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 -- October 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.

30 years ago | 45 years ago | 50 years ago | 55 years ago | 75 years ago

30 years ago:

3 October 1991     In Iraq, the second UN biological inspection [see 20 and 29 September], UNSCOM 15, comes to an end. The 10 sites visited by the inspectors included a pharmaceutical plant, a blood bank, vaccine production facilities, and research and development laboratories with fermentation capabilities and specially designed facilities allowing work with hazardous disease-causing organisms. No biological weapons or facilities for filling such weapons were found.[1]
     The team does, however, conclude that three vaccine production facilities inspected had the capacity to produce sufficient quantities of biological agents to meet weapons requirements. It recommends that these facilities be covered by the future compliance monitoring régime. They make a similar recommendation in regard to a facility at Al Hakam, 45 km southwest of Baghdad: an embryonic fermentation plant designed for development and production of single-cell protein primarily for use in animal feeds.[2]
     The three vaccine facilities are: the Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Plant at Dawrah, the Al Kindi Co (making veterinary vaccines) and the Serum and Vaccine Institute at Amiriyah (making cholera and typhoid vaccines).
     The executive summary report includes the following: "The inspection team unanimously agreed that the Iraqi BW program, which consisted of a research component at Salman, logically would have included a planned development and production component and the site may not have yet been identified."[3]
     [1] Report by the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission established by the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 9(b)(i) of Security Council resolution 687 (1991), as annexed to UN document S/23165 dated 25 October 1991, p 30.
     [2] UN press statement, 31 October 1991, "Second UN biological weapons inspection team concludes mission to Iraq", text from UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office; UN Dept of Public Information, press release IK/69 of 31 October 1991, "Several Iraqi sites recommended for future monitoring by second UN biological weapons inspection team".
     [3] UN Special Commission, Report on the Second Biological Warfare Inspection in Iraq, 20 September–3 October 1991: Executive Summary, [undated].


45 years ago:

18 October 1976     Qatar deposits its instrument of accession to the 1925 Geneva Protocol with the French government.


50 years ago:

25 October 1971     The United Nations General Assembly adopts resolution 2758 (XXVI) recognizing the representation of "China" by the Beijing government. Hitherto, "China" was represented at the UN by the Taiwan government.


55 years ago:

12 October 1966     Retired US Major General John Bruce Medaris, former commander of the Army Ordnance Missile Command, publicly advocates the use of nerve gas. Speaking before the Dallas Council on World Affairs, he says the gas is not being used "because everybody is afraid of being called savage if he even talks about it", adding nerve gas "is the only way I know you can sort out the guys in the white hats from the ones in the black hats without killing any of them."[1]
     [1] Quoted in Seymour M. Hersh, Chemical and Biological Warfare: America's Hidden Arsenal, London: MacGibbon & Lee, 1968, p 39.

18 October 1966     The Holy See deposits its instrument of accession to the 1925 Geneva Protocol with the French government.


75 years ago:

1 October 1946     The freighter Kindersley is scuttled with a cargo that includes chemical munitions being disposed of by the United Kingdom [see 3 September]. The location is given as 47 54.00N, 08 21.00W at a depth of 1000m.[1]
     [1] UK Ministry of Defence, `British Isles Explosive Dumping Grounds', August 2005, available via http://www.mod.uk.

October 1946–13 July 1947     UK forces carry out Operation Dismal — the relocation of German aircraft bombs charged with nerve agent to RAF Llandwrog in north Wales.
     Later statements indicate the agent stored at Llandwrog is Tabun,[1] the presence of Sarin being specifically denied.[2]
     It is also stated later: `RAF Llandwrog was the only site in Wales to store surplus chemical weapons before disposal at sea. After the disposal operation in 1956, the site was returned to private ownership following the issue of the standard clearance certificate confirming that it was free from explosive or chemical contamination.'[3]
     [1] Nicholas Soames, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Written Answer, 16 February 1995, Hansard (Commons), vol 254, c826w, in response to a question from Dafydd Wigley MP.
     [2] Nicholas Soames, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, 5 April 1995, Hansard (Commons), vol 257, c1145w, in response to a question from Dafydd Wigley MP.
     [3] Nicholas Soames, Written Answer, 18 July 1995, Hansard (Commons), vol 260, c1161w, in response to a question by Llew Smith MP.


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