USIS Washington 

18 March 1998


(Says U.S. ratification of CTBT will encourage others) (3570)

Washington -- A key U.S. arms control official says that U.S.
ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty "will
encourage further ratifications" by other nations.

Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International
Security Affairs John Holum says the most effective means for moving
reluctant states forward in this ratification process "is to make them
feel the sting of isolation on this issue and not to provide them with
the 'cover' of U.S. inaction."

In March 18 testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs
Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation and Federal
Services, Holum pointed out that a delay in U.S. ratification for an
extended period could cause the international norm against testing,
which the U.S. seeks to advance, to "unravel." When President Clinton
travels to the subcontinent later in the year, he pointed out, it is
important that "he does so with U.S. ratification in hand."

Holum, who is also the director of the U.S. Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency, said that as the Senate considers the merits of
the treaty, it should remember that "the nuclear arms race is over;
arsenals are shrinking; our dramatically fewer remaining weapons can
be kept safe and reliable by other means; we don't need tests;
proliferators do; the American people overwhelmingly want testing

Following is the text of Holum's remarks as prepared for delivery:

(begin text)

I am pleased to join you to discuss the national security benefits of
the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). I am equally pleased
that your Committee is holding hearings on this historic Treaty now
pending in the Senate. Your first hearing last October helped focus on
the issues. I trust this hearing will further the process of rendering
Senate advice and consent.

As you know, the President has called on the Senate to provide its
advice and consent this year. As soon as the Senate has approved NATO
expansion, it should act expeditiously to consider and approve the
CTBT. These agreements, individually and together, will ensure that
the next century brings us a safer and more secure world. But
continued U.S. leadership is required. Just as the United States led
the successful effort to negotiate the CTBT among the 61 members of
the Conference on Disarmament and was the first state to sign the
Treaty, we should be among the initial states to ratify it as well.

The CTBT overwhelmingly serves our national interest. Let me describe
how it does so.

First, by constraining the development of more advanced nuclear
weapons by the declared nuclear powers, the CTBT essentially
eliminates the possibility of a renewed arms competition such as
characterized the Cold War. Without the ability to conduct nuclear
explosive tests, none of the weapon states will be able to develop,
with high confidence, new, more advanced weapons. For prudent military
planners, this means that advanced new types of nuclear weapons will
be precluded.

With all five declared nuclear weapon states effectively frozen at
current levels of weapons development, a 50-year spiral of escalation
will be ended. The United States is currently in a position to reap
maximum benefits from such a freeze. Prompted by Congressional
legislation, the U.S. has effectively left the testing business -- the
last U.S. nuclear test explosion was in 1992. We have no plans and no
military requirements to test. All the more reason, then, to hold
others to the same standard we already observe.

The CTBT and the strategic nuclear arms reduction process are mutually
reinforcing. The test ban provides confidence that neither side is
making significant qualitative improvements in its arsenal, thus
fostering a stable environment for further reductions. The CTBT will
not eliminate a single nuclear weapon. But it will enhance the START
process and help us further reduce the roles and risks of nuclear

Second, the CTBT also is a non-proliferation Treaty. It will erect a
further barrier to the development of nuclear weapons by states
hostile to our interests, and others. Even if a non-nuclear weapon
state were able to assemble sufficient nuclear material to produce a
simple fission weapon, the CTBT would force it to place confidence in
an untested design (which military leaders might find unacceptable),
and it would constrain the development of nuclear weapons beyond
simple fission designs. Without access to testing data, a would-be
proliferator cannot develop with any degree of confidence a compact
boosted weapon. Design of a two-stage thermonuclear weapon is even
more complicated, and confident development even more dependent on
test data.

Some observers point out that the bomb used in Hiroshima was never
tested. True enough, but we had to dig a hole under a B-29 to load it
aboard. It would be a challenging task for an emerging nuclear weapon
state, likely requiring nuclear explosive tests, to design nuclear
weapons in the sizes, shapes and weights most dangerous to us --
compact weapons deliverable in long-range airplanes and missiles, or
very small, low-yield, nuclear weapons to be used as terrorist devices
or in regional conflicts.

Third, quite apart from the sheer technical obstacles to nuclear
weapon development posed by a CTBT, the existence of the Treaty will
strengthen international non-proliferation standards and the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty regime, and give the U.S. a stronger hand to
lead the global non-proliferation effort.

The nuclear weapon states' commitment to conclude a CTBT in 1996 was
instrumental in achieving the indefinite and unconditional extension
of the NPT in 1995. This was to be expected. The non-nuclear weapon
states have always seen a ban on nuclear testing as an essential step
by the nuclear weapon states to fulfill their part of the NPT bargain
in exchange for a commitment from the others to forego nuclear

Largely due to U.S. initiatives, agreement on the CTBT text was
reached on schedule, and the Treaty has now been signed by 150
countries, including the five nuclear-weapon states. The next step is
ratification by the U.S. and the other nuclear weapon states, and
concerted efforts to bring the Treaty into force.

Ratification is also critical to our ability to effectively enforce
the NPT regime, which is no easy task. The NPT, now with nearly
universal membership at 185 states, has established a global norm of
non-proliferation which discourages most states from even considering
nuclear weapon programs. The CTBT will reinforce this global norm
against weapons development, and hold the existing programs of other
states in check.

However, as recent history demonstrates, not all states feel bound by
norms or Treaty obligations. Even states that appear to be complying
with the legal obligations of the NPT may go quite far in pursuit of
nuclear weapon capabilities without clearly violating it. Thus, a
challenge for the U.S. is to insist on strict compliance by the
non-nuclear weapon states with both the letter and the spirit of the
NPT obligation to forego nuclear weapons. That requires a united
world, with the means to isolate and sanction those who do not respect
the law. It requires a strong global political commitment to the NPT,
so countries will be prepared to negotiate new agreements with the
International Atomic Energy Agency incorporating the strong new
safeguards we finally achieved last year.

Think about the potential proliferation consequences of an extended
delay in U.S. ratification, accompanied, as would probably be the
case, by such a delay in ratification by Russia and China. It could be
seen as a repudiation of the political commitment made at the time of
the NPT Extension Conference and during the course of CTBT
negotiations. It could send the message that the weapon states are
unwilling to ever break with their Cold War reliance on nuclear arms
-- exactly the wrong signal to send. Under these circumstances, we
would have significantly harmed U.S. efforts to persuade the
international community to join us in insisting on strict compliance
with the NPT and to use the "strengthened review process" agreed to at
the 1995 NPT Review Conference to advance our non-proliferation goals.

The fourth reason to ratify the CTBT is that it is effectively
verifiable. The U.S. successfully fought for tough verification
provisions in the negotiations and would not have signed the Treaty if
it were not effectively verifiable. What do we mean by this term?

Let me begin with what it does not mean, effective verification does
not mean that the U.S. has a guarantee that it would be able to detect
and attribute all tests worldwide, under all circumstances, should
violations occur. Effective verification involves political judgments
as well as technical ones; it involves determinations of acceptable
levels of uncertainty. To make a judgment about what is acceptable, we
need to weigh the benefits of the treaty compared to the likelihood of
violations and the potential costs to the U.S.

Thus, our judgment that the Treaty is effectively verifiable reflects
the belief that U.S. nuclear deterrence would not be undermined by
nuclear testing that the United States might fail to detect. It
further reflects our belief that the Treaty will effectively deter
violations in light of the significant possibility of detection in
combination with the high political costs if a violation is detected.
Moreover, the Treaty's verification regime, along with our national
intelligence means and diplomatic efforts, will limit an evader's
options and provide us with the means to take prompt and effective
counter action should we suspect a violation has occurred. In sum, we
believe that the benefits of the Treaty to U.S. national security
clearly outweigh the potential costs and likelihood of undetected

We would be concerned about the possibility of any violation, even a
test with a nuclear yield of a few pounds. Quite apart from the
potential military significance of such a test, it would have serious
political consequences and, moreover, could provide us important
information about another states' weapons program. With or without a
CTBT, monitoring the nuclear-related activities of the nuclear powers
and potential proliferators will continue to be a high priority job of
the intelligence community. This brings me to a fifth reason to ratify
the Treaty: it will improve our nuclear test monitoring capabilities.

The CTBT augments the current national technical means for monitoring
worldwide nuclear testing with additional tools and data not
previously available to the United States. It is a net plus. The CTBT
establishes global networks of four different types of sensors --
seismic, hydroacoustic, radionuclide and infrasound -- that can detect
explosions in different physical environments. These networks,
comprising 321 monitoring stations, are called the International
Monitoring System (IMS). Data will be coming in continuously from the
IMS. Some of this data will be recorded at stations in sensitive parts
of the world to which we would not otherwise have access. Consider,
for example, that the IMS includes 31 monitoring stations in Russia,
11 in China and 17 in the Middle East.

The CTBT permits any party to request an on-site inspection to clarify
whether or not a violation has occurred, and allows for the use of a
range of technologies during that inspection to gather any facts which
might assist in identifying a possible violation. With the assent of
the CTBT decisionmaking body, the Executive Council, the U.S. would
thus be able to ensure that ambiguous evidence is further
investigated. The Treaty further provides for consultation and
clarification of ambiguous situations and confidence-building measures
that will enhance our confidence in our monitoring capabilities. The
Treaty also provides the legal basis and an international forum with
which to promote and enforce a global end to nuclear testing.

We had a demonstration of some of these capabilities last summer. In
the Kara Sea, near a former Soviet nuclear testing facility where
there had been ongoing activity, seismic sensors detected an event.
This raised red flags about a potential tests in the area and we began
collecting and analyzing data. The event, with a seismic signal
equivalent to about one-tenth of one kiloton, was detected by several
IMS stations in Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Our intelligence
community could confidently locate the event in the Kara Sea even
though a major seismic station in the region was out of commission.

After analysis, we were satisfied that there was no nuclear explosion,
based solely on remote sensing and study. If the Treaty were in force
we could, of course, choose to use its on-site inspection regime or
consultation and clarification procedures if there are similar

Sixth, the CTBT will allow us to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear

As a condition of U.S. support for a zero-yield CTBT in the summer of
1995, President Clinton announced safeguards which collectively
recognize and protect the continued important contribution of nuclear
weapons to U.S. national security. The first safeguard mandated the
conduct of a Stockpile Stewardship program -- for which there must be
sustained bipartisan support from Congress -- to ensure a high level
of confidence in the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons

Such a program to maintain our nuclear deterrent under a CTBT was
established in 1993 by the Department of Energy (DOE) in close
collaboration with the Strategic Command and the Joint Staff at the
Department of Defense. The program builds on DOE's longstanding,
rigorous program of stockpile surveillance and component testing with
more sophisticated laboratory experimentation and advanced
computations. Its point of departure is a rich database from over
1,000 past nuclear weapon tests that characterize the operation of our
weapons and will serve as a benchmark for analyzing the operation of
our weapons in the future.

The program has earned the confidence of our military leaders,
independent weapon scientists and the directors of the three nuclear
weapon laboratories. During a February visit to Los Alamos National
Laboratory, President Clinton was joined by the laboratory directors
-- Dr. Browne of Los Alamos, Dr. Robinson of Sandia and Dr. Tarter of
Lawrence Livermore. The directors affirmed that (they) "are confident
that the Stockpile Stewardship program will enable us to maintain
America's nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing."

If, in the unlikely event doubts about our ability to maintain the
arsenal under a CTBT arise at some point in the future, the Treaty
provides for withdrawal from the Treaty if a party decides that its
supreme interests are jeopardized. President Clinton has decided (and
stated as one of the safeguards that condition U.S. support for the
Treaty) that the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons is a
supreme national interest.

To implement this condition, the President established a certification
process requiring the weapon design laboratories and the Department of
Defense to review annually all nuclear weapon types. The Secretaries
of Energy and Defense, based on the independent advice of the
laboratory directors, the Nuclear Weapons Council, and the
Commander-in-Chief of Strategic Command, are required to report
annually to the President whether the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile
is, to a high degree of confidence, safe and reliable. If our nuclear
deterrent cannot be so certified, the President, in consultation with
the Congress, has made it clear that he would be prepared to withdraw
from the Treaty under the "supreme interests" clause in order to
conduct whatever testing might be required.

I am pleased to report that the administration forwarded to the
Congress February 12 the second annual certification from the
Secretaries of Defense and Energy that the nuclear stockpile remains
safe and reliable, confirming that the U.S. will enter the CTBT regime
with a proven, well-tested arsenal.

In addition to the two safeguards referred to above, U.S. adherence to
the CTBT is conditioned on four other safeguards related to our
stockpile stewardship program and Treaty monitoring. Together these
six safeguards include:

A. A Science Based Stockpile Stewardship program to insure a high
level of confidence in the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons
in the active stockpile, including the conduct of a broad range of
effective and continuing experimental programs.

B. Modern nuclear laboratory facilities and program in theoretical and
exploratory nuclear technology which will attract, retain, and ensure
the continued application of our human scientific resources to those
programs on which continued progress in nuclear technology depends.

C. Maintenance of the basic capability to resume nuclear test
activities prohibited by the CTBT should the United States cease to be
bound to adhere to this treaty.

D. A comprehensive research and development program to improve our
treaty monitoring capabilities and operations.

E. Continuing development of a broad range of intelligence gathering
and analytical capabilities and operations to ensure accurate and
comprehensive information on worldwide nuclear arsenals, nuclear
weapons development programs, and related nuclear programs.

F. The understanding that if the President of the United States is
informed by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy (DOE)
-- advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council, the Directors of the DOE's
nuclear weapons laboratories and the Commander of the U.S. Strategic
Command -- that a high level of confidence in the safety or
reliability of a nuclear weapon type which the two Secretaries
consider to be critical to our nuclear deterrent could no longer be
certified, the President, in consultation with Congress, would be
prepared to withdraw from the CTBT under the standard "supreme
national interests" clause in order to conduct whatever testing might
be required.

Some may ask, why should we act now to ratify? The condition for the
Treaty's entry into force is ratification by 44 identified countries
-- members of the Conference on Disarmament possessing nuclear power
or nuclear research reactors. Of the 44, North Korea, India and
Pakistan have not even signed, although Islamabad voted to adopt the
Treaty at the United Nations General Assembly.

If the Treaty is in our interests -- as I believe it is -- and
especially if we are going to comply with it anyway, then we should
work to bring it into force as soon as we can.

U.S. ratification will encourage further ratifications, just as U.S.
ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention facilitated
ratification by Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran. The most effective
means of moving reluctant states is to make them feel the sting of
isolation on this issue and not to provide them with the "cover" of
U.S. inaction. U.S. delays in ratification would compromise our
efforts to encourage others. In particular, with regard to India and
Pakistan, it is important that when the President travels to the
subcontinent later this year he does so with U.S. ratification in

In addition, if the CTBT has not entered into force by September 1999,
that is, three years after it was opened for signature, the Treaty
provides for an annual conference of countries that have ratified to
consider how to facilitate early entry into force. The U.S. should be
there. But, to participate, the U.S. must ratify.

Moreover, even before entry into force, our ratification and that of
other key states will help to constrain non-signatories from
conducting nuclear tests. The CTBT already has advanced the goal of
ending nuclear weapon testing by promoting an international norm
against testing. The five nuclear weapon states unilaterally declared
moratoria on testing at different points during the past eight years
in anticipation of or in response to the Treaty negotiations. The
international community endorsed the Treaty after the conclusion of
negotiations by a 158-3 vote in the United Nations General Assembly.
In the 18 months since it was opened for signature, 150 states have

If U.S. ratification is delayed for an extended period, the norm that
we seek to advance could unravel. Moreover, we would run the risk that
other nuclear weapon states -- which are currently observing
self-imposed moratoria on test explosions -- could decide, in the
absence of firm legal constraints, to declare they do not intend to
ratify the Treaty and to resume testing.

Lastly, it is essential that the U.S. continue to demonstrate
leadership with regard to the crucial treaties and regimes that
strengthen our global non-proliferation effort, as it did during the
CTBT negotiations. The U.S. needs to promote the CTBT's entry into
force, not complicate it.

Mr. Chairman, I have endeavored to elaborate for the Committee the
reasons the CTBT is in the national security interests of the United
States. Its obvious benefits have led four former chairmen of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff -- Generals John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell and
David Jones, and Admiral William Crowe -- to endorse the Treaty. And,
significantly, the Treaty enjoys overwhelming public support. A recent
nationwide poll showed 70 percent of the people, Republicans and
Democrats alike, favor a treaty to prohibit further nuclear explosions

At its very core, here is what the CTBT issue comes down to, what the
Senate must consider when making its decision: the nuclear arms race
is over; arsenals are shrinking; our dramatically fewer remaining
weapons can be kept safe and reliable by other means; we don't need
tests; proliferators do; the American people overwhelmingly want
testing banned.

(end text)