[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 82 (Friday, June 24, 1994)]
[Page S]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[Congressional Record: June 24, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

                                 PM 129

  The PRESIDING OFFICER laid before the Senate the following message 
from the President of the United States, together with an accompanying 
report; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

To the Senate of the United States:
  Upon transmitting the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to the Senate 
November 23, 1993, I indicated that the Administration was reviewing 
the impact of the Convention on Executive Order No. 11850, of April 8, 
1975, which specifies current U.S. policy regarding the use of riot 
control agents (RCAs) in war, and would submit the results of that 
review separately to the Senate. The purpose of this letter is to 
inform the Senate of the outcome of that review.
  Article I(5) of the CWC prohibits Parties from using RCAs as a 
``method of warfare.'' That phrase is not defined in the CWC. The 
United States interprets this provision to mean that:
  --The CWC applies only to the use of RCAs in international or 
    internal armed conflict. Other peacetime uses of RCAs, such as 
    normal peacekeeping operations, law enforcement operations, 
    humanitarian and disaster relief operations, counter-terrorist and 
    hostage rescue operations, and noncombatant rescue operations 
    conducted outside such conflicts are unaffected by the Convention.
  --The CWC does not apply to all uses of RCAs in time of armed 
    conflict. Use of RCAs solely against noncombatants for law 
    enforcement, riot control, or other noncombat purposes would not be 
    considered as a ``method of warfare'' and therefore would not be 
    prohibited. Accordingly, the CWC does not prohibit the use of RCAs 
    in riot control situations in areas under direct U.S. military 
    control, including against rioting prisoners of war, and to protect 
    convoys from civil disturbances, terrorists, and paramilitary 
    organizations in rear areas outside the zone of immediate combat.
  --The CWC does prohibit the use of RCAs solely against combatants. In 
    addition, according to the current international understanding, the 
    CWC's prohibition on the use of RCAs as a ``method of warfare'' 
    also precludes the use of RCAs even for humanitarian purposes in 
    situations where combatants and noncombatants are intermingled, 
    such as the rescue of downed air crews, passengers, and escaping 
    prisoners and situations where civilians are being used to mask or 
    screen attacks. However, were the international understanding of 
    this issue to change, the United States would not consider itself 
    bound by this position.
  Upon receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification 
of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a new Executive order outlining 
U.S. policy on the use of RCAs under the Convention will be issued. I 
will also direct the Office of the Secretary of Defense to accelerate 
efforts to field non-chemical, non-lethal alternatives to RCAs for use 
in situations where combatants and noncombatants are intermingled.
                                                  William J. Clinton.  
  The White House, June 23, 1994.