REMARKS BY SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT
TO THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NEWSPAPER EDITORS
Washington, D.C. April 10, 1997
Another priority that relates to American Security and that I would
like to emphasize today is the Chemical Weapons Convention, or CWC.
That agreement -- which is now before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee will enter into force on April 29. We are working with
Senate leaders to encourage a favorable vote before then so that
America may take its rightful place as an original party to this
Chemical weapons are inhumane. They kill horribly, massively, and --
once deployed -- are no more controllable than the wind. That is why
we decided long ago to eliminate our stockpiles of these weapons. We
will not use them against others; the CWC would help ensure that
others never use them against us.
The CWC sets the standard that it is wrong for any nation to build or
possess a chemical weapon, and gives us strong and effective tools for
enforcing that standard. This will make it harder for terrorists or
outlaw states to build, buy or conceal these horrible weapons.
Not everyone agrees. There are critics of the treaty who say it is
flawed, because we cannot assume early ratification and full
compliance by the outlaw states.
To me, that is like saying that because some people smuggle drugs, we
should enact no law against drug smuggling. When it comes to the
protection of Americans, the lowest common denominator is not good
enough. Those who abide by the law, not those who break the law, must
establish the rules by which all should be judged.
The truth is that the Chemical Weapons convention has "Made in
America" written all over it. Administrations of both parties have
pushed for it. Leaders of both parties are backing it. Every Chairman
of our military Joint Chiefs of Staff going back to the Carter
Administration has endorsed it.
For America to have a seat at the table when the rules for
implementing this treaty are written, the Senate must act before April
29. We are doing all we can to convince the members of that body what
is true: that the CWC will be good for America; that it will enhance
American leadership, protect American soldiers and make all of us
safer than we would be in a world where chemical weapons remain as
legal as lawn chairs.
The CWC is an agreement whose time has come, and that time is now. We
hope the Senate agrees.