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17.10 Disarmament and the UN

The Charter of the UN includes a provision for disarmament. The General Assembly and the Security Council both have the responsibility to plan for disarmament. The UN advocates disarmament for two specific reasons:

(a) To maintain world peace

(b) To meet the more acute needs of humankind

Since its conception the UN has taken several steps for disarmament, which are listed as follows:


Commission established/ Treaty signed

The Commission/ Treaty Agenda


The Atomic Energy Commission

To ensure that atomic energy be used for


The Commission for Conventional Armaments

To regulate and reduce through international inspection the production and use of armaments


The UN Disarmament Commission. It replaced the earlier two commissions.

To ensure the balanced reduction of world wide arms


Discussion on General and Complete Disarmament

To work for disarmament


The Limited Test Ban Treaty between the US, the USSR and Britain with 105 other signatories

Ban on nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water


The Outer Space Treaty

Prohibition on the stationing of nuclear arms in space


The Non-Proliferation Treaty between the US, the USSR and Britain and 87 other signatories

To limit the spread of nuclear weapons and promote disarmament


The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (Phase I) between the US and USSR

To lessen the danger of nuclear destruction


The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (Phase II) between the US and USSR

To impose restrictions on the nuclear arms race


Treaty at Paris signed by the NATO and Warsaw Pact countries

To reduce arms


The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Phase I) between the US and USSR

To reduce their nuclear arsenals by about 30%


The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Phase II) between the US and USSR

To limit their nuclear stockpiles to what they were in the 1960s and 1970s

Exhibit 17.8

Presidents Gorbachev and Bush sign the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was signed by one hundred and forty six nations on September 24, 1997. The treaty urges its members not to carry out any nuclear weapons test explosion or any other nuclear explosion to prohibit or prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place within its jurisdiction or control. It also urges members to refrain from causing, encouraging or participating in nuclear explosions initiated by non-members as well. The member nations should be open to international verification of compliance regarding the implementation of its objectives.

Exhibit 17.9

Although the above listed treaties and commissions have done a lot towards disarmament there are a few drawbacks in them as well. For instance, the Limited Test Ban Treaty does not ban underground tests. Countries that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty allege that the treaty is discriminatory and that it protects the nuclear monopoly of the super powers. On the positive side these treaties have contributed to the reduction in Cold War hostility between the US and the Soviet Union.

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17.0 - Introduction
17.1 - The Development of the Cold War
17.2 - The Cold War between 1945 and 1947
17.3 - The Cold War between 1947 and 1953
17.4 - The Cold War between 1953 and 1963
17.5 - The Cold War between 1963 and 1970
17.6 - The period of Detente(1970 - 1980)
17.7 - The Cold War after 1980
17.8 - The meaning of Disarmament
17.9 - Reduction of weapons Nuclear and Conventional
17.10 - Disarmament and the UN
17.11 - The Hazards of Nuclear War
17.12 - The Non-Military Dimension of Nuclear Energy
17.13 - Dates & Events

Chapter 18


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