USIS Washington File

13 March 2000

Transcript: John Shalikashvili Will Seek Senate Consensus on CTBT

(Retired Army General seeks "thorough" CTBT discussion) (3700)

U.S. allies and the rest of the international community "need straight
answers" about U.S. intentions regarding the 1996 Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty (CTBT)," and, simultaneously, members of the U.S. Senate
"deserve straight answers to their concerns" about the treaty, retired
Army General John Shalikashvili says.

Shalikashvili, former Supreme Allied Commander of U.S. forces in
Europe, made this observation March 13 after Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright introduced him at the State Department as the new
Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The former military commander of NATO
said he welcomed the opportunity "to help on an issue of such great
importance to national security." CTBT is too important, he said, to
be left on the shelf.

"This is not about politics...or the legacy of a particular
administration...this is about national security, global stability,
and American leadership," Shalikashvili told reporters. Noting that he
hopes to begin meeting with "a broad range of senators, scientific
experts, and others to hear their concerns and their suggestions on a
way ahead," Shalikashvili said he is "willing to consider various ways
that Senators' concerns might be addressed to make eventual
ratification possible."

Shalikashvili lamented the absence of "a low-key, nonpartisan
dialogue" with interested members of the Senate in advance of "the
short and sharp October (1999) ratification debate." Now, what
matters, he said, "is having a thorough, but quiet discussion of the
issues, to include the treaty's impact on the U.S. nuclear deterrent,
its verifiability, and its net contribution to national security."
Working with Ambassador James Goodby, senior CTBT coordinator, and
senior arms control advisor John Holum, the new CTBT advisor said, "we
must use this time (through the end of the year) to lay the groundwork
for eventual (treaty) ratification."

It is important for the world to understand that "here in the United
States," Shalikashvili stressed, "we are making a serious effort to
try to bridge our differences and to eventually, at the right time,
ratify the treaty."

Following is the transcript of remarks by Albright, Shalikashvili, and

(begin transcript)

Office of the Spokesman

March 13, 2000


Washington, D.C.

FOLEY: Good morning and welcome to the State Department. I'm pleased
to introduce Secretary Albright, who is here with a special
announcement on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty today. She will be
making a statement, and then she will be turning the podium over to
General Shalikashvili, who will have a statement and then will take,
rather briefly, your questions. He has a tight schedule today, but he
will be assisted by Senior CTBT Coordinator, Ambassador Goodby and
Senior Advisor for Arms Control, John Holum. I'd remind you Secretary
Albright will be having a press availability later this afternoon when
she meets with the South Korean Foreign Minister.

QUESTION:  Do you have copies of the statement?  

FOLEY:  Yes, we will.  Madame Secretary.  

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good morning. Before we get to the main event, I
want to announce the release today of a letter from six of my
predecessors -- Secretaries of State Kissinger, Haig, Shultz, Baker,
Eagleburger and Christopher -- calling upon Congress to approve
permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. Like my predecessors, I
believe there are clear and compelling reasons to grant permanent
Normal Trade Relations (NTR), and that's why I view this as a foreign
policy priority.

Implementing our WTO (World Trade Organization) Agreement with China
would dramatically lower import barriers for American goods and
services without requiring us to change any of our own current market
access policies. Within China, it would encourage the rule of law and
spur the development of a more open society. This letter recognizes
that China NTR is in our own national interest and, obviously, so is
stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Last October, the Senate's rejection of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test
Ban Treaty disappointed many Americans and sent tremors around the
globe. But the CTBT is far too important to abandon. We are determined
to continue working for the Treaty and to join with others around the
world to halt the development and spread of more advanced nuclear

The Senate's action made it painfully clear that the administration
and Congress, acting together, must develop a new consensus on how to
respond to the world's gravest threats. That's why I am so pleased to
announce the appointment of General John Shalikashvili as Special
Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty.

The General is highly respected on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue
and both sides of the aisle. He has a deep understanding of U.S.
military requirements, including nuclear deterrence and, obviously,
excellent grasp of technical issues and a reputation as a
straight-shooter on Capitol Hill. I can think of no better person to
work with Senators of both parties on the crucial national objective
of CTBT ratification.

General Shalikashvili will meet with Senators and others to hear their
concerns and suggestions, help clear up misconceptions about the
Treaty, and recommend steps the Administration might take to gain a
favorable Senate vote.

Let me be clear: We do not expect Senate action on the CTBT this year,
but the Treaty was painstakingly negotiated and equal pains must be
taken in considering it. America deserves an unhurried, nonpartisan,
de-politicized dialogue on the CTBT. In this effort, General
Shalikashvili will remain an independent outside expert, not unlike
(former Defense Secretary) Bill Perry during the Perry process on
North Korea.

Within the government, he will be supported by Ambassador James
Goodby, who is himself a highly distinguished arms control negotiator,
and, of course, Senior Advisor John Holum will continue to coordinate
our interagency process within the administration. And needless to
say, General Shalikashvili will have my total support and help
whenever necessary.

But the mechanics, to my mind, are secondary. The overriding point is
that this Treaty needs to be dealt with in a more full and fair and
nuanced process, and I'm delighted that we have a superb team in
place, led by a superb general, to see that it is. With their help,
I'm convinced that America will ultimately ratify the CTBT and, thus,
help to ensure that the nuclear arms race becomes a relic of the 20th
century, not a recurring nightmare of the 21st.

Thank you.  General.

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: Thank you very much, Secretary Albright. I
welcome this opportunity very much to help on an issue of such great
importance to national security.

Some of my friends have asked why I'm willing to leave the West Coast
and devote much time and much energy now when the Senate is unlikely
to vote again this year on this issue. The answer is simple: This is
not about politics, as far as I'm concerned, or the legacy of a
particular administration, for that matter; for me, this is about
national security, global stability and American leadership.

Therefore, the Test Ban Treaty is just too important, as I see it, to
leave on a shelf. Instead, we must use this time to lay the groundwork
for eventual ratification by engaging, as Secretary Albright said, in
a low key, nonpartisan dialogue with every Senator interested in
understanding better the different views on issues and in exploring
ways to bridge those differences. Regrettably, such a dialogue did not
precede the short and sharp October ratification debate.

This is water over the bridge now. What matters now is having a
thorough but quiet discussion of the issues, to include the Treaty's
impact on the U.S. nuclear deterrent, its verifiability and its net
contribution to national security. And our allies and the rest of the
international community need straight answers about U.S. intentions at
the same time that senators deserve straight answers to their

I hope to start meeting with a broad range of senators, scientific
experts and others to hear their concerns and their suggestions on a
way ahead. And I am certainly willing to consider various ways that
senators' concerns might be addressed to make eventual ratification

At the appropriate time, I will make my recommendations to the
President and to the Secretary of State. As Secretary Albright
mentioned, Ambassador Goodby will serve as the Senior CTBT Coordinator
and, as such, will be my right-hand man in working with senators and
with their staffs. And he will be the one who will ensure that the
task force and I make the best use of the expertise on nuclear test
ban issues in and out of government.

With that, John Holum, who is here with us today, Jim Goodby and I are
ready to try to answer any questions you might have.

QUESTION: General, you and the Secretary and others seem to be
proceeding as if, if there were just enough time, the Treaty wouldn't
have been rejected. Those of us who go all the way back to SALT
(Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) I, believe it or not, never
underestimate the reactionary or deeply conservative opposition to
almost any arms control agreement.

Are you suggesting that the Treaty didn't go down partly on substance?
Do you expect to be able to change the minds of people who are always
skeptical of any arms control agreement, and that you don't even know
you're going to have a friendly President in the White House next year
on this Treaty? So do you think you have this particular George Bush
lined up, and how are you going to convert the right wing in the
Senate, which doesn't trust arms control agreements generally?

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: The premise of your question is that this is a
hopeless situation.

Q: No, the premise of my question is if there were only enough time,
if reasonable men only had a few more hours to talk about doing away
with nuclear testing, the outcome would have been different. I think
the opposition wasn't only a matter of short discussion but a matter
of substance. A lot of people don't believe in stopping testing of
nuclear weapons; they like to test nuclear weapons.

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: I believe that if we use the time wisely we can
have a dialogue that just might increase the chances that we can find
ways to bridge the differences between the two sides. The alternative
is to do nothing and just sit and let the Treaty sit on a shelf and
whither away. I think that would be irresponsible.

I am willing to devote my time and my energy to a dialogue that is
hopefully, in fact, low key and nonpartisan so that we can better
understand what really the issues are and then begin, with the help of
all involved, to try to bridge those differences. We might not be able
to bridge them all. No one can guarantee that this process will yield
ratification, but I can assure you that without it there is zero
chance of that.

I happen to think that this is a very worthwhile effort and so I'm
willing to devote my energy to it. And my sense is, from talking to at
least a few members on the Hill so far, that they are enough up there
on the Hill who feel like I, that it is worthwhile to make the effort,
even if none of us can be sure what the outcome of that effort will

Q: General, there were a couple of amendments to the Treaty, or
loopholes -- I don't know what you call them exactly, kind of legal
clauses -- that the administration wanted to amend to attach to the
Treaty before it was considered in the Senate, and Lott refused to
allow them.

When you say that you're willing to work out ways to address the
concerns, is this what you're talking about -- amending the Treaty,
putting ways for the United States to avoid full compliance when it
affects U.S. national security?

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: I will tell you that I'm looking for ways to
first understand what the concerns are and, secondly, to find ways to
bridge those short of having to renegotiate the Treaty. It might not
be possible to do that in the end, but it would be irresponsible not
to try to find ways. Whether that is through understandings that I
included or some other such provisions, it's too early to tell.

I think sometimes we run into trouble when we're trying to find a
solution to a problem we haven't yet identified. We know we have
problems because we know that the feelings are very deeply held and
that they aren't all political feelings; some are in substance. But
let us first go out and try to understand where people stand today and
then see if we cannot, in fact, find solutions to these problems, to
these differences, short of having to renegotiate the Treaty.

Q: General Shalikashvili, with your announcement coming as it does
less than week before President Clinton travels to South Asia, do you
hope that the announcement of having a point person and a point team
on getting CTBT through at some point in the near future will help
bolster the administration's efforts at negotiating to get India and
Pakistan to sign CTBT?

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: I cannot answer that, whether it will or will
not. I can tell you that I am here today because I couldn't get here
sooner. I injured my back on an overseas trip, and so the cortisone
shots in my back didn't take hold in time to come here any sooner. So
my being here today is really tied to when I could come. Whether the
result will be helpful or not, we will have to see. I don't know. But
that certainly was not timed because of that.

Q: Can either Ambassador Goodby or Mr. Holum answer whether or not
they think it would help with CTBT and India and Pakistan?

SENIOR ADVISOR HOLUM: I really don't think there is a way to judge
that. It seems to me that the issue is likely to be on the agenda in
both countries. It's been part of our dialogue. But this, as General
Shalikashvili said, this event was timed fortuitously the same week
the President is going, not deliberately.

Q: General, you'll be having dialogue with the Senate. Will you also
be having a dialogue or any interaction with the countries that
haven't signed CTBT?

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: I don't know yet. I think what is important to
understand -- and hopefully you can help also in that respect, and the
rest of you -- it's important not just that we have this low key,
bipartisan effort ongoing here trying to find a way to eventually get
to ratification. But it is also important that our allies and the rest
of the international community understand that the United States has,
in fact, an effort ongoing to try to find a way to reach ratification
of this Treaty.

Whether this will require me -- whether it would be advantageous for
me -- to visit those countries that are also having this internal
debate, I don't know yet. Much of it is, you know, the Secretary of
State will have to decide whether she considers that to be a useful
effort or not, and I personally will have to decide whether what I've
been asked to do that would help.

But it is important that the world understand that here in the United
States we are making a serious effort to try to bridge our differences
and to eventually, at the right time, ratify the Treaty.

Q: General, you said earlier that you wanted to identify the
differences with points of contention, but it seems to me those are
pretty clear already. Don't you already know what they are? I realize
you don't want to -- you can't go into this thinking that you're going
to -- you have to go in optimistically. But the differences are pretty
stark and didn't seem -- and there was quite, in spite of the short
time in October and just before the vote in the Senate, there was
quite a push from the administration.

What makes this push different than what happened last year, and do
you really think that there are other significant differences of
opinion on this that you're not already aware of?

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: I think that, first of all, it is hard for me
to believe that we really had the kind of debate on the issues, the
dialogue on the issues, outside of the limelight of TV cameras and the
politics that get involved that allowed for the exploration of not
only what the issues really are but potential solutions. I wish such a
dialogue has preceded that short debate in October. It did not, so
it's not very useful now to get into it.

But you also ought to not conclude that we now really understand what
people think today the core issues happen to be. And if this dialogue
that I am proposing only reconfirms what we already have in the
written record, then so be it. Then we understand. It might be that it
isn't. It might be that some things were said and done for others --
on both sides, by the way, of the issue. I just think it's worthwhile
to begin fresh and say let's forget about October; where are we now
and what bothers you, and is there a way that we can, through various
mechanisms that are available to us short of renegotiation, answer
your concerns.

Q: General, do you have any idea how long this might take you to
assess this? And do you think that ratification this year is
absolutely not possible?

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: I don't know how long it will take me. I am
prepared for it to go to the end of this year, and then the next
administration will have to decide whether they want to -- you know,
whether they have enough information to make a decision what to do or
whether they want to continue such an effort with me or with somebody
else. That's for others to decide. But as far as I'm concerned, I am
here hopefully for the long haul, which to me means the end of this

Now having said that, the second part of your question, I asked early
on whether this administration intended to submit this Treaty for
ratification during the remainder of President Clinton's term. I was
told they do not intend to do so. That was important to me because I
think it would be very difficult for me to maintain this bipartisan,
not politicized approach if someone would misinterpret a desire for
earlier ratification, as just, you know, political one-upmanship or
something. So it was an important point for me. I was very glad to
hear that that was the case, because I think that increases the
chances of this effort being successful. So I do not expect this
administration to call for a vote. I do not expect the Senate to bring
it up for a vote. I think that's for next year or beyond, whenever the
time is right.

Q: General, a representative of the Lawyers Committee for Nuclear
Policy expressed very serious concern that the renewed enthusiasm, for
want of a better word, for the development of a missile defense shield
or Star Wars would undercut all arms control treaties, particularly
the CTBT. So how would you see resolving what appears to be a

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: I'm not sure it's a contradiction. Whether the
premise is correct or not, it does not detract from the need to
undertake what I have agreed to undertake. As a matter of fact, I
would tell you, if anything, it heightens the need to do something
like that. So I would really -- while everything in the world is
linked, as far as I'm concerned, the CTBT on its own merit is
important enough for me and for others to devote all of their energy
to trying to come to closure on this issue because there are just
enough other things ongoing that make it important that we have a
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Q: General, what is the future in general of the CTBT at the global
level, let's say the United Nations and the membership? And also, as
the President travels to Bangladesh, Bangladesh has already ratified
and signed it before he goes there. Do you think at the global level
it will be ratified and signed within the time frame without the
United States and India and Pakistan?

GENERAL SHALIKASHVILI: I have my own views on it, but someone who can
give you a much more informed view on this, I'm sure, is John Holum.
So, John, would you.

SENIOR ADVISOR HOLUM: Well, one of the things we're doing is
encouraging other countries to continue with their ratification
efforts. We now, as you point out, have the ratification of
Bangladesh, also Turkey. We're up to 28 of the 44 countries who are
indispensable for the Treaty's entry into force. We're hopeful that
that number will keep climbing. It's impossible to predict how the
remaining countries will proceed, what the timetables will be.

Among the 44 who are the essential for the Treaty's entry into force,
43 have signed -- I'm sorry -- 41 have signed. The only three who
haven't are India, Pakistan and North Korea. And so we'd expect that
those numbers would continue to climb since those countries have all
committed to proceed. And, of course, you know what the state of play
is on India and Pakistan.

(The briefing was concluded at 11:45 a.m.)

(end transcript)

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