23 September 1997


(Deems approval "signal event" in history of arms control) (2820)

Following is the text of a letter sent to the Senate by President
Clinton on September 22, seeking that chamber's consent to
ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty:

(begin text)


I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to
ratification, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (the "Treaty"
or "CTBT"), opened for signature and signed by the United States at
New York on September 24, 1996. The Treaty includes two Annexes, a
Protocol, and two Annexes to the Protocol, all of which form integral
parts of the Treaty. I transmit also, for the information of the
Senate, the report of the Department of State on the Treaty, including
an Article-by-Article analysis of the Treaty.

Also included in the Department of State's report is a document
relevant to but not part of the Treaty: the Text on the Establishment
of a Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban
Treaty Organization, adopted by the Signatory States to the Treaty on
November 19, 1996. The Text provides the basis for the work of the
Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
Organization in preparing detailed procedures for implementing the
Treaty and making arrangements for the first session of the Conference
of the States Parties to the Treaty. In particular, by the terms of
the Treaty, the Preparatory Commission will be responsible for
ensuring that the verification regime established by the Treaty will
be effectively in operation at such time as the Treaty enters into
force. My Administration has completed and will submit separately to
the Senate an analysis of the verifiability of the Treaty, consistent
with section 37 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act, as amended.
Such legislation as may be necessary to implement the Treaty also will
be submitted separately to the Senate for appropriate action.

The conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty is a
signal event in the history of arms control. The subject of the Treaty
is one that has been under consideration by the international
community for nearly 40 years, and the significance of the conclusion
of negotiations and the signature to date of more than 140 states
cannot be overestimated. The Treaty creates an absolute prohibition
against the conduct of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other
nuclear explosion anywhere. Specifically, each State Party undertakes
not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other
nuclear explosion; to prohibit and prevent any nuclear explosions at
any place under its jurisdiction or control; and to refrain from
causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out
of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.

The Treaty establishes a far reaching verification regime, based on
the provision of seismic, hydroacoustic, radionuclide, and infrasound
data by a global network (the "International Monitoring System")
consisting of the facilities listed in Annex 1 to the Protocol. Data
provided by the International Monitoring System will be stored,
analyzed, and disseminated, in accordance with Treaty-mandated
operational manuals, by an International Data Center that will be part
of the Technical Secretariat of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban
Treaty Organization. The verification regime includes rules for the
conduct of on-site inspections, provisions for consultation and
clarification, and voluntary confidence-building measures designed to
contribute to the timely resolution of any compliance concerns arising
from possible misinterpretation of monitoring data related to chemical
explosions that a State Party intends to or has carried out. Equally
important to the U.S. ability to verify the Treaty, the text
specifically provides for the right of States Parties to use
information obtained by national technical means in a manner
consistent with generally recognized principles of international law
for purposes of verification generally, and in particular, as the
basis for an on-site inspection request. The verification regime
provides each State Party the right to protect sensitive
installations, activities, or locations not related to the Treaty.
Determinations of compliance with the Treaty rest with each individual
State Party to the Treaty.

Negotiations for a nuclear test-ban treaty date back to the Eisenhower
Administration. During the period 1978-1980, negotiations among the
United States, the United Kingdom, and the USSR (the Depositary
Governments of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
(NPT)) made progress, but ended without agreement. Thereafter, as the
nonnuclear weapon states called for test-ban negotiations, the United
States urged the Conference on Disarmament (the "CD") to devote its
attention to the difficult aspects of monitoring compliance with such
a ban and developing elements of an international monitoring regime.
After the United States, joined by other key states, declared its
support for comprehensive test-ban negotiations with a view toward
prompt conclusion of a treaty, negotiations on a comprehensive
test-ban were initiated in the CD, in January 1994. Increased impetus
for the conclusion of a comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty by the
end of 1996 resulted from the adoption, by the Parties to the NPT in
conjunction with the indefinite and unconditional extension of that
Treaty, of "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation
and Disarmament" that listed the conclusion of a CTBT as the highest
measure of its program of action.

On August 11, 1995, when I announced U.S. support for a "zero yield"
CTBT, I stated that:

"... As part of our national security strategy, the United States must
and will retain strategic nuclear forces sufficient to deter any
future hostile foreign leadership with access to strategic nuclear
forces from acting against our vital interests and to convince it that
seeking a nuclear advantage would be futile. In this regard, I
consider the maintenance of a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile to
be a supreme national interest of the United States.

"I am assured by the Secretary of Energy and the Directors of our
nuclear weapons labs that we can meet the challenge of maintaining our
nuclear deterrent under a CTBT through a Science Based Stockpile
Stewardship program without nuclear testing. I directed the
implementation of such a program almost 2 years ago, and it is being
developed with the support of the Secretary of Defense and the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This program will now be tied
to a new certification procedure. In order for this program to
succeed, both the Administration and the Congress must provide
sustained bipartisan support for the stockpile stewardship program
over the next decade and beyond. I am committed to working with the
Congress to ensure this support.

"While I am optimistic that the stockpile stewardship program will be
successful, as President I cannot dismiss the possibility, however
unlikely, that the program will fall short of its objectives.
Therefore, in addition to the new annual certification procedure for
our nuclear weapons stockpile, I am also establishing concrete,
specific safeguards that define the conditions under which the United
States can enter into a CTBT ..."

The safeguards that were established are as follows:

The conduct of a Science Based Stockpile Stewardship program to ensure
a high level of confidence in the safety and reliability of nuclear
weapons in the active stockpile, including the conduct of a broad
range of effective and continuing experimental programs.

The maintenance of modern nuclear laboratory facilities and programs
in theoretical and exploratory nuclear technology that will attract,
retain, and ensure the continued application of our human scientific
resources to those programs on which continued progress in nuclear
technology depends.

The maintenance of the basic capability to resume nuclear test
activities prohibited by the CTBT should the United States cease to be
bound to adhere to this Treaty.

The continuation of a comprehensive research and development program
to improve our treaty monitoring capabilities and operations.

The continuing development of a broad range of intelligence gathering
and analytical capabilities and operations to ensure accurate and
comprehensive information on worldwide nuclear arsenals, nuclear
weapons development programs, and related nuclear programs.

The understanding that if the President of the United States is
informed by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy (DOE)
-- advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council, the Directors of DOE's
nuclear weapons laboratories, and the Commander of the U.S. Strategic
Command -- that a high level of confidence in the safety or
reliability of a nuclear weapon type that the two Secretaries consider
to be critical to our nuclear deterrent could no longer be certified,
the President, in consultation with the Congress, would be prepared to
withdraw from the CTBT under the standard "supreme national interests"
clause in order to conduct whatever testing might be required.

With regard to the last safeguard:

The U.S. regards continued high confidence in the safety and
reliability of its nuclear weapons stockpile as a matter affecting the
supreme interests of the country and will regard any events calling
that confidence into question as "extraordinary events related to the
subject matter of the treaty." It will exercise its rights under the
"supreme national interests" clause if it judges that the safety or
reliability of its nuclear weapons stockpile cannot be assured with
the necessary high degree of confidence without nuclear testing.

To implement that commitment, the Secretaries of Defense and Energy
-advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council or "NWC" (comprising
representatives of DOD, JCS, and DOE), the Directors of DOE's nuclear
weapons laboratories and the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command
-- will report to the President annually, whether they can certify
that the Nation's nuclear weapons stockpile and all critical elements
thereof are, to a high degree of confidence, safe and reliable, and,
if they cannot do so, whether, in their opinion and that of the NWC,
testing is necessary to assure, with a high degree of confidence, the
adequacy of corrective measures to assure the safety and reliability
of the stockpile, or elements thereof. The Secretaries will state the
reasons for their conclusions, and the views of the NWC, reporting any
minority views.

After receiving the Secretaries' certification and accompanying
report, including NWC and minority views, the President will provide
them to the appropriate committees of the Congress, together with a
report on the actions he has taken in light of them.

If the President is advised, by the above procedure, that a high level
of confidence in the safety or reliability of a nuclear weapon type
critical to the Nation's nuclear deterrent could no longer be
certified without nuclear testing, or that nuclear testing is
necessary to assure the adequacy of corrective measures, the President
will be prepared to exercise our "supreme national interests" rights
under the Treaty, in order to conduct such testing.

The procedure for such annual certification by the Secretaries, and
for advice to them by the NWC, U.S. Strategic Command, and the DOE
nuclear weapons laboratories will be embodied in domestic law.

As negotiations on a text drew to a close it became apparent that one
member of the CD, India, would not join in a consensus decision to
forward the text to the United Nations for its adoption. After
consultations among countries supporting the text, Australia requested
the President of the U.N. General Assembly to convene a resumed
session of the 50th General Assembly to consider and take action on
the text. The General Assembly was so convened, and by a vote of 158
to 3 the Treaty was adopted. On September 24, 1996, the Treaty was
opened for signature and I had the privilege, on behalf of the United
States, of being the first to sign the Treaty.



The Treaty assigns responsibility for overseeing its implementation to
the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (the
"Organization"), to be established in Vienna. The Organization, of
which each State Party will be a member, will have three organs: the
Conference of the States Parties, a 51-member Executive Council, and
the Technical Secretariat. The Technical Secretariat will supervise
the operation of and provide technical support for the International
Monitoring System, operate the International Data Center, and prepare
for and support the conduct of on-site inspections. The Treaty also
requires each State Party to establish a National Authority that will
serve as the focal point within the State Party for liaison with the
Organization and with other States Parties.

The Treaty will enter into force 180 days after the deposit of
instruments of ratification by all of the 44 states listed in Annex 2
to the Treaty, but in no case earlier than 2 years after its being
opened for signature. If, 3 years from the opening of the Treaty for
signature, the Treaty has not entered into force, the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his capacity as Depositary
of the Treaty, will convene a conference of the states that have
deposited their instruments of ratification if a majority of those
states so requests. At this conference the participants will consider
what measures consistent with international law might be undertaken to
accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the early
entry into force of the Treaty. Their decision on such measures must
be taken by consensus.

Reservations to the Treaty Articles and the Annexes to the Treaty are
not permitted. Reservations may be taken to the Protocol and its
Annexes so long as they are not incompatible with the object and
purpose of the Treaty. Amendment of the Treaty requires the positive
vote of a majority of the States Parties to the Treaty, voting in a
duly convened Amendment Conference at which no State Party casts a
negative vote. Such amendments would enter into force 30 days after
ratification by all States Parties that cast a positive vote at the
Amendment Conference.

The Treaty is of unlimited duration, but contains a "supreme
interests" clause entitling any State Party that determines that its
supreme interests have been jeopardized by extraordinary events
related to the subject matter of the Treaty to withdraw from the
Treaty upon 6-month's notice.

Unless a majority of the Parties decides otherwise, a Review
Conference will be held 10 years following the Treaty's entry into
force and may be held at 10-year intervals thereafter if the
Conference of the States Parties so decides by a majority vote (or
more frequently if the Conference of the States Parties so decides by
a two-thirds vote).

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty is of singular significance
to the continuing efforts to stem nuclear proliferation and strengthen
regional and global stability. Its conclusion marks the achievement of
the highest priority item on the international arms control and
nonproliferation agenda. Its effective implementation will provide a
foundation on which further efforts to control and limit nuclear
weapons can be soundly based. By responding to the call for a CTBT by
the end of 1996, the Signatory States, and most importantly the
nuclear weapon states, have demonstrated the bona fides of their
commitment to meaningful arms control measures.

The monitoring challenges presented by the wide scope of the CTBT
exceed those imposed by any previous nuclear test-related treaty. Our
current capability to monitor nuclear explosions will undergo
significant improvement over the next several years to meet these
challenges. Even with these enhancements, though, several conceivable
CTBT evasion scenarios have been identified. Nonetheless, our National
Intelligence Means (NIM), together with the Treaty's verification
regime and our diplomatic efforts, provide the United States with the
means to make the CTBT effectively verifiable. By this, I mean that
the United States:

will have a wide range of resources (NIM, the totality of information
available in public and private channels, and the mechanisms
established by the Treaty) for addressing compliance concerns and
imposing sanctions in cases of noncompliance; and will thereby have
the means to: (a) assess whether the Treaty is deterring the conduct
of nuclear explosions (in terms of yields and number of tests) that
could damage U.S. security interests and constraining the
proliferation of nuclear weapons, and (b) take prompt and effective

My judgment that the CTBT is effectively verifiable also reflects the
belief that U.S. nuclear deterrence would not be undermined by
possible nuclear testing that the United States might fail to detect
under the Treaty, bearing in mind that the United States will derive
substantial confidence from other factors -- the CTBT's "supreme
national interests" clause, the annual certification procedure for the
U.S. nuclear stockpile, and the U.S. Safeguards program.

I believe that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty is in the
best interests of the United States. Its provisions will significantly
further our nuclear nonproliferation and arms control objectives and
strengthen international security. Therefore, I urge the Senate to
give early and favorable consideration to the Treaty and its advice
and consent to ratification as soon as possible.



September 22, 1997.

(end text)