USIS Washington 

12 October 1999


White House Report, Tuesday, October 12, 1999

(Pakistan, CTBT, Jordan's King) (670)



"There are ongoing conversations between the Democratic leadership and
the Republican leadership in the Senate" on what to do about a Senate
vote on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, White House Press Secretary
Joe Lockhart said.

He noted that President Clinton October 11 "sent a letter to the
leaders seeking a delay in the vote, based on our national security
interests...and it's our hope now that the Senate will do the same and
delay the vote."

"I think we've made clear that it's not in our national security
interests to go forward in this situation with a process that has not
allowed for full debate and examination of the issue when the votes
are clearly not there, as it stands now," Lockhart said. "I think
there are a number of Senators on both sides of the aisle who share
that view. The question now is can the leadership work out a process
where we can move forward and delay the vote?"

Lockhart made clear that the White House does not feel comfortable
with those Senators "who have argued that we shouldn't take this up in
any way, shape, or form until after the next election."

It's in the national security of the United States to delay the vote,
Lockhart said, because it sends the wrong message if the treaty is
defeated. But, he added, "it sends an equally dangerous message if we
indicate that under no terms and in no certain terms we are not in the
nonproliferation business from now until 2001."