Forty years after Eisenhower begins effort, Treaty ratification in reach

This week marks anniversary of President's letter to Khrushchev, calling for efforts to end testing

Forty years ago this week President Eisenhower proposed to Soviet Chairman Nikita Khrushchev that technical experts begin work on the practical problems involved in achieving an end to nuclear testing.
In the four decades since that April 28, 1958, letter, American presidents have worked toward the goal of stopping nuclear testing for all time. President Eisenhower hoped to make this his lasting gift to the country, and said the failure to achieve a ban on nuclear testing, would have to be classed as the greatest disappointment of any administration -- of any decade -- of any time and of any party....
President Kennedy took up the cause of the test ban. When negotiations were concluded on a Limited Test Ban Treaty, President Kennedy addressed the American people, calling the Treaty a shaft of light cut into the darkness.
He continued, Negotiations were concluded in Moscow on a treaty to ban all nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water. For the first time, an agreement has been reached on bringing the forces of nuclear destruction under international control. ... This limited treaty will radically reduce the nuclear testing which would otherwise be conducted on both sides; it will prohibit the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and all others who sign it, from engaging in the atmospheric tests which have so alarmed mankind; and it offers to all the world a welcome sign of hope. ... The achievement of this goal is not a victory for one side -- it is a victory for mankind. ... It reflects simply our common recognition of the dangers in further testing.
President Clinton has taken the final steps toward completing the work begun by President Eisenhower and furthered by President Kennedy.


Upon signing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty in 1996, President Clinton said, This week ... we take a giant step forward. By overwhelming global consensus, we will make a solemn commitment to end all nuclear tests for all time. ... This Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will help to prevent the nuclear powers from developing more advanced and more dangerous weapons. It will limit the ability of other states to acquire such devices themselves. It points us toward a century in which the roles and risks of nuclear weapons can be further reduced, and ultimately eliminated.
The CTBT was transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification in September 1997. It still awaits action by the Senate. In his State of the Union address, President Clinton said, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing an ambitious agenda to reduce the serious threat of weapons of mass destruction. This year, four decades after it was first proposed by President Eisenhower, a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban is within reach ... and I ask the Senate to approve it this year.

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