Ireland: Signature of Biological Weapons Convention

Action type
Government of the United States of America
10 April 1972

A statement made by the Government of Ireland on the occasion of its signature of the Convention was transmitted to the Secretary of State in a note from the Irish Ambassador dated April 7, 1972 and reads as follows:

“The Ambassador of Ireland presents his compliments to the Honorable the Secretary of State and with reference to the Secretary’s note of the 29th March regarding the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, which was commended by a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on the 16th December, 1971, has the honor to state that the Government of Ireland wishes to make a statement as follows on the occasion of the signature of the Convention on the 10th April:-


“‘The accession on 29th August, 1930, of the Government of the Irish Free State to the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, opened for signature at Geneva on 17th June, 1925, was subject to the reservations that they did not intend to assume, by this accession, any obligation except towards States which had signed and ratified this Protocol or which would have finally acceded thereto, and that in the event of the armed forces of any enemy State or of an ally of such State failing to respect the said Protocol, the Government of the Irish Free State would cease to be bound by the said Protocol towards any such State.

“‘The Government of Ireland recognise that the value of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, which has been signed on their behalf today, could be undermined if reservations made by Parties to the 1925 Geneva Protocol were allowed to stand as the prohibition of possession is incompatible with the right to retaliate.  As this Convention purports to strengthen the Geneva Protocol, there should be an absolute and universal prohibition of the use of the weapons in question.

“‘The Government of Ireland, accordingly, have notified the depositary Government for the 1925 Geneva Protocol of the withdrawal of their reservations to the Protocol.  The withdrawal of these reservations applies to chemical as well as to bacteriological (biological) and toxin agents of warfare.’


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