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  • Is New Start Compatible with the U.S.–U.K. Mutual Defence Agreement?

    Obama and Medvedev sign new START

    The Special Relationship between the U.S. and Britain has many facets, but at its core is close cooperation in the military and intelligence realms. And at the heart of our military cooperation is the U.S.–U.K. Mutual Defence Agreement.

    Signed in 1958, and renewed every 10 years—most recently in 2004—the agreement provides for Anglo–American collaboration in nuclear technology. It provides the legal basis for the transfer to Britain of U.S.-made Trident II missiles—the launch platform for Britain’s nuclear deterrent—and for the much broader sharing of nuclear information between the two countries.

    Because the agreement concerns exceptionally sensitive information and technologies, it imposes extremely tight security controls on both parties. Article V(c) of the 1958 agreement states:

    Except as may be otherwise agreed for civil uses, the information communicated or exchanged, or the materials or equipment transferred, by either Party pursuant to this Agreement shall be used by the recipient Party exclusively for the preparation or implementation of defense plans in the mutual interest of the two countries.

    Thus, neither the U.S. nor the U.K. can pass on anything either one acquires from the other. Article VII of the 1958 agreement explains how this requirement affects the U.S.’s negotiations with other nations:

    Nothing in this Agreement shall be interpreted or shall operate as a bar or restriction to consultation or cooperation in any field of defense by either Party with other nations or international organizations. Neither Party, however, shall communicate classified information or transfer or permit access to or use of materials, or equipment, made available by the other Party pursuant to this Agreement to any other nation or international organization unless authorized to do so by such other Party, or unless such other Party has informed the recipient Party that the same information has been made available to that nation or international organization.

    This means that the U.S. cannot pass on anything it receives from the U.K. to Russia unless the U.K. has authorized the U.S. to do so, or unless the U.K. has informed Russia that Russia has direct access to this information.

    Does New START comply with these terms? The Daily Telegraph has reported:

    Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of U.K. missiles. The U.K. refused, but the U.S. agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.

    This allegation raises a number of disturbing questions. Did the U.K. agree to the transfer of the serial numbers (known in New START as “unique identifiers”)? Did the U.K. agree that the U.S. could, as it is required to do under the terms of New START, inform Russia of the “location of the transferred [missiles]”? For obvious reasons, this information is classified and thus subject to the controls of the 1958 agreement. Or has the U.K., as is its option under the 1958 agreement, made this information available to Russia directly? Most explosively, did the U.S., after Britain refused to allow the transfer of “detailed data” about its missiles, go ahead and transfer this data anyway?

    Right now, there is no way to know the answers to any of these questions. But if New START is incompatible with the 1958 agreement, the treaty would be an explosive breach of a fundamental and longstanding U.S. treaty obligation. The Senate has a clear obligation to consider this question.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Is New Start Compatible with the U.S.–U.K. Mutual Defence Agreement?

    1. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      The rule of law and obligations to long standing allies seemingly mean nothing to this administration. What's a 55 year strategic relationship to the Progressive ideologue when there's an "historic" signing ceremony to stage?

      http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com
      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

    2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Is New Start Compatible with the U.S.–U.K. Mutual Defence Agreement? | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    3. John Brooks says:

      No, the Russians are not and never will be our friends under Vladmir Putin and his handed picked stooge Dmitri Mededev. Along with his even more radical nationalist Ambassdor to NATO, Dmitiri Rozogin. God, the West needs another Ronald Reagan to tell Putin, that every one of his actions is unacceptable, and do what Garry Kasaprov told us to do target up every one of his financial assets and beginning to bankrupt this tyrannt especially if we want peace on Iran. He will not be intimidated by Obama or through the UN. Our only hope is United Russia.

      I am sick of history championing Boris Yelstin, he gave us Vladmir Putin. Yelstin was a crook, robber, and a liar. Hate to freaking say it but Gorchabev was less corrupt, maybe not what the end means we wanted, not me either. Because we didnt know Yelstin be corrupt as shit. But should knew Yelstin be a corrupt bastard. We should support real democratic movements in Russia. Now we lost Ukraine and never had Belarus. Also we abandoned Georgia in her hour of need.

    4. Stan Mazuroski Bould says:

      If indeed Article V(c) of the 1958 agreement has been breached by the New START Treaty as suggested in the article by The Daily Telegraph :

      "Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of U.K. missiles. The U.K. refused, but the U.S. agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain."

      Then until this allegation is answered directly by our British allies, it will continue to raise the disturbing questions posed here. Did the U.K. agree to the transfer of the serial numbers (known in New START as “unique identifiers”)? Did the U.K. agree that the U.S. could, as it is required to do under the terms of New START, inform Russia of the “location of the transferred [missiles]”? For obvious reasons, this information is classified and thus subject to the controls of the 1958 agreement. Or has the U.K., as is its option under the 1958 agreement, made this information available to Russia directly?

      Until we know the answers to these questions directly from the Brits through our free press (or theirs), then once again an American sitting administration has attempted to pull the wool over this country's electorate.

      Which morally grounded, investigative journalist(s)is/are going to dig into this issue and offer an us (the US & the Brits) an answer?

      Once again, I feel our nationally elected representatives were asleep at their watch. What further wool will they try to pull over our eyes and that our military women and men who vigilantly stand guard for our common defense?

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