MIA: History: USSR: Government

To Ban Chemical Weapons

The extensive military programme adopted by the United States for the purpose of achieving military superiority over the Soviet Union attaches a great deal of importance to the quantitative build-up and qualitative improvement of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons, like nuclear arms, are weapons of mass destruction, but the difference lies primarily in the fact that they affect only manpower, leaving structures and other material objects intact. That is precisely why chemical weapons are an essential complement to nuclear arms which form the core of the US military programme. According to the Pentagon strategists, it is this property that makes chemical weapons, like the neutron weapons, particularly valuable in the preparation of aggressive plans which include the seizure of foreign territories and their resources. Washington is consequently developing new types of chemical weapons, particularly binary ones, and deploying a broad network of storage facilities for these weapons on other countries territories, bringing them closer to the area where they could be used. These moves by the United States enhance many times over the threat of a war involving the use of chemical weapons.

The US: 10,000 Million Dollars for Chemical Weapons

The United States laid the foundation for its present arsenal of chemical weapons immediately after the end of the Second World War. To this cud it made extensive use of the scientific and technological documents captured from the defeated Third Reich and the services of its leading scientists. In particular, the technology for producing sarin, a potent nerve gas developed in Nazi Germany, enabled the US quickly to start its production and stockpile it in considerable quantities.

The United States has the world's largest arsenal of chemical weapons today. According to American specialists between 150,000 and 300,000 tons of chemical weaponry are stored in the United States while the number of chemical munitions of 90 different types is approximately three million.

But even this immense arsenal of chemical weapons is not sufficient for Washington. On February 8, 1982, President Reagan announced the decision to start a programme of chemical rearmament. Over 10,000 million dollars is to be spent on this programme in the course of several years. For the fiscal year 1985 alone the Pentagon requested 1,126 million dollars for this programme (for comparison we may note that in 1983 705 million dollars was spent on the development of chemical weapons).

The purpose of the programme is to modernize and replenish the entire American arsenal of chemical weapons although the stocks of such weapons now at the disposal of the US armed forces are more than enough to destroy the entire population of our planet. The programme provides for the mass production of new types of chemical weapons, including binary ones, improvements in the methods of their application and the construction of storage facilities for chemical warfare agents outside the United States. It is planned to bring the number of chemical munitions to five million.

Washington's Binary Chemical Weapons

The development of binary chemical weapons and putting them into service are the key element in the American programme for chemical rearmament. What is so special about these weapons? Binary munitions differ from unitary ones in that they are filled with two chemical components placed in separate plastic containers. When the weapon is used the diaphragm separating the two containers is disrupted and the two components cause a chemical reaction which forms a toxic agent. The resulting substance is usually sarin or VX which are very toxic nerve gases, much more toxic than the two separate components.

Washington is now busy advertising the "safety" of binary weapons. This safety is illusory because only the actual production of separate components and their transportation are relatively safe. These operations would be mainly carried out in the United States. The filling of munitions with binary components, their transportation and storage at army depots, especially at battle positions, are much more dangerous. At these stages real poisonous substances are formed because of the careless handling of binary weapons or through an accident. The leakage of such substances is highly dangerous. But all this would take place far away from the territory of the United States, in the countries where binary weapons would be sited-mainly the Federal Republic of Germany and Great Britain. Thus the claims regarding the relative safety of binary weapons are nothing but a trick to lull those states where they are to be deployed into a false sense of security.

Two types of binary munitions have already been developed: the Bigeye aircraft bomb and the 155-mm XM-687 artillery shell.

The Pentagon has for some time been deploying in Western Europe conventional chemical weapons which in the event of leakage through careless storage or accident could cause enormous casualties, especially on such a densely populated continent as Europe.

The decision to proceed with the chemical rearmament of the United States goes hand in hand with the continuing production of the neutron weapons, the plans for deploying more US nuclear missiles in Western Europe and NATO's general policy of stepping up military preparations and attaining military superiority.

Western Europe, a Hostage of Washington

The United States' NATO partners take an active part in the preparations for chemical warfare which is geared mainly towards Europe. Britain, with its powerful scientific and technological facilities in this field, fulfils the role of a research centre for the development of new chemical warfare agents. The British were the first to synthesize the VX nerve gas and the CS tear gas. When they had perfected the production process, they then handed it over to the United States for production. The search for new super-toxic chemical agents continues in Britain. Its own chemical industry too is capable of rapidly embarking on the large-scale production of chemical agents and components for binary munitions. France has chemical weapons of its own and maintains their stockpiles on a sufficiently high level. Although the 1954 Paris Agreement deprived the Federal Republic of Germany of the right to develop chemical weapons of its own, its advanced chemical industry would have no difficulty in producing in a short time conventional chemical warfare agents and components for binary weapons.

It should be noted, however, that the implementation of the US programme for building up chemical weapons runs into certain difficulties both inside and outside the United States. The main difficulty internally lies primarily in trying to squeeze out of Congress as much money as possible for chemical weapons. Those corporations which manufacture various armaments all want a share in this highly profitable business which is subject to cutthroat competition. Naturally, the demands of the American public to put a ban on chemical weapons also play an increasing role.

External difficulties stem from the fact that, as we have mentioned above, an important aspect of the new US military programme is the intention to move chemical weapons as far as possible from American territory and deploy them in Western Europe, as close as possible to the Soviet Union's frontiers. The danger of the chemical contamination of West European countries even in peace time, to say nothing of the fact that these countries would become the Pentagon's hostages in the event of chemical warfare, are the cause for resolute protests in Western Europe.

The General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee and Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet Konstantin Cheriienko wrote in his reply to Petra P. Kelly, a public figure representing the Green Party in the Federal Republic of Germany: "A policy which enables the fuse of nuclear and chemical warfare to be deliberately planted under the European continent must be blocked. Putting an end to these sinister plans is an urgent task for all peoples, political patties and public movements. This task should he accomplished without delay and with no effort spared."

In the face of these difficulties the US Administration is trying, on the one hand, to make the Western public believe that it is interested in prohibiting and destroying chemical weapons and in signing an appropriate international agreement and, on the other, to scare both West Europeans and the American taxpayer with the "Soviet chemical threat".