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Statement before the Subcommittee on Arms Control, international Organizations, and Science of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Washington, DC, March 24, 1992
Mr. Chairman, I am happy to have the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee to present an update on our discussions with the other four major suppliers [China, France, the United Kingdom, and the former Soviet Union] on arms transfers and non-proliferation. We have made good progress in the difficult negotiations among the five, and I will discuss that in some detail.
It is important to note at the outset that in the short time since the President announced his Middle East arms control initiative less than a year ago-we have seen the major suppliers take some hard decisions. We have begun moving in a new direction toward responsibility, transparency, and consultation.
What we have accomplished so far represents a convergence among the five, for the first time, regarding the needs of this critical part of the world. There are many more tough decisions that need to be made before we can claim success. It is important, however, to outline some key elements of this new direction.
First, responsibility. The five have acknowledged that, as major suppliers of arms, they bear a special obligation for ensuring that their arms transfers do not undermine stability. This requires that they work together.
Second, transparency. The five have agreed that we must exchange information about arms sales in order to identify and avert destabilizing arms transfers.
Third, consultation. The five have agreed, for the first time, to make their arms transfer decisions subject to debate and criticism and to abide by common guidelines governing arms transfers.
This may not seem remarkable or challenging until you consider that the United States is the only member of the five that shares the responsibility, information, and decision-making about arms transfers with its legislative body. What our partners have agreed, in effect, is to apply the collective reason of the five to decisions they do not share with their own parliaments.
This is not business as usual. I would submit to you that this is something quite new.
At a minimum, what we are seeking in this process is to elevate …