84.30 Tim Brac Writes On Test Ban Treaties

During the negotiations following the Cuban missile crisis, the Soviet Union eventually agreed to allow up to three inspections per year of suspicious seismic events. The United States originally sought 10-20 inspections, but eventually agreed to settle for seven. Failure to agree on an inspection protocol meant that only-a partial test ban (PTB) could be negotiated which still permitted underground tests.

John F. Kennedy and Nikita Kruschev, although apparently eager to conclude significant arms control agreements, were each restrained by factions resisting any compromises. Thus the opportunity of possibly inhibiting the development of tactical nuclear warheads, neutron bombs and MIRVs was lost.

  1. President Reagan’s assertion that the U.S. had to withdraw from comprehensive test ban (CTB) negotiations because of verification problems was contradicted by geophysicists Lynn Sykes and Jack Evernden who contend that on-site inspections are no longer necessary.

  2. The CTB is resisted by producers and supporters of nuclear weapons since it would brake their development and deprive the military of a show of force.

  3. While it is difficult to provide a detailed comparison of nuclear strength of the two sides, there is a rough parity between them. In any case, the stockpiles of both sides are excessive.

The article concludes: “If the technical means exist to verify a CTB, why does the U.S. not show willingness to negotiate? In 1963, when there was great pressure to negotiate, the important main part of the PTB was negotiated in 10 days. From a technological point of view, the U.S. sets the pace of the arms race, especially in the field of nuclear weaponry. In order to slow down the arms race, the U.S. proposes huge increases in the number of nuclear weapons.

“The U.S. policy of negotiating from a position of strength (read ‘superiority’) has not worked and will not work to stop the nuclear arms race. This, coupled to the mutual suspicion that exists, will be the basis for decreased international security and an unprecedented threat to the people on this planet.”

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