The following Fact Sheet is for publication, quotation, and background information. If you are interested in a revised or updated version, or for additional information on this subject, please contact Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr. or Erik J. Leklem at (202) 463-8270.
Arms Control Association Fact Sheet
Press Contacts: Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr. or Erik J. Leklem (202) 463-8270
Statements on the Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), bans the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention and transfer of chemical weapons and requires states parties to destroy all chemical weapons stocks. Signed January 12, 1993, under President Bush, the CWC will enter into force April 29, 1997. As of February 10, 1997, 161 countries have signed the CWC, and 68 have ratified the treaty.
The United States must ratify the treaty before April 29 and deposit their instruments of ratification with the treaty's implementing authority, the Organization to Prohibit Chemical Weapons (OPCW), in order to become an original state party. If the U.S. fails to ratify before the deadline, the U.S. will lose considerable influence in the OPCW, and will be ineligible to staff the organization or its inspector corps. Given that most positions in the OPCW will be filled by mid-April, a timely discussion on the treaty is needed even before the April 29 deadline. Currently, the treaty (S.Res.17) is awaiting consideration in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Listed below are a selection of quotations regarding the CWC. They are divided into six sections: Presidential, Administration, Senate, Military, Business and Miscellaneous Statements. This fact sheet will be updated as occasions warrant.
"I told (Secretary Albright) I would strongly support her efforts to get this Chemical Weapons Treaty approved. This should be beyond partisanship. I have a certain fatherhood feeling about that ... I think it is vitally important for the United State to be out front, not to be dragged kicking and screaming to the finish line on that question. We don't need chemical weapons, and we ought to get to the front and make clear that we are opposed to others having them."
--President Bush, 2/8/97
"Now we must rise to a new test of leadership: ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention. It will make our troops safer from chemical attack. It will help us to fight terrorism. We have no more important obligation--especially in the wake of what we now know about the gulf war. This treaty has been bipartisan from the beginning, supported by Republican and Democratic Administrations alike--and already approved by 68 nations. If we do not act by April 29--when this Convention goes into force, with us or without us--we will lose the chance to have Americans leading and enforcing this effort. Together we must make the Chemical Weapons Convention law, so that at last we can begin to outlaw poison gas from the earth."
--President Clinton, State of the Union, 2/5/97
"The security of our soldiers and citizens is at stake, as is the economic well-being of our chemical industry. I urge the Senate to act promptly to insure that the United States remains at the forefront of international efforts to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and the U.S. chemical industry maintains its international competitiveness."
--President Clinton, New York Times, 1/14/97
"The United States has six priority goals to further lift the threat of...weapons of mass destruction, and to limit their dangerous spread. First we must protect our people from chemical attack and make it harder for rogue states and terrorists to brandish poison gas by bringing the Chemical Weapons Convention into force as soon as possible."
--President Clinton, 9/24/96
"Our military supports it, leaders of our nation's foreign policy, both Democrats and Republicans, including President Bush, General Colin Powell and Senator Dick Lugar support it. We all agree that we should be sending a strong message as a united country that America will do its part to banish poison gas from the earth. And meanwhile we must do everything we can to protect our soldiers and to keep such weapons out of the hands of terrorists. The Chemical Weapons Convention will clearly help us do that."
--President Clinton, 9/14/96
"I know we have more to do in trying to stem the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons, and to defeat the forces of terrorism around the world. No free country is immune from them...but we can do this--and we must."
--President Clinton, 5/29/95
"The United States worked hard to ensure that the Convention could be effectively verified. At the same time we sought the means to protect both United States security interests and commercial capabilities. I am
convinced that the Convention we signed served both objectives, effectively banning chemical weapons without creating an unnecessary burden on legitimate activities."
--President Bush, 7/18/94
"The Convention clearly serves the best interests of the United States in a world in which the proliferation and use of chemical weapons is a real and growing threat."
--President Bush, 7/18/94
"Chemical weapons must be banned from the face of the earth, never to be used again."
--President Bush, 2/9/89
"The ultimate goal of US policy is to eliminate the threat of chemical warfare by achieving a complete and verifiable ban on chemical weapons."
--President Reagan, 2/8/82
"By joining the CWC, we can take advantage of its inspection procedures and reporting requirements to make our own intelligence capabilities more effective, increasing the chances that we will catch cheaters. "In sum, CWC is no cure-all, but this CWC clearly serves U.S. interests. The central question before the Senate is whether the national interest is better served by the United States joining the CWC or remaining outside it. The answer to that question is a clear and emphatic 'yes.'"
--Former National Security Advisor for Presidents Ford and Bush, Brent Scowcroft, and Former DCI and Deputy Secretary of Defense John M. Deutch, Washington Post op-ed, 2/11/97 "On these issues--Chemical Weapons Convention, (and) money for American diplomacy--we need to have a bipartisan base. Republicans and Democrats ought to be able to work together. But it was very helpful to see a former Republican president, a former Republican secretary of State, both of whom are very respected people in our society ... to see them come out so unreservedly and so strongly for Secretary Albright's position and the President's position on these particular issues."
--Nicholas Burns, Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, 2/10/97
"The convention makes it less likely that our armed forces will ever again encounter chemical weapons on the battlefield, less likely that rogue regimes will have access to materials needed to build chemical arms, and less likely that such arms will fall into the hands of terrorists or others hostile to our interests. "Senate approval of the convention is by no means assured...Unfortunately, as General Norman Schwarzkopf recently observed, if the foes of CWC have their way , the United States would draw a line in the sand, put our friends and allies on one side, and then cross over to the other, joining hands with Libya and Iraq. "Make no mistake; the Chemical Weapons Convention is in the best interests of the United States. In fact, the CWC has 'made in America' written all over it."
--Secretary of State Madeline Albright, 2/7/97
"I support (the) Convention, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with domestic politics, and everything to do with the national interest. I support it because it will make America and Americans more secure, in a world of terrorists and a world of rogue states."
--Former Secretary of State, James A. Baker III, 2/7/97
"...we believe that (CWC) is an important tool to have...the tool is important, particularly with the data exchange that will occur, the inspections that we may have access to. We believe those tools over the course of time will allow us to minimize risk that we otherwise would have faced without this tool."
--George Tenet, Acting DCI, 2/6/97
"I'm going to continue to work with the Senate on ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. I've already spoken on several occasions about the importance of this arms control initiative. During the Reagan administration, the United States decided to eliminate it stockpile of chemical weapons, and ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention is going to be implemented and enforced."
--Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen, 1/31/97
"It's far better from my perspective, given the fact that nothing is 100% verifiable, far better that we have at least some role on the executive council to help establish the protocols. If we have some of our people in the inspection teams to conduct these inspections in various countries, than we have no participation at all, and finally, if we were not to ratify this particular treaty, then we face the prospect of losing as much as $600 million in our own commercial sales because there will be sanctions imposed on us as a non-ratifying country for the sale or attempted sale of precursor chemicals."
--Secretary of Defense William Cohen, ABC's "This Week," 1/26/97
"So I think it's in our overall interest, number one, since we're getting rid of our (chemical weapons), that we see to it that we do everything possible to make sure that other countries who are signatories who ratify (CWC) also do the same."
--Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Senate Confirmation Hearings, 1/22/97
"Obviously if the (CWC) was not ratified there would possibly be serious ramifications for our chemical industry, which is one of our largest sectors of export around the world, if we don't pass this by mid-April. So I think it's an important agreement that must be passed to protect our industry."
--Secretary of Commerce William Daley, Senate Confirmation Hearings, 1/22/97
"The Chemical Weapons Convention is the single best mechanism of making sure that others do not have the military capability of using chemical weapons. This convention is purely and totally in U.S. national interests."
--Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Senate Confirmation Hearings, 1/8/97
"Our earliest priority is ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, or CWC, before it enters into force in late April."
--Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Senate Confirmation Hearings, 1/8/97
"The best protection against these weapons is to make it more difficult for hostile nations and groups to obtain and use them. By blocking the supply and demand for chemical weapons, the Chemical Weapons Convention does just that."
--Former Sec. of State Warren Christopher, 3/28/96
"The Chemical Weapons Convention is an important part of an international structure that would increase U.S. and global security in the next century. If we do not lead this effort to curb the proliferation of chemical weapons and initiate their global elimination, we increase the chances that we will encounter disasters in the 21st century reminiscent of those that occurred in the first fifty years of the 20th century."
--Former Sec. of State Lawrence Eagleburger, 10/17/95
"The Chemical Weapons Convention will make every nation safer, and we need it now."
--Former Sec. of State Warren Christopher, 9/25/95
"The CWC may represent our greatest implementation effort yet-- whether viewed from the standpoint of history, of intrusiveness, of industry involvement, or of magnitude of coverage. Today more than 25 countries are suspected of having chemical weapons or the ability to produce them. Significantly, three-quarters of these countries have signed the CWC. Obviously we want to bring it into force as soon as possible."
--Director of ACDA John D. Holum, 11/18/94
"In sum, what the Chemical Weapons Convention provides the intelligence community is a new tool to add to our collection tool kit. It is an instrument with broad applicability, which can help resolve a wide variety of problems. Moreover, it is a universal tool which can be used by diplomats and politicians, as well as intelligence specialists, to further a common goal: elimination of the threat of chemical weapons."
--Former Director of CIA James Woolsey, 6/23/94
"...the Convention's strict verification regime, which accommodates legitimate commercial and sovereign interests, sets an innovative standard for future multilateral agreements."
--Former Sec. of State Lawrence Eagleburger, Upon signing CWC
"The single greatest threat facing the United States today is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We need to use every means at our disposal to reduce the chances of a chemical attack in our country. The Chemical Weapons Convention is an irreplaceable tool to achieve that goal."
--Senator Joseph R. Biden, 10/30/96
"The Chemical Weapons Convention offers us an important tool to help reduce the threat posed by chemical terrorism and warfare. It will bolster the ability of our intelligence community to monitor chemical weapons development around the world, which it must do whether or not we ratify the Convention. Failure to ratify the treaty will diminish U.S. national security and jeopardize jobs in the chemical industry. If the U.S. doesn't ratify the convention, our chemical companies will be disadvantaged in exporting to countries that do ratify it."
--Senator Richard G. Lugar, 9/10/96
"On balance, the advantages of the Convention outweigh any real or potential costs. With or without the treaty, the United States has decided to get out of the chemical weapons business. The treaty would require other countries to eliminate their chemical weapons stockpiles, as the U.S. already is doing."
--Senator Richard G. Lugar, 9/10/96
"The CWC's verification provisions constitute the most comprehensive and intrusive verification regime ever negotiated, covering virtually every aspect of a CW program, from development through production and stockpiling."
--Senator Richard G. Lugar, 9/9/96
"The Chemical Weapons Convention will not prevent all future chemical attacks, particularly by terrorists. But it nevertheless is an important and constructive international mechanism to check and reverse the proliferation of chemical weapons."
--Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum, 10/25/95
"Chemical weapons are potentially one of the most serious threats to America's armed forces on future battlefields, and their proliferation is a
cause for great anxiety. Recent events in Tokyo highlight the possibility of chemical terrorism around the world, which could easily manifest itself in the United States. Our nation's highest military and intelligence officials repeatedly have stated that while the Chemical Weapons Convention is no panacea for these threats, our nation will be safer and we will have greater ability to reduce chemical weapons proliferation, and to identify and remove chemical weapons threats, if the United States and a majority of the world's nations ratify this treaty."
--Senator John F. Kerry, 10/23/95
"We don't need chemical weapons to fight our future warfares. And frankly, by not ratifying that treaty, we align ourselves with nations like Libya and North Korea, and I just as soon not be associated with those thugs in this particular matter. So I am very, very much in favor of ratification of that particular treaty."
--General Norman Schwarzkopf, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Hearings, 1/29/97 "This treaty is entirely about eliminating other people's weapons -- weapons that may some day be used against Americans. For the American military, U.S. ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention is high gain and low or no pain. In that light, I find it astonishing that any American opposes ratification...At the bottom line, our failure to ratify will substantially increase the risk of a chemical attack against American service personnel."
--Admiral E.R. Zumwalt Jr. (Ret.),Washington Post 1/6/97
"From a military perspective, the Chemical Weapons Convention is clearly in our national interest. The Convention's advantages outweigh its shortcomings. The United States and all other CW-capable state parties incur the same obligations to destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles...if we do not join and [we] walk away from the CWC an awful lot of people will probably walk away from it as well, and our influence on the rogue states will only decrease."
--Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff General John M. Shalikashvili, Before Senate Foreign Relations Comm.
"Desert Storm proved that retaliation in kind is not required to deter the use of chemical weapons."
--Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff General John M. Shalikashvili, In Senate testimony
"The nonproliferation aspects of the Convention will retard the spread of chemical weapons, and in so doing, reduce the probability that U.S. forces may encounter chemical weapons in a regional conflict...I strongly support this Convention and respectfully request your consent to ratification."
--Lt. General Wesley Clark, On behalf of Joint Chiefs of Staff
"However, the clear international norms against chemical weapons, the legal framework, and the challenge inspections embodied in the Chemical Weapons Convention are also needed."
--Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, 10/16/95
"Ratifying the Convention will permit the United States to retain its position as the world's preferred supplier of commercial chemical products. Failure to ratify will isolate us from our most important trading partners and will jeopardize thousands of U.S. jobs."
--Chairman, Business Executives for National Security, Stanley Weiss, Washington Times
"There is no justification for walking away from a treaty designed to eliminate an entire class of weapons. This treaty...won't handicap legitimate businesses that are competing in the world market."
--President of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, Fred Webber, The Journal of Commerce
"We have studied this treaty in great detail; we have put it to the test. We think the CWC is a good deal for American industry...The Chemical Weapons Convention protects vital commercial interests...The Chemical Weapons Convention makes good business sense and good public policy."
--President of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, Fred Webber, Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
"The U.S. chemical industry worked hard to help government negotiators craft a CWC that provides strong protections against future uses of chemical weapons, at minimum burden and intrusiveness on commercial chemical facilities."
--President of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, Fred Webber, Statement to Henry L. Stimson Center
"We strongly support the CWC because it makes sense on military and business grounds. The treaty helps reduce one of the gravest threats facing American troops and the American people. That's why the CWC is supported by every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the CIA, and Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton."
--Business Executives for National Security, 41 signatures, 9/10/96
"The chemical industry has long supported the CWC. If the Senate does not vote in favor of the CWC, we stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in overseas sales, putting at risk thousands of good-paying American jobs.
The U.S. chemical industry has spent more than 15 years working on this agreement and we long ago decided that ratifying the CWC is the right thing to do."
--Senior Chemical Company Executives (53 signatures), 8/29/96
"The American Chemical Society strongly supports the overall goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention and urges immediate ratification of the treaty."
--President of American Chemical Society, Ronald Breslow, 8/9/96
"There is a price to pay -- a very high price to pay -- for not ratifying the CWC...The treaty rewards nations that participate and punishes those who don't."
--President of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, Fred Webber, 6/24/96
"The (CWC) should be ratified by April 29. One obstreperous lawmaker should not be allowed to obstruct the nation's business."
--The Baltimore Sun, 2/5/97
"As is readily recognizable from the UN monitoring of the Iraqi facilities, there can be no assurances for a security or for a real defense capability against the use of chemicals by rogue nations or terrorists without controls as may additionally be made available to us by the CWC. We are honor bound to protect our Nation and our troops by minimizing the chances from all obvious or hidden means of chemical attack in the future."
--Jewish War Veterans of the USA, 2/5/97
"There will be colossal consequences if the United States does not join the Convention. The question immediately will arise in all those who already have acceded to the Convention, and especially in those who have not yet done this: What is the matter? Does this mean there are some kind of new aspects of chemical weapons unknown to all other states and this forced the United States to keep chemical weapons in the arsenal of means of warfare? In assessing the American's behavior ... I believe some kind of new substances have been obtained or the concept of deploying chemical weapons has changed..."
--Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Anatoliy Demyanovich Kuntsevich, Russian Academy of Sciences, 1/18/97
"The Chemical Weapons Convention is the first disarmament agreement negotiated with a multilateral framework that provides for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. The world has taken a significant step towards the complete eradication of chemical weapons. The United Nations welcomes the efforts of Member States to outlaw the barbaric and indiscriminate horror of chemical warfare."
--Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 10/31/96
"The U.S. military concluded that we don't need these weapons. Now that the Pentagon has started the process of ridding this country of these horrifying agents of death, the Senate should do its part to help rid the world of them."
--Dallas Morning News "No treaty can provide an absolute guarantee that rogue nations or terrorist groups won't be able to create chemical weapons. But without a treaty, there is no doubt that the manufacture and use of such weapons will proliferate."
"With the world's most ambitious effort to ban chemical weapons rapidly taking shape, the United States stands awkwardly on the sidelines, in the embarrassing company of pariah nations like Iraq and Libya."
--New York Times, 1/12/97
"Chemical Weapons are inherently genocidal. They have little impact on well-equipped military forces but they kill unprotected civilians. Chemical weapons have not been part of U.S. military strategy for years...the treaty requires the rest of the world to do what the U.S. is already doing."
--Barry Kellman and Edward A. Tanzman, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists,
Research Assistance Provided by Wade Boese.
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