The White House Briefing Room

September 24, 1998


                                THE WHITE HOUSE

                         Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                               September 24, 1998

                                 PRESS BRIEFING
                                BY MIKE MCCURRY

                               The Briefing Room

1:59 P.M. EDT

	MR. MCCURRY:  Let me start with an anniversary.  Two years ago today, 
President Clinton became the first leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban 
Treaty, which had been proposed by President Eisenhower over 40 years ago.  In 
that time, 150 states have signed the historic treaty, including all of our NATO 
allies, Russia, China, Israel, Japan, and South Korea.  
	Twenty states have already ratified the CTBT, including Britain, France, 
Germany, Australia, and Brazil.  And obviously the United States has been 
working very hard with the hopes that India and Pakistan will eventually join 
that list -- the President being well satisfied, of course, with the statement 
on that subject that's been made by Prime Minister Sharif, committing the 
government of Pakistan to adhering to the treaty by next fall.

	We are going to be putting out a statement from the President that will 
strongly urge the Senate of the United States to give advice and consent as 
early as possible next year. 
	A little history on this, 35 years ago the United States Senate by a 
vote of 80-19, approved the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which President Kennedy 
considered one of his greatest accomplishments as President.  The Limited Test 
Ban Treaty was signed in Moscow August 5, 1963, submitted to the Senate by 
President Kennedy for advice and consent on August 8, 1963.  The first hearing 
in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was held four days later, and the 
entire process from signature to approval on the Senate floor was concluded in 
less than two months.

	Here in Washington, the Congress used to know how to get business done 
in a timely fashion.  There has been a long, long time now in which the CTBT has 
been pending.  It has strong bipartisan support from a range of former Chairmen 
of the Joint Chiefs and others, and the President I think is quite correct as he 
argues in the statement we'll make available at the end of the briefing, that 
now is the time to ratify this very important arms control measure.


	     Q	  This just in, the Indians say that they are 
prepared to sign the CTBT within the year. 

	     MR. MCCURRY:  Well, the plan comes together.  

	     Q	  Does this mean that the President will be visiting 
the subcontinent?

	     MR. MCCURRY:  No, I think that -- I was not aware of 
that report.  There had been significant diplomatic work done by the 
United States with the government of India and the government of 
Pakistan with respect to the CTBT, which is why I opened on that 
subject.  Certainly if that report bears out, we would welcome that 
just as we welcomed the statement by Prime Minister Sharif.  We're 
going to work hard so that both governments understand the positive 
effect that adherence to a comprehensive test ban regime would have 
in the region, and we certainly will be pressing that argument.

	     As to the President's travel in the fall, that is still 
under review and remains under review, and we'll alert you if the 
status changes.  

	     Q	  Is it your understanding that they're signing as 
nuclear powers like the other five? 

	     MR. MCCURRY:  There was no indication of that in Prime 
Minister Sharif's statement, and since I've just heard of the 
statement of the government of India, I'll have to inquire further.  
But our understanding was that they recognized that would be contrary 
to the intent of the test ban regime itself. 

	     Q	  Mike, why is the First Lady telephoning Democratic 
members of Congress regarding the impeachment proceedings?

	     MR. MCCURRY:  I presume because she loves her husband 
and she supports him.  But you would have to really contact her staff 
to get a better answer.