USIS Washington File

06 October 1999

Text: Albright Asks Senators to Support CTBT

(Sends letter October 5 to all 100 members) (760)

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright October 5 sent a letter to all
100 Senators in the U.S. Senate urging them to support the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) when it comes before the Senate
for a vote, State Department spokesman James Rubin said October 6.

Following is the State Department text:

(begin text)

Office of the Spokesman
October 6, 1999



Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright has written to all members of
the U.S. Senate urging their support for ratification of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) when the issue comes up for vote
next week on the floor of the Senate. The letters were dated October
5, 1999, and a copy of the basic text is attached.

Following is the Albright letter:

(begin letter)


I am writing to urge your support for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test
Ban Treaty (CTBT) when it comes to the Senate floor next week.

No question before the Senate is more important to ensuring our
national security and our country's future safety. As President
Clinton said in July, "We have a chance right now to end nuclear
testing forever. It would be a tragedy for our security and our
children's future to let this opportunity slip away."

First and foremost, the United States must maintain its military
strength, including its nuclear deterrent forces. Our scientists have
the means to do so without nuclear test explosions and have certified
that our existing weapons will work as designed. The United States has
not conducted a nuclear test explosion since 1992 when President Bush
announced a halt to development of new types of nuclear weapons and
Congress initiated a moratorium; we have no plans to test again. The
CTBT will hold everyone else to that same standard. Furthermore, it
will augment our national capabilities with an unprecedented
international monitoring system that will strengthen our ability to
detect and deter nuclear testing, thus ensuring rigorous verification.

The CTBT was proposed by President Eisenhower in 1958, and it took 40
years to realize his vision. The treaty is supported by a vast
majority of the American people. It has been signed by over 150
nations and ratified by many of our closest allies. Ratifying it would
provide a strong incentive to the rest of the world -- both
established nuclear powers such as Russia and China as well as other
countries such as India and Pakistan -- to halt their own nuclear
tests. Failure to ratify would be a major setback to U.S.
international leadership, especially in the area of non-proliferation
and arms control. We are the world leader in the fight against the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and against the forces of
international terrorism that seek to acquire such weapons. If the
United States rejects this treaty and treats nuclear weapons testing
as "business as usual," so will everyone else -- and the nightmare of
proliferation will only grow.

You and your Senate colleagues face a critical vote and carry the
responsibility of deciding how best to build a safer future for
America in a world where dangers abound. I ask you to look at this
question, not in the context of the Cold War, but rather with respect
to the range of emerging threats we face in South Asia, North Korea,
the Middle East and elsewhere -- from the proliferation of nuclear
weapons and ballistic missiles. The CTBT is a fundamental roadblock in
the path of this trend toward proliferation. I urge you to focus on
the key questions or whether America is more secure against the
nuclear threats of today and tomorrow, and whether America's
leadership in the world is stronger, with or without the CTBT.

The President and his national security team will be doing everything
they can in the coming days to explain why we have concluded that the
CTBT is in the U.S. interest, and to respond to all your questions and
concerns about the treaty. In the meantime, I enclose information that
I believe will prove helpful as you prepare to vote. Please do not
hesitate to contact me, my staff, or other members of the team if you
have questions or need additional information.

I look forward to working with you as we address this critical
national security issue.


Madeleine K. Albright

(end letter)

(end text)