Jeffrey LewisRice Approves Merger of Arms Control and Nonproliferation Bureaus

Apparently even its memory is too much.

In mid-January, I reported that the State Department was poised to merge the bureaus responsible for arms control and nonproliferation.

SecState Rice has agreed in principle to the merger, sources tell

As I noted then, the merger all but finishes off what remains of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency—created by the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations to provide a counterweight to hawks of all stripes.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Holum sent a January 18 letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) making just that argument—warning that the merger would “repudiate” the arrangement negotiated in 1999, when Congress merged the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency into the State Department.

I’ve said it twice, and I’ll say it again:

Having watched the Vice President and the Pentagon systematically undermine W.’s confidence in the inspections that successfully disarmed Iraq, maybe you see why JFK and Ike supported ACDA?”

The weirdest part about this entire debate is that Henry Sokolski, a former official and advocate of the merger, makes the worst arguments for crushing the arms control bureau:

There was a lot of … fighting with AC over what the priorities should be.

Yes, Henry, that’s why it was started in the first place. This is a government, not a cult. Debate is a healthy thing. See above re: inspections and Iraq.

Inside Defense, the only major news organization that shares my document fetish, has the full text by Albright and Holum, as well as the reporting of the letter on Rice’s agreement in principle and the sundry bureaucratic concerns.


  1. henry sokolski (History)

    Dear Mr. Lewis:

    I read your coverage of the reorganization of State and was flattered to see you quoting me. I suppose I am tempting fate to have you go to to read the report that the reporter you quoted made reference to. Still, I think if you read it, the “worst” argument would make more sense. Also, unlike some, my center never recommended “crushing” the Arms Control Bureau any more than than it called for the consolidation of the Nonproliferation Bureau.


    Henry Sokolski

  2. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Speaking of your report ..

    Actually … you were speaking about your report. The article in which you were quoted concerned the decision by the State Department, so your report was irrelevant. But I digress …

    Speaking of your report, you claim China received assistance under the Atoms for Peace program that was applied to its nuclear weapons program.

    Could you document that. I’d call that statement false, but maybe you were thinking of something like indirect assistance or whatnot.

    Or is this like when you told the New York Times:

    Under the Space for Peace program, the United States shared re-entry vehicle technology, which is also useful for warheads, with Brazil back in the 1980’s,” recalled Henry D. Sokolski, executive director of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and a former Defense Department official specializing in nuclear proliferation issues. “That technology ended up in Libya, because Brazil gave it to them. There’s no question about it.”

    When asked the source of his information, Mr. Sokolski, a former member of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Senior Advisory Panel, responded, “Let’s not get into that.”

    Do you use the “I’d tell you but I’d have to kill you” line to pick up chicks, too?