I believe we must devise a freeze position that is fair and negotiable, that would end the accumulation of more nuclear arms and that would be verifiable. To this we must add the specific means to achieve arms reductions.
I believe it is essential, too, to have proposals that are clear and relatively simple. We need proposals that will not get us hopelessly bogged down in arcane details, proposals that are negotiable, can be presented to and understood by citizens in this country and elsewhere, and that are fair.
We must also address the key issue of how to provide--as we pursue the essential goal of reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles--for the maintenance of stability and deterrence.
For the hope of deep cuts to be realized, we must spell out how we would dispose of nuclear warheads and how we would maintain a stable deterrent in the process.
I have sought to bridge the gap between those who would freeze now and achieve reductions later, and those who would build and modernize now and freeze later. I believe this proposal offers a reasonably simple and direct way of freezing nuclear arms production by cutting off its source.
This proposal is for Congress to recommend that the president realize the express goal of achieving a nuclear freeze by updating proposals first advanced in separate speeches at the United Nations by presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy and never since withdrawn.
President Kennedy proposed on Sept. 25, 1961, stopping the production of fissionable material for use in weapons by the United States and the U.S.S.R.; the proposed ban was to be verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
My proposed ban would immediately freeze the growth of nuclear weapons stockpiles in a verifiable manner, while permitting the United States and the Soviet Union freedom to undertake such selective modernization as is essential for the maintenance of stability and deterrence, as well as the safety of the weapons involved. Any new nuclear weapon that would need to be deployed would be able to get its warhead from a dismantled system.
President Kennedy also proposed at the U.N. a comprehensive nuclear test ban (CTB), "a treaty assuring the end of nuclear tests of all kinds in every environment under workable controls"--a vital step for slowing the nuclear arms race that was nearly realized in the latter half of the 1970s. This would curb modernization efforts by reducing confidence in any new weapons systems.
Together with a CTB and the ban on production of fissionable material, my resolution would have Congress recommend that the president further propose to the Soviet Union an agreement on phased reductions in stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium from nuclear warheads along the lines of President Eisenhower's Dec. 8, 1953, proposal to the U.N.: "To begin now and continue to make joint contributions of their stockpiles of normal uranium and fissionable materials" to the IAEA and to "begin to diminish the potential destructive power of the world's atomic stockpiles."
The details of my proposal were first suggested to me by Adm. Noel Gayler, former commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific. It would provide for retirement of nuclear warheads according to an agreed quota system and for the denaturing of this weapons-usable material subject to existing IAEA inspection procedures. The warheads could be turned into a control center in a third country, not necessarily the United States or the Soviet Union.
These steps offer the specific means for handling weapons-grade material that any serious freeze and reductions proposal must spell out.
I would note here that I have been among the most vocal of IAEA critics, as part of my efforts to combat nuclear proliferation to countries that do not yet possess the bomb. But I am confident that the IAEA does have the potential capability to provide for verification of a prohibition on U.S. and Soviet production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons production. I have this confidence largely because of the margin of error involved in such a monitoring task.
It is one proposition for the IAEA to employ current inspection and accounting procedures to guarantee with 100 percent certainty that a nation that has no declared nuclear weapons hasn't diverted one or two weapons-worth of highly enriched uranium or plutonium. In volatile regions like the Middle East, South Asia or Latin America, a monitoring error of greater than 10 kgs. of bomb- grade material could provide a critical shift in the regional balance of power.
But when the United States and the Soviet Union have nearly 50,000 nuclear warheads between them, a worst-case inspection and accounting error of one or two warheads by the IAEA would have no strategic significance.
Therefore, we must look to strengthening the IAEA for such a superpower monitoring task, aware that its shortcomings in dealing with states that do not yet possess nuclear weapons are more important than its clear capabilities to monitor superpower arms reductions.
I do not discount the difficulty of gaining Soviet agreement to IAEA inspection. But I believe that Soviet flexibility for on-site monitoring of a comprehensive test ban and their eagerness for progress on arms control are causes for some optimism.
Under my proposal, the Soviets would have to close their facilities producing material for nuclear warheads, as would we. As for facilities producing or using weapons-usable, highly enriched uranium or plutonium for energy generation, the Soviets have only a limited number of them.
They would have the choice of closing these facilities or of submitting them to periodic IAEA inspections. Such inspections would be an essential step for verifying any ban on warhead production.