SENATE DEFEAT OF COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY Friends Committee on National Legislation Press Statement-- For Immediate Release, 13 October 1999 Today, the United States Senate voted down the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), by a vote of 51 to 48, with one voting present. If ratified by the United States and the forty three other nuclear capable countries, the CTBT -- already signed by 154 and ratified 52 -- would ban all nuclear test explosions worldwide. Without U.S. ratification, the treaty will never enter into force and other countries will be tempted to resume or begin nuclear weapons test explosions. The Senate defeat of the CTBT today is a vote against a sane nuclear policy. Indeed, the Senate rejection of the CTBT risks re-starting the nuclear weapons arms race. We will all be losers at the finish line of that race. The Senate has just put U.S. citizens into nuclear jeopardy and has disgraced our nation beyond belief on the world stage. The enormity of the Senate defeat of the CTBT cannot be overstated. Senators who voted against the CTBT have just made a tragic mistake of historic proportions. The Senate last defeated a treaty when it voted down the Treaty of Versailles in March of 1920, by a vote of 49-35. The failure of the United States then to ratify that treaty to join the League of Nations contributed to international instability which led to World War II. The consequences of today's Senate defeat of the CTBT may produce worse results, because nuclear weapons were not in the equation prior to WWII as they are today. The failure of the Senate to ratify the CTBT will have far-reaching and tragic effects. In addition to giving a green light to restarting the nuclear weapons arms race, today's Senate action imperils the foundations of arms control treaties which, until now, have been upheld by the United States, its NATO allies, and other countries worldwide. In short, the Senate has dealt a devastating blow to non-proliferation, to U.S. national security, and to the possibility of a future free of the threat of nuclear war. Our work to achieve the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - which we've been doing for forty years - has just suffered a grave setback. But that setback will not be the final word. Senate rules allow this treaty to be brought up again. We know that the CTBT must be ratified. If not now, then tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then next week. If not next week, then next year. Americans will not go away from this challenge. We will not abandon our country and the world to the Senate's mad nuclear policy. Today the Senate did not speak for us; nor for the 82% of Americans who support the CTBT. During the long struggle for civil rights, when he faced an unenlightened Senate, Martin Luther King, Jr. observed that 'the moral arch of the universe bends toward justice.' The moral arch of the universe also bends toward peace, toward a world without the threat of nuclear war. We shall overcome this Senate's love affair with the destructive power of nuclear weapons. We will ratify the CTBT one day. Joe Volk Executive Secretary 202-547-6000 or 202-607-7657