National Security Advisor, Secretary of Energy: CTBT ratification is a top priority for 1999

National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson announced on January 6 that ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) this year is a top priority of the Administration. Addressing an international conference on nuclear nonproliferation sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, both stressed the importance to U.S. security of prompt and positive action by the U.S. Senate to approve the CTBT.

National Security Advisor Berger said: "By its terms, the CTBT cannot enter into force until the United States and other key designated nations ratify it. If we fail to ratify, we will undercut our own efforts to curb further nuclear arms development, particularly in South Asia, where India and Pakistan each have announced an intention to adhere to the CTBT by this coming September. That is the right choice for those countries, one we have been urging for some time. Senate action on the CTB before September will greatly strengthen our hand in persuading India and Pakistan to fulfill their pledges.
"The Treaty is in America's national interest. Four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - Shalikashvili, Powell, Crowe, and Jones - plus all six current members of the JCS - agree on that. The directors of our three national nuclear weapons labs and numerous outside experts have said we can maintain a reliable deterrent without nuclear explosive testing. Polls show that 75 to 80 percent of all Americans support the Treaty. Indeed, public support has been strong for more than 40 years, since President Eisenhower first proposed a test ban treaty.
"If the Senate rejected or failed to act on the Test Ban Treaty, we would throw open the door to regional nuclear arms races and a much more dangerous world. Ratification will take a serious effort from of us. But it would be a terrible tragedy if our Senate failed to ratify the CTB this year.

Secretary Richardson said, "Ratification of the Treaty this year is essential. Without this Treaty, we will lose one of the most important tools available to us for constraining the development of more advanced nuclear weapons, and limiting the spread of nuclear weapons to new states. Failure to


ratify also seriously erodes our ability as a nation to lead in nonproliferation matters. Without ratification, we undercut our credibility in persuading India and Pakistan to join us in this important regime.
"And without ratification, we are not eligible to join with other nations later this year to discuss ways to facilitate the Treaty's entry into force, if necessary. Moreover, it would run counter to the desires of most Americans, who want this Treaty to enter into force. The Senate's failure to act this year would reduce - not increase - our national security."
The Secretary also described the successful Stockpile Stewardship program run by the
Department of Energy to ensure the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons in the absence of nuclear weapon testing. The Secretary said, "Because this program has enabled us to maintain confidence in our nuclear deterrent, just last month, Secretary Cohen and I were able to sign the third annual certification to the President that the stockpile is safe and reliable, and that nuclear testing is not required at this time. This certification process, which we conduct each year, consists of a rigorous review by our nation's best nuclear experts. The process itself allows us to revalidate our confidence in the stockpile - and our continued adherence to the Treaty - on an annual basis."

Produced by the White House Working Group on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
For more information on the CTBT: Phone: 202-647-8677 Fax: 202-647-6928