The Case for International Surveillance and Verification


Chapter IV - The Proposal

While idea of a peace-keeping satellite was conceived near the time of the first satellite launch in 1957, serious proposals for the creation of an international body to verify arms control agreements and monitor conflict situations have been considered since the turn of the century. Many nations, including Great Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union, have at one time or another favored the formation of such an international verification organization. It is worth-while to review these proposals. A list of these "pre-Sputnik" proposals is presented in table 4.1.

Table 4.1. A List of Proposals for an International Organization to Verify Arms Control and Disarmament Treaties.



Proposed System/Organization

UN Doc.


United Nations

System for the regulation of armaments

UN Charter, Art. 26



International Atomic Development Authority (Baruch Plan)

AEC, First Yr., No.1



Permanent International Commission of Control



General Assembly

International system of control and inspection

Res. A/1/41



International Control Commission




Central control authority




Conventional Armaments Administration



France, UK, USA

International organ of control




U.N. Disarmament and Atomic Development Authority (DC/53)




International atomic energy agency (IAEA)



WEU member states

Armaments Control Agency




International Control Organ




International Disarmament Organization



Canada, France, Italy, UK, USA

International Disarmament Organization (IDO)




International Disarmament Organization

A/4879, ENDC/2



Special control body (Rapacki Plan)




International Disarmament Organization

CCD/PV.560, A/S-12/22



International Disarmament Organization

CCD/PV.601 & PV.610



International Satellite Monitoring Agency (ISMA)




Permanent international verification organ



Sri Lanka

World Disarmament Authority




Centre for the Verification of Disarmament Agreements




International verification unit




General international verification organization



Six Nation Initiative

Integrated multilateral verification system




International monitoring and verification agency



Bulgaria, Czechosl., USSR

International verification agency



Non-Aligned Nations

Integrated multilateral verification system


The technical means proposed for treaty verification in the early proposals were quite varied (Burns, 1971, Melman, 1958a, 1958b). Some people proposed having teams of inspectors who were to be called upon when an infraction was suspected. Others recommended that governments submit detailed financial statements (e.g. government budgets) and thorough accounts of military capabilities and developments. Others called for the establishment of fixed observation posts in host countries. The possibility of mutual aerial overflights using both balloons and airplanes was also seriously discussed. Another verification method, "inspection by the people" (Newcombe, 1982), would rely on reports from conscientious private citizens.


With the dawn of the space age, reconnaissance satellites made possible a unique, new form of unobtrusive observation. The superpowers', who developed the first satellites, quickly made use of these satellites, to spy on each other. At the same time, several individuals realized that the technology could be of immense value to verify arms control and disarmament treaties, especially if placed in the hands of an international organization, such as the United Nations. Eventually certain governments became aware of the prospects of using satellite observation to enhance international peace and security as well as their own security. Many countries are conducting research programs to study satellite remote-sensing for arms control verification (these include Sweden, France, Britain and Canada). In recent years the speeches given by officials of several countries indicate a revival of an interest in the possibility of establishing an international verification organization (IVO).

Some of the early proposals for an IVO-type organization can serve as an inspiration for the efforts being made at the present time. The organizational structure, mandate and responsibility of the various proposed IVOs are worth investigating, even though the technology has advanced considerably over time.

The book by Dupuy and Hammerman (1973) presents the texts, with comments, of the major arms control and disarmament proposals - including those that entered into force - from all periods of history. Much of the material in this Chapter draws from the verification clauses presented in the proposals and treaties contained in that book.

The culmination of all pre-World War II disarmament efforts was reached at the World Disarmament Conference in 1932 and 1933, in which over 60 states participated. At the conference, the British presented the MacDonald Plan which would included the most advanced provisions for a verification organization that had been proposed by a government up to that time. Unfortunately, the controls could not be implemented due to the refusal of certain countries, notably Germany, to accept the rigors required for on-site and other methods of inspection.


Just after World War I, the League of Nations was created. Significant emphasis was placed on disarmament in the League. However, the Covenant of the League of Nations (of June 28, 1919) did not provide for the creation of any type of verification organization. In Article 8, it is stipulated that "the Members of the League undertake to interchange full and frank information as to the scale of their armaments, the military, naval and air programs and the condition of such of their industries as are adaptable to warlike purposes." This type of mutual self-inspection proposal, relying strongly upon national honor and morality, was typical of disarmament proposals and treaties made up until that time.

The Versailles Treaty (of June 28, 1919) described a much more strict means of verification. The forced disarmament of Germany was supervised by a body called the Inter-Allied Commissions of Control. There were, in fact, three Commissions: military, naval and aeronautical. The military Commission was to receive "notifications" from the German Government relating to the location of all weapons stocks, fortresses and production factories. The naval section was to supervise the execution of all the naval causes of the agreement (disarmament). The aeronautical section was to make an inventory of all aircraft, factories and aerodromes. Each Commission was to supervise the destruction or removal of war materials as called for in the treaty and was entitled to send inspectors to any part of Germany.

In the "Convention for the Control of the Trade in Arms and Ammunition", provision was made for the establishment of a Central International Office (CIO). The CIO was to be operated under the control of the League of Nations and its mandate was to collect annual reports required from all the signatories (which included the U.S., U.K., France and China). The reports were to give details on the quantities and destinations of both licensed and unlicensed arms sales. The Convention was part of an effort to control the arms trade and prohibit the export of arms to Africa and parts of Asia. Twenty-four nations signed the Convention on September 10, 1919.

A second, more comprehensive convention was signed on June 17, 1925. It was called the "Convention for Supervision of the International Trade in Arms and Ammunition and in Implements of War". Like the 1919 treaty, it was designed to prevent illicit arms traffic. This time all arms trade dealers were required to obtain licences from both the importing and the exporting governments. In this treaty a good deal of emphasis was placed on inspection and publicity as a means to enforce compliance. It did, however, not restrict the production of arms and, apparently, for this reason the Convention remained unratified by many countries. Consequently, it failed to enter into force.

The League of Nations sponsored the World Disarmament Conference - officially called the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments - in 1932 and 1933. The Preparatory Commission began its deliberations in 1925.

The Soviet Union, though not a member of the League of Nations, joined the Preparatory Commission in 1927. In the first Soviet speech to the Commission, the Soviet representative proposed "General and Complete Disarmament." This proposal was to become a consistent part of Soviet policy; the proposal was repeated in 1959 by Premier Khrushchev and is still an agenda item being considered at sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.

This first Soviet proposal contained no provisions for verification. A second proposal, presented on February 28, 1928, called for the elimination of half of all armaments and the creation of a Permanent International Commission of Control. Three of the Commission's many tasks could be considered relevant to verification, but they were rather vague: "general co-ordination" of disarmament; "the notification to each state of offences"; and "the publication of information concerning progress in the work of disarmament." However, the Soviet proposal was not considered seriously by the delegates at the disarmament meeting. Interestingly, the Commission was to be made up of representatives from trade unions and international associations, in addition to representatives from legislative bodies.

The United States maintained a distance from European security arrangements and disarmament negotiations. Neither did the American government consider inspection an important part of disarmament. Apparently it maintained a position in the 1920s that inspection is "an affront to national sovereignty and parties to an agreement should trust one another without it" (Barnet & Falk, 1965). Many years later the U.S. was to debate fiercely with the Soviet Union on this question, having taking the opposite view that independent verification is critical.

After five years of hard work, the Preparatory Commission unanimously adopted a Draft Convention on December 9, 1930. The Soviet Union and Germany, who were outsiders, voted against it. The Convention called for the creation of a Permanent Disarmament Commission (PDC) consisting of members appointed by Governments. At the same time the Convention stipulated that these members would "not represent their Governments", but rather their first duty would be to protect the interests of the Convention. The Commission would receive regularly, from each state, extensive figures for military personnel and materials. Complaints about cheating would be directed to the Commission. Resolutions proposed to the Commission would be adopted if carried by a simple majority. The Commission had the right to have "any person heard or consulted who is in a position to throw any light on the question which is being examined." After such interviews, a report would be published and sent to all the parties of the treaty.

A later plan, the French Plan of November 14, 1932, advocated that the manufacture of war materials be "internationally supervised and organized." Apart from a brief mention of yearly "investigations", no details regarding the nature of the supervision were included in the Plan. The Plan is more notable for the bold suggestion to give the League of Nations its own permanent military force (including an international air force), made up of specialized units assigned to it by all nations.

The British Draft Convention (or the MacDonald Plan) was presented to the Conference by Britain's presiding officer, Ramsay MacDonald, on March 16, 1933. It was called the "closest thing to a comprehensive arms control agreement document during the interwar years" (Dupuy and Hammerman, 1973). It provided for the formation of the Permanent Disarmament Commission (PDC), which would include one representative from each Government. The PDC would receive all communications from the treaty parties and would have had the authority to request a party "to supply in writing any supplementary particulars or explanations." Furthermore, it called upon any person to provide witness and it could also take into account "any other information which may reach it from reliable sources." In addition, the Commission could conduct an investigation on the territory of an alleged violator. France proposed an amendment calling for an "investigation in each State at least once a year." Furthermore, France proposed that the inspection teams should have "full freedom to arrange ... its movements within the States of the area assigned to it [by the Commission]." The decisions of the PDC were to be adopted only after with at least a two-thirds majority vote.

Despite the fact that it was President Woodrow Wilson's initiatives that helped establish the League of Nations, the United States had remained, up until the Conference, isolated from any programs that required "entangling alliances". However, on May 16, 1933, President Roosevelt strongly advocated the adoption of the MacDonald Plan in a message to 54 Heads of State.

By March, 1933, Hitler had taken over complete power in Germany. Henceforth there could be no possibility for international agreement. Germany withdrew from the League of Nations in October 1933, and the World Disarmament Conference ended without any concrete agreements.

The deliberations at the World Disarmament Conference constituted "the most thorough examination of the technical, economic, legal and moral aspects of disarmament ever made" (Goldblat, 1982). Much can still be learned from these proposals. The discussions shed light on the various organizational structures and a possible charter to consider in creating a modern international verification agency.



The U.N. and the Control of Disarmament

The allied powers created the United Nations in 1945 to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." Although disarmament was not emphasized in the United Nations Charter (which was signed several months before the end of the war), it soon became an immediate concern to the organization. The development of the various disarmament proposals and resolutions at the U.N. is well described in several books, including those by published by the United Nations (1985), and written by Josef Goldblat (1982).

From the beginning, the United Nations became particularly concerned with the disarmament of nuclear weapons. The first resolution passed by the General Assembly called for the elimination of atomic weapons, the establishment of an international control of atomic energy, and the establishment of "effective safeguards by way of inspection and other means." This resolution reflected a joint declaration by President Harry Truman and Prime Ministers Clement Attlee and Mackenzie King on November 15, 1945. They stated that "there can be no adequate military defence" against the atomic bomb and that the new atomic discoveries should be "used for the benefit of mankind." They wrote that they were prepared to "share with others of the United Nations detailed information concerning the practical industrial application of atomic energy just as soon as effective enforceable safeguards against its use for destructive purposes can be devised."

The three leaders proposed the formation of a commission to prepare recommendations about how to proceed with their proposals. The declaration was supported Moscow Communique of December 27, 1945, of the foreign ministers of the U.S.A., the U.K. and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was in surprising agreement. Stalin felt that "a strong international control [of disarmament] is needed" - as expressed in a 1946 interview (Baillie, 1946).

In passing unanimously Resolution 1(I) on January 24, 1946, the General Assembly set up the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to consider proposals to implement the active parts of the first resolution. The membership of the Commission included the Security Council members and Canada. The ensuing debates marked the beginning of the struggle to control nuclear weapons, a struggle which continues to this day.

At the first meeting of the Atomic Energy Commission, the United States proposed what became known as the Baruch Plan, after the American Bernard Baruch. It was based on the work of Dean Acheson and David Lilienthal. In their report of March 1946, they called for complete international control over all aspects of atomic energy. The International Atomic Development Authority was to assume absolute responsibility for the production and distribution of atomic materials. It would have the power to control, license and inspect freely all atomic facilities. Baruch added provisions for "condign punishment" and stated that there could be no veto on the questions of violation. Baruch emphasized that only after the international machinery was in place, would (unilateral at that time) atomic weapon disarmament take place. Some Westerners criticized his proposals as being self-righteous and intolerant of the Russian attitude towards disarmament (Wallace, 1946; Oliphant et al., 1947). Though the General Assembly adopted the Baruch Plan (but without the Soviet approval which was necessary), Baruch ultimately resigned in frustration.

Six days after Baruch made his historic proposal, the Soviet Ambassador, Andrei Gromyko, came back with a counter-plan. The Soviets proposed a treaty which would prohibit immediately the production and use of atomic weapons and would provide for the destruction of all atomic weapons within three months of its entry into force. There was little provision for verification in this proposal and so it was rejected by the United States. Subsequent proposals contained more verification provisions. In 1947, the Soviet Union proposed the formation of an International Control Commission to be established within the framework of the Security Council (and therefore subject to the veto power). It would have its own inspectoral apparatus, which would regularly and freely investigate the activities of any national mining and production facilities. The "snag" (apart from the veto) was timing. The ICC would, presumably, only be established after nuclear disarmament had taken place.

The Soviets accused the U.S. of advocating "control without disarmament" while the U.S. emphasized the necessity of "control over disarmament." It is relevant to note that the Russian word "control" has a different meaning from the English word. Apparently (Dupuy & Hammerman, 1973), in Russian the word control means merely checking on something, rather than having control over it. This apparently effected discussions repeatedly.

Many prominent Americans, including scientists (Oppenheimer, 1946) and military staff (Bradley, 1947) were strongly in favor of the international control of fissionable material. They felt that the possible loss in sovereignty was well worth the added security that an international control and inspection system could provide.

President Eisenhower made his famous "atoms for peace" address on December 8, 1953 at the United Nations in New York. He stressed that atomic power could be used for the benefit of mankind as well as for its destruction. He proposed the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose main task would be to collect contributions of fissionable materials from the nuclear States and promote the peaceful uses of atomic energy. This proposal was more modest than the Baruch Plan since it did not call for nations to give up control of their atomic facilities. To mark the thirtieth year of the address, a conference was held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in cooperation with the Los Alamos Laboratory. The origins, objectives, successes and failures of Eisenhower's proposals were discussed and the papers were published in a book called "Atoms for Peace" (Pilat et al., 1983).

The IAEA was founded in 1957. The organization is still operating under U.N. sponsorship. At present it is composed of 112 Member States and its headquarters are in Vienna, Austria. Although the Soviet Union objected to the IAEA at first, it has now become an ardent supporter.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force thirteen years after the creation of the IAEA. At that time the agency was given the enormous responsibility of establishing a safeguards system to ensure that non-nuclear-weapon States party to the treaty did not use the information and fissionable materials given to them for anything other than peaceful purposes. Under the safeguards system, the IAEA is allowed to examine the designs of a signatory's nuclear power stations and to send inspectors to them. The Agency receives and analyses regular reports from the nations which are based on the records of plant operations and the flow and inventory of nuclear material. The IAEA system represents the first safeguards system implemented by the international community in which "some control over an industry of strategic importance has been maintained" (United Nations, 1985). The IAEA was also called upon to conclude safeguard agreements with parties to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which established Latin America as the world's first nuclear-weapon-free zone in a relatively densely populated area.

The structure of the IAEA is similar to that of the U.N. itself. Some consider the organizational structure of the IAEA would be a good model for that of an International Verification Organization while other's disagree. In any case, the IVO would have to maintain a strong formal connection with the IAEA, since the latter is already heavily involved in verification.


The U.N. and International Security

The authors of the Charter sought to establish a system to guard international peace and security. The centerpiece was the Security Council. Within the United Nations, the Security Council has the executive authority to send troops to enforce its decisions. But with the veto power, the Security Council was paralysed from the beginning and this authority was not used (with the exception of the Korean war - the Soviet Union was boycotting the Security Council for unrelated reasons at the time of the vote).

Article One of the UN Charter under which member states agree, among other things, to "take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace." This could be considered a legal base upon which an U.N. verification organization (such as ISMA) could be constructed.

Albert Einstein (1981), however, would accept as a solution nothing less than the establishment of a world government (which could bear a minimum amount of arms). He further proposed that the Soviet Union might be invited to draft the constitution for an international police force. Though Einstein's vision is considered by many to have been unrealistic, the steps towards it are possible and these could include the creation of an international verification organization.


The Open Skies proposal, along with its origins and the aftermath, are discussed in detail in the book "Open Skies" by W. W. Rostow (1955). Rostow describes the proposal as "the second major American initiative to bring order and security to a world shadowed by nuclear weapons"; (The first was the proposal for an International Atomic Development Authority). The book gives a fascinating account of the personal interactions between the President, the Secretary of State, Foster Dulles, and Nelson A. Rockefeller, who as a presidential aide, introduced the idea to Eisenhower.

Rockefeller had organized in June, 1955, a panel to consider courses of action to be offered to the President before the upcoming summit of the four heads of state (in July). The eleven participants in the Quantico Panel were from industry, academia, and the military. The idea for mutual inspection by overflight was proposed at one meeting by Max Millikan, who apparently had "heard the idea discussed at an arms control session in Cambridge." It was quickly seized upon by the group and incorporated into their report which was widely circulated. Rockefeller also visited the President with a memorandum strongly recommending approval of the mutual inspection proposal.

Eisenhower presented the Open Skies proposal about midway in the course of the Geneva summit. In his opening statement Eisenhower hinted at the proposal:

Perhaps, therefore, we should consider whether the problem of limitation of armaments may not be best approached by seeking-as a first step-dependable ways to supervise and inspect military establishments, so that there can be no frightful surprises, whether by sudden attack or by secret violation of agreed restrictions. In this field nothing is more important than that we explore together the challenging and central problem of effective mutual inspection. Such a system is the foundation for real disarmament.

Several days later, on July 21, 1955, Eisenhower made the formal proposal. He suggested that the US and the USSR consider the following steps:

To give each other a complete blueprint of our military establishments, from beginning to end, from one end of our countries to the other... Next, to provide within our countries facilities for aerial photography to the other country ... and by this step to convince the world that were providing as between ourselves against the possibility of great surprise attack, thus lessening danger and relaxing tensions. Likewise we will make more easily attainable a comprehensive and effective system of inspection and disarmament, because what I propose, I assure you, would be but a beginning.

Prime Minister Anthony Eden and French Premier Edgar Faure spoke in approval of the proposal. Soviet Chairman Nikolai Bulganin declared that the proposal seemed to have real merit and he promised that it would be given a complete and sympathetic study. The possibilities looked promising.

Khrushchev, however, told Eisenhower later in the conference that he was not in agreement with the Soviet Chairman. Eisenhower wrote about this: "I devoted myself exclusively to an attempt to persuade Mr. Khrushchev of the merits of the Open Skies plan, but to no avail. He said the idea was nothing more than a bald espionage plot against the U.S.S.R., and to this line of argument he stubbornly adhered ... Khrushchev's own purpose was evident - at all costs to keep the U.S.S.R. a closed society." Khrushchev's position became the Soviet position after the meeting.

While many believed that Open Skies was merely a diplomatic move designed to embarrass the Soviet Union, Rostow contends that Eisenhower took the proposal very seriously. "He was acutely aware of the dangers to all mankind in a nuclear age; he authentically believed the only rational course for the United States and the Soviet Union was arms control; and Open Skies represented [in Eisenhower's his own words] 'a tiny gate in the disarmament fence' he struggled to open."

Eisenhower was also aware that there was emerging a new dimension in international politics; that the new nations of the world would represent a third element outside of the superpower struggle. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on August 13, 1958 he made remarks of a prophetic nature:

As I look out on this Assembly, with many of you representing new nations, one thought impresses me. The world that is being remade on our planet is going to be a world of many mature nations. As one after another of these nations moves through the difficult transition to modernization and learns the methods of growth, from this travail new levels of prosperity and productivity will emerge.

This world of individual nations is not going to be controlled by any one power or group of powers. It is not going to be committed to any one ideology. Please believe me when I say that the dream of world domination by any one power or of world conformity is an impossible dream. The nature of today's weapons, the nature of modern communications, and the widening circle of new nations make it plain that we must, in the end, be a world community of open societies. And the concept of the open society is the key to a system of arms control we can all trust.

Eisenhower did not yet, however, realize that outer space offered an opportunity to move towards his idea of Open Skies. The reconnaissance satellites of the two superpowers partially fulfilled the Open Skies vision, since the military installations of the two countries are kept under mutual surveillance from space.

However, this does not mean that humanity as a whole has moved closer to an "open" world. At the present time only the military-intelligence camps benefit from satellite surveillance. A truly international organization, representing all nations, should therefore play a role in the verification of agreements and the prevention of crises. This need was partially recognized in the McCloy-Zorin agreement, another landmark achievement in disarmament negotiations. The agreement proposes the creation of an International Disarmament Organization (IDO).



President John F. Kennedy continued to place great emphasis on efforts towards arms control and disarmament. In his inaugural address in 1961 he stressed not only the importance of disarmament but also the role the United Nations could play in the process:

To that world assembly of foreign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support - to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective - to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak-and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run ... Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

One of the prominent Americans that President Eisenhower had employed in his quest for arms control was John J. McCloy, a New York lawyer and former High Commissioner for Germany. President Kennedy also enlisted his talents. At the President's request, McCloy held three meeting with Valerian A. Zorin of the USSR. On September 20 they signed an agreement called the "Joint Statement of Agreed Principles for Disarmament Negotiations" or the McCloy-Zorin Agreement. The two nations then took the agreement to the General Assembly, where it was endorsed unanimously on December 20, 1961 (Resolution A/26/1722).

The McCloy-Zorin agreement is a historic document composed of eight articles. "A careful reading of the McCloy-Zorin Agreement reveals that it provides a safe and sound road map toward a disarmed world with adequate controls, adequate verification, and adequate provision for enforcement and for the peaceful settlement of international disputes" (World Federalists Association, 1982).

The vision of disarmament embraced by the negotiators was more comprehensive than is found anywhere today. It was nothing less than general and complete disarmament (Article 1), including (Article 3) the disbanding of armed forces, the dismantling of military establishments, the elimination of stockpiles of nuclear, chemical bacteriological and other weapons of mass destruction and the discontinuance of military expenditures!

Article 2 stipulates "that States will have at their disposal only those non-nuclear, armaments, forces, facilities and establishments as are agreed to be necessary to maintain international order ... States shall support and provide agreed manpower for a United Nations peace force." Articles 4 and 5 stipulate that disarmament should occur in stages and in a balanced fashion. Article 6 is perhaps the most relevant article. It states that all disarmament measures are to be implemented "under strict and effective international control". To this end, it proposes the creation of an International Disarmament Organization (IDO) within the framework of the United Nations. The IDO and its inspectors "should be assured unrestricted access without veto to all places as necessary for the purpose of verification."

Article 7, states that the "disarmament process must be accompanied by a UN peace force strong enough to deter or suppress any threat of use of arms in violation of the United Nations Charter." The eighth and final article endorses the more limited agreements which will "facilitate and form part of the overall program for secured general and complete disarmament in a peaceful world."

The Joint statement is a remarkable document because it forms a basis or a "road map" for the progress of disarmament. It is unfortunate that the governments involved have not used the agreement as it had been intended.

Over the years, many persons supported the creation of an IDO-type organization. Dennis Aronowitz (1965) proposed an "Inspectorate" which would be international in character and he noted that it would have validity under the Constitution of the United States and would be consistent with its Amendments. Hans Linde (Falk & Barnet, 1965) suggested that the inspectorate could operate on an adversary as well as an impartial basis. Use of the adversary inspector to inspect a foreign country might introduce a higher degree of confidence that the inspection was done right. An impartial inspector might be freer to inspect in the foreign country and be more acceptable to a third party as well as to the inspected party. A mixed, three-man team consisting of an adversary, an impartial and a host-inspector would be optimal. Furthermore, he suggested that the costs for both types of inspection should be borne by the country requesting the inspection.

Betty Goetz Lall (1964) suggested that a system of voluntary verification be established. Each party would submit more information to an International Disarmament Organization (IDO) as disarmament progresses. The information would be distributed to other countries and challenges by some countries could be considered by the IDO executive.

Just as weapons technology has developed tremendously since the 1960's, so has the technology for verification. For instance, the use of seismic detectors to verify a Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) has been thoroughly investigated. Explosions with yields of 10 kilotons or less can be verified to a very good degree of certainty. Also there has been progress in the means of monitoring of a chemical weapons treaty. New devices are being developed to detect chemical-biological warfare (CBW) agents at lower concentrations.

However, this review is concerned with verification and monitoring through satellite technology. The use of satellites to observe the earth has created a revolution in espionage and arms control verification. In effect, an Open Skies regime was established shortly after Eisenhower left office, by virtue of the deployment of reconnaissance satellites by the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., and has been in operation to this day. In the present case, however, the blue prints are not provided and all the operations are carried out without the express permission of the sensed states. This is certainly not the spirit of Eisenhower's proposal, though technology has made the type of observation he envisaged has become a reality.




With the dawn of the space age, a number of people recognized that satellite reconnaissance could make a great contribution to international peace and security if placed under United Nations control. Perhaps the earliest such proposal was made by an Air Force Colonel, Richard S. Leghorn (Leghorn, 1957; Kistiakowski, 1976), who was an expert in reconnaissance and one of the founders of Itek Corporation. He suggested in 1955 (Klass, 1971) that the reconnaissance satellites, which the Department of Defense was seriously investigating, should be operated on behalf of the United Nations, feeding data to a proposed U.N. arms information agency. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey made a similar suggestion during a Senate debate on February 4, 1958 (Klass, 1971):

A satellite of this [UN] nature would impress all nations that no longer are national borders and countries sacrosanct. It would be a vivid example of internationalism which by its very existence would require the creation of new concepts of international law and order.

The use of satellites to verify arms control agreements was first proposed officially (by a government) by the West at the 1958 Surprise Attack Conference in Geneva, less than a year after the Sputnik satellite had been launched (Davies et al., 1971). At the same meeting, they proposed the establishment of an International Disarmament Organization (IDO), to be operated under the United Nations. They made a remarkable statement about the need for establishing a foundation for arms control agreements: "Developing the inspection techniques before they are needed could provide arms limitations agreements which reflect the effectiveness of the IDO inspection methods." The United Nations facilities were to be independent of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. to ensure continued operation at all times. The group suggested launching a 115-kilogram satellite possessing 5-metre resolution at an orbital nadir of 200 km. Furthermore, US and USSR could periodically supply their own verification results to the IDO.

The Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) Study Group on International Arms Control and Inspection considered the establishment of an international organization for satellite surveillance (PRA 14101). But they discarded the idea at that time after deciding that it would be as expensive as the defence establishment itself. They reasoned that the public would be unwilling to pay for such a system, except at periods of extreme international tension.

According to one report (Land, 1982), Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker also proposed the establishment of a United Nations Agency to deploy military satellites in the cause of peace. An extension of this initiative was the Canadian effort in 1962 in support of a General Assembly resolution on the peaceful use of outer space.

In 1963, a three-day conference, "Open Space and Peace Symposium" was held at Stanford University by the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace (Ossenbeck & Kroeck, 1964). Martin Waldman, the editor of Space Age News, gave a talk entitled "The Practicality of United Nations Surveillance." He saw numerous advantages to a U.N.-sponsored surveillance satellite program. They included: increasing the scope of the U.N. peace-monitoring capacity; bolstering confidence in the U.N. and strengthening its role in the elimination of aggression; giving the U.N. the weapon of "instantaneous international disclosure", which could be used (as in the Cuban missile crisis) to bring to bear the weight of world opinion against an aggressor; benefiting international scientific progress (engineers and scientists from virtually all U.N. member nations were to be employed); reducing expenditures of States investing in satellite systems; capability of permanent observation, since satellites are hard to destroy; and supporting national reconnaissance programs. He urged a quick adoption of the proposal, since he felt that "other surveillance satellite ventures seem bound to arise, and by the time they do, entrenched sectional interests may seriously impede U.N. entry into the field."

Another speaker, John Morse, compared three different implementations of satellite reconnaissance systems: the multilateral, U.N. and bilateral. He concluded that the U.N. implementation was the most favorable. He listed a number of advantages, one of them being that multilateral cooperation between nations is a better unifying force than bilateral cooperation, which may have "adverse effects on our alliance." He noted that a U.N. satellite reconnaissance system would be completely in the spirit of President Eisenhower's "open skies" proposal.

The other 16 speakers at the symposium covered a wide range of topics relating to the implications of the emerging technology of satellite remote sensing, from the philosophical and political to the technical. At the symposium both a U.S. Senator, George Miller, and a renowned U.S. physicist, Dr. Edward Teller, spoke in favor of the U.N. satellite surveillance system. Dr. Stefan T. Possony, then the director of the Hoover Institute's international political sciences program made a somewhat prophetic remark: "Space henceforth will remain a constant Sputnik, or 'companion', of mankind and will allow humanity to achieve a full quantum jump in the production of relevant information [for peace]. Few of us appreciate the magnitude of this advice."

Another arms control verification proposal with a different slant was made in 1964 by Gordon Vaeth (1964). He recommended using large dirigibles and pointed out that such balloons only need to refuel every three months; they could carry large and heavy surveillance cameras and both the US and the USSR have some experience in constructing them. He proposed that they be manned by

personnel from the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. and be allowed to fly freely. The dirigibles would no longer be considered to represent an offensive threat, and could serve as "flying control posts." While not being aggressive, large balloons would be considerably more intrusive than satellite observation. Certainly they would be more provoking to the elements of the Soviet society which at the time maintained that total military secrecy was in their best interest.

In October 1968 (Klass, 1971), one of Russia's top civilian scientists said at a meeting in Denver, that space technology was making a major contribution "to the solution of the cardinal problem of our time-preservation of peace."

Several detailed proposals for an international organization utilizing reconnaissance satellites have been put forward since satellites first came into use. The major ones are listed in table 4.2. They are presented in chronological order with a reference to the article where the proposal was first described.

Table 4.2. A List of Proposals for International Verification Organizations Using Aerospace Surveillance.


Name of Proposal


Reference (Author, Yr)

Open Skies/Open Space


Eisenhower, 1955, 1961

U.N. Reconnaissance Agency


Morenoff, 1967

U.N. Safety Authority


Kurtz, 1969

International Disarmament Control Organization


Mrydal, 1974

International Satellite Monitoring Agency


France, 1978

International Satellite Monitoring System


Pugwash, 1980

Center for the Verification of Disarmament Agreements


Italy, 1982

Regional Satellite Monitoring Agency





Canada; VRU, 1985

Open Skies Agency


Turner, 1985

World Space Organization


USSR; UN, 1986




Howard and Harriet Kurtz

In the mid-1950's, Howard Kurtz, a former U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and an engineer and Harriet Kurtz, an ordained minister, began prolifically suggesting ideas on how to use modern science and technology to enhance peace and security. Their emphasis was on the creation of new international organizations (Kurtz, 1957, 1969) for the promotion of international cooperation and the sharing of information. They proposed the creation of a Global Information Cooperative (Callander, 1973) which would pool together data collected by orbiting satellites and make it available to all nations for resources development (including earth and mineral resources, forestry, and wildlife), weather monitoring and military warning. The last task fits into a much larger organization for security, as Howard Kurtz explains in Carlson & Comstock (1986):

I propose construction of a new series of reconnaissance satellites ... All nations will be invited to develop surveillance systems for experimental installation in these orbiting laboratories. All nations will be given full access to all information inputs and outputs from these global surveillance systems, so that all national defense establishments, all regional defense establishments, and the United Nations Military Staff Committee can gain protracted experience in working together to test the effectiveness and to establish the future requirements for a Global Safety Authority intelligence capability. Through these satellites we may begin to find answers to the question: Can a future United Nations Safety Force be made dependable and effective?

The Kurtz' ideas have been covered in several newspaper and magazine articles (Lepkowski, 1984; Deudney, 1984, Greider, 1977) and these are reprinted in the magazine "Checkpoint" (Kurtz, 1984) of War Control Planners, Inc., an organization which the Kurtz' founded in 1963. The inspiring story of their lives and the development of their thoughts is described in a book by Noire Huddle (1984).

The Idea Catches On

The Kurtz ideas inspired several prominent Americans to take up the cause. Senator Adlai Stevenson reportedly wanted "to build an international structure alongside the Soviet-U.S. arms negotiations - a global information system shared and operated cooperatively by all nations" (Greider, 1979). He felt that the Kurtz' concept was not theoretical: "It's so concrete I can't talk about it".

Senator George Brown has stated his support for the Kurtz proposals in Congress (Brown, 1979a). He proposed (Brown, 1982b) that an international peace-keeping satellite system, "Peacesat", should be incorporated into a larger international security and disarmament authority. The system would operate within the framework of the United Nations and be supplied with the best available surveillance technology. He advocated that U.S. take the lead in its formation and "send a message to the world that we intend to be leaders in the pursuit of peace." He placed several published articles on peace-keeping satellites into the Congressional Records (Brown 1979a,b and 1982a,c). These include articles by Greider (1979) and Callander (1979).

Dr. Ray S. Cline, who was the CIA Deputy Director for intelligence when reconnaissance satellites were first being used, is also inspired by the Kurtz' work. In an article (Cline, 1986) that was distributed to key Department of Defence personnel, he proposed a Global Space Surveillance System (GSSS) - i.e. a peace-keeping satellite system. The U.S. intelligence agencies would still have "their own information for national security analysis", but the newly created and impartial GSSS would be able to record "dangerous moves by the Soviet Union and its client states ... before a crisis reached a maximum." Furthermore, "other nations would certainly feel safer if they could see photographs of the enormous military forces deployed by the Soviet Union and prepare themselves accordingly." He proposes that the Landsat satellite cameras be upgraded substantially. This would be the first step towards a new and more ambitious "Open Skies" plan.

Dr. Robert Mueller, a former under Secretary-General of the United Nations, was another great admirer of the work of the Kurtz. He passed some of their literature onto the French government before they made the historical ISMA proposal in 1978. The French proposal may thus be due in part to the Kurtz' efforts.

Many individual's became aware of the peace-keeping satellite concept due to the French ISMA proposal of 1978. Admiral Stanfield Turner, who was director of the CIA during the Carter administration, supported the U.S. position against ISMA in 1978, but now believes (Turner, 1985) that the U.S. view was mistaken. He describes why:

We wanted exclusive control over the data we could gather and France and others could not. Today, though, the French, the Indians, Japanese and a Western European Consortium all have satellite programs in existence or under development. While our capabilities have advanced and will be much better than any of these programs, a lot of our older satellite technology could be shared without risk ... The two principal areas of benefit would be in reducing the risk of unnecessary and unwanted wars and in helping to improve the standard of living and quality of life in many less fortunate nations of the world.

He proposed the creation of an Open Skies Agency (OSA), to receive data from U.S. reconnaissance satellites and act as a distribution centre and as a liaison with other countries. The U.S.A. could control what information the OSA received "if it was necessary to protect a certain collection system". At the same time, the OSA, in order to be credible, would be given "certain information on a regular basis, regardless of whose actions it revealed." He discusses several possible disadvantages of such a system (threat to covert U.S. actions and the misuse of supplied information for aggressive or selfish purposes), but concludes that the advantages far outweigh them. "From a larger, more humanitarian point of view, though", he write, "it must be viewed as an advantage, not a disadvantage, to open all skies for the good of mankind." The U.S.A. now has the choice of being pushed into the new era of open information or of leading the rest of the world into it, he concludes. The fundamental principles of American democracy should guide the U.S.A. to choose the latter.

Dr. John McLucas, President of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), proposed (McLucas, 1985a) the formation of a global consortium for civil development using satellites for remote sensing. Membership would be open to all countries and as a mechanism to avoid confrontations, the members would be able to delete data that it felt should not want be released to the public. He (McLucas, 1985b) feels that, in spite of this, the military will probably exert pressure to prevent the system from developing a high-resolution capability. However, the U.S. government "must soon come to grips with the prospect that high-quality imagery from space, heretofore available only from systems under close government control, will be widely disseminated by commercial organizations." He urges the U.S. to espouse the Open Skies concept "to the advantage of all peace-keeping nations."

One person who has displayed tremendous foresight in the area of the use of outer space is science fiction/science writer Arthur C. Clarke (of 2001:A Space Odyssey fame). In 1945 he wrote the paper that outlined the principles of satellite communications and the use of geostationary orbit. Shortly thereafter, in an award winning essay on rockets and the future of warfare, he wrote "the only defence against the weapons of the future is to prevent them ever being used ..." He therefore supports fully the U.N. ISMA report although he uses the term "Peacesat" to describe the concept. He spoke about the Peacesat in a speech to the Unispace '82 conference in Vienna and at the Committee on Disarmament in Geneva (Clarke, 1982). He said:

Peacesat is an idea whose time has come. Those who are skeptical about the practicability should realize that most of its elements are present, at least in rudimentary form, in the existing or planned systems. ... Whether the superpowers wish it or not, the facilities of an embryo Peacesat system will soon be available to all countries.

Clarke stated that the Peacesat "was not a magic solution to all the problems of peace: there is no such thing." It is an endeavor to present mankind with alternatives to an arms race in space and to exploit space systems which are "uniquely adapted to provide global facilities, equally beneficial to all nations." Clarke states very convincingly that "the technologies which could [be used to] destroy us can also be used for our salvation." This speech was placed in the Congressional Records by Senator George Brown (1982c).

In 1967, Jerome Morenoff, an American lawyer, described his proposal for a United Nations Reconnaissance Agency (UNRA). Its primary purpose was to be to deter any state from instituting activities which could cause the disruption of world order. The UNRA would detect and evaluate the actions; then, it would alert appropriate peace-keeping forces of the United Nations (using the Security Council). He argued that the UNRA would considerably augment the scope and efficiency of the United Nations. He anticipated that effective international satellite surveillance would have many other benefits, as well, including: increased respect for territorial integrity and political independence; greater participation by both underdeveloped and neutral nations in peace-keeping efforts; progress in science and technology due to the increased interaction of scientists; elimination of unilateral surveillance programs - thereby allowing States to rededicate large resources; and the solution of the problem of control and inspection. He commented (Morenoff, 1967):

Our legal and political acumen have not kept pace with our technological savoir faire. Although we have progressed to the point where we can control and even create many of the physical attributes of our universe, we have, as yet, been unable to reach a level of development to allow us to manipulate civilization's most sophisticated creation - a visible system of law - for the benefit of mankind.




The Pugwash Conferences, Symposia and Workshops provide an opportunity for scientists from East and West to share their views on world affairs. The Pugwash Movement is named after a fishing village in Nova Scotia, Canada, where the first Conference was held in 1957. At that meeting, a small group of scientists met to take up the challenge of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955: to appraise the perils of weapons of mass destruction and to discuss ways to prevent a thermonuclear war.

The question of verification of arms agreements has been discussed at many Pugwash meetings. In the late 1950s and the early 1960s, scientists evaluated the degree of importance of inspection, especially aerial inspection (Rostow, 1982), which is less intrusive than on-site inspection. Finally, satellite reconnaissance was found to be the most unobtrusive of methods. W. Rostow, who was the chairman of the Quantico Panel which had come up with the "Open Skies" proposal, describes his experiences at a December 1960 Pugwash meeting in his book "Open Skies" (Rostow, 1982) and concludes:

I do not know the weight given the judgement of our more thoughtful Soviet Pugwash interlocutors in the decision finally made by the Soviet Union to accept as common law mutual satellite photography; but I can vouch for the fact that a number of Soviet officials and scientists fully understood the potentially stabilizing role of this form of inspection and the indispensable role of mutual inspection in any form of arms control, however limited.

The proposal for establishing a satellite surveillance system, whose data would be available to all on an unrestricted basis was discussed at the 26th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in 1976. The proposal was subsequently outlined in a one page article entitled "A Surveillance Satellite for All", published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Chayes et al., 1977) by scientists who had attended the Pugwash Conference.

The article began by stressing that the key to arms control and disarmament is openness of information about military activities. The bilateral treaties already negotiated by the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. depend to a great extent on their surveillance satellites. If reconnaissance data were made available, unrestricted, to all countries, it could create a climate of confidence that would contribute to international peace and security. The authors recommend that a consortium of nations should establish a satellite surveillance system to observe the military activities of all countries and to transmit the data regularly to the United Nations.

After France proposed ISMA in 1978 at UNSSOD I, two Pugwash Symposia were held in France on the topic of "An International Agency for the Use of Satellite Observation Data for Security Purposes". The first was held in Avignon, France from April 14 to 17, 1980. The descriptive acronym used for the peace-keeping satellite agency is ISMOS for "International Satellite Monitoring System". The participants considered the many roles and functions for such a satellite system, and several constitutional, political, legal and technical aspects. The report from the meeting (Pugwash, 1980) was used as input to the work of the Group of Experts convened by the Secretary-General after UNSSOD I.

The experts' report was available for UNSSOD II but was not discussed there. At the encouragement of the French government, the second Pugwash meeting on the topic was held in Versailles, from October 25-29, 1982. There were twenty-five participating scientists, some of whom provided background documentation: seven from France (H. Bortzmeyer, 1983); three each from Canada (W. Epstein, 1983; J. Polanyi, 1983; and L. Trainor, 1983) and the United States (K. Tsipis, 1983); two each from the Netherlands (C. Voute, 1983), Britan and Switzerland; and one each from Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Italy and the Soviet Union. The report on the Symposium is printed in the Pugwash Newsletter (Pugwash, 1983).

The group focused on the possible use of satellite technology for "the avoidance of armed conflict and the promotion of the arms control process." The group considered that there could be two categories of users of the data:


    1. all state members of the U.N. system


  1. international/regional/non-governmental organizations that have responsibilities with regard to security or emergency problems (eg. the U.N. and its specialized agencies or the International Red Cross).

Three possible modalities for the establishment of the system were considered. These options are reviewed in Chapter VI. The participants also composed a minimum set of "Rules and Guidelines" for the operation of the system: all participants should have the right of access to the data (within the constraint of the system) without discrimination; those obtaining data should have the obligation to inform the Secretary-General of the terms of such a data request; the system operator should make available an identical set of data to the party being sensed and be prepared to inform the Secretary-General of any external interference with the system. Finally they point out three areas which need to be further addressed: (1) means for capitalizing and funding; (2) methods for ensuring that data access are fair and (3) means for assuring that analytical services are equitably available to all users.

Since the 1976 Pugwash Conference, the peace-keeping satellite concept has been discussed at several Pugwash meetings, in addition to the ones mention above. In the 1981 Pugwash Conference (Pugwash, 1981) in Banff, Alberta, several papers were presented on the topic (Kahane, 1981; Polanyi, 1981b) and the report of the working group on "Enhancing International Security" states that the group endorsed an ISMOS "for the prevention and management of crises and especially for the verification of future multilateral disarmament treaties."

At the Pugwash Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Commemorate Meeting held in Pugwash (Epstein, 1983), Sir Mark Oliphant, who was one of the original twenty-five participants of the 1957 Pugwash Conference, gave a paper entitled "More Openness: An International Satellite Surveillance System" (Oliphant, 1983). He stated:

My thesis is that satellite spying is so effective today that secrecy has become virtually impossible ... I suggest that a group of peace-loving nations, not great powers or members of the 'nuclear club', could get together to launch and operate such satellites, publishing all the results freely to all nations .. By creating an open world, without the possibility of secret preparations for war, it might be possible to build a world at peace.

At the 33rd Pugwash Conference (1983) in Venice, Italy, Professor J. Polanyi of Canada reported on the Versailles Symposium (1983b) and presented a paper on avoiding an arms race in space (1983c). Italian scientists also discussed the potential role of surveillance satellites (Anselmo et al., 1983). At the 34th Conference in Bjorkliden, Sweden, held in 1984, a working group on the military aspects of space considered that "the concept of an international regime for monitoring compliance with arms control agreements, supplementing national technical means of verification, and facilitating the resolution of international conflicts, should be further studied by Pugwash." (Ignatieff, 1983). A paper on peace-keeping satellites will be delivered by Professor Eric Fawcett, of the University of Toronto, at the quinquennial Pugwash conference in Gmunden am Traunsee, Austria, in September 1987.

One Pugwashite who has advocated caution in the methods of implementation of ISMA is Professor Caesar Voute of the International Institute for Aerial Survey and Earth in Enschede, the Netherlands. He advocates (Voute, 1984) a distinction between those satellites that perform remote sensing tasks and those that perform peace-keeping. He expressed concerned that the dissemination of politically sensitive information by a peace-keeping satellite might "strengthen the opposition against the 'open skies' policy [now being applied to natural resources sensing] and thereby reduce the availability of satellite imagery for socioeconomic problem solving." Furthermore, he points out, the system requirements are in general more stringent for a peace-keeping satellite. Nevertheless, Dr. Voute actively promotes the creation of an independent ISMA or a regional (especially European) satellite monitoring system (RSMA). The RSMA proposal is discussed in a later section of this chapter.



The French Proposal

The President of France Giscard d'Estaing made the proposal for an ISMA in his speech to the first U.N. Special Session on Disarmament in May 1978. The proposal went through several stages: the eventual result was an in-depth study by a Group of Experts prepared for the Secretary-General in 1981. The reactions to the proposal by the various countries are discussed in the next chapter. The following series presents the progress of the idea in the General Assembly (with the U.N. document codes):

Notation Used: GA = General Assembly; SG = Secretary-General; SS = Special Session; RS = Regular Session; Voting record in order: (Yes, No, and Abstained).

25 May 1978


  • French President Giscard d'Estaing proposes (UNSSOD I) ISMA in his speech to the GA

30 May 1978


  • Delegation of France submits memorandum (UNSSOD I) (A/S-10/AC.1/7) proposing the establishment of an ISMA. In paragraph 125(d) of the Final Document (Res. A/S-10/2), the proposal is noted.

21 Nov 1978


  • France introduces (with 28 co-sponsors) draft (33rd RS) resolution in the First Committee, requesting SG to (1) obtain views of Member States on ISMA, (2) undertake a preliminary study of the technical, legal and financial implications of establishing ISMA and (3) report at 34th RS. Adopted with recorded vote of 107, 0, 18 (US, USSR).

14 Dec 1978


  • In the plenary (GA) session, the resolution (A/33/71J) (33rd RS) restating the requests made in the draft resolution, is co-sponsored by 42 Member States, and is adopted: 121 (China, France, U.K.), 0, 18 (US, USSR).

27 Aug 1979


  • SG submits document (A/344/374) giving views of Member (34th RS) States on ISMA proposal (see Chapter V).

18 Oct 1979


  • SG submits document (A/34/540) giving the (34th RS) (preliminary) conclusions of Group of Experts (completed 14 September 1979).

11 Dec 1979


  • GA (A/34/83E) requests in-depth study for (34th RS) UNSSOD II. None against, 11 abstentions (USSR, USA).

6 Aug 1981


  • SG submits to the UNSSOD II Preparatory Committee (36th RS) the report (A/AC.206/14) of group of governmental experts, entitled "Study on the Implications of Establishing an International Satellite Monitoring Agency."

Jun-Jul 1982


  • ISMA appears on the provisional agenda of UNSSOD II (UNSSOD II) (A/S-12/10/Add.1) under article 9: "Review of the implementation of the recommendations and decisions adopted by the GA at its 10th SS" but it's substance is not discussed at UNSSOD II.

29 Jun 1982


  • France, in a note verbale (A/S-12/AC.1./55), (UNSSOD II) proposes that GA should request the SG to "report on practical arrangements for implementing the conclusions on the institutional aspects of the proposal; and include the item in the provisional agenda of the 38th RS."

18 Nov 1982


  • First Committee resolution (A/C.1/37/L.55) (37th RS) supporting the French request (of 29 Jun 1982) is co-sponsored by 34 countries (including Canada).

9 Dec 1982


  • GA takes First Committee resolution (above) (37th RS) to vote (res. 37/78K): "Monitoring of International Disarmament Agreements and Strengthening of International Security: Proposal for the Establishment of an ISMA"; Adopted: 126, 9(USSR), 11(US).

5 Oct 1983


  • SG reports (A/38/404) that GA "would have to (38th RS) decide upon a process and a legal framework which could result in the establishment of an ISMA."

The proposal, as initially introduced in the French memorandum, was made with the following reasoning. France noted that the technological progress made in the field of satellite observation constituted a new development in the management of international affairs and proposed that "within the framework of current disarmament efforts, this new monitoring method should be placed at the service of the international community." The memorandum pointed out that many U.N. disarmament resolutions called for effective international verification and that satellite observation could now be performed with high image resolution. Also, it mentioned that observation satellites could contribute to the effective management of crises and thereby strengthen confidence and security.

The first resolution adopted by the General reflected the reasoning provided in the memorandum. It further noted that satellites, "satisfactory to all interested parties", could provide for "international measures which are not discriminatory and do not constitute interference in the internal affairs of States".

The second General Assembly resolution on ISMA retained the many of the same clauses as the first. In a note verbale at UNSSOD II, France reiterated that "all members of the United Nations should be given adequate methods for monitoring disarmament agreements, whether, for example, by seismic detection, remote sensing of the earth by satellite or special methods for monitoring the use of specific kinds of weapons and compliance with the ban on the production or stockpiling of such weapons."

In response to the French request (of 9 December, 1982) to report on the "practical modalities" (ie. the next steps to implement ISMA), Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar noted that the agency would, as stated in the ISMA Report, have to come into being by means of a treaty or convention. Thus, one might say, the ball is now back in the court of the Member States. The proposal awaits a sponsor who will take the initiative to make the next step as stated by the Secretary-General.



The U.N. Report

The Group of Experts produced two studies which form appendices to the reports of the Secretary-General (1979, 1981) on ISMA. The first was a preliminary study (12 pp.) and the second was an in-depth study (120 pp.). The Chairman of the Group was Hubert G. Bortzmeyer, a technical adviser at the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in Paris, France. The other 12 members were from Argentina, Austria, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Upper Volta, and Yugoslavia. Assistance was provided by a Canadian legal consultant (Dr. I. Vlasic), a Swedish expert on satellite reconnaissance activities (Dr. B. Jasani), a Pugwash Seminar participant (Mr. Janssens) and an expert on verification from the RAND corporation (Mr. R. Perry, in his "personal capacity").

Many of the essential points of the ISMA study have been covered already in this review. The "technical implications" chapter constitutes the largest of the three chapters (46 pp.). It describes the military and civilian satellite capabilities of the U.S.A.; it looks at the satellite programs of other countries, including the ground facilities; it also defines the technical mission and data requirements of an ISMA and the facilities needed. Of course, a number of significant advances have been made since 1981 in the field of remote sensing technology. This area is discussed in Chapter III.

The "financial implications" are covered in two pages. The experts, not knowing what would be the final design of the system, offered some approximate estimates for the cost of a three-phase ISMA system. In phase I, ISMA would begin as an independent Image Processing and Interpretation Centre (IPIC) using data from existing national facilities. The capital investment would be of the order of $8 million (1980 prices) and yearly operating costs would be in the range of $25-30 million plus the cost for data purchase, if required.

In phase II, ISMA would acquire its own ground facilities (receiving stations) The capital cost would then be $6-8 million per station and the yearly operating costs would be about $2 million. With a global system of ten ground receiving stations, the initial investment cost would then be $60-80 million.

In phase III, ISMA would develop and launch its own satellites; this is by far the most expensive stage. To launch and develop one satellite might cost between $300 to 400 million (spread over several years). For a three satellite system, the cost would be around a $1 billion. The total cost for a single low-altitude maneuverable satellite for close-look (including R&D and all technical facilities) would be $ 1.5 billion, spread over a ten year period.

In their conclusions, the experts note that even with "the most complete and most expensive phase, an ISMA would cost the international community each year well under 1 per cent of the total annual expenditure on armaments." They also note the costs of any stage would be substantially reduced if ISMA were allowed to use some facilities developed by other nations.

They further conclude that ISMA would be possible, feasible and beneficial. It could play a positive role in arms control and disarmament verification and in preventing and settling international crises. It could expand systematically in stages, as the international community became accustomed to its services. From a legal point of view, "there is no provision in international law, including space law, that would entail a prohibition for an intergovernmental organization such as an ISMA to carry out monitoring activities by satellites."

Responses from NGOs, Academia and Individuals

As the ISMA proposal was being discussed at the United Nations and by various Governments, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) actively promoted the idea and published material in its support. One of these groups was Science for Peace, an organization of Canadian scientists with NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) status at the United Nations. Several members are also Pugwashites. In 1981, two scientists, Dr. Tom Clark and Professor Lynn Trainor, representing Hiroshima-Nagasaki Relived as well as Science for Peace, visited the Department of External Affairs with a proposal to do make a feasibility study for Canadian involvement in a peace-keeping satellite (where the term first appeared). They stressed, among other things, the "historic and distinguished role" Canada has played in peace-keeping and the need for Canadian leadership in the creation of an international peace-keeping satellite system. Although the project was not approved and the government maintained a "wait and see" position towards the ISMA proposal, the work of these two scientists helped develop momentum and enthusiasm within Science for Peace for the concept.

In February 1982, shortly before UNSSOD II, several distinguished members of Science for Peace submitted a brief to the Standing Committee on External Affairs and National Defence (SCEAND). An article based on their brief was subsequently published by professors Eric Fawcett, Franklin Griffiths, John Polanyi, Dr. Tom Clark and Chancellor George Ignatieff (Science for Peace, 1983). They wrote:

Success in the effort to reduce the risks of war and the costs of the arms race depend upon the willingness of states to engage in a wide range of collective and unilateral action ... Our purpose in this brief is to draw the Subcommittee's attention to one modest but productive measure that is feasible essentially because it is modest. This is the measure to establish an ISMA as a means of creating pre-conditions for greater security and confidence in our deeply troubled and overarmed world.

They then described the French proposal and the reactions to it (see Chapter V) and outlined the final report of the U.N. Group of Experts (see Chapter IV). They urged the government of Canada to support the initial establishment of ISMA for various reasons:

What is vitally needed is a broader international application of monitoring and verification technology - one that goes beyond selective national technical means and contributes to the wider need for security... Once launched, an ISMA could acquire a momentum and a growing set of uses. This is because a promising technical innovation, once institutionalized, has a special power to develop its own supporting context and applications in ways that cannot be fully planned, much less legislated.

Furthermore they pointed out that "the virtue of the ISMA proposal is that it is less than rhetorical but not so far-reaching as to threaten the overwhelming opposition of established interests." They promote the virtue that the ISMA could be phased in with small steps, such as the initial development of U.N. expertise to interpret satellite data from existing national sources. This point is now all the more applicable with the growing expertise of other nations in the field of satellite remote sensing.

In addressing the hesitation of the Canadian government they state:

We understand that the French satellite initiative coincides with a desire to develop French satellite technology. We find this degree of self interest acceptable in the face of the potential security benefits for all of deploying satellite technology through the agencies of the United Nations....

We understand a Canadian reluctance to disagree with an important ally and trading partner such as the United States. But in so important a matter as world security, we would hope Canada would speak to the greater benefit of the larger number of nations.

The Standing Committee, in its final report (SCEAND, 1982), came out strongly in favor of ISMA and stated that Canada should give affirmative support at UNSSOD II to discussions on ISMA, "with a view to our active participation in the agency."

Canadian participation in ISMA was also encouraged in a report by a working group of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (1982). Entitled "The Other Road to Security: Canada and Disarmament", it recommended that at UNSSOD II Canada "offer full diplomatic and technical expertise to the creation of ISMA and be prepared to take the lead if France decides not to continue its initiative." A more detailed look at the Canadian actions and reactions to the ISMA proposal is presented in Chapter V.

In 1986, Science for Peace sponsored the day-long "Workshop on Peace-keeping Satellites" (Dorn, 1986b). Some of the new points and insights raised include:

Dr. George Ignatieff, who was President of the U.N. Security Council during the Six-Day War of 1967, remarked that if there had been an ISMA, "we would have avoided the ridiculous position of having to read the New York Times or rushing people by aircraft while the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. had up-to-date information on the area of hostilities."

Walter Dorn pointed out that the availability of satellite remote sensing data from the SPOT and satellites yet to be launched make possible a modest start at a U.N. or even some sort of an NGO Data Interpretation Centre. The impact of the new sources of reconnaissance data would also make an impact on the ability of the media to observe global events.

Dr. Keith Raney described the many potential uses of Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite systems which make them complementary to optical systems. The Canadian RADARSAT satellite incorporated special design features to permit observation in the arctic.

Dr. Larry Morley noted that it was important to get early experience with the techniques and methods of handling remote sensing data of military value. Certain contingents of the United Nations peace-keeping forces could begin by working with aerial surveillance. This could be a stepping stone to developing experience for satellite surveillance.

Lt. Col. Ron Cleminson (Department of External Affairs) noted the high cost of launching satellites and maintaining ground operations, and stated that this was one reason why an ISMA has not been established. Other reasons include the sensitive question of how to disseminate the data once it is obtained and the non-cooperation of the superpowers. Canada will continue to work hard on the question of verification and the prevention of an arms race in space.

Immediately following the workshop, a public forum was held called "Satellites for Peace: ISMA vs Star Wars". It was sponsored and transcribed by the World Federalists of Canada (1986), an organization which had actively promotes the ISMA proposal (Heinrich, 1985). At the Forum, there were three speakers.

Major General Leonard Johnson, retired from the Canadian Forces, and a member of Generals for Peace, emphasized the need for a new transnationalized security system, and saw a role for ISMA in this scheme. He suggested that the United Nations could perform surveillance over a demilitarized Canadian arctic. Dr. Osborne of SPAR Aerospace, Montreal, spoke about the companies study on a satellite, PAXSAT A (described later), capable of determining the nature of other satellites, especially to see if they carry weapons. The results showed that there are many ways of doing this and that camouflage in space is expensive and an uncertain to succeed. Mr. Ron Cleminson of External Affairs emphasized that efforts directed towards arms control, including ISMA, could be quite expensive. Satellite observation is just one means of verification, aerial surveillance could be just as valuable. He emphasized Canada's support for multilateral verification procedures and the efforts made by Canada to promote their study and realization.

Individuals and non-governmental groups in many other countries have given their support to ISMA. This is especially true about several American NGOs. The Institute for Security and Cooperation in Outer Space (ISCOS) promotes ISMA as one of several alternatives for American support (ISCOS, 1987).

The Multilateral Project of the United Nations Association of the U.S.A. (UNA-USA) sponsored in 1985/86 a year-long study on "Developing the Final Frontier: International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space". A Briefing Book was prepared by the UNA-USA National office (Florini, 1985), and was then used by study groups composed of UNA members in 175 local U.S. chapters and others. The views of each study group was then synthesized into the final report (UNA-USA, 1986).


Several new thoughts on ISMA were developed from the project. The Briefing Book, which reviewed the French ISMA proposal and subsequent developments, noted that ISMA could be "modeled on Intelsat and run primarily as a technical operation by technical specialists." A Working Group composed of members of the Conference of U.N. Representatives also produced a report (Sullivan, 1986). The first seven recommendations concerning "Remote Sensing" are reprinted here in their entirety:


    1. We recommend the establishment of a data bank under the auspices of the United Nations through which data received from remote sensing satellite would be made available to all nations and other users. Access to this data would be open, in keeping with the open skies policies with which the United states began its exploration into space.


    1. The Secretary-General of the United Nations should be given access to remote sensing data from military and commercial satellites so that he can better carry our his role of peace-keeping. By making the Secretary-General more effective in this area, the national security of all nations would be enhanced. This data would also help the Secretary-General to be more effective in his work with the United Nations Disaster Relief Organization (UNDRO).


    1. Since commercial satellites are increasingly capable of high resolution, the nations -especially the U.S. and the Soviet Union - should recognize that militarily valuable images will be openly available. Therefore, the nations should begin to establish a management system which would deal with issues of information access and interpretation.


    1. We are concerned that the military application of remote sensing satellite be solely for the maintenance of peace, specifically for early warning and verification. The superpowers and all other space powers should negotiate agreements which limit the military uses of this technology to those which will keep the world in peace.


    1. The United States should recognizer that, as the resolution of commercial satellites improves, it becomes more difficult to separate the military and civilian uses of remote sensing. The U.S., therefore, should not be overly rigid in ruling out the discussion of military uses in international fora such as the United Nations.


    1. The U.S. and the Soviet Union should keep an open mind on the question of a potential ISMA. The creation of such an agency could relieve them of some of the burden of being the world's peacekeepers and make all nations responsible participants in creating a collective security system.


  1. The European Nations should be encouraged to consider taking action towards the establishment of a Regional Satellite Monitoring Agency (RSMA) as an intermediate step in setting up of an ISMA.

The report and recommendations of the Working Group were incorporated in the UNA-USA Final Report (1986).

Colleen Sullivan, the Chair of the Working Group and Assistant Director of the Common Heritage Institute, Villanova University, also published an article on ISMA entitled "The Cosmological Eye." In consideration of the cost of ISMA, which is about $ 500 million over several years, she notes:

Between the time the French Government first proposed an ISMA at the First Special Session on Disarmament in 1978 and the time of the Second Special Session in 1982, the world spent over $1.6 trillion in military costs. The Reagan Administration's Strategic Defence Initiative is estimated at $26 billion for 1985-88 alone. Compared to these, the price of an ISMA appears modest.

Security through an ISMA is an alternative to military solutions. "It is time we all stopped reacting to events," she writes, "and we begin planning ahead as to how we might shape them to better serve the needs and desires of humanity."

The Council on Economic Priorities in New York produced a publication called "Security Without Star Wars" (Lall, 1987). The ISMA concept was noted to have a particular value to a space weapons treaty. An anti-satellite treaty might ban the stationing of a satellite of one nation near that of another because of the possibility of one destroying the other. An international satellite, identifiable, for example, by the U.N. blue and white logo (and other measures), would have an advantage in making the inspections.

Keith Suter, while serving as President of the United Nations Association of Australia, published a book called "Peaceworking: The United Nations and Disarmament" (Suter, 1985). In a chapter entitled "Peaceworking by Satellites" he describes (as above) the development of the ISMA initiative, from the Kurtz vision to the United Nations. He makes a point regarding the impact that could be made with a small core of support for an ISMA:

There was no great public demand for cars, or for transport airplanes, until many years after automobiles and airplanes had been built, operated, and they established records of safety and dependability. There will be no overwhelming world public demand for global security systems guarding the security and economic progress of all nations, large and small, until years after such systems are created and operated publicly in prototype stages, and the people of all nations become convinced that it would be safe to begin to lay down their weapons.

He also asserts that the Government of Australia should support international and European initiatives to develop a satellite monitoring agency. Furthermore, since the US bases in Australia (Pine Gap and Nurrungar) are justified as an irreplaceable part of the U.S. National Technical Means of Verification, "the Australian government should give notice to the US Government that the future bases can only be viewed in the context of an ISMA-type [multilateral] context."

Johan Swahn (1986) in a background paper of the Technical Peace Research Unit of the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden makes additional points about the balance of power and the benefits of ISMA. He states in the introduction that

Arms control negotiations between US and the USSR have for more than a decade been marked by a constant failure to produce, sign and ratify arms control or disarmament treaties. ... Negotiations of new arms control agreements are hindered by alleged difficulties in verification of their implementation. At the same time, the accuracy in verification seems to be very high when it comes to showing that the other superpower has not been abiding by every letter in older agreements. ...the two superpowers do not seem to be able to use their national technical means of verification in a way that promotes arms control and disarmament.

The origin of the problem, he notes, is "rooted in political, industrial, military and economic interests in the superpowers." One way to tackle the problem is to demonstrate to the world at large "how fine the capabilities of verification actually are." This could be done with an ISMA.

ISMA could "monitor arms control agreements between all countries and can therefore be of use even if the superpowers refuse to accept its establishment." It could be used be used by the superpowers, if they wish, "if their own means of verification malfunction or when in disagreement over issues of verification". Most importantly, however, it will also give other nations the chance to "influence arms control discussions between the superpowers with arguments based on improved background knowledge."

He reviews the historical, technical, legal and practical aspects of ISMA as described in the United Nations, SIPRI and Pugwash publications. Further remarks on the relation of ISMA to the superpowers follow:

The satellites employed by ISMA would in the long run have to have equal or higher resolution and equal or better coverage than those of the superpowers in order to be able to verify or falsify accusations of cheating made by one superpower based on observations from its own surveillance satellites. Conflicts between countries other than the superpowers and between a superpower and other countries can be resolved by using close-look photographic surveillance satellites. This can be done on request from one of the involved countries or from a third party.

He boldly suggests that "it would probably be best not to let military organizations, national or international, take part in the organizing or building up of ISMA. The know-how from such organizations could instead be used on a consulting basis." This point could be debated.

While ISMA should eventually supply all information freely, he notes, it may be necessary to have strong restrictions in the beginning. Thus, by demonstrating means of limiting information, some of the political, economic and legal obstacles may be removed. He proposes further research in the following areas: the development of civilian sensor technology, the analysis of the requirements for ISMA and the means in which existing civilian technology can be used to bring down the cost of ISMA; also the means of data distribution from ISMA. While the last point is still very much an area needing a considerable amount more work, the technical areas have been well addressed in the

Canadian PAXSAT studies.




The Verification and Research Unit (VRU) of the Department of External Affairs of Canada addresses the question of developing technologies for chemical/biological, nuclear arms and space-based verification. Under a contract from the VRU, Spar Aerospace, with subcontracts to P.A. Lapp Limited and the Canadian Centre for Arms Control and Disarmament (CCACD), made studies of two "PAXSAT" concepts. The first satellite type (PAXSAT A) would be for space-to-space observation and the second (PAXSAT B) for space-to-earth observation. PAXSAT A was completed and submitted to the Department of External Affairs in February 1985.

PAXSAT A would be used to determine if an orbiting spacecraft was carrying weapons or a part of a weapons system. It would determine if, as Spar President Larry Clarke stated, "there is in orbit a satellite wolf in sheep's clothing" (Lowman, 1985). The results of the PAXSAT A study were briefly summarized by the PAXSAT project manager, Dr. F.J.F. Osborne at a symposium held in Ottawa in December, 1984 (Osborne, 1985). Some of the points made in the study include the following:

Due to the high cost of sending any spacecraft into orbit, it must generally be designed to fit exactly its task: therefore "form follows function". The orbit of the spacecraft reveals much information about its function. The superpower "spy" satellites, for instance, tended to occupy a small proportion of space, defined by a low altitude (the mode of the distribution was at a semi-major axis distance of 9,000 km) and high inclination (77 degrees with respect to the equator).

The exterior of the spacecraft, its apertures and antennas, will also indicate much about its function; this can be studied with optical sensors. Elint and Comint (electronic and communications intelligence respectively) technologies can be used to determine the type of communications being transmitted to and from the spacecraft. Thermal sensors could be used to measure the amount of fuel burnt by a satellite engine during a shift of its orbit. Knowing this value and the acceleration produced to the spacecraft, it would be possible to determine its power utilization, weight and density. The density would give some further indication of the material inside the satellite, and therefore its function. Gas analysers and radiation detectors are also noted as potentially useful. To camouflage a satellite would be very difficult and very expensive. In short, there are many ways to diagnose the function of a satellite with reasonable certainty.

The primary components of the PAXSAT A satellite are displayed in a figure in Osborne's paper (1985). Apart from the optical, electromagnetic (radio) and thermal sensors, an on-board computer is recommended to permit sophisticated and efficient homing strategies.

The PAXSAT could be launched directly to rendezvous with the spacecraft in question or it might use a fly-by based on intersecting orbits or move into a co-orbit. If PAXSAT has to meet with and "park" near a suspected satellites, it may require substantial amounts of fuel to maneuver into the new orbit. The maximum rendezvous period was considered to be 90 days.

The limit on fuel consumption was considered to be one of the greatest constraints for PAXSAT operation. The final PAXSAT A satellite design would accommodate 3000 kg of fuel, would have a high efficiency motor and a further 20 thrusters for fine maneuvering. The total mass of the spacecraft (with fuel) was to be less than 4466 kg, within the capabilities of the Space Shuttle and Ariane (French) launch vehicles.

PAXSAT A was first considered in the political context of a third party observation role, operating outside the facilities and technologies of the superpower. Later the condition was modified to a space-weapons treaty "negotiated primarily between the superpowers and extended to multilateral participation". The hardware considered for PAXSAT, however, was available within the international community at large. The attractiveness of a multilateral treaty and an independent PAXSAT is increased because of "the inherent vulnerability of space weapons systems and the extensive use of space for commercial and national purposes ..."

The PAXSAT B study was completed in the fall of 1986. The function of PAXSAT B was to "monitor conventional military forces in Europe according to criteria that might be established within projected arms control agreements" (SPAR, 1986). The two fora for negotiation of such arms control agreements are the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe (CCSBMDE) and the Mutual Balanced Force Reduction Talks (MBFR). PAXSAT B was therefore designed to inspect continental Europe or a section (in the case of the MBFR) of it daily. In particular, PAXSAT B was to distinguish between the troop divisions and the armored vehicles employed by both sides.

The sensors considered were: space-based radars (real and synthetic aperture), electro-optic sensors (visible and infrared or VIR), and electronic intelligence devices (Elint). The study analysed the capabilities and the advantages and disadvantages of the various sensors.

Using infrared/optical sensors, it was estimated that a tank 4m wide could be detected using a sensor having a resolution capability of 2m. It could be "classified" (e.g. tracked or wheeled) given a resolution of 1m; recognized with a resolution of 0.5 m and identified (as well as a person sitting on the tank) with a resolution capability of 25 cm.

While optical sensors can be used only in the daytime and in cloud-free areas, synthetic radar aperture (SAR) can be used in day-night and all-weather conditions. While the resolution capability of most civilian radar satellites is larger than 20 m, SAR can be refined to detect smaller, finite objects (to a 1 m resolution using very high frequency radar). Variation of various SAR parameters (including polarization and frequency) also allows for other types of imaging. The currently planned SAR satellites would permit at best differentiation between tanks and trucks. However, in both the optical and the SAR cases, terrain variations may significantly alter performance.

Since the various sensors operate at their optimum at different altitudes, several satellite types would allow for the best coverage. It was found that two enhanced SAR satellites in a high orbit (800 km) could inspect sites in Europe every 1.5 days and full cover it in a week. Two VIR satellites in low orbit (300 km) could access Europe every 3.5 days and cover it quarterly. As well, ground stations spread out at points around the world would allow for real-time processing of the PAXSAT signals.

A study of the ground facility requirements, involving signal reception and processing, was made by MacDonald Dettwiler Ltd. which was subcontracted. Various techniques can be used to enhance satellite data. Some imagery techniques allow for geometrical corrections to transform the image to a standard map projection. Also it is possible to perform "subtractions" of successive images taken of the same location to register the differences. The processing is done mostly be done by computer. The total primary image processing time is 1.8 and 1.5 minutes for SAR and optical (MOMS) imaging data respectively. The geocoding, however, may take an hour or more. The Central Image Interpretation Centre would be able to process data with a 1.5 day turnaround.

Existing civilian satellite systems such as Landsat (US) and SPOT (France) and proposed civilian satellites such as RADARSAT (Canada), JERS-1 (Japan), and ERS-1 (European Space Agency) do not fulfill the full requirements for a PAXSAT. However, it was noted that "enhanced remote sensing satellites such as RADARSAT could provide low resolution or 'detection' level data for possible use in a confidence building context."

The PAXSAT B report concludes that space-based remote sensing can play an important role in the verification of a treaty concerning conventional forces in Europe and that the "technology base exists in non-superpower nations from which the full PAXSAT B could be developed for the mid-late 1990's."

Regional Satellite Monitoring Agencies

In the PAXSAT studies no organizational or political framework for was developed, yet it is apparent that the work is based on the Regional Satellite Monitoring Agency idea. The PAXSAT studies were tailored specifically to the remote sensing of Europe, though much of the work could be applied to any part of the world.

The idea of a Regional Satellite Monitoring Agency has been gathering support, especially in view of the fact that the U.N. initiative is not progressing at the moment. It is noted that access and dissemination of data covering a smaller region of the world might reduce the sensitivities of a number of nations, including the superpowers. RSMA is most often discussed in the context of European monitoring and disarmament (Jasani & Barnaby, 1984; Jasani, 1984; Jasani, 1983). Initiatives have been taken along these lines by the Council of Ministers and others (see Chapter V).




The creation for a World Space organization was proposed by the Soviet Union in an initiative made at the fortieth session of the General Assembly. In a letter from the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eduard Shevardnadze, to the Secretary-General (A/40/192) dated August 15, 1985, the proposal was outlined and a draft resolution was submitted.

The proposal, titled "International cooperation in the Peaceful Exploitation of Outer Space under Conditions of its Non-militarization", noted the progress of man's conquest of space and danger of deploying weapons in space. It then sets forth a vision of a global cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space to be organized and implemented by a world space organization (WSO). Among the duties of the WSO "would be to help, where necessary, in monitoring of the observance of agreements which have already been concluded or will be concluded, with a view to preventing an arms race in space." To support the proposal, the Soviet Union proposed the convening of an international conference.

The draft resolution was not brought to vote in the General Assembly. Several nations, including those who were to co-sponsor the resolution, stated that the plans for WSO could proceed even without the precondition of the non-militarization of space. In a message to the U.N. Secretary-General, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, (Ryzhkov, 1986) outlined the WSO proposal, without insisting on the condition of non-militarization. He further suggested that the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) undertake to bring about the first-stage measures, including preparations for an international conference.

The subject was mentioned in a working paper (A/AC.105/L.161) submitted to COPUOS, by a majority of the members of Interkosmos Council (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland and the U.S.S.R.). They again proposed that COPUOS give special consideration to the establishment of a WSO. They also requested that the legal subcommittee of COPUOS deal with international legal aspects of ensuring the immunity of artificial earth satellites.

In a speech made on Soviet television in August 1986 (Gorbachev, 1986), the Soviet General-Secretary noted his government's program to build "Star Peace" by establishing a world space organization. Apparently the "Star Peace" name was adopted from American newspapers had described the program with that name.

On November 24 1986, in the United Nations Special Political Committee (U.N. Press Release GA/SPC/1876), the Soviet Representative, Mr. B. Mayorski, suggested either the convening of an international conference or a special session of the General Assembly on outer space to decide on a program of action for the 1990's and to consider the establishment of a WSO. Among the task of the WSO would be the co-ordination of space program and ensuring the most rational uses of funds for research on outer space, including aid to the developing countries. "It would only be right," he stated, "that the major resources for the organization should be provided for by the major space Powers and other developed countries." Furthermore, the organization would be entrusted with the monitoring of the spread of weapons in outer space. The Soviet space plan was also considered by representative of Byelorussia (U.N. Press Release GQA/SPC/1877).



An ISMA might be established as or grow into a larger international verification organization, as suggested in the Canadian response to "Verification in all its aspects" (Secretary-General, 1985). There are sever other possible facilities which could be included in such an organization. A seismic detection unit could be assigned the task of monitoring nuclear explosions to estimating their yields or to verify a comprehensive test ban (CTB). The government of Norway has supported the creation of an international monitoring network (Secretary-General, 1986), and it committed in 1978 its advanced NORSAR observatory as a station (NORSAR, 1982).

In the field of verification of a chemical weapons ban, the creation of an international verification is central. The United States (CD/500), Japan (Yatabe, 1975) and many other countries have incorporated the provisions for such an organization in their draft treaties. The chemical verification unit would send investigators to plants and other places to check that certain chemicals were not being produced or deployed.

The multi-functional approach to an international verification organization could be quite promising. Such an organization might be called a Treaty Compliance Agency (Scott, 1987).

Several of these alternate verification technologies lend themselves, like satellite remote sensing, very easily to international or global cooperative efforts. Seismology is by nature a field in which the sharing of data is necessary. A seismic event, such as a mid-size (twenty kiloton) nuclear test explosion, can be detected with accuracy at opposite sides of the earth, providing uncoupling techniques are employed. In the latter case, several seismic detectors at various locations on the globe will be necessary.

Several recent relevant contemporary proposals incorporate an international cooperation for verification. The Netherlands proposed in 1978 in Geneva based Conference on Disarmament, an International Disarmament Organization (IDO). Space technology was considered in similar proposals made by the Netherlands, Sweden and Yugoslavia in 1972 to the committee. Sri Lanka (1978) has proposed a World Disarmament Authority (WDA) to perform the same functions.

There have been several proposals to create centres where the risk of accidental nuclear war could be assessed and efforts made to reduce this risk. Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers for the U.S. and U.S.S.R. capitols was advocated by U.S. Senators Sam Nunn (D-GA) and John Warner (R-Va) and, apparently, the idea was received favorably by the superpowers (Babst, 1986). The establishment of a Crisis Management Centre in Canada was proposed by Dr. George Ignatieff (1986), former Canadian Ambassador to the U.N.. The diplomatic and defence experts at the Centre would help diffuse incidents that might lead to fear of surprise attack, whether these incidents are the result of an accident or the work of terrorists. The U.S./Soviet experts could also regularly exchange information for the purpose of confidence-building. Furthermore, the Centre could play a role in the verification of arms control agreements. He noted that Canada is "located geographically as well as symbolically between the superpowers" and he suggested that Canada could provide the facility for the Centre and some of the expertise (in the areas of seismic surveillance and rapid communication, for instance).