed the inclusion of U.S.-owned warheads on the West German Pershing IA missile systems. The United States responded by restating that the INF negotiations were bilateral, covering only U.S. and Soviet missiles, and could not involve third-country systems or affect existing patterns of cooperation.

 During April meetings with Secretary Shultz in Moscow, General Secretary Gorbachev proposed the possible elimination of U.S. and Soviet shorter-range missiles. At the June 1987 meeting of the North Atlantic Council, NATO foreign ministers announced support for the global elimination of all U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range and shorter-range missile systems. On June 15, President Reagan proposed the elimination of all U.S. and Soviet shorter-range missile systems.

 On July 22, 1987, General Secretary Gorbachev agreed to a "double global zero" Treaty to eliminate intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles. 

On August 26, 1987, Chancellor Kohl announced the Federal Republic of Germany would dismantle its 72 Pershing IA missiles and not replace them with more modern weapons if the United States and the Soviet Union scrapped all of their INF missiles as foreseen in the emerging Treaty. This was a unilateral declaration by the FRG and is not part of the INF Treaty, which is a bilateral U.S.-Soviet agreement. 

In September, the two sides reached agreement in principle to complete the Treaty before the end of the year. On December 8, 1987, the Treaty was signed by President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev at a summit meeting in Washington. At the time of its signature, the Treaty's verification regime was the most detailed and stringent in the history of nuclear arms control, designed both to eliminate all declared INF systems entirely within three years of the Treaty's entry into force and to ensure compliance with the total ban on possession and use of these missiles.

 The Treaty the United States and the Soviet Union signed at Washington on December 8 includes the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Data,1 the Protocol on Inspections, and the Protocol on Elimination. Because of concerns raised by the Senate during the ratification hearings, and because of issues that arose during technical consultations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the spring of 1988, this package was augmented by three exchanges of diplomatic notes (one on May 12, 1988 and two on May 21, 1988) and an agreed minute signed May 12, 1988. The Senate resolution of ratification required the President, prior to exchanging instruments of ratification, to obtain Soviet agreement that the four documents "are of the same force and effect as the provisions of the Treaty." This was done through an exchange of notes on May 28, 1988. The Treaty entered into force upon the exchange of instruments of ratification in Moscow on June 1, 1988.

 The May 12 and May 28 exchanges of notes, as well as the May 12 agreed minute, are included herein following the texts of the Treaty, the MOU and the Protocols. The May 21 exchange of notes, which corrected errors in the site diagrams and Treaty text, are not included, but the textual corrections are listed following the text of the Treaty, MOU and protocols.

 Article XIII established the Special Verification Commission (SVC). The SVC serves as a forum for discussing and resolving implementation and compliance issues, for considering additional procedures to improve the viability and effectiveness of the Treaty, and for determining the characteristics and methods of use of inspection equipment as anticipated by Section VI of the Protocol on Inspection. The sides resolved many of those issues during the first SVC session and agreed to utilize the agreements reached until such time as a document embodying them was signed by the two sides.

 During the third session of the SVC (December 1988), the sides signed an Agreed Statement on inspection procedures at the continuous monitoring inspection site at Votkinsk and a Memorandum of Understanding on operating procedures for the SVC.

 To confirm the declared inventory of INF systems throughout the three-year elimination period and for ten years thereafter, the INF Treaty established various types of on-site inspections, among these are, baseline inspections, to confirm the initial data update; closeout inspections of facilities and missile operation bases at which INF activity ceased; short-notice (quota) inspections of declared and formerly declared facilities, and elimination inspections to confirm elimination of INF systems in accordance with agreed procedures. In addition the United States also received the right to monitor, on a continuous basis for up to 13 years, the access (or portals) to any Soviet facility manufacturing a ground-launched ballistic missile (GLBM), not covered under the INF Treaty, which has a stage outwardly similar to a stage of a GLBM limited by the Treaty. The Soviets received a similar right to monitor the U.S. facility that previously produced the Pershing rocket motor.

 The U.S. On-Site Inspection (OSIA) was established January 15, 1988, inter alia, to coordinate and implement the inspection provisions of the Treaty. Baseline inspections were conducted in 1988 by U.S. and Soviet inspectors to verify the data provided by the United States and Soviet Union on the number and locations of their respective INF systems and facilities.

 In late April and early May 1991, the United States eliminated its last ground-launched cruise missile and ground-launched ballistic missile covered under the INF Treaty. The last declared Soviet SS-20 was eliminated on May 11, 1991. A total of 2,692 missiles was eliminated after the Treaty's entry-into-force.

 Following the December 25, 1991, dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States sought to secure continuation of full implementation of the INF Treaty regime and to multilateralize the INF Treaty with twelve former Soviet republics which the United States considers INF Treaty successors.2 Of the twelve successor states, six -- Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan -- have inspectable INF facilities on their territory. Of these six, four -- Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia, and Ukraine -- are active participants in the process of implementing the Treaty. With the agreement of the other Parties, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, each with only one inspectable site on its territory, while participants, have assumed a less active role, foregoing attendance at sessions of the SVC and participation in inspections.

 The multilateralizing of what was previously a bilateral U.S.-Soviet INF Treaty required establishing agreements between the United States and the governments of the relevant Soviet successor states on numerous issues. In the SVC and through diplomatic contacts with the actively participating successor states, the United States worked to secure agreements to ensure continuation of the viability of the Treaty regime and to assure the exercise by the United States of its rights under the Treaty. Among the tasks undertaken were: arrangements for the settlement of costs connected with implementation activities in the new, multilateral Treaty context; the establishment of new points of entry (POE's) in Belarus, Kazakstan, and Ukraine through which to conduct inspections of the former INF facilities in those countries; and the establishment of communications links between the United States and those countries for transmission of various Treaty-related notifications. Other issues that have been discussed in the SVC include multilateral operating procedures for the SVC's concurrent continuous monitoring under the START I and INF Treaties, and inspection procedures for new missiles exiting from the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant in Russia. 


 1 A comprehensive data exchange took place at the time the Treaty was signed. This MOU included the numbers and locations of all Treaty-limited items, as well as their technical characteristics. All categories of data in the MOU are updated at six-month intervals for the duration of the Treaty.

 2 The United States did not consider the Baltic states to be successors, since it had never recognized the legality of their incorporation into the Soviet Union.