Test Ban News

President Clinton Meets with National Security Team on 
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

As the Senate geared up for a vote early next week on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), President Clinton, at a White House meeting with his national security team said, the CTBT "is very important for protecting our people from the danger of nuclear war.  That's why so many prominent Americans, including four former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff support it." 

The President added:  "Our experts have concluded that we don't need more tests to keep our own nuclear forces strong.  . . Since we don't need nuclear tests, it is strongly in our interests to achieve agreement that can help prevent other countries, like India, Pakistan, Russia, China, and Iran and others from testing and deploying nuclear weapons."

The CTBT is scheduled to come up for a vote in the Senate next Tuesday. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott called for a quick vote on the agreement.  After an original for only 10 hours of debate followed by a vote on October 6, Senators agreed to set aside 14 hours for general debate on Friday, October 8, and additional time for amendments. A vote is expected after the Columbus Day holiday.   State Department spokesman, James P. Rubin, said the Administration was "confident

that once the case is made in a serious, sustained, and analytical way, that sufficient support will be there for this treaty to be ratified."

The Senate Armed Services Committee is planning three days of hearings beginning October 5, with witnesses from the intelligence community to address verification issues.  October 6, Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hugh Shelton will testify about the agreement's national security benefits.  The last day of hearings is scheduled to focus on maintaining the safety and reliability of the U.S. stockpile without explosive testing.  Today, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Jesse Helms, announced that he would hold hearings on the treaty on Thursday.

President Clinton transmitted the agreement for Senate approval two years ago.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee did not hold hearings during that time, linking the treaty's fate to Senate consideration of other international agreements.  The United States has not conducted explosive tests since 1992.  The CTBT would legally bind other nations to that standard.

Produced by the White House Working Group on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.