MOSCOW, June 21. /TASS/. June 22, 2018 will mark 45 years since the Soviet Union and the United States signed the Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War.
The Agreement was concluded during an official visit by General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) Central Committee Leonid Brezhnev to the United States on June 18-25, 1973 and his meeting with US President Richard Nixon. The document entered into force as of its signing and was concluded for an indefinite period.
From the mid-1940s to the early 1990s, the US and the Soviet Union were in the state of global geo-political, economic and ideological confrontation that was called the Cold War (this term became commonly used from 1947).
The bilateral standoff was accompanied by the rivalry between the two military and political blocs, and also by the escalating race of conventional and nuclear armaments. This confrontation reached its acutest phase in 1962 when the world was pushed to the brink of a nuclear conflict over the Cuban missile crisis. Besides, a military and strategic parity had been established between the two superpowers by the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, which implied a guaranteed retaliation strike in the event of a nuclear attack by one of them (the concept of mutually assured destruction). This made obvious the need for reaching an agreement on arms limitation commitments. The corresponding talks between the USSR and the US were launched in 1969. In 1972, the two superpowers signed a number of arms limitation documents. The summit meeting of the leaders of the two countries in Washington in 1973 became the next stage of this process.
The 1973 Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War contains eight articles. They acknowledge that the Parties to the Agreement have an objective to remove the danger of nuclear war and the use of nuclear weapons from international policies.
The Parties agree that they will act in such a manner as to prevent the development of situations capable of causing a dangerous exacerbation of their relations, as to avoid military confrontations, and as to exclude the outbreak of nuclear war between them and between either of the Parties and other countries.
If the risk of a nuclear conflict emerges, the Parties are committed to immediately enter into urgent consultations with each other and make every effort to avert this risk.
Earlier, these fundamental issues were addressed in the Agreement of September 30, 1971 on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War between the USSR and the USA. This Agreement was of narrower format and of applied nature.
The commitment to avoid confrontation and seek to prevent a nuclear standoff was also stipulated in the Basic Principles of Relations between the USSR and the USA - a conceptual document signed during Nixon’s visit to Moscow in May 1972.