DATE=10/12/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON-TEST BAN (L) NUMBER=2-254932 BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: As the Senate held its final debate on the nuclear test-ban treaty, President Clinton was still holding out against a Republican demand that he appeal for the treaty to be taken off the Senate agenda until after he leaves office. V-O-A's David Gollust has details from the White House. TEXT: Mr. Clinton met a key Republican condition Monday with his letter to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott asking him postpone action on the treaty. But he will not give in to the Republican demand that he request - in writing -- that the treaty be shelved until after he leaves office in 2001. It was evident before the climactic debate began that the treaty -- banning all nuclear tests -- stood no chance of getting the two-thirds Senate vote needed for ratification. The White House was hoping that treaty supporters would be able to muster a simple majority to take the treaty off the agenda without any specific time frame for re-consideration. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters that both a treaty defeat - and a postponement until 2001 - would send the wrong message about the American commitment to nuclear non-proliferation. /// LOCKHART ACTUALITY /// They both send the wrong message to the rest of the world. And if we say that under no circumstances, no matter what happens in the world could we possibly take this up - even if it was a situation where U-S leadership was desperately need in some place in the world - I think that sends the wrong message. /// END ACT /// Aides to the President say ratification of the treaty would be unlikely in the heat of next year's election campaign --even if Democrats succeed in their procedural gambit. But it would at least spare Mr. Clinton - who was the first world leader to sign the treaty - a major political embarrassment. In his letter to Senator Lott Monday, Mr. Clinton acknowledged the heavy opposition to the treaty but said an early vote and its likely defeat would "severely harm" national security, damage relations with allies, and undermine four decades of U-S leadership in arms control. The White House wants a much longer period of hearings and debate on the treaty than the 9 days that were allocated by Senate leaders, in order to give the Administration more time to try to win over the votes of moderate Republicans who have supported other arms control agreements in the past. (Signed) NEB/DAG/gm 12-Oct-1999 15:08 PM EDT (12-Oct-1999 1908 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .