Excerpts from President Clinton

State of the Union Address by the President
January 27, 1998

"...I ask Congress to join me in pursuing an ambitious agenda to reduce the serious threat of weapons of mass destruction. This year, four decades after it was first proposed by President Eisenhower, a comprehensive nuclear test ban is within reach. By ending nuclear testing we can help to prevent the development of new and more dangerous weapons and make it more difficult for non-nuclear states to build them.

"I'm pleased to announce four former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- Generals John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell, and David Jones, and Admiral William Crowe -- have endorsed this treaty. And I ask the Senate to approve it this year."

Remarks to the 52nd Session of the UN General Assembly
September 22, 1997

"...I was honored to be the first of 146 leaders to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, our commitment to end all nuclear tests for all time -- the longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of arms control. It will help to prevent the nuclear powers from developing more advanced and more dangerous weapons. It will limit the possibilities for other states to acquire such devices. I am pleased to announce that today I am sending this crucial treaty to the United States Senate for ratification. Our common goal should be to enter the CTBT into force as soon as possible, and I ask for all of you to support that goal."

Text of a letter from the President to the
Speaker of the House and President of the Senate

November 12, 1996

"In a truly historic landmark in our efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, the 50th UN General Assembly on September 10, 1996, adopted and called for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.... The overwhelming passage of this UN resolution (158-3-5) demonstrates the CTBT's strong international support and marks a major success for United States foreign policy. ... The United States played a leading role in promoting the negotiation of this agreement by declaring a moratorium on nuclear testing in 1992 and calling on all the other declared nuclear weapons states to enact their own moratoria.... The United States also insisted on an effective verification regime to ensure that the treaty enhances rather than reduces the security of its adherents.

"The CTBT will serve several United States national security interests in banning all nuclear explosions. It will constrain the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons; end the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons; contribute to the prevention of nuclear proliferation and the process of nuclear disarmament; and strengthen international peace and security. The CTBT marks an historic milestone in our drive to reduce the nuclear threat and to build a safer world."

Remarks to the 51st UN General Assembly
September 24, 1996

"By overwhelming global consensus, we will make a solemn commitment to end all nuclear tests for all time. Before entering this hall I had the great honor to be the first leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. I did so with this pen, for this pen is the very one that President Kennedy used to help bring the Limited Test Ban Treaty to life 33 years ago. This Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will help to prevent the nuclear powers from developing more advanced and more dangerous weapons. It will limit the ability of other states to acquire such devices themselves. It points us toward a century in which the roles and risks of nuclear weapons can be further reduced, and ultimately eliminated.

"...I thank the Secretary General for the remarks he made this morning in establishing the criteria and standards and support of the United Nations as a depository of the treaty. The signature of the world's declared nuclear power -- the United States, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom -- along with those of the vast majority of its nations, will immediately create an international norm against nuclear testing, even before the treaty formally enters into force.

"The CTBT is the shared work of hard negotiation. Some have complained that it does not mandate total nuclear disarmament by a date certain. I would say to them, do not forsake the benefits of this achievement by ignoring the tremendous progress we have already made toward that goal.

"...Thirty-three years ago, at the height of the Cold War, President Kennedy spoke at American University in Washington. ... he announced that talks would shortly begin in Moscow on a comprehensive test ban treaty. President Kennedy's vision exceeded the possibilities of his time. But his words speak to us still. As we sign our names to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the longest sought, hardest fought prize in arms control history, let us summon the confidence of earlier pioneers and set our sights on the challenges of the new century."

Remarks upon departure, Kansas City International Airport
September 10, 1996

"Today in New York the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to adopt the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.... On behalf of the American people, I will have the honor to sign this historic treaty. Our signature, along with that of Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and the vast majority of nations around the world will create an international barrier against nuclear testing as soon as we sign. With this treaty we're on the verge of realizing a decades-old dream, that no nuclear weapons will be detonated anywhere on the face of the Earth. This has been a dream of American leaders going back to Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. They long worked for a safer world at home and abroad. By banning all nuclear tests for all time, the treaty will constrain any nation from improving its existing nuclear arsenal and end the development of advanced nuclear weapons and help to stop their spread. We're taking the next crucial step to lift the dark cloud of nuclear fear that has hung over the world for 50 years now."

Statement by the President
June 28, 1996

"American leaders since Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy have believed a comprehensive test ban would be a major stride in the international effort against nuclear proliferation and toward our ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament. Over the past four decades, many world leaders, including Jawaharlal Nehru of India and Harold Macmillan of Great Britain, along with citizens from around the globe have worked hard to achieve a CTBT. ... As President, my most basic duty is to protect the security of the American people. That's why I have made reducing the nuclear threat one of my highest priorities."