Talbott, Holum make case for Treaty

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Acting Under Secretary of State and Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency John Holum participated in a ceremony last week where they highlighted the need for action on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty now pending before the Senate.
The officials took the opportunity to discuss the CTBT at the 10th anniversary of the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, a 24-hour communications center which links the United States with governments around the world, sending and receiving thousands of messages annually under a wide range of arms control and security agreements.

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, in his prepared remarks said, “In the months ahead, the Administration will be working with Congress on a ratification effort of our own -- of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The CTBT will lock-in the current nuclear powers at present qualitative levels of weaponry, and it will help to prevent states that do not have nuclear weapons from developing them. The United States already observes a moratorium on nuclear testing. It’s time to hold other nations to the same standard.”

Acting Under Secretary of State John Holum said, “Arms control treaties ... are substantially reducing the numbers of nuclear and conventional weapons threatening our interests, our people, and our men and women in uniform.
“The treaties are only as good as the level of compliance and enforcement we can ensure. ...The NRRC ... giv[es] us confidence that the parties to an agreement are doing what they have promised ... [and] means the United States can approach arms control from a position of confidence and strength, and thus pursue additional steps....
“...Our allies in Britain and France became the first two nuclear weapon states to ratify the CTBT. The ball is now even more squarely in our court. The sooner we ratify the CTBT, the sooner we set the rest of the world on the same path. U.S. leadership is critical to the CTBT’s success. We should be in the business not of complicating arms control, but making it happen.”
After the ceremony Mr. Holum said in a briefing, “The Senate has an historic opportunity to complete an effort this year that began during the Eisenhower administration, and that’s to


finally ban nuclear weapons testing of any size by anyone, anywhere, forever. ...We have the overwhelming support of the American people, some 70 percent according to recent polls, including roughly the same proportion of both parties.... That’s an extraordinary level of public support for any issue.
“I want to underscore the importance of ratifying this Treaty for one of our most important international security challenges, and that’s to intercept and prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missiles to more countries.
“This helps us in two ways to do that. One, a ban on nuclear testing is another tall obstacle for any aspiring nuclear weapon state. You can
make a nuclear weapon without testing, but it’s a much bigger challenge ... to make weapons of small enough size to be a great danger to us. ... And second, the Treaty ... fortifies our diplomacy. ...The United States is the leading advocate in the world of ... nonproliferation enforcement. Now, especially, when we are trying to pursue that effort ... we can’t afford any suggestion that the United States is not itself committed to strong nonproliferation standards.
“But the Senate has very little time left in this legislative year. It should use that time well and, as the President [has] said ... as the Secretary of State ... and other administration leaders have argued ... [the Senate] should ratify the Test Ban Treaty before it goes home this fall.”

Produced by the White House Working Group on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
For more information on the CTBT: Phone: 202-647-8677 Fax: 202-647-6928