A Look Back

A number of notable men worked tirelessly in the late 90s and early 2000s to secure a Chemical Weapons Treaty for the world. Among those men was Dr. Will D. Carpenter. Below is the testimony of Dr. Carpenter before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1989.


Testimony of Dr. Will D. Carpenter

Vice President, Technology

Monsanto Agricultural Company

Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C.

May 9, 1989


Mr. Chairman and Senator Helms:

For the past ten years, I have represented CMA in its support of our government’s efforts to obtain a comprehensive treaty to ban the use, production, and stockpiling of chemical weapons. CMA is pleased to appear before this committee to submit its testimony on chemical weapons control.

CMA and its member companies strongly support efforts to conclude an effective treaty to ban chemical weapons and support efforts to prevent the proliferation of chemical weapons through appropriate export control regulations. CMA’s Board of Directors declared its commitment in a policy statement adopted in October 1987. A copy of that policy is included with this written statement.

To give the committee an idea of our commitment and our contributions, let me list some of the activities of CMA over the last decade. We meet government representatives on a monthly basis: Representatives from the State Department, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the intelligence community, and the Department of Energy.

We have had plant tours of our facilities for government representatives and have held seminars for them on production practices, marketing procedures, and “family trees” of various groups of chemicals. We have participated in numerous international meetings dealing with this issue, with the knowledge and encouragement of the various agencies. We initiated a dialogue with the European, Japanese, Canadian, and Australian chemical industry groups to address technical issues, and to be mutually supportive of our respective governments’ efforts. These international industry groups now meet routinely two to three times a year.

At the request of our negotiators, CMA representatives participate as technical experts in meetings held by the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. We have assembled our scientists to discuss with agency personnel such topics as analytical procedures, techniques such as automatic continuous area monitoring systems, and procedures for monitoring shipments and production of chemicals.

Recently, we arranged for a National Trial Inspection to be held at a plant owned by one of our member companies — the Akzo Chemical Company. Government personnel carried out a trial inspection in order to prove the effectiveness of the inspection procedures necessary for treaty verification.

We are now in the process of talking with other trade associations and professional groups that can bring resources to bear and will be impacted by the terms of a comprehensive treaty. During the last year, our efforts have shifted toward the increased emphasis on the proliferation problem and what industry can do to be of help. CMA’s Board of Directors recently formed a high-level committee to provide the focus and emphasis to our efforts.

There are a number of initiatives being taken by CMA and its member companies over the next several months. On the 25th of this month, we are holding a one-day seminar for our member companies, other trade associations, and professional organizations to bring them up to speed on both the treaty status and the proliferation issue. This seminar will be given by both my committee and government representatives. In June, we are meeting with our colleagues from Europe, Japan, Canada, and Australia, followed by a U.N. Conference on Disarmament experts meeting. In September, CMA will participate in a conference sponsored by the Australian government in Canberra, at the recommendation of the ACDA and the State Department. We have already been of assistance in the planning of this important meeting.

Although an international convention which effectively bans the manufacture and possession of chemical weapons is our goal, CMA recognizes the need for appropriate interim measures to halt the spread of chemical arms until that treaty can be completed.

Throughout this effort, however, CMA has cautioned against regulatory programs that unduly restrict the legitimate activities of U.S. industry. The conclusion of a multilateral ban on chemical weapons will necessarily require an intrusive verification procedure, and, perhaps, some control measures that extend to the actual shipment and distribution of chemicals. Yet the United States should avoid unilateral export control regulations that place American companies at a disadvantage in competing for legitimate sales with foreign manufacturers who do not face similar export controls.

CMA believes that the focus of this hearing — the possible need for more stringent non-proliferation measures — is as essential as it is timely. Significant progress is being made in the Geneva negotiations to establish a global ban on chemical weapons. Regulatory changes are currently under consideration in the United States which will alter the basis for controls of certain exports. And of course, legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to impose more stringent sanctions for violations of the U.S. export control laws.

It is CMA’s view that the legislation now before Congress would if enacted, divert attention from what should be the principal policy objectives of the U.S. Government. We believe that more — much more — can be achieved through multilateral cooperation than through unilateral controls or threats of sanctions. The United States should not adopt measures that will lead to disagreements about national sovereignty and the extraterritorial reach of U.S. law.

For many years, CMA members have maintained internal administrative systems to implement their export control obligations. In light of the recent U.S. Government emphasis on chemical exports and the increased controls of certain countries, many companies have voluntarily taken action to enhance the effectiveness of the U.S. Government programs designed to prevent the spread of chemical weapons.

We have launched educational programs that will explain the current control regime and suggest procedures and practices for achieving compliance. We expect that these types of programs will do much to enhance compliance and that they are more productive than threats of additional sanctions.

Our member companies are stressing the need for increased vigilance concerning attempted improper export transactions. CMA members are acquainting their personnel with the kinds of information that raise suspicions about transactions and that require further inquiry and possibly consultation with U.S. enforcement officials. This vigilance not only serves to prevent diversion of precursor chemicals but its existence also deters those who might attempt such improper conduct. We will increase our cooperative efforts with enforcement officials and encourage our colleagues in other countries to accelerate their efforts.

To repeat, CMA strongly supports the efforts of this country to obtain a meaningful, verifiable treaty that is technically sound.

For a treaty to be good enough that the security of this country is not in danger, there must be effective verification. There is no possibility of having 100 percent assurance through any reasonable procedures. Cost of implementing such procedures — the resources required — will not allow that. Further, the demands would bring a large segment of industry, not just the chemical industry, to a slow pace. So, it will be a trade-off between what is possible, economically and technically, and what our national security requires.

A useful treaty with verification procedures to ensure compliance and security will have adverse impacts on industry. CMA recognizes the need for a valid treaty and therefore also accepts that there will be a cost to industry. We think these losses can be minimized while still achieving the goals of the treaty. A large number of the negotiators also shares this belief.

The same philosophy should hold in dealing with the proliferation issues. The Chemical Manufacturers Association has recognized its responsibility in controlling chemical weapons proliferation. We actively support a global ban on weapons. We are working for the complete implementation of domestic export controls. Moreover, we encourage multilateral action that involves the governments and industries of our major trading partners.

CMA and its member companies are committed to assisting Congress and the Administration in achieving the goal of an effective global ban on chemical weapons.

I will now welcome questions.

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