Religious Leaders Join President Clinton in Supporting Ratification of the CTBT
Speaking today at a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House with religious leaders and Senators Jeffords (R - VT) and Dorgan (D - ND), President Clinton explained how the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) strengthens U.S. national security.
"The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty strengthens U.S. national security. Keeping America strong requires that we not only support our troops and modernize our weapons, but that we also reduce the threats we face, including the threats of nuclear proliferation and war. The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is a means of doing that.
"The United States ended nuclear testing seven years ago; the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty forces other countries to end testing, too. . . We have developed means of making sure our nuclear weapons work by complex tests and computer simulations, rather than by tests with nuclear reactions, and we spend $4.5 billion a year to ensure that our nuclear weapons remain at the cutting edge of reliability and readiness. This 'Stockpile Stewardship' program has been in place for four years with impressive results, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, weapons lab directors and numerous scientists, are confident we can maintain our strong nuclear arsenal with nuclear testing . . .
"The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty contains six safeguards that preserve our strong nuclear arsenal and protect us against 'cheating.' Most importantly, it includes a condition that says the President may withdraw from the Treaty if the Administration cannot certify the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons. We do not need to test now, but if we decided later that we needed to resume testing, we could and we would. "If we fail to ratify the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, other countries -- including China, Russia, India and Pakistan -- might begin testing again. India and Pakistan are drawing closer to signing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; if the United States fails to ratify, they are less likely to do so. The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty constrains the Russians and Chinese from further modernizing their nuclear weapons; if the Treaty fails, these constraints are lost. Not all potential nuclear states have signed the Treaty yet. But if we fail to ratify, it will guarantee they will not. The world is looking to the United States for leadership.
"Generals, scientists, and lab directors all agree that the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is in our national security interest. It reduces the threat of nuclear war without reducing the reliability of America's nuclear force or undermining our technological superiority. Former military commanders -- including Colin Powell and John Shalikashvilli -- have endorsed the Treaty. Thirty-two American Nobel laureates have written the Senate calling ratification 'imperative.' And a broad range of religious leaders believes ratifying the Treaty is the right thing to do. Reducing the threat of nuclear war by ending nuclear testing strengthens our security and promotes our values.
"The push to end nuclear testing began with President Eisenhower, who called his failure to win it 'the greatest disappointment of any administration, of any decade, of any time and of any party.' It is time that we fulfill President Eisenhower's vision and ratify the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty."
Produced by the White House Working Group on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
For more information on the CTBT, log on to www.state.gov/www/global/arms/index.html