|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at Commemorative Event for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Association of the City Bar
New York, New York, September 23, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
As Prepared for Delivery
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you, General McInerny. I want to thank all of you who have been determined and tenacious supporters of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty --some of you for a very long time.
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York has a distinguished record of support for the CTBT, the NPT, and other major arms control agreements. We all know that the New York Bar sets painfully high standards. So it is a real honor to be here with you today.
Business Executives for National Security (BENS) played an invaluable role in ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention. And every day BENS promotes the idea that diplomacy -- in this case, arms control -- is America's first line of defense.
This week, we mark two significant anniversaries in the long and distinguished history of the quest for a comprehensive test ban. Three years ago tomorrow, President Clinton became the first world leader to sign the CTBT. And thirty-six years ago tomorrow, just seven weeks after it was signed by President Kennedy, the Limited Test Ban Treaty was ratified by the Senate.
Lest we forget, that first Test Ban Treaty helped us all breathe easier -- quite literally. No longer did we have to fear the appearance of fallout in our food and water, or its effects in outer space. And the eighty Senators who voted to approve it did so in the hope that they were taking a first step toward a total ban on explosive testing.
Today, we have the ability to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent without nuclear tests. We have the technical capability we need to monitor other nations' nuclear programs.
We have the expertise gained from more than a thousand tests of our own. We have -- with thanks to Senator Exon and others -- a seven-year old U.S. moratorium on explosive testing.
We have dangerous possibilities for proliferation that make it more important than ever to put explosive testing out of bounds for good. We have a strong set of international norms against proliferation, backed by global public opinion. We have the signatures of 153 nations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
And we have the support of distinguished military and civilian officials; of all the President's Cabinet; of leaders in both parties, and of the private sector.
We have, in short, everything we ought to need to make this a simple, non-partisan, non-controversial vote. We need this Treaty now. Not because we believe, naively, that signatures on a piece of paper can, by themselves, end the threat of nuclear attack. But because we have understood, rationally, that part of our fight against proliferation is building the strongest legal framework we can.
As most of you know, the CTBT cannot enter into force until it has been ratified by the United States and 43 other nations with nuclear power or research reactors. The Treaty specifies that, if the Treaty has not entered into force three years after it was opened for signature, those states that have ratified it may hold a conference and take measures to accelerate the Treaty's entry into force. Two weeks from now, the first -- and we hope the last -- such conference will be held in Vienna.
The United States, given our leadership on arms control, and our important interests, should have been in the forefront of these discussions. But because we have not ratified the Treaty, our strong delegation -- which John Holum will lead -- will be confined to the position of observer.
This is not right. Those critics who claim that this Treaty harms our interests would leave the United States outside one of the most important non-proliferation discussions of our time -- certainly not a position we ought to be in.
They have failed to explain how our security can be damaged by asking others to end explosive testing, as we have already done, and to accept intrusive monitoring as well. And they have forgotten that, as I said on its conclusion in 1996, this is "a Treaty sought by ordinary people everywhere and . . . the power of that universal wish could not be denied."
Americans, and people around the world, do not want to live in a world in which nuclear testing is business as usual. They do not want to make it easy or acceptable for nuclear weapons to spread further. And they have encouraged their governments to take on the global monitoring and on-site inspections that will allow us, under the CTBT, to see that the Treaty is observed.
Today I urge the Senate to join the 45 states which have ratified the Treaty, and the 82 percent of Americans who so strongly support it. I pledge my strongest efforts, and those of this Administration, toward ratification -- and I thank this audience for all that you have done, and all that you will do, to that same end.
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