USIS Washington File

13 March 2000

Text: Secretary Albright Calls for Nonpartisan Dialogue on CTBT

(Shalikashvili, Goodby, Holum to lead effort to consult with Senate)

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says the effort to secure
ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) "is far
too important to abandon" and the United States will continue to work
"for the treaty and to join with others around the world to halt the
development and spread of more advanced nuclear arms."

At a March 13 briefing at the State Department, Albright introduced
retired General John Shalikashvili as the Special Advisor to the
President and Secretary of State for the CTBT. She said he will meet
with members of the U.S. Senate and others to listen to concerns about
the treaty, help clear up misconceptions about it, and recommend steps
the administration might take to achieve a favorable Senate vote in
the future.

While putting aside any possible suggestion that the administration
expects Senate action this year, she also said the CTBT deserves to be
given "a more full and fair and nuanced process." Shalikashvili will
lead the effort to achieve this, with assistance from arms control
negotiator Ambassador James Goodby (former Ambassador to Finland) and
Senior Advisor for Arms Control John Holum.

Speaking on another subject, Albright also said there are compelling
reasons to grant permanent Normal Trade Relations (NTR) with China.
She announced the release of a letter signed by six of her
predecessors at the State Department calling on Congress to approve
permanent NTR with China. The letter, she said, recognizes that NTR
with China "is in our own national interest."

Following is the text of Albright's remarks:

(begin text) 

Office of the Spokesman

March 13, 2000


Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good morning. Before we get to the main event, I
want to announce the release today of a letter from six of my
predecessors -- Secretaries of State Kissinger, Haig, Shultz, Baker,
Eagleburger and Christopher -- calling upon Congress to approve
permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. Like my predecessors, I
believe there are clear and compelling reasons to grant permanent
Normal Trade Relations, and that's why I view this as a foreign policy

Implementing our WTO (World Trade Organization) Agreement with China
would dramatically lower import barriers for American goods and
services without requiring us to change any of our own current market
access policies. Within China, it would encourage the rule of law and
spur the development of a more open society. This letter recognizes
that China NTR is in our own national interest and, obviously, so is
stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Last October, the Senate's rejection of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test
Ban Treaty disappointed many Americans and sent tremors around the
globe. But the CTBT is far too important to abandon. We are determined
to continue working for the Treaty and to join with others around the
world to halt the development and spread of more advanced nuclear

The Senate's action made it painfully clear that the administration
and Congress, acting together, must develop a new consensus on how to
respond to the world's gravest threats. That's why I am so pleased to
announce the appointment of General John Shalikashvili as Special
Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty.

The General is highly respected on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue
and both sides of the aisle. He has a deep understanding of U.S.
military requirements, including nuclear deterrence and, obviously,
excellent grasp of technical issues and a reputation as a
straight-shooter on Capitol Hill. I can think of no better person to
work with Senators of both parties on the crucial national objective
of CTBT ratification.

General Shalikashvili will meet with Senators and others to hear their
concerns and suggestions, help clear up misconceptions about the
Treaty, and recommend steps the Administration might take to gain a
favorable Senate vote.

Let me be clear: We do not expect Senate action on the CTBT this year,
but the Treaty was painstakingly negotiated and equal pains must be
taken in considering it. America deserves an unhurried, nonpartisan,
de-politicized dialogue on the CTBT. In this effort, General
Shalikashvili will remain an independent outside expert, not unlike
(former Defense Secretary) Bill Perry during the Perry process on
North Korea.

Within the government, he will be supported by Ambassador James
Goodby, who is himself a highly distinguished arms control negotiator,
and, of course, Senior Advisor John Holum will continue to coordinate
our interagency process within the administration. And needless to
say, General Shalikashvili will have my total support and help
whenever necessary.

But the mechanics, to my mind, are secondary. The overriding point is
that this Treaty needs to be dealt with in a more full and fair and
nuanced process, and I'm delighted that we have a superb team in
place, led by a superb general, to see that it is. With their help,
I'm convinced that America will ultimately ratify the CTBT and, thus,
help to ensure that the nuclear arms race becomes a relic of the 20th
century, not a recurring nightmare of the 21st.

Thank you.

(end transcript)

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