March 16, 2000


                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                         March 16, 2000


     THE PRESIDENT:  I am grateful for the opportunity to address the
Carnegie Endowment's Annual Nonproliferation Conference. I thank you for
coming together again to focus on the crucial task of curbing the spread of
weapons of mass destruction.  All of you know how serious this challenge
is; from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, to ongoing risks that
sensitive materials and technologies will spread from the former Soviet
Union, including to Iran, to the imperative of bringing China into global
nonproliferation regimes, to the continuing need for vigilance against
Saddam Hussein.

     Stemming this tide has been a critical priority for me for seven years
now, and it will be for this year as well.  In a few days, I'll travel to
South Asia.  There are those in the region who hope we will simply accept
its nuclear status quo and move on.  I will not do that.  India and
Pakistan have legitimate security concerns.  But I will make clear our view
that a nuclear future is a dangerous future for them and for the world.
And I'll stress that narrowing our differences on nonproliferation is
important to moving toward a broader relationship.

     I know there are some who have never seen an arms control agreement
they like - because rules can be violated, because perfect verification is
impossible, because we can't always count on others to keep their word.
Still, I believe we must work to broaden and strengthen verifiable arms
agreements.  The alternative is a world with no rules, no verification and
no trust at all.

     It would be foolish to rely on treaties alone to protect our security.
But it would also be foolish to throw away the tools that sound treaties do
offer:  A more predictable security environment, monitoring inspections,
the ability to shine a light on threatening behavior and mobilize the
entire world against it.  So this year, we will work to strengthen the
Biological Weapons Convention.  We'll increase momentum for universal
adherence to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.  And as to the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, I am determined that last year's unfortunate
Senate vote will not be America's last word.

     With the leadership of General Shalikashvili, we will work hard this
year to build bipartisan support for ratification.  I will continue to call
on other nations to forgo testing and join the treaty.  We must not lose
the chance to end nuclear testing forever.  We must also take the next
essential step:  A treaty to cut off production of fissile material.

     I know this conference will assess the potential impact of our program
directed at emerging missile threats, such as from North Korea, Iran and
Iraq.  I've stressed that a U.S. decision on a limited missile defense will
take into account not only the threat, feasibility and cost, but also the
overall impact on our security and arms control.

     The ABM Treaty remains important to our security.  Today, dealing with
dangerous new missile threats is also vital to global security.  So we will
continue to work with Russia on how to amend the treaty to permit limited
defenses while keeping its central protections, and we'll continue to seek
a START III treaty that will cut our strategic arsenals to 20 percent of
their Cold War levels.

     Let me conclude by wishing you a productive meeting.  I value your
advice, I count on your dedication, and I thank you for all you're doing to
build a safer world.