"The Longest-Sought, Hardest-Fought Prize
On September 22, President Clinton sent the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to the United States Senate for advice and consent to ratification. The CTBT will require all signatory nations to join the United States in the permanent termination of all nuclear weapons testing. The CTBT is a giant step toward a safer future, when no nuclear weapons will be detonated anywhere on earth.
Ratifying the CTBT would bring a four decade bipartisan quest to a close -- and open a new era of security for the American people. Beginning with President Eisenhower, who hoped that a test ban would be his final and most lasting gift to his country and echoed in the words and actions of President Kennedy and President Clinton, American presidents of both parties have believed a comprehensive test ban is profoundly in America's interests.
"I am of the belief, if you could have a ban on all [nuclear] testing that everybody could have confidence in, it would be a very, very fine thing to stop this. . ."
"With both sides of this divided world in possession of unbelievably destructive weapons, mankind approaches a state where mutual annihilation becomes a possibility. No other fact of today's world equals this in importance. . ."
"We must strive to break the calamitous cycle . . . which, if unchecked, could spiral into nuclear disaster; the ultimate insanity . . . we must find somewhere to begin."
"Another avenue may be through the reopening . . . of negotiations looking to a controlled ban on the testing of nuclear weapons."
"Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us . . . The logical place to begin is a treaty assuring the end of nuclear tests of all kinds . . ."
"The conclusion of such a treaty [to end nuclear tests] would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas . . . It would increase our security -- it would decrease the prospects of war."
"Yesterday a shaft of light cut into the darkness. Negotiations were concluded in Moscow on a treaty to ban all nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water . . . it is an important first step -- a step toward peace -- a step towards reason -- a step away from war."
". . . 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 . . . 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."