The Biological Weapons Convention and the Researcher CHARLES C. FLOWERREE The Committeefor National Security 1601 Connecticut Avenue W ,Suite 302 Washington, DC 20009
The aspects of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological)and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, or the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC),of greatest relevance to the individual researcher are its scope-that is, what substances and activities are banned, and its provisions relating to consultation, cooperation, and the exchange of information and technology. This paper examines the specific articles that cover these aspects, particularly in llght of the review conferences (REVCONs)held in 1980, 1986, and 1991, which clarified or gave broader interpretations to these articles. Finally some of the proposals put forward by private organizations and individuals for consideration at the Third Review Conference (RC3)in September 1991, and the decisions taken at RC3, will be noted in the context of their relevance to research in microbiology and related fields. BACKGROUND
The fist treaty governing biologcal weapons was the Geneva Protocol of 1925. The initiative for the Protocol was the devastation caused by the use of chemicals in World War I, but the prohibition was extended to include “bacteriological methods of warfare.” The Protocol was simply a pledge by the parties not to use these substances in warfare and contained no provisions for insurmg compliance with its terms. Thus, as an instrument for ridding the world of the threat of chemical or biological weapons, it had serious deficiencies. The weaknesses of the Protocol can be categorized as follows: It says nothing about research, development, or stockpilmg of chemical or bacteriologcal weapons, creating a situation in which many countries “adhered” while maintaining the right to respond in kmd if their forces are attacked with these weapons. The term “bacteriological” may not include all possible types of biological warfare (BW)agents (viruses, for example). There are no provisions for investigating or ensurmg compliance. 113
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The BWC, which was negotiated in 1972 and entered into force in 1975, rectified some, but not all, of these weaknesses with respect to biological weapons. Because there was a general belief that biological warfare (BW)was of little or no military sign&cance at the time it was negotiated, the BWC contained no provision for investigating possible noncompliance. This omission has been a major topic of the review conferences and continues to be of concern. The illegal activities as specified by the BWC and those that might come under the provision of a verification protocol for the Convention are shown in the box on the facing page. SCOPE OF THE BWC
Article 1 of the BWC binds the parties never to develop, produce, stockpile, or otherwise retain: (1) Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their orign or method of production of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes; or (2)Weapons, equipment, or means of delivery designed to use such agents of toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.’ The use of the world “bacteriological” in the Geneva Protocol was considered to be too restrictive, since it could be taken to exclude microorganisms like viruses and rickettsiae. Therefore the word “biological” was inserted in the title of the BWC and the words “microbial or other biological agents” were included in Article I to insure a broader scope. The drafters drew on a report by the Secretary General of the United Nations (U.N.)of July 1969 that defined biological agents of warfare as “ . . . living organisms, whatever their nature, or infective material derived from them, whch are intended to cause disease in man, animals or plants, and which depend for their effects on their ability to multiply in the person, animal or plant attacked.”2Even though they do not reproduce in the body attacked, toxins are covered by the BWC because they are usually produced by l i w g organisms and require facilities similar to those required for the production of biological warfare agents. This point was emphasized in the final declaration of the Second BWC Review Conference (RC2)in 1986: “The Conference reaffirms that the Convention unequivocally applies to all natural or artificially created microbial or other biological agents or toxins whatever their means of production. Consequently toxins [both proteinaceous and non-proteinaceous)of a microbial, animal or vegetable nature and their synthetically produced analogues are c o ~ e r e d . ” ~ , ~ The scope of the BWC is defined by what is permitted as well as by what is prohibited. Many questions arise in this regard, however, as noted by ter Haar in The Future of Biological Di~arrnarnent.~ For example, agents that
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//legalActivities According to the BWC Development, production and possession of: 0 Biological agents or toxins of types and quantities with no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes. 0 Delivery systems designed to use such agents for hostile purposes. Other //legalActivities That Might Be Specified in a Verification Protocol 0 Novel agents created for offensive purposes. 0 Undeclared work on BW defense. 0 Research on controlled agents in containment lower than specified. 0 Controlled agents in an undeclared facility. 0 Open-air release of controlled agents other than plant pathogens. 0 Open-air release of controlled plant pathogens at undeclared sites or under uncontrolled conditions or for military purposes. 0 Undeclared outbreaks of disease caused by controlled agents. 0 Undeclared aerosol facilities (with BL2 or higher containment). 0 Undeclared facilities for biological containment levels (BL) 3 or 4. 0 Undeclared military programs for vaccine development and usage. 0 Unreported publications from declared sites. 0 Undeclared facilities containing large-scale bioprocessing equipment.
can cause disease in animals or plants are considered to be covered, but because the BWC does not specifically mention them there is room for misunderstanding. Another cause for concern is that while the BWC permits quantities of agents that are justfied for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes, it does not define the quantitative limit. Distinguishing between prohibited research on offensive agents and permitted activities related to the development of vaccines and other protective measures against the diseases that can be spread through b i o l o g d warfare can be very difficult. A practical example of the difficulty in interpreting the objectives of research on protective measures against BW is the
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U.S. Army‘s Biological Defense Research Program (BDRF’).According to a recent report in the Washington Post,6 the Government Accounting Office (GAO)concluded after a one-year review that the Army had commissioned 49 research projects worth $47 million on potential BW agents that the intehgence community had assessed as “warfare threats,” but it had commissioned an additional 57 projects worth $48 million on agents neither the Army nor the GAO could link to known “warfare threats.” The GAO also reported the Army had spent # 19 million “to develop vaccines or drugs against agents that had not been developed or produced by potential adversaries.” Senator John Glenn, Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, accused the Army of funding speculative research on these pathogens while “it failed to produce medical countermeasures against many ‘conventional’ biological agents such as a vaccine against anthrax”6The counterargument to the GAO’s concern about research on agents not now listed as “warfare threats” is that it usually takes years to develop vaccines and prophylactic measures to counter a pathogen. I t would not be prudent, therefore, to work on developing appropriate protective measures only for pathogens that have been shown to be threats. [See also Ref. 7.1 Finally, the thin line between defensive and offensive research has risen concern among a large number of scientists: more than 1,100 biomedical researchers signed a petition against the military use of biological research circulated by the Council for Responsible Genetics.* Another example of the confusion over permitted or prohibited R&D under the BWC is illustrated by the f o l l o w extract from the 1984 Department of Defense Publication Soviet Military Power (p. 73), cited by ter Haar: The Soviet Union has an active R&D program to investigate and evaluate the utility of biological weapons and their impact on the combat environment. The Soviet effort in BW violates the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972, which was ratdled by the USSR. The Convention bans the research, development, production and possession of biological agents and toxins for warfare p ~ rp o ses .~
As ter Haar notes, while the BWC does not ban research, it could be argued that “research for warfare purposes” would violate its spirit. Research to “investigateand evaluate the utility of biological weapons and their impact on the combat environment,” however, is an activity that could very well be undertaken for protective purposes and therefore be permitted under the BWC. These developments illustrate the complications that arise from the BWC’s ambiguity with regard to research for permitted purposes. The difference between research for peaceful, permitted purposes and research aimed at producing biological warfare agents is often intent-and intent is
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dfficult, if not impossible, to venfy. If, for example, a country undertakes research on a rare and virulent disease, there is no way of assuring whether the objective is to produce a BW agent or to develop prophylactic and protective measures against the disease out of fear that a potentially hostile country may “weaponize“ it. It is virtually impossible to devise a provision banning this sort of research that would be immune to the challenge that such a provision would prohibit or restrict legitimate research for defensive purposes. The controversy that would arise over the adoption and interpretation of this type of provision would eventually erode confidence in the BWC. As discussed below, the review conferences concluded that a move toward greater openness with regard to facilities or programs with BW activities is the best approach to alleviatmg these problems. NEW SCIENTIFIC DEVELOPMENTS
Developments in genetic engineering (recombinant DNA techniques) are of particular concern to the Parties to the BWC. At the First Review Conference (RCl)the three depositary powers, the U.S., the U.K., and the U.S.S.R., submitted a report on new scientific and technological developments stating that genetic manipulation offeied no advantage hkely to stimulate illegal activities with regard to the BWC in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the report recommended that developments in genetic engineering be followed closely and re-evaluated peri~dically.~At RC2 the U.S. submitted a paper that included a statement that the REVCON should be concerned about potential use of biotechnology to change existing microorganisms into BW agents: not only was the possibility of genetically engineering microbial pathogens still a worry, but the possibility of modlrylng toxins and peptides had also risen.lOTheU.S. reported concluded: Venfication of the Convention, always a difficult task, has been sigdicantly complicated by the new technology. The confidence derived from the belief that certain techcal problems would make biological weapons unattractive for the foreseeable future has eroded. The ease and rapidity of genetic manipulation,the ready availability of a variety of production equipment, the proliferation of safety and environmental equipment and health procedures to numerous laboratories and production facilities throughout the world, are the signs of the growing role of biotechnology in the world’s economy. But these very same signs also give concern for the possibility of misuse of this biotechnology to subvert the Convention.”lo
The Soviet Union submitted a paper that focused on research in several potential BW agents, particularly two new pathogens, a subviral agent
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called prions, discovered in 1982, and AIDS.It concluded that neither organism has utility for BW since the incubation period was in the range of some years and that the scope of the BWC was broad enough to cover all microorganisms and toxins relevant to the convention.11 CONSULTATION AND COOPERATION
Article V states: “The States Parties to the Convention undertake to consult one another and to cooperate in solving any problems whch may arise in relation to the objectives of, or in the application of the provisions of the Convention. Consultation and cooperation pursuant to h s article may also be undertaken through appropriate international procedures within the framework of the United Nations and in accordance with its Charter.”’ The gravest concern about the health of the BWC since its entry into force has been the lack of a mechanism for venfyrng compliance with its provisions. Thus far the route chosen to remedy this weakness has been to encourage greater openness among nations and exchanges of information concerning their activities in microbiology and related fields. At the end of RC 1, Sweden proposed amending the BWC to provide for formal verification procedures.12Several factors contributed to the defeat of the Swedish proposal: verification procedures for the closely related Chemical Weapons Convention had not been agreed on, and many of the Parties to the BWC were not ready to commit themselves to a formal verification regime. An alternative British proposal suggesting interpreting the phrase, “Consultation and cooperation . . . through appropriate international procedures within the framework of the United Nations” more broadly, with structured arrangements for consultation on compliance questions. The final declaration of RC 1 included a sentence stating that the procedures of Article V “include, inter d u , the right of any State Party subsequently to request that a consultative meeting open to all States Parties be convened at expert level.”13It also noted the concerns expressed about the adequacy of Article V, statmg that “this question should be further considered at an appropriate time.”13 Fresh concerns about the venfiability of the BWC arose at RC1 when the U.S. revealed that it had information that led it to suspect that an April 1979 outbreak of anthrax in Sverdlovsk, U.S.S.R. had been caused by spores released from a Soviet military complex suspected of doing work in the field of biological weapons.14Moreover,since the late 1970s Washington had been receiving reports from Southeast Asia suggesting that the North Vietnamese, with Soviet support, had been using chemical weapons to dislodge hill tribesmen in Laos from their villages: an unidentified substance, dubbed “yellow rain” because it often fell as a yellow powder, was
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frequently reported by H’mong tribesmen in Laos. (Laterthere were reports of similar use in Cambodia and Afghanistan.)In a September 198 1 speech in Berlin, U.S.Secretary of State Alexander Haig claimed that the mysterious substance had been identified as tricothecene, a mycotoxin whose use against humans would be a violation of the Geneva Protocol and the BWC.ls Although the U.S. accusations regarding both Sverdlovsk and “yellow rain” were called into question by critics,14the continuing controversy served to underline the weakness of the BWC as an instrument for resolving such issues. The Parties at RC2 therefore, came prepared to attempt to find ways to strengthen the compliance provisions of the BWC. One possibility rmght have been to amend the BWC to create a mechanism for insuring its proper functioning; the mechanism could be empowered to investigate the activities of laboratories capable of conducting research in fields related to the production of BW agents. In 1986, however, the Parties were not prepared to negotiate a protocol to provide for these kinds of oversight provisions. Back in 1968 the U.K. introduced a workmg document in the Elghteen Nation Disarmament Committee proposing a convention for the ”Prohibition of Mcrobiological Methods of Warfare,” including a provision banning research aimed at the production of such agents.I6All research that might give rise to allegations of violations should “be open to international investigation if so required,”16and a body of experts established under the auspices of the U.N. would undertake such investigations. This concept was dropped a year later when the U.K. submitted its draft convention on BW to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee, but the idea is not dead. (See below and Ref. 17.1 The negotiation of a verification protocol would be a major undertaking. Determining what facilities, installations, or activities would be subject to inspection and deciding how inspections would be camed out and whether the information obtained would satisfy the requirements of an effective verification regime are all daunting tasks. There would have to be agreement on the size and structure of the international oversight authority and how it would be financed. AU the Parties would have to be convinced that assurance of compliance could not be achieved any other way and that the end would just* the effort and cost. These are problems that have bedeviled the negotiations on a chemical weapons convention for years. Instead of tackling the compliance problem head-on through the creation of a mechanism comparable to that contemplated for the CW convention, the parties represented at RC2 decided to take the confidence-building route that had been modestly opened at RC 1. One group of measures adopted in 1986 asks the Parties to report data on research laboratories and facilities related to biological and toxin research,
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and to report unusual outbreaks of infectious and toxin-related diseases. RC2 also decided to convene a meetlng of scientific and t m h c a l experts from States Parties to the Convention and work out the modalities for implementing the approved measures; the experts met in Geneva from March 31 to April 15, 1987. RC2’s Final Declaration included, inter alia, the following undertalung: Exchange of data, including name, location, and general description of activities of research centres and laboratories that meet very hgh national or international safety standards established for handling, for permitted purposes, biological materials that pose high individual and community risk, or specialize in permitted biological activities directly related to the Convention.
The ad hoc meetmg of scientific experts outlined the modalities for such exchanges as follows: The Ad Hoc Meeting agreed that data should be provided on each research Centre or laboratory, within the territory of a State Party, under its jurisdiction or under its control anywhere, (a) whch has maximum containment unit(s) meeting the criteria for a ‘maximum containment laboratory‘ as specified in the 1983 WHO Laboratory Biosafety Manual (AnnexIV),such as those designated as Biosafety Lever 4 (BL4) or P4, or equivalent standard; or (b) which has containment unit(s) and specializes in research or dwelopment for prophylactic or protective purposes against possible hostde use of microbial and/or other biological agents or toxins.18
It proposed a standard form for exchange of data that included, in addition to the identfication of the facility, information on sources of financing, number of maximum containment units or the hghest level of protection, and the scope and general description of activities, including types of microorganisms and/or toxins as appropriate. The United States has declared one laboratory under contract to the Army, the Salk Institute vaccine unit at Swiftwater, Pennsylvania, which has BL3 containment facilities; and five research centers with facilities at or near BL4, one of which is military, at Fort Detrick, Maryland.19 None of these reporting requirements should have any direct impact on the researchers worlung at the facilities involved. However, should the verification study mandated by RC3 recommend adding a verification protocol to the BWC,20in future such laboratories and other research facilities could be subjected to on-site inspections to verdy that their activities were confined to those permitted by the Convention.
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EXCHANGES OF DATA AND PERSONNEL
Of more immediate interest to the researcher are the decisions of the review conferences concerning publication of the results of biologcal research directly related to the BWC, and active promotion of contacts between scientists working in this area. Article X of the BWC calls on the Parties to facilitate and participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials, and scientific and technological information for the use of bacteriological (biological)agents and toxins for peaceful purposes, and to cooperate in international efforts to apply scientific developments for peaceful purposes such as the prevention of disease. It also admonishes the Parties to ensure that implementation of the BWC does not hamper the economic or technological development of the States Parties. In addition to the previously mentioned exchanges of data on research centers, laboratories, and outbreaks of infectious diseases, RC2 called on the parties to implement two measures to further reduce suspicions and ambiguities and to strengthen confidence in the BWC regime:
. . . encouragement of publication of results of biological research directly related to the Convention in scienthc journals generally avadable to the States Parties as well as promotion of use for permitted purposes of knowledge gained in the research; and active promotion of contacts between scientists engaged in biological research directly related to the Convention, including exchanges for joint research on a mutually agreed bask3 RC2 noted the increasing importance of the provisions of t h s article in the light of recent scientific and technological developments, and urged the Parties to take “specific measures within their competence for the promotion of the fullest possible international cooperation in h s field through their active interventi~n.”~ Some of the measures listed were:
transfer and exchange of information concernmg research programs in biosciences; wider transfer and exchange of information, materials, and equipment among States on a systematic and long-term basis; active promotion of contacts between scientists and technical personnel in relevant fields on a reciprocal basis; increased technical cooperation, including training opportunities to developing countries, in the use of biosciences and genetic engineering for peaceful purposes; facilitating the conclusion of bilateral, regonal, and multiregonal agreements on a mutually advantageous, equal and nondiscrimina-
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tory basis, providing for participation in the development and application of biotechnology; encouraging the coordination of national and regional programs and working out appropriate ways and means of cooperation in this field The Conference also called for greater cooperation in international public health and disease control. The U.N., its specialized agencies, and other international organizations were envisaged as the mechanisms through which these various cooperative measures would be realized. PREPARATIONS FOR THE 1991 REVIEW CONFERENCE
Unfortunately, the response to the exhortations of the review conferences regarding cooperation and exchange of data was considerably less than hoped for, causing some Parties and nongovernmental organizations to call for the adoption of measures with more teeth at RC3. The Final Declaration of RC2, whch sets the agenda of RC3, includes inter alia: . . . the impact of scientific and technological developments; the relevance for effective implementation of the Convention of the results achieved in the negotiations on prohlbition of chemical weapons; the effectiveness of the provisions of Article V for consultation and cooperation and of the cooperative measures agreed in th~sF d Declaration; and in the light of these considerations and of the provisions of Article XI [amendments], whether or not further actions are called for to create further cooperative measures in the context of Article V, or legally binding improvements to the Convention, or a combination of both.3
Between RC2 and RC3, many States Parties and non-governmental organizations in the West have focused on strengthening and expanding the confidence-building measures, but they also believed the scope of coverage needed to be further sharpened and clarified. There was a helghtened sense of urgency because of the U.S. estimates that some ten countries, including Iraq, may have biological weapons programs.21A non-governmental group sponsored by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) suggested, inter &a, that RC3 should: Reaffirm that the creation by any means of biological agents or toxins with altered properties that rmght increase their usefulness as weapons agents is not justified under the BWC for any military purpose, including protection against possible hostile use. The rationale for this proposal is that new pathogens pose a threat to world health and welfare that outweighs their protective value.
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Re& that all microbial or other biological agents and toxins deleterious to plants, animals and humans are included under the agents covered by the BWC. The rationale for this proposal is that advances in biotechnology have greatly magnified the dangers of agents against plants or animals that could have catastrophic effects on humans, especially where agricultural practices are based on monoculture. Recommend that States Parties adopt national legislation requiring both adherence to the levels of containment for infectious agents set by the World Health Organization (WHO)and that new recombinant and other novel infectious agents be contained at the highest level appropriate, according to WHO standards for the genetic donor, recipient, or any closely related agent, or for the known or conjectural risk.22 Meselson, Kaplan, and Mokulsky proposed that the RC3 review the functionmg of the data-reporting system, with a view to including additional information on facilities and, for example, listing all nonclassified publications authored or coauthored by staff members of each declared research center or lab~ratory.'~ (Although RC2 agreed that the "results of biological research directly related to the Convention'' should be published in generally available scientific journals, there is no requirement to list such publications in the annual exchange of information.) Ter Haar suggested the extension of reporting requirements to all BL3 facilities, but warned that laboratories apart from those that are directly involved in work on protection against biological weapons and toxins can be of concern because of (a) the types of agent handled, particularly those that have been weaponized; (b) the presence of equipment for producmg and conserving microorganisms, such as large-scale fermentors and advanced harvesting equipment as well as freeze-drying equipment; and (c) the facilities for containment.5 It is relatively easy to exchange information on research establishments under the existing rules because the number of establishments involved is small, and most of their work is conducted under government auspices. If the scope of the exchanges is widened, however, the number of facilities required to report could grow considerably,and may include facilities domg privately sponsored work. At this level the reporting procedure will require more effective data processing and data exchange. Ter Haar believes that a ten-fold increase in the number of declared facilities would not present insurmountable difficulties, although the inclusion of private installations could raise problems of confidentiality for commercial information.5 In most countries, however, the lund of data involved is already in the public domain because of regulations concerning labor safety and environmental protection.
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The proposals mentioned thus far constitute a relatively modest extension of the confidence-buildingmeasures adopted by RC2. Some nongovernmental experts suggested that RC3 should develop a credible verification regme for the Convention, or at least lay the groundwork for developing one. For example, Ter Haar laid out the basic elements of a simple regime: (1) d e b t i o n of the agents and equipment that are considered to pose the greatest risk; (2) restrictions on the production, harvesting, and long-term conservation of these agents and equipment; (3) declaration of these agents and equipment by the Parties; (4) acceptance by the Parties of inspections to venfy the accuracy of the data they have pr~vided.~ He notes that routine verification cannot prevent a Party from violating the Convention, but can force it to take costly and time-consuming measures to build its production facilities in secret, rather than using existing facilities. He suggests beginrung with trial inspections of a few laboratories and workmg up to regular inspections of perhaps 10 per year. A supplement to the FAS-sponsoredstudy,22titled “Implementation of the Proposals for a Verification Protocol to the Biological Weapons Conventi~n.”~~proposed a verification regime based on the following principles: 1. The regme should borrow as extensively as possible from the draft Chemical Weapons Convention, which is already under negotiation and has many similarities. 2. Because of the substantial cidian-military overlap in biological activities, the regime should rely on openness rather than prohibitions. This will necessitate some intrusion into civilian matters, with confidentiality safeguards where needed. 3. Measures should, insofar as possible, apply to civilian as well as military facilities and activities to avoid circumventionby subterfuge. Most declared facilitieswill be civilian and clearly peaceful, but universal declaration is necessary in order to make sure that the few exceptions that may exist are covered. 4. Annual declaration requirements should be defined closely, avoiding matters of judgment or matters of intent or purpose, which are too subjective to be reliable. Declarations should be routine with no implication of noncompliance. 5. The regime should be acceptable to all affected, including science, industry and the military.21
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The report goes on to outline in detail the kind of information that would be required concerning declared facilities, outbreaks of disease, immunization programs, military programs for the development of vaccines, sites for open-air field testing or training, and publications. Facilities to be declared include, in addition to those already required to be declared or suggested to be declared under “short-term proposals,” those (a) capable of producmg aerosols under BL2 or hlgher containment; (b) with BL3 containment (an abbreviated reporting scheme for BL3 facilities that do not fall into any other category to be declared should be developed so as not to discourage the use of higher containment than required, where extra precautions may be desirable); (c) involved in research, development, testing, production, or other permitted activities for the purpose of protection against hostile use of BW; (d) conductmg permitted open-air release of controlled plant pathogens (under controlled conditions for cidian purposes). The FAS report then goes on to list the types of additional records to be maintained by installations subject to possible inspection, such as logs of various kinds of tests, purchase orders, shipping and financial records, names and vitae of all current personnel, visitors and consultants, and code names used in records or labels for all controlled and other biologcal agents and toxins. Finally, the report includes a detailed outline of the procedures to be followed dunng an inspection: what to look for and how to interpret the information gathered from on-site inspection. These procedures are bemg tested during privately conducted mock inspection visits to two or three laboratories in the United States. ADDENDUM-THE THIRD REVIEW CONFERENCE
RC3 considered and acted upon many of the proposals made by nongovernmental groups. The notable exception was its response to the idea of developmg a verification protocol for the BWC: RC3 called for establishment of an Ad Hoc Group of Governmental Experts “to identdy and examine potential verification measures from a scientific and technical standpoint.”20The Ad Hoc Group is to complete its work by the end of 1993, and then circulate a report to all States Parties, which may then ask for a conference to consider the issues raised in the report. If a majority of the Parties requests a conference, action will be taken at that time; otherwise, the report wrll be considered at the Fourth Review Conference to be held not later than 1996. Opinion was divided on both the wisdom and the feasibility of adding a verification protocol to the BWC at this time. The decision to mandate a technical study of possible venfication measures
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postponed debate on the main issue, most likely until the next review conference. In addition to establishing the Ad Hoc Experts Group on verification, RC3 made s i g d c a n t decisions on measures for confidencebuildingunder Article V (consultation and cooperation) and Article X (exchange of information). RC2’s call for voluntary provision of dormation had not produced the desired results, so RC3 adopted new measures aimed at enhancing confidence in the BWC. These include: Exchange of data on research centers and laboratories, and exchange of information on national biological defense R&D programs; Exchange of information on outbreaks of infectious diseases or diseases caused by toxins; Encouragement to publish the results of research in microbiology and related disciplines and to promote the use of knowledge gained from such research; Active promotion of contacts among personnel involved in biological defense R&D; Declaration of legislation, regulations, and other measures related to the BWC and enacted by States Parties; Declaration of past activities in offensive and/or defensive biological R&D programs; Declaration of vaccine-production facilities. The Final Declaration of RC3 includes an annex containing specific forms for data provision by States Parties. These forms were designed to encourage full responses, even from States that have no relevant facilitiesfor example, by including boxes marked “Nothmg to Declare’’ or “Nothmg New to Declare.” State governments replying “Yes” to a question on existing or past activities in offensive and/or defensive biologcal research must submit detailed descriptions of the facilities, objectives, and funding involved in these activities. The form for reporting outbreaks of dectious diseases asks for the number of cases per annum from 1988-1992, with detailed reporting for outbreaks that deviate from normal epidemiological patterns. RC3 also laid out modalities for encouragng the publication of research and for promotion of contacts among researchers through international conferences, symposia, and seminars. Historically there have been two major impediments to improving the effectiveness of the BWC: States Parties have given it only a low level of attention and the U.N. has allocated only paltry resources to the collection and exchange of information provisions mandated by the REVCONs. Recogwing that the new procedures wdl place even greater burdens on the U.N., RC3 specifically requested the Secretary General to allocate the
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resources necessary “to assist in the effective implementation of the relevant decisions of the Third Review Conference, in particular of the confidence-building measures.”2o Unfortunately, R C 3 received very little publicity, which may reflect the relative indifference to these issues of both governments and the public at large. The future health of the BWC will be strongly affected by the response of its Parties to the measures included in the Third Review Conference’s Final Declaration.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY 1982. A r m s Control and Disarmament Agreements. Government Printing Office. Washmgton DC. 2. U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL 1969. Chemical and Bacteriological (Biological) Weapons and the Effects of Their Possible Use. U.N. Documents fV7575 and 99292. 3. Second Review Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. 1986. Final Report. BWC/CONF.II/13. Geneva: September 30, 1980. 4. It should be noted that toxins are also covered by the Chemical Weapons Convention now under negotiation, so that eventually their use wdl be restrained by two international treaties. 5. TERHAAR, B. 1991. The future of biological disarmament. In The Washmgton Papers/l5 1. Center for Strategic and International StudiedPraeger. Washw o n DC. R. J. Army faulted on germ warfare research. The Washmgton Post, 6. SMITH, January 29, 1991. 7. DALRYMPLE, J. 1992. DoD-sponsored virus vaccine development: An investigator’s perspective Ann. N.Y.Acad. Sci. This volume. 8. FORMAN, J. Army funding spurs germ warfare fears. The Boston Globe, October 21, 1991. 9. First Review Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. 1980. Document BWCKONF.1/ Geneva:15 March 1980. 10. Second Review Conferenceof the Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. 1986. Document BWC/CONF.II/4/Add.2.Geneva: September 9, 1986. 11. Second Review Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Prevention of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological] and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. 1986. Document BWC/CONF.IY4/Add.1. Geneva: August 29, 1986.
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12. SIMS, N. A. 1988. The Diplomacy of Biological Disarmament: Vicissitudes of a Treaty in Force. Macmillan Press. London. 13. First Review Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockplllng of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. 1980. Final Report. Document BWC/CONF.l/lO. Geneva: March 21, 1980. 14. First Review Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. 1980. Document BWClCONF.IlSR.12. Geneva: March 21, 1980. 15. HAIC, A. 1981. A Certain Idea of Man: The Democratic Revolution and its Future. Speech to the Berlin Press Association, September 13. Department of State. Washmgton DC. 16. Eighteen-Member Disarmament Committee. 1968. Document ENDC 231. Geneva: August 6. 17. ZILINSKAS, R. 1992. Confrontlng biological threats to international security: A biological hazards early warning program. Ann. N.Y.Acad. Sci. T h s volume. 18. Ad Hoc Meetlng of Scientific and Technical Experts from States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological)and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. 1986. Final Report. Document BWC/CONF.IIEX/2 21. Geneva: September 30. 19. MESELSON, M., M. KAPLAN & M. MOKULSKY. 1990. Verification of biological and toxin weapons disarmament. In Verification-Monitoring Disarmament. Westview Press. Boulder, Colorado. 20. Third Review Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. 1991. Document BWC/CONF.IV22. Geneva: September 27. 21. DE BRIGANTI, G. West takes steps to curb biological weapon proliferation. Defense News June 25, 1990. 22. Worlung Croup on Biological and Toxin Weapons Verification. 1990. Proposals for the Third Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention. Federation of American Scientists. Was-n, DC. 23. Worlung Group on Biological and Toxin Weapons Verification. 1991. Implementation of the Proposals for a Verification Protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention. Federation of American Scientists. Washmgton, DC.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS QUESTION:What is the State Department’s current position regarding the “yellow rain” controversy?And, how much does the U.S. government know about biological weapons in Iraq? CHARLES FLOWERREE: The answer to your first question is very simple-
FLOWERREE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION
the United States Government still maintains that there were substances used in SoutheastAsia, which I won’t classdy specifically, that violated the Geneva Protocol. And that position was restated as recently as the most recent compliance report submitted by the President to the Congress. As to how much we know about biologcal warfare agents that may be in Iraq, because I am not privy to intelligence, I do not know. All I know is that the officialswho have the information have said that there are approximately ten countries in the world who have shown interest in biological warfare programs and that some of these are in the Middle East. We assume that the countries that they are referring to are the same ones that we suspect of having chemical weapons, which includes Iraq, of course. Your first query raises some questions in my mind about how the U.N. is going to go about discovering whether there are any chemical or biological weapons in Iraq when it has not so far adopted procedures for determining whether a country has either biological or chemical weapons. And this asks the questions of how the U.N. would dispose of them if they found such weapons. Chemical weapons, as we know, are very difficult to get rid of-they are as hard to destroy as they are to manufacture. QUESTION: Why did the U.S. government release dormation about the 1979 anthrax epidemic in Sverdlovsk, U.S.S.R., when it did? Was it to disrupt the First Review Conference? FLOWERREE: The information dated from 1979 and the Review Conference was in March 1980. The information came to the government over a period of months and it came from various sources. Now, I have to make clear that at that time I was a government representative. I was aware that t h s information was coming in. I was aware that there was going to be a decision on whether to release it or not. But, as it turned out, the d o r m a tion, if my memory is correct, began to be available to the media. And, therefore, the decision was made to make the information public and it was confirmed through private channels to the Soviet Union. Before the Conference ever started, I went and told the Soviet Ambassador Victor Issraelyan that we had this information and that it was causing us Concern; I did not say that I didn’t know when it was going to become public knowledge. During the Conference I was instructed not to say anythmg about it in order not to interferewith the progress of the Review Conference. But at the very end, because it was relevant and because the information was in the public realm, I made a statement to the effect that we would be loolung into this and that we would be consulting with other countries. QUESTION: Do you believe that the version of the Sverdlovsk anthrax epidemic now being touted by the Soviet government is correct, that is, that the cause of the outbreak was infected cattle sold on the blackmarket causing disease among those who consumed the meat?
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RAYMOND ZILINSKAS: I disagree with that version in view of the recent revelations from the U.S.S.R. itself. Two articles written by Soviet investigative reporters and published f i s t by Soviet newspapers indicate that suspicious BW-related activities seem to have taken place at a secret, military R&D institute in Sverdlovsk prior to 1986. In view of the information presented in these articles, based mostly on interviews with health professionals who treated affected persons, it is likely that an accident at this institute did indeed cause the 1979 anthrax epidemic in that city. This, by the way, is at variance with the conclusionsof an article I wrote in 1983, which was published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,wherein I analyzed the available information and concluded that the anthrax epidemic had a natural etiology. And now there have been two articles coming out of the Soviet Union by Soviet journalists saying that there was somedung really nasty and suspicious go- on during that time. FLOWERREE: May I counter that. I am not malung my point to support the Soviet position. If we had gone there and found out that somethmg was really happening, then that would have been a different story. The fact that the Soviets didn’t let us go there, of course, increased suspicions of illicit BW activity. QUESTION: Ambassador Flowerree, do you believe that “yellow rain” was in fact chemical warfare or was it a natural phenomenon in line with Professor Matt Meselson’s theory that yellow rain is actually bee feces? FLOWERREE: I think that the research that Dr. Meselson did on the bee feces probably was accurate and made it very difficult to believe that those particular samples were mycotoxins. On the other hand, there is enough “smoke” to make me believe that some fire exists. There are other factors that could have accounted for some of the reports we got. For example, the Soviets were very fond of using smoke-some of which was lllghly toxicas a cover for operations. They could also have used a toxic tear gas or somethmg llke that. But there were too many reports, eyewitness reports, that people were being affected and being driven out of the mountains in Laos, so that I am pretty sure that there was some kind of agent used. It may or may not have been mycotoxin, but I agree with some aspects of Meselson’s findings. ,