THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY ON CONVENTIONAL ARMS TRANSFER POLICY
The President has approved a comprehensive policy to govern transfers of conventional arms. This policy, as detailed in the attached fact sheets, serves our nation's security in two important ways. First, it supports transfers that meet the continuing security needs of the United States, its friends and allies. Second, it restrains arms transfers that may be destabilizing or threatening to regional peace and security.
This policy reflects an approach towards arms transfers that has guided the Administration's decisions over the last two years. Specifically, the United States continues to view transfers of conventional arms as a legitimate instrument of U.S. foreign policy -- deserving U.S. government support -- when they enable us to help friends and allies deter aggression, promote regional security, and increase interoperability of U.S. forces and allied forces. Judging when a specific transfer will meet that test requires examination of the dynamics of regional power balances and the potential for destabilizing changes in those regions. The criteria guiding those case-by-case examinations are set forth in the attached guidelines for U.S. decisionmaking on conventional arms transfers.
The centerpiece of our efforts to promote multilateral restraint is our initiative to work with allies and friends to establish a successor regime to COCOM. The new regime should establish effective international controls on arms sales and the transfer of sensitive technologies -- particularly to regions of tension and to states that pose a threat to international peace and security. While pursuing multilateral restraint through this and other mechanisms such as the UN conventional arms register and regional initiatives, the United States will exercise unilateral restraint in cases where overriding national security or foreign policy interests require us to do so.