CBW Events is a project to create a record of events to enable and encourage understanding of how policies on the issues relating to chemical and biological warfare (CBW) and its prevention are developed.

CBW Events -- recent/notable additions/updates include: (these links will each open in a new window)


CBW Events -- November 2021 selections

Each month, entries for a small number of selected anniversaries of notable CBW-related events are posted. All will appear in the relevant final versions of the chronologies.

50 years ago | 55 years ago | 60 years ago | 75 years ago

50 years ago:

16 November 1971     In New York, the United Nations General Assembly adopts resolution 2826 (XXVI) which commends the Biological Weapons Convention to member states. The text of the BWC is annexed to the resolution.

17 November 1971     The representative of Finland addresses the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. He says: "In the opinion of the Finnish Government the chances of success in the negotiations on chemical weapons should be improved by paying special attention ... to following issues: (1) one should, in international co-operation, study and develop methods which would make available to all interested governments expert information on verification and control of the chemical agents and chemical weapons ... (2) technical capacity should be developed and the facilities should be acquired on a national basis for verification of chemical agents and for control of their prohibition, having in mind the eventuality that this kind of practical capacity would be needed for international use".[1]
     [1] Cited in: Finland, "Working Paper on Definitions of Chemical Warfare Agents and on Technical Possibilities for Verification and Control of Chemical Weapons with Particular Regard to a Finnish Project on Creation on a National Basis of a Chemical Weapons Control Capability for Possible Future International Use", CCD/381, 27 July 1972, p 23.

29 November 1971     The French Representative to the United Nations tells the First Committee of the UN General Assembly why France will not be signing the Biological Weapons Convention [see 16 November]: "What we fear is that on the international level this would be the first step towards a policy of disarmament without control. Such a policy would limit itself to prohibiting the manufacture of weapons, the use of which is unlikely in any case. It would have the serious shortcoming of giving credence to the idea that disarmament is forging ahead, whilst the true dangers will not have been allayed, and in the field of verification it will be based on the use of national means of observation and will therefore be discriminatory, since not all states have sufficient means. International control as a principle is the indispensable corollary to any disarmament measure of a contractual nature, albeit partial. If this element is ignored, the draft convention on the prohibition of the manufacture of biological weapons is an extremely dangerous precedent, the existence of which will weigh heavily upon all disarmament work. A State cannot merely have faith in the goodwill of other Powers in a field where its security is at stake".[1]
     [Note: France later accedes to the BWC in September 1984.]
     [1] Statement of the Representative of France, First Committee, United Nations General Assembly, 29 November 1971, A/C.1/PV.1838, as cited in SIPRI II, p 187-88.

30 November 1971     The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) releases the first three books of its six-volume series entitled The Problem of Chemical and Biological Warfare. Published today are: Volume I, "The Rise of CB Weapons"; Volume IV, "CB Disarmament Negotiations, 19201970"; and Volume V, "The Prevention of CBW". Pre-publication drafts of the volumes had been circulated earlier in the year to assist in negotiations for the Biological Weapons Convention.


55 years ago:

5 November 1966     Gambia deposits its instrument of succession to the 1925 Geneva Protocol with the French government.


60 years ago:

24 November 1961     In New York, the UN General Assembly adopts resolution 1653 (XVI). The resolution reaffirms aspects of international law: "The use of weapons of mass destruction, causing unnecessary human suffering, was in the past prohibited, as being contrary to the laws of humanity and to the principles of international law, by international declarations and binding agreements, such as the Declaration of St. Petersburg of 1868, the Declaration of the Brussels Conference of 1874, the Conventions of the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907, and the Geneva Protocol of 1925".


75 years ago:

2 November 1946     The freighter Empire Woodlark is scuttled with a cargo that includes chemical munitions being disposed of by the United Kingdom [see 1 October]. The location is given as 59 00.00N, 07 40.00W at a depth of 800m.[1] The freighter was formerly known as the Emma Alexander.[2]
     [1] UK Ministry of Defence, "British Isles Explosive Dumping Grounds", August 2005, available via http://www.mod.uk.
     [2] From posting at http://www.mariners-l.co.uk/EmpireU.html

11 November 1946     The freighter Lanark is scuttled with a cargo that includes chemical munitions being disposed of by the United Kingdom [see 2 November]. The location is given as 48 00.00N, 08 21.00W at a depth of 800900 metres.[1]
     [1] UK Ministry of Defence, "British Isles Explosive Dumping Grounds', August 2005, available via http://www.mod.uk.