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equipment, and means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.
On two occasions, the Executive Branch tried to have legislation enacted to implement the Convention. In 1973, a bill was introduced in the Congress but it failed to receive consideration because of the delay in ratifying the Another effort was made in 1980, but the congressional session
came to an end before any action could be taken.
The Reagan administration held that extensive existing legislation controlled certain private actions concerning the items and actions prohibited by the Convention. Such legislation included the Arms Export Control Act, the Export Administration Act, the Hazardous Material Transportation Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Public Health Service Act, and the Federal Insecticide, Pesticide and Rodenticide Act. These existing laws, however, are deficient in several main aspects since they do not cover biological agents and toxins described by the Convention in its various articles. Also they fail to implement the Convention goal of eradicating all agents or toxins that have no peaceful purpose. Simply stated, no statute exists for prohibiting citizens from making biological weapons.
I understand that the Bush administration, reflecting the President's stated support for banning biological weapons from the face of the Earth, has indicated, through officials of the Departments of State and Defense in testimony before the Senate Committee on Government Affairs, that new legislation implementing the Convention may be useful and desirable.
Mr. Chairman, we are in the age of the biotechnology revolution where genetic engineering has made it possible for the scientific community to
design fundamental aspects of living organisms to make them produce beneficial products for society. The legislation to implement the Biological Warfare Convention will not interfere with legitimate research and development and the commercial applications of new organisms. But, there is a dark side to the biotechnology revolution, and that is the ability to create an infinite variety of deadly microbes, toxins and other agents of biological mass destruction has been made easier. The technology that makes it possible to produce miracle drugs also makes it possible to create microorganisms that can cause deadly diseases for which no cures exist.
Biological weapons are abhorrent.
The fear of the creation of doomsday bacterial or viral weapons use is equal to that associated with a nuclear holocaust. We must do everything in our power to prevent the use of biological weapons. We have an international obligation to do so. The legislation to implement the Biological Warfare Convention will provide penalties for those who knowingly violate the activities prohibited by the Convention. The Attorney General will be given the authority to seize and destroy biological agents, toxins and weapons.
Mr. Chairman, I urge speedy and favorable action to approve the Biological Warfare Convention implementation legislation.
Senator KOHL. Thank you, Representative Kastenmeier.
STATEMENT OF REP. BRUCE MORRISON
Mr. MORRISON. Mr. Chairman and Senator Thurmond, thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. I am honored to be able to appear before you and honored to be able to appear on a panel with my good friend, Congressman Kastenmeier, who is, as he has explained in his testimony, by no means a Johnny Come Lately to this issue, but in fact, someone who has been in the forefront of this question throughout his congressional career.
And as you know, it is his legislation, H.R. 237, in the House, which is the companion legislation, the complement to your bill, S. 993, on which this hearing is being held.
This is very important legislation. Your leadership, Mr. Chairman, in bringing this matter to the hearing and the support you have received from the Chairman of the full Judiciary Committee, Senator Biden, are very important signals about the importance of this legislation and they certainly are important spurs to us on the House side to begin to move forward as well with Congressman Kastenmeier's legislation.
As both Senator Pryor and Congressman Kastenmeier have already emphasized, it is high time that we implemented the second half of our responsibility under the ratification of the Convention.
The Convention by its ratification committed our governmental authority and our governmental activities to an elimination of biological weapons and biological agents used improperly for hostile purposes.
But we have a second obligation and that is, within our jurisdiction enforcing the prohibitions on the use of these materials for improper purposes by private individuals.
We fear terrorists. We fear individuals who for private gain might make these materials available to other countries for hostile and improper purposes.
It would be nice to believe that private individuals would not be so motivated, but we have seen too much already in this past year in the chemical warfare area of nationals of other countries cooperating with some of the worst terrorist states in the world in moving forward the capacity of those nations to use chemical agents in a hostile fashion.
And only too fresh in our memories is the Iran-Iraq war and the Iraq attack on the curds to tell us that these kinds of activities, which ought to be considered too inhumane and improper for any state to employ, are in fact mechanisms to which desperate people will turn in various circumstances and it is frightening. But it also ought to alert us to our responsibility.
This legislation, which you have sponsored and for which you have received strong support within the Senate, takes us in the direction that we need to go. We in the House in the subcommittee I chair are moving forward on a schedule to a hearing on Congressman Kastenmeier's bill in September and we hope prompt action on the bill within this session of the Congress.
We certainly hope that we will be moving forward on a similar schedule here in the Senate so that before the 101st Congress adjourns the President will have an opportunity to put his signature on legislation which completes our responsibility under the Convention.
It will be high time that it is done, but it will also be none too soon because of the dangers in any period of time which allows the possibility that individuals in the United States might misuse biological technology in this way.
Since the time that the Convention was enacted, we have seen tremendous advances in the area of biotechnology, and that makes it that much more important that those activities be channeled fully by the law only into legitimate and human activities and away from any kind of destructive, improper activities that are barred by the Convention.
So I thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to be here, commend you again on your leadership, and look forward to a time when we can be taking this bill to President Bush for his signature.
[The statement of Mr. Morrison follows:]
THE HONORABLE BRUCE A. MORRISON
CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE ON
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
JULY 26, 1989
Mr. Chairman, I am delighted to have this opportunity to present my views on legislation implementing the Biological Weapons Convention, a treaty ratified by the United States in
I particularly wish to acknowledge the leadership of Senator Kohl, who is chairing today's hearing, on this issue. Your introduction of S. 993, the Biological Weapons implementation legislation, a bill with 11 co-sponsors, is an important breakthrough in the long effort to complete unfinished business dating back a decade and a half. Although you have only been in the Senate for a short while, you have brought great energy and leadership to this issue, and I commend you for it.
I also wish to take this opportunity to extend my thanks and appreciation to Senator Biden, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, for his supporting the scheduling of this hearing.
As a graduate of M.I.T. in chemistry, and a former graduate student in chemistry at the University of Illinois, I probably know something of the potential horrors of biological and