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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 27, June 1998

US Non-Proliferation Commission Threatened With Dissolution

The Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal Government to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction was threatened with dissolution in late June due to the reluctance of the House of Representatives to renew its support for the body, first established by Congress in October 1996. The Senate has approved an extension of support for the Commission, which is funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), until 29 July 1999. According to reports, some Republican Representatives allege a pro-Administration bias in the Commission, particularly with regard to the policy of constructive engagement with China.

The Commission is headed by former CIA Director John Deutch. Its other members are: Senator Arlen Specter (Republican - Pennsylvania), Vice-Chair; former Democrat Representatives Anthony Beilenson and Dave McCurdy, and former Democrat Senator James Exon; former head of the Pentagon's Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), Henry F. Cooper; Ambassador Robert Galucci, President Clinton's own appointment to the Commission; and Daniel Poneman, senior arms control official under Presidents Carter and Bush. In a 25 June letter to Representative Benjamin Gilman (Republican - New York), Chair of the House International Relations Committee, Deutch complained: "The timing of such a dissolution would cast doubt on this country's commitment to combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the midst of a potential nuclear arms race in South Asia."

Report: Weapons panel forced to disband, Associated Press, 25 June.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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