Note: Following is the full text of what is commonly referred to as the
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. This treaty, signed by more than 100
nations, bans the development, production, stockpiling, and transfer of
biological agents except for defensive research.
CONVENTION ON THE PROHIBITION OF THE DEVELOPMENT, PRODUCTION AND STOCKPILING OF
BACTERIOLOGICAL (BIOLOGICAL) AND TOXIN
WEAPONS AND ON THEIR DESTRUCTION
Signed at Washington, London, and Moscow April 10,1972
Ratification advised by U.S. Senate December 16, 1974
Ratified by U.S. President January 22, 1975
U.S. ratification deposited at Washington, London, and Moscow March 26, 1975
Proclaimed by U.S. President March 26, 1975
Entered into force March 26, 1975
The States Parties to this Convention,
Determined to act with a view to achieving effective progress towards general
and complete disarmament, including the prohibition and elimination of all
types of weapons of mass destruction, and convinced that the prohibition of the
development, production and stockpiling of chemical and bacteriological
(biological) weapons and their elimination, through effective measures, will
facilitate the achievement of general and complete disarmament under strict and
effective international control,
Recognizing the important significance of the Protocol for the Prohibition of
the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of
Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on June 17, 1925, and
conscious also of the contribution which the said Protocol has already made,
and continues to make, to mitigating the horrors of war,
Reaffirming their adherence to the principles and objectives of that Protocol
and calling upon all States to comply strictly with them,
Recalling that the General Assembly of the United Nations has repeatedly
condemned all actions contrary to the principles and objectives of the Geneva
Protocol of June 17, 1925,
Desiring to contribute to the strengthening of confidence between peoples and
the general improvement of the international atmosphere,
Desiring also to contribute to the realization of the purposes and principles
of the Charter of the United Nations,
Convinced of the importance and urgency of eliminating from the arsenals of
States, through effective measures, such dangerous weapons of mass destruction
as those using chemical or bacteriological (biological) agents,
Recognizing that an agreement on the prohibition of bacteriological
(biological) and toxin weapons represents a first possible step towards the
achievement of agreement on effective measures also for the prohibition of the
development, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons, and determined to
continue negotiations to that end,
Determined, for the sake of all mankind, to exclude completely the possibility
of bacteriological (biological) agents and toxins being used as weapons,
Convinced that such use would be repugnant to the conscience of mankind and
that no effort should be spared to minimize this risk,
Have agreed as follows:
Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to
develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:
(1) Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their
origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no
justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;
(2) Weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such
agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.
Each State Party to this Convention undertakes to destroy, or to divert to
peaceful purposes, as soon as possible but not later than nine months after the
entry into force of the Convention, all agents, toxins, weapons, equipment and
means of delivery specified in article I of the Convention, which are in its
possession or under its jurisdiction or control. In implementing the provisions
of this article all necessary safety precautions shall be observed to protect
populations and the environment.
Each State Party to this Convention undertakes not to transfer to any recipient
whatsoever, directly or indirectly, and not in any way to assist, encourage, or
induce any State, group of States or international organizations to manufacture
or otherwise acquire any of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment or means of
delivery specified in article I of the Convention.
Each State Party to this Convention shall, in accordance with its
constitutional processes, take any necessary measures to prohibit and prevent
the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition, or retention of the
agents, toxins, weapons, equipment and means of delivery specified in article I
of the Convention, within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction
or under its control anywhere.
The States Parties to this Convention undertake to consult one another and to
cooperate in solving any problems which may arise in relation to the objective
of, or in the application of the provisions of, the Convention. Consultation
and cooperation pursuant to this article may also be undertaken through
appropriate international procedures within the framework of the United Nations
and in accordance with its Charter.
(1) Any State Party to this Convention which finds that any other State Party
is acting in breach of obligations deriving from the provisions of the
Convention may lodge a complaint with the Security Council of the United
Nations. Such a complaint should include all possible evidence confirming its
validity, as well as a request for its consideration by the Security Council.
(2) Each State Party to this Convention undertakes to cooperate in carrying out
any investigation which the Security Council may initiate, in accordance with
the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, on the basis of the
complaint received by the Council. The Security Council shall inform the States
Parties to the Convention of the results of the investigation.
Each State Party to this Convention undertakes to provide or support
assistance, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, to any Party to the
Convention which so requests, if the Security Council decides that such Party
has been exposed to danger as a result of violation of the Convention.
Nothing in this Convention shall be interpreted as in any way limiting or
detracting from the obligations assumed by any State under the Protocol for the
Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of
Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on June 17, 1925.
Each State Party to this Convention affirms the recognized objective of
effective prohibition of chemical weapons and, to this end, undertakes to
continue negotiations in good faith with a view to reaching early agreement on
effective measures for the prohibition of their development, production and
stockpiling and for their destruction, and on appropriate measures concerning
equipment and means of delivery specifically designed for the production or use
of chemical agents for weapons purposes.
(1) The States Parties to this Convention undertake to facilitate, and have the
right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials
and scientific and technological information for the use of bacteriological
(biological) agents and toxins for peaceful purposes. Parties to the Convention
in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing individually or
together with other States or international organizations to the further
development and application of scientific discoveries in the field of
bacteriology (biology) for prevention of disease, or for other peaceful
(2) This Convention shall be implemented in a manner designed to avoid
hampering the economic or technological development of States Parties to the
Convention or international cooperation in the field of peaceful
bacteriological (biological) activities, including the international exchange
of bacteriological (biological) agents and toxins and equipment
for the processing, use or production of bacteriological (biological) agents
and toxins for peaceful purposes in accordance with the provisions of the
Any State Party may propose amendments to this Convention. Amendments shall
enter into force for each State Party accepting the amendments upon their
acceptance by a majority of the States Parties to the Convention and thereafter
for each remaining State Party on the date of acceptance by it.
Five years after the entry into force of this Convention, or earlier if it is
requested by a majority of Parties to the Convention by submitting a proposal
to this effect to the Depositary Governments, a conference of States Parties to
the Convention shall be held at Geneva, Switzerland, to review the operation of
the Convention, with a view to assuring that the purposes of the preamble and
the provisions of the Convention, including the provisions concerning
negotiations on chemical weapons, are being realized. Such review shall take
into account any new scientific and technological developments relevant to the
(1) This Convention shall be of unlimited duration.
(2) Each State Party to this Convention shall in exercising its national
sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Convention if it decides that
extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of the Convention, have
jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such
withdrawal to all other States Parties to the Convention and to the United
Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a
statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its
(1) This Convention shall be open to all States for signature. Any State which
does not sign the Convention before its entry into force in accordance with
paragraph (3) of this Article may accede to it at any time.
(2) This Convention shall be subject to ratification by signatory States.
Instruments of ratification and instruments of accession shall be deposited
with the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,
which are hereby designated the Depositary Governments.
(3) This Convention shall enter into force after the deposit of instruments of
ratification by twenty-two Governments, including the Governments designated as
Depositaries of the Convention.
(4) For States whose instruments of ratification or accession are deposited
subsequent to the entry into force of this Convention, it shall enter into
force on the date of the deposit of their instruments of ratification or
(5) The Depositary Governments shall promptly inform all signatory and acceding
States of the date of each signature, the date of deposit of each instrument of
ratification or of accession and the date of the entry into force of this
Convention, and of the receipt of other notices.
(6) This Convention shall be registered by the Depositary Governments pursuant
to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
This Convention, the English, Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese texts of
which are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the
Depositary Governments. Duly certified copies of the Convention shall be
transmitted by the Depositary Governments to the Governments of the signatory
and acceding states.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed this
DONE in triplicate, at the cities of Washington, London and Moscow, this tenth
day of April, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-two.
PARTIES AND SIGNATORIES OF THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION
Brunei Darussalam (2)
China, People's Republic of (3)
Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
Korea, Republic of
Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of
Papua New Guinea
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Sao Tome and Principe
Serbia-Montenegro (Formerly Yugoslavia)
Solomon Islands (2)
United Kingdom (7)
Central African Republic
United Arab Emirates (6)
(1) With reservation
(2) Based on general declarations concerning Treaty obligations applicable
prior to independence.
(3) Effective January 1, 1979, the United States recognized the government of
the People's Republic of China as the sole government of China. The authorities
on Taiwan state they will continue to abide by the provisions of the
Convention, and the United States regards them as bound by its obligations.
(4) Formerly part of the Soviet Union who signed and ratified the Convention on
behalf of Kyrgyzstan. Date of accession is unknown but Confidence Building
Measures Data Declaration submitted to the UN in 1993.
(5) Applicable to Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
(6) The United Arab Emirates which did not ratify the Convention is listed as
one country. (7) Extended to territories under the territorial sovereignty of
the United Kingdom. Also extended to New Hebrides; continued application to
Vanuatu not determined.