October 7, 1999
SEN. HELMS: Hello, Madeleine. Welcome to you. I told her if it weren't for her, she -- (laughs).
SEC. ALBRIGHT: I heard that. (Laughs.)
SEN. HELMS: Senator Biden has an opening statement, and I have none, so, if you will proceed, and then we will hear from the distinguished secretary of State.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. HELMS: Welcome, lady.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Welcome, Madame Secretary.
At the outset, I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening this hearing. It's been over two years since the president submitted this Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty. And since that date it has not gotten the attention it should. But I welcome today's hearing. I think it's better than us not having done it, but I'm not sure it's what we should have done. I believe very strongly, Mr. Chairman, that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is manifestly in the security interests of the United States, and I believe that the Senate should give its advice and consent.
As the senator -- as the chairman will recall, we have met from the time his has been chairman on a regular basis, and you always ask me what my priorities are, and you'll recall, I've indicated to him consistently the single most important thing I think this committee can do is attend to this treaty.
Ratification of the Test Ban Treaty is in our national security interests because the treaty is going to help reduce the ability of nations to join the nuclear club or to field sophisticated nuclear weapons they do not now have. Madam Secretary, Mr. Chairman, no treaty's perfect; no treaty can guarantee perfect security. But the example of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is illustrative. Three decades ago, when the NPT was signed, it was commonly believed that dozens of nations would soon possess nuclear weapons. Today, there are just seven nations that acknowledge having the weapons and one or two more that may have constructed a nuclear device. Undeniably, the nuclear test ban treaty -- the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in my view has been successful in containing proliferation. We always hear how it's failed. Remember, before it was signed, everyone was talking about a couple dozen nations having the capacity -- nuclear capacity. Similarly, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, I believe, will constrain nuclear proliferation because it will be difficult for countries who have never tested to be sure that the weapons they have (sic) tested will work, and for those who have tested to make any significant change in their arsenal.
The United States, having conducted over 1,000 tests in five decades, or about one every two weeks, has an extensive database of knowledge and a breathtaking stockpile stewardship program to ensure the reliability of our nuclear stockpile without further testing. I would note parenthetically here that I have spoken at length with the two gentlemen who designed the stockpile stewardship program. I have listened to all of the directors of the laboratories, including former lab directors, and I don't hear anybody, anybody, anybody, anybody, anybody saying what's implied, and that is that our stewardship stockpile program now has put our stockpile in jeopardy or there's any reasonable prospect of that happening any time in the future.
Additionally, the CTBT will make it harder for other nations who have not conducted many tests to modernize their nuclear arsenal. For the last two decades -- excuse me, for the last two years, extensive investigations have focused on whether the People's Republic of China may have stolen key secrets from U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories. Such espionage of course is a matter of grave concern.
But I challenge everyone to consider this: China can make far more progress in modernizing its nuclear arsenal by testing than it can from a mere analysis of whether the nuclear secrets that have been stolen from us can be used. If we fail to certify or ratify the CTB, China will be free to stay out of the treaty, and it may feel free to resume testing. The result will be that China would have a far more advanced arsenal than it possesses today than it could possibly attain under the treaty. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is in our interests because it can contain the advances of nuclear arms in South Asia as well. Seventeen months ago, India and Pakistan each conducted a series of nuclear tests. Aggressive diplomacy on the part of the administration has so far prevented these countries from testing further or deploying those devices on ballistic missiles. They will probably join the treaty and have indicated they will do so. But our failure to join, I predict, would result in a destructive and costly nuclear arms race in which the people of both those nations, and indeed, the world, will be losers.
The CTBT is in our interest because it will enhance our ability to determine if other nations have tested by establishing a global network of monitoring stations, well over 300 stations, in fact, many of which complement our own vast monitoring capabilities now. The treaty requires installation or upgrades of dozens of stations in key areas of interest to us, including 31 stations in Russia, 11 in China, 17 in the Middle East. These are obviously not places where we can just go and set up shop, so they'll make a considerable contribution to overall monitoring.
And finally, Mr. Chairman, the CTBT is in our interest because it will cap the nuclear programs of the existing nuclear powers, thus giving our military planners greater certainty about the arsenals of possible adversaries.
There is much more to say, and over the coming days we'll debate many of the fine points of this treaty; these points are important, and the reason why we should conduct several hearings to review this treaty, several more than we've had. But I urge everyone to stay focused on the central question: Will we be better off in a world without nuclear testing than we will be with one with nuclear testing? We have not tested a nuclear device since 1992. We've established a 10-year, $45 billion program to ensure that we don't need to test again. No other nation with nuclear weapons can match us. We have the financial resources, the existing nuclear know-how, the scientific community second to none, and a strong bipartisan commitment to nuclear deterrence. And no rogue state can develop a nuclear weapon without conducting tests that will almost certainly be detected and will prompt a swift and strong international reaction.
I think that's a decidedly one-sided deal in our favor. The world is watching the Senate. Will we choose to enhance our security and increase stability with a treaty that will constrain, or will we allow the expansion of nuclear capability and destroy a 40-year foundation that has been underway of moving away from, away from the use of nuclear weapons, reduction in nuclear weapons, and arms control, or will we set out on a path of proliferation? It's almost that simple and is that complicated, Mr. Chairman.
I thank you again for having this hearing. I hope that better heads prevail and we are able to continue this process. But if we have to vote on Tuesday, which I am prepared to do and will vote for the treaty, it will be the single most important vote anybody on this committee will cast and will have cast, in my view, and it will set the path for this nation and determine the circumstances under which my granddaughters will live more than any other thing that we do.
I welcome you, Madame Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Chairman -- Madame Secretary; and thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to make an opening statement.
SEN. HELMS: Well, you're certainly welcome.
We have a decision to make. This being a very active Senate these days, I see the one light meaning a vote is on. I dislike senators going and coming while the secretary is speaking. Would you prefer that we all go and come back quickly? I think I would rather, if I were in your shoes.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: That will be fine. Yes. Thank you.
SEN. HELMS: So we'll stand in recess and we'll vote and then come right back. (Recess.)
SEN. CHARLES HAGEL (R-NE): (Strikes gavel.) Madame Secretary, if you're prepared, I have been empowered by the chairman -- a scary thought as that is -- to welcome you officially and get you started. We know you have other things to do. And we're again grateful for you being here. We look forward to your testimony. So, tallyho!
SEN. BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, I'm ready to vote. (Laughter.)
SEN. HAGEL: I was not given that much empowerment!
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much, Senator Hagel and other senators. And I really thank you for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of a treaty that will make the world safer and America more secure. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT, is not a panacea. It will not guarantee that nuclear weapons spread no further. No pact or policy can ensure that. But the treaty will make it more difficult and dangerous for countries to develop and modernize nuclear weapons. That is, without question, in the national security interests of the United States.
Under the treaty, America would retain a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, but by preventing testing, the treaty will inhibit the development of more advanced weapons by other nuclear weapons states and make it harder for countries that do not now have such weapons to build them.
Our nation has the world's most advanced nuclear capabilities. In the past we conducted more than 1,000 nuclear explosive tests. Our most experienced and eminent nuclear scientists and the heads of our testing labs agree that we do not need to continue these tests in order to maintain an effective deterrent. We can keep our weapons fully safe and reliable under the provisions of the treaty and the special safeguards President Clinton has proposed. This view is echoed by our senior military leaders, including General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and four of his predecessors, and has been supported consistently by the chiefs of all our armed services.
America's ability to protect its security without testing is not new. We stopped conducting nuclear explosive tests in 1992. In recent years, such a moratorium has been broadly observed around the world, but as the exceptions in South Asia last year indicate, restraint depends now almost entirely upon goodwill. Since America has no need and does not plan to conduct nuclear explosive tests, the essence of the debate over the CTBT should be clear. It is not about preventing America from conducting tests; it is about preventing and dissuading others from doing so. It's about establishing the principle on a global basis that it is not smart, not safe, not right, and not legal to conduct explosive tests in order to develop or modernize nuclear weapons. By banning such tests, the treaty removes a key tool that a modernizer or a proliferator would need to develop with confidence small advanced nuclear warheads.
These are the weapons that can most readily be concealed and that can be delivered by ballistic missiles. They are the most threatening to others and to us. No country could be confident of developing them under the CTBT.
Some say the treaty is too risky because countries might cheat, but by approving the treaty, what exactly would we be risking? With no treaty, other countries can test without cheating and without limit. The CTBT would improve our ability to deter and detect clandestine nuclear weapons activity in three ways.
First, every signatory would be required to accept intrusive monitoring. Second, the treaty establishes a comprehensive international verification regime with more than 320 data-gathering stations of four different types that can register nuclear explosions anywhere in the world. A great deal of information collected by these sensor stations would not otherwise be available to our intelligence community. And third, the treaty would give us the right to call for on-site inspections when we have evidence a test has occurred.
Obviously, we will continue to make full use of our own national technical means, but we will have more extensive access in more countries of interest under the treaty than we would ever have without it, and the more countries that support and participate in the treaty, the harder it will be for others to cheat and the higher the price they will pay if they do.
Mr. Chairman, some have suggested that the treaty is not verifiable because we cannot be absolutely certain of detecting very low-yield tests. Strictly speaking, that is true with or without the treaty, but by improving our capacity to monitor, we are much more likely under the treaty to detect such tests and, consequently, to deter them.
The CTBT prohibits all explosive tests and we would take any sign of cheating very seriously. But our citizens should know that low- yield explosions would be of little use in developing new or more advanced weapons systems, and we are confident that we would detect and deter any tests that could damage U.S. security interests.
Another criticism I've heard of the treaty is that it is premature. We should wait, some say, both until our ability to detect even the smallest test is 100 percent, which may never happen, or until every country about which we are concerned has ratified the treaty first.
I can only reply that that is a recipe for followership not leadership.
The purpose of our national security policy should be to help shape events, not simply observe them. We want other countries, including Russia, China, India and Pakistan, to ratify this treaty and undertake a binding commitment to refrain from nuclear explosive tests. But how can we convince them to do so if we will not? If we wait, why shouldn't they? Waiting is not a strategy, waiting is the absence of a strategy. And if we believe nuclear restraint is the right approach, we should ratify this treaty and mark a path for others to follow. After all, we heard the same arguments during the debate on the Chemical Weapons Convention. Opponents said we should wait. But once we decided to move ahead, five countries, including China, chose to submit their ratifications on the same day we did. Cuba ratified a week later, and Iran, Pakistan and Russia followed within eight months.
Over the past two days I have been asked whether I would prefer to see a vote on this treaty delayed rather than have it voted down. I have only one real preference, and that is to see the treaty approved as soon as possible. The reason is not sentiment, but sense. This treaty would help America. And I hope that senators who now oppose the CTBT, or who are undecided, will think very carefully about what the consequences would be if the treaty were not improved, because it would be a national security tragedy if the world's greatest deliberative body killed a treaty that our nation has sought for 40 years, by failing properly to deliberate on and appreciate its merits.
Under those circumstances, we would have preserved the right to do something we have no need and no intention of doing, while giving a free pass to those who may want to conduct nuclear explosive tests and could one day do us harm. We would have ignored the best national security advice of our top military leaders. We would have missed a priceless chance to improve our ability to detect and deter nuclear tests. We would have denied the vision and betrayed the dream of the two presidents who first proposed and pursued the Comprehensive Test Ban, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy. And we would have done damage to American interests in every region:
in Asia, by throwing away a valuable tool for slowing the modernization of China's nuclear arsenal and by sending a very confusing signal to North Korea; in South Asia by cutting the legs out from under our efforts to persuade India and Pakistan to sign and ratify the CTBT; in Russia by reducing our credibility on nonproliferation issues with a government we have continually urged to take proliferation seriously; in the Gulf by easing worldwide pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions; and in Europe, the Americas and around the globe by disappointing our allies and friends, many of whom have ratified the treaty and are, without exception, urging us to do the same.
Senators, in recent years I have traveled to every corner of the world. I have met with senior officials from most nations. In that time, I have not heard a single expression of doubt about the overwhelming power and reliability of our nuclear deterrent or about our ability and resolve to defend America's vital interests. What I have heard are questions about whether America would continue to lead in reducing the threat that nuclear proliferation poses to every citizen in every country. I have heard the concern that we would insist on reserving the right to conduct nuclear explosive tests and thereby give every country with the potential to develop nuclear weapons a green light to do so.
Let us be clear, it is potential proliferators who need to test; we do not. It is those who might wish to modernize. We set the standard for modernization. By approving the CTBT, we can go far to lock in a technological status quo that protects us without threatening others. At the same time, we would strike an historic blow against the spread of nuclear weapons. But if we send this treaty down to defeat, we will fuel ambitions and fears that could multiply the number and danger of nuclear weapons even as the new century dawns.
In recent days, I've heard opponents refer to this treaty to ban nuclear explosive tests as dangerous. Call me illogical, but I believe that, given where the United States now stands in the world, it is unrestrained nuclear explosive tests that are dangerous. I know this treaty can't eliminate all the risks that we and our families face, but, like President Clinton, Secretary Cohen, American military leaders past and present and our nation's allies from Ottawa to Paris and London to Tokyo, I am convinced this landmark agreement will reduce those risks.
I urge each senator to think carefully before voting, to put partisan considerations aside and to cast your vote in support of American leadership on behalf of a safer world and in favor of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Twenty years from now, when my grandchildren are living in a world where there are more nuclear powers, they might look at me and say "Maddie" -- which is what they call me -- and they might say, "Weren't you secretary of State in 1999, when people considered whether we should test or not? And how come the testing went on? Didn't you do something about it?" And I'm going to say to them I did my damnedest for them to make sure that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty passed. And I hope that when you look at your grandchildren you will be able to say the same thing.
Thank you very much.
SEN. HELMS: Madame Secretary, I apologize for being so late, but three people grabbed me on another matter. We were not conniving on the treaty.
Before we routinely turn to our first round of questions, I feel obliged to ask you a question about a matter that was brought to the committee's attention this morning by the administration's CTBT negotiator, Ambassador Ledogar. When asked, the ambassador confirmed the existence of a previously undisclosed side agreement relating to U.S. membership in the CTBT Executive Council. I did not even know that existed, which shows what I know. He also confirmed the existence of other side deals contained in memoranda and jointly agreed notes.
Now, I don't get hot and bothered about things of this sort, but it does concern me when I learn about secret deals on the side. Maybe they're perfectly innocent. But you want to talk about why these exist and how they exist and how it began?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me just say in terms of you were asking about the creation of the council, that is part of how this Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is going to work. And we can give you more information on that. But let me just say that during the negotiation of the CTBT, the nuclear weapon states did consult regularly, including on questions related to the scope of the treaty. And these consultations led to the achievement of a shared understanding that all nuclear explosions, however small, including low-yield hydronuclear tests, are prohibited, and subcritical experiments are not prohibited. A shared understanding was also achieved that the treaty does not prohibit a range of activities, none of which would involve nuclear explosions. And I think we are -- there are no secret agreements attached to this. But whatever documentation we have we obviously will be glad to share with you.
SEN. HELMS: That was going to be my next suggestion. If you furnished us the information, probably it would just go in a file and never matter, but you know how it is.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Obviously. No, we would be pleased to.
SEN. HELMS: And let's see. I asked the ambassador about the White House's claim that the CTBT is, quote -- and this expression, this phrase, has been used time and time again -- "the longest sought, hardest fought, prize in the history of arms control" and that it has been the negotiating objective of every president since Eisenhower. He stated that this was hyperbole and admitted that not a single president before the current one has ever sought a zero-yield, indefinite duration CTBT.
And I just wonder if that's not carrying hype a little bit far and maybe it happens on the side I happen to be on and this is one of those rare occasions when you and I are on opposite sides. But do we have to do that sort of thing, or do you know some hyperbole? I told him I called it bull, but he said, Well, I prefer to call it hyperbole. Do you agree with your chief negotiator that the treaty proposed to the Senate is not what the Clinton administration initially proposed?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me -- I don't know what you want to call it, but the truth of the matter is that it was President Eisenhower who first put forward the idea that there be a ban on testing of nuclear weapons and then President Kennedy had a limited test ban and there really -- it is an issue that has been out there ever since the beginning of nuclear testing, and because, I think, those presidents and subsequent ones have been very concerned about the dangers created to everybody by nuclear testing and have tried to limit it. And I think that -- so I think that -- I try not to use hyperbole, but I do believe that this is a much sought-after treaty that has been sought after for a long time by many, many presidents.
It also is very much a part of an overall proliferation strategy -- or nonproliferation strategy. We are not the only country in the world that has nuclear weapons and we are also a part of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
And what happened, as a result of that, was that, first of all, when there was the moratorium that passed in 1992, there was a push that there should also be a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty along with a unilateral moratorium. Then when we were reviewing the NPT in 1995, we made a good-faith commitment to the non-nuclear countries that we would do everything we could to work on a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. That has been the push.
Those negotiations have all been taking place, not bilaterally, as our treaties with the Soviet Union and Russia have, but multilaterally. And in that kind of a negotiation, there's always a lot of give and take. We didn't get everything that was our maximum position, but we did get everything that we needed. And I think, sir, you up here, all of you that are legislators, know that as you are coming forward with something that you really want, you have an ability to negotiate down to your bottom line and get what you really need, and in the meantime, clearly, in the negotiating process, you put down your maximum demands. And we -- as I said, we didn't get everything we wanted, but we got everything we needed.
SEN. HELMS: Well, now impression is that Eisenhower everybody else insisted on low-yield testing and a time limit on the treaty. Am I mistaken?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Excuse me, and a time --?
SEN. HELMS: Time limit on the treaty.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that what they wanted was to get what they could at -- the dream was to be able to have a treaty that made sure that we were safe and that we would be able to maintain our superiority, and at the same time make sure that there would not be problems in terms of others being able to develop their nuclear weapons.
We believe -- and there has been a lot of discussion about the zero-yield. There were discussions about whether there should be higher levels. And ultimately, after the discussions in committees, it was decided that it was better to have a zero yield rather than a low yield because it's easier, frankly to measure. And we got agreement from the Chinese and the Russians that it was appropriate to have a zero-yield in this treaty.
And this treaty is permanent, but it does permit for a 10-year review.
SEN. HELMS: Good.
If I might ask Mr. Holum -- he is not testifying, but he could possibly nod yea or nay, if he is familiar with this statement: "And among many others things, the treaty does not contain our original proposal for an option to withdraw from the treaty at the 10-year mark without citing reasons of 'supreme national interest' and our proposal that the treaty's scope provide room for so-called hydronuclear experiments in very small nuclear yields."
Was that a statement you are familiar with?
JOHN HOLUM (undersecretary nominee, Arms Control and International Security Affairs, U.S. Department of State): (Inaudible.)
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Yes. (Laughs softly.) Yes.
SEN. HELMS: As a matter of fact, you made it, didn't you?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Yes.
SEN. HELMS: And I just wondered if it's a fair characterization of your original negotiating instructions from the administration?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: I can, if you want -- let me give you a fuller answer here.
During the initial phase of the negotiations, the United States did seek to make a small exclusion for itself to allow for very low- yield hydronuclear tests. However, others asked for exclusions also on a much larger scale, which would have been contrary to our nonproliferation objectives. In principle, we were not able to oppose others' exclusions unless we decided to move to a zero-yield treaty that would be equal for all.
In 1995, the report of the JASON (sic) Group of distinguished scientists concluded that we did not need hydronuclear tests to maintain the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile, which removed reservations about zero and allowed us to propose zero as a solution. And getting others to reassess downward and eventually to accept zero was a victory for the United States.
And zero, moreover, was recognized as better for us because it is easier to verify, as I said, the difference between zero and some limited level of activity, than between one level of activity and a higher level. So we were pleased with that.
And I think that the fact also exists as one of the aspects of the treaty as it was transmitted to you, that we can withdraw -- it doesn't matter whether 10 years or any years -- if the president, on advice from the secretary of Defense and secretary of Energy, thinks that the reliability of the stockpile is not there, or other reasons "for supreme national interest." So that exists. It is not within a time frame, it is available to us at any time that we feel that our national security is threatened.
SEN. HELMS: Well, we can get back to that.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much.
Again, welcome, Madame Secretary. Excuse me. Welcome.
There's a lot of things I'd like to explore with you here. Let me begin by saying that I, along with a number of my Republican colleagues with whom I have been asked by Democratic leadership to confer about the scheduling of this vote, are concerned about the possible consequences of rejection.
Speaking only for myself, I think the prospects for rejection are in direct proportion to how little discussion there is. My view is, the greater the discussion, the greater the debate, the more time we have to discuss it, the more it will become apparent how this -- why this is so important.
I would like to ask permission, Mr. Secretary -- Mr. Chairman, to enter in the record a list of the duration of time that we took to hold hearings and also debate on the floor of the Senate the last five major arms-control treaties we've had.
SEN. HELMS: Without objection, of course.
SEN. BIDEN: Now -- but I asked -- last week I asked two of our finest diplomats, in my view, Frank Wisner and Robert Oakley, to advise me on the impact of a negative vote on India and Pakistan in particular. Wisner was ambassador to Egypt under President Bush and ambassador to India under President Clinton, and Oakley was ambassador to Pakistan under Presidents Reagan and Bush. And their letters are short and to the point. And with your permission, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to read them, and then maybe the secretary could respond.
This is from Mr. Oakley, Ambassador Oakley. "Dear Senator Biden: You asked my views on the effects of action by the United States Senate to reject the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In my judgment, the effects would be dangerously negative for the United States' security interests. "First, in the long term, there would be a significant erosion of constraints upon further development of nuclear capacities and capabilities around the world. The United States has been the leader in seeking limitations upon current capabilities, as well as convincing other countries not to develop such capabilities. There would be important political downside effects upon this effort, since the United States would be seen turning away from its basic policy of restraint.
"Second, in the near term, the climate of freedom for nuclear testing created by reversal of the U.S. basic position would be an incentive for new countries, such as Iran, to test when they are ready. Russia and China might well conclude they have the freedom to test. And most troubling in the immediate future would be the virtual invitation to India to start implementing the new nuclear doctrine recently proposed by its national security advisory board. This doctrine calls for a major increase in India's nuclear capabilities, which could only be achieved by more testing.
Pakistan has already made it clear that it would follow India in more testing. And given the prevailing tensions in the subcontinent, the nuclear arms race which could well ensue would be extremely dangerous. Signed, Robert B. Oakley."
"Dear Senator Biden: I understand that members of the Senate are currently debating the issue of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. I regard early passage of this treaty as a matter of highest national importance and hope that your arguments in support of its passage would result in the right and necessary outcome.
"As ambassador to India from '94-'97 I was intimately involved in matters relating to CTBT and India's willingness to sign the treaty. Since my departure from government I have also followed closely the negotiations with New Delhi and Islamabad which are aimed at convincing those governments to accept CTBT. If the United States delays the decision or rejects the treaty, I am confident the United States runs the serious risk of India abandoning the treaty, and Pakistan will follow suit. Consensus in favor of a treaty signature in India is not yet fully formed. And if it is, the consensus will be weak. Many thoughtful Indians with a voice in national defense policy believe India needs to test further its nuclear capacity. What India does, Pakistan surely will do. In the event that India and Pakistan walk away from the CTBT, the United States will face an even more complicated nuclear proliferation problem, the world at large," and it goes on from there. "In closing, let me repeat my hope the United States Senate will certify."
That coupled with a -- well, let me just ask you to respond. Do you share their concern about the impact of a negative vote on India and Pakistan restraining or -- failing to restrain their move toward further reliance upon nuclear weapons?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, I don't want to engage in hyperbole, but in spades I agree with what they have said, because I think that we are very concerned about the possibility here that we have two countries side by side that have very serious differences and have now the potential of nuclear weapons. And we believe that U.S. ratification remains critical in order to get them on board.
SEN. BIDEN: Let me ask you one more question before my time is up, and I'm sorry to interrupt you. But my time is about to expire. You have more than anyone else that I'm aware of in the last -- the recent past, the last several years met with, spoken with our allies: Japan, Germany -- non-nuclear powers; Britain, France, et cetera.
It has been asserted by the senator from Virginia and some others that they -- if we sign this treaty, they will lose faith in our nuclear deterrence, and they in turn will be inclined to either upgrade their own -- proliferate their own nuclear capability -- that is, upgrade it and/or become nuclear powers, in the case of Japan and Germany. Would you be willing to comment on that assertion?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, I believe that they are all counting on us to lead the nonproliferation fight and to make sure that they -- that our deterrent is strong as a result of the fact that others cannot test; therefore, they are counting on us to keep the lead in nuclear nonproliferation. Otherwise they might, in fact, be put in a position where they do have to do other things to strengthen themselves. We are providing them the ability to make sure that they do not have to get into a position to strengthen --
SEN. BIDEN: Have they all signed?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: They -- yes. Well, the ones that -- France and the United Kingdom have signed, Germany and Japan have, all -- 11 -- all allies have signed, and 11 have ratified.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you.
My time's up.
SEN. HELMS: Senator Hagel.
SEN. HAGEL: Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Welcome, Madame Secretary. Nice to have you here. And we're grateful that you're giving us a sense of the dynamics of the importance of what we're about here.
On a serious note, but maybe a lighter side of that, I appreciated very much your comments regarding your grandchildren. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Nebraska with my six-year old and my eight-year old, and we were at a Dairy Queen, which is a very popular place in Nebraska. And I was in the Dairy Queen, we were buying Dilly bars -- I'm not sure what flavor -- but one of my many enlightened, insightful constituents began to shower me with praise on the kind of effective representation I was bringing to Nebraska, which I allowed to go on for as long as we could all stand it. (Laughter.) Whereupon, this enlightened gentleman said, "And Senator, nice to have you back in the state, and I know you always appreciate spending time with your grandchildren. (Laughter.) I took the grandchildren issue rather seriously.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Just goes to show how much older I am than you are. (Laughter.)
SEN. HAGEL: No, I think it's the job. (Laughter.) You have really cut to the essence of what this is about. The objective is to make the world safer for mankind.
And I think we all tend to miss that occasionally when we get consumed with technical issues and details.
But with that said, I have stated, Madame Secretary, that I am undecided, and I am undecided because -- Senator Biden and others have said it rather clearly -- that I think we need more time to understand what the consequences are, what the issues are, what the details are. And with that in mind, as I have worked my way along through this, and I'm sorry our friend Senator Kerry's not here, because he had dazzled us with his technical brilliance and he attributed that all to being in the Navy. Well, I'm just an old Army man, so I didn't have the benefit of that brilliant technical background.
But I do have a couple of questions on the governance of this treaty because I think when we define it down, no matter what we have, how it's governed and how we live by the conditions is pretty critical. And you noted in your testimony that of the three issues that you felt were important, in your words, "The CTBT would improve our ability to deter and detect clandestine nuclear weapons activity in three ways." Third point, "And third, the treaty would give us the right to call for on-site inspections when we have evidence a test has occurred."
I would very much appreciate you enlightening the committee on how that works. This morning, one of your predecessors at the United Nations, Ambassador Kirkpatrick, got into this in some detail, laying out the representation of the governance committee, the executive council, who gets votes. And there were some, I thought, rather disturbing aspects of that as to would we be guaranteed a seat on the executive council. That's then when it came up, by Ambassador Ledogar, that in fact that was a side deal. That wasn't in the language.
And I would appreciate if you could take us through that, because we heard from some of the chairmen of the committees this afternoon preceding your testimony that it would take a 30-nation concurrence in order to get an on-site inspection.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me say that the -- let me describe a little bit how the on-site inspection would work. It's designed to permit timely and effective inspections while guarding against abuses. And the treaty's executive council must vote on whether to approve a request for an on-site inspection within 96 hours from the time of a request. And as stated, such decisions have to be taken by 30 of the executive council's 51 members, and we can bring whatever evidence we choose, including what is gathered by national technical means, to the table to get the vote.
The countries that will be on this council are selected by region. And clearly, there is no question in my mind that the United States would be one of the countries that would be a part of this. Now, you do have to get the vote of the other countries in order to have this happen, and we believe that they will be selected by random from regions; that given the evidence that would be brought to the table, that it would be very difficult for any country to stop on-site inspections taking place.
We also have the possibility that if we see that there has been a questionable event, is ultimately we can bring questions to the Security Council, as we did, for instance, when we were concerned about what was going on in North Korea. So I do think that we have a way to get our case in a timely way to the Executive Committee of the organization as it is set up. I do not have concerns about that.
SEN. HAGEL: You do not? Ambassador Kirkpatrick did, and she regaled us a little bit on real life at the United Nations, which you know a little something about. So you do not think that's a concern? SEC. ALBRIGHT: No. And I think that some of the things we did was -- to have protection ourselves -- is in terms of making sure that countries that we did not like or had problems with would not be able to have open access to our sites. And so we are able to have special procedures which would allow us to not have every aspect of our own sites inspected in every way.
SEN. HAGEL: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
SEN. HELMS: Senator Boxer, don't you want to come up here? You're sitting down in San Diego!
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): It's okay. It's all right. I have a good bird's eye view of everybody and it works just fine.
SEN. HELMS: Very well. I recognize you.
SEN. BOXER: Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman, for your courtesy, and again, for having this debate. I do agree with Senator Biden, I feel the more we debate it, the more the case is made. But then, you know, I have a prejudice in favor of it. I know a couple of our colleagues are against it and a couple are undecided. I would like perhaps to hear from them afterwards. But let me just put this into my perspective, as everybody does. When I was a child in grammar school -- and risking letting everyone know my age, although it's public information -- those were the days of the real threat of a nuclear war.
And in my public school, in my grammar school, we had to go underneath the desk. We had drills. And we were taught if we went underneath the desk and covered our eyes like this, we could survive a nuclear strike. We also has dogtags like they had in the Army. We were so proud to wear those. We felt so important. We didn't realize the purpose of it was if we were annihilated, someone would know who we were.
Now, so the kids in my generation really didn't know that much. The kids in later generations after me started to realize what this was all about. And when I got to the House in 1982, Congressman George Miller and his Republican allies set up -- he's a Democrat -- his Republican friends set up a bipartisan Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families. And one of the first hearings we had was on the threat of nuclear war and what it was doing to our kids. And I'll never forget sitting in that room listening of the young people express their fears of going to bed at night not knowing if the Soviet Union and America were going to just explode these bombs.
So they really knew what was happening. And then when the Cold War ended and we all thought the threat was over, there was an incredible sigh of relief I think across this land from all sides. Now, here we sit at a moment in time that I think is absolutely a turning point. And I think, as we've looked at the problems of the treaty, which I think is very important that we do that, as I see it, the main problems are verifiability and the assurance that our stockpile stewardship program is working well. And each member is going to decide for himself or herself whether they feel comfortable with it. But I think the important thing here is that any president in the future, as the secretary of State has clearly told us, can get out of this if they feel we've taken too much of a risk with this treaty. They don't need a Senate vote. It's not going to get bogged down in some of our rules. If there is a supreme national interest, we can get out of it. And I think it's important for us to look the risks of this treaty and then the risks of not going forward with it.
And I think what Senator Biden has tried to do, if I could get his attention for a minute, Senator Biden -- (laughter) -- I think what you have tried to do -- it's important because I want to ask you about something, if the chairman will allow -- is talk to us about the threat of us not going forward. And he has raised some issues in certain parts of the world, and so has the secretary of state in my home state yesterday, raised those issues, particularly in the India- Pakistan region.
But the reason I wanted to catch my friend's attention is I thought there was a phenomenal article -- it was today, Bob? -- in the Washington Post by someone who you know very well, George Perkovich, who was --
SEN. HELMS: Yes.
SEN. BOXER: -- you -- worked with you for a long time.
SEN. BIDEN: We don't want to ruin his reputation -- (laughter) -- by letting everybody know that.
SEN. BOXER: But the reason I bring it up is I feel that in this very, very brief article, which I would ask unanimous consent that we may place in the record, Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Chairman, may we place this in the record?
SEN./STAFF/MR. : (Inaudible.)
SEN. HELMS: Have you got another copy of the Wall Street Journal?
SEN. BOXER: Yes.
SEN. HELMS: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)
SEN. BOXER: The scenarios that he talks about -- and I'll say them because the powerful words that he uses and the way he does it is so amazing. He says -- if we don't do this treaty -- and I say especially to my friends that are undecided on it -- "India will probably conduct more nuclear weapons tests. India's nuclear scientists and hawkish strategists want a sophisticated arsenal. And then Pakistan would match" -- and as Senator Biden said, the good voices in India would be overwhelmed by this -- "then Pakistan would match India test for test, and this would lead to the kind of arms race that presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton have sought to block in this area."
And then he goes over to China. And he says: "While China has not signed the Test Ban Treaty, it will not ratify it if the U.S. doesn't. China assumes that rejection means the U.S. would want to conduct more nuclear tests; otherwise, why wouldn't they ratify? And in this case, they will make preparation to resume the testing."
And then he talks about Japan -- I won't go into that -- and our allies, and how crushed they would be, and how they would lose confidence in us. And then I think a very crucial issue, Mr. Chairman, that we all care about, both sides of the aisle, Iran. How can we go to our friends and say, "Don't give Iran the technology?"
So it seems to me all of these things that are outlined here are in this article -- are very, very important for us to consider as we answer the question, "What are the risks of going into the treaty, and what are the risks of staying out?" What I don't want to see happen is future generations of kids, whether it's my grandchild or anybody else's children or grandchildren, to have to go back to going under the desk, to have to go back to that fear that they articulated.
And so I have a brief question. I know my time is up. Do you think that what is stated here in this article is a possibility, that it would have this type of "nuclear," if you will, in quotes, "chain reaction" throughout the world, where we are now going to see the tests and all the rest?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, I read the article myself this morning with great interest, and I was very pleased to see that it tracked very much with my own thoughts and a great part of my testimony. I do think that we would open up the gates again of potential testing.
For me, there's several ways to look at this treaty. And I know that there are many legitimate scientifically based questions that the lab people have answered or the secretary of Energy has answered. I have looked myself very carefully at the Stewardship program and how it works and what things are coming on line. I have obviously been very concerned about verification, and I have said to myself that every arms control treaty that we've ever signed is not perfectly verifiable. But what we make is the assessment that whatever cheating takes place is nothing that can really hurt our overwhelming nuclear power. So we have to be realistic about that.
So there are many ways to look at this from the technical aspect and the scientific aspect and all the language in these documents. And I hope that every senator actually will look very carefully at that. But there is the other, which I think is just plain logic, argument here, is why, if we don't want to test, and we have said that we will not test, why would we not take the step of having a treaty that will prevent others from testing? It isn't as if we are asking ourselves to do something we wouldn't do otherwise; we are asking others to do what we have already done in order to prevent this kind of chain reaction that you have described that is so evident. And I can tell you from having spoken now -- I think I spoke to 84 ministers in New York during the General Assembly -- CTBT was in all my talking points. They all agreed that we need to have a nuclear nonproliferation regime, that the proliferation of nuclear weapons is the single greatest danger that faces our planet.
And so, for me, I can go either technical on you and do all this, or logical. And logical here is why? Why would we want to give others the right to test or the ability to test if we've decided not to? That is the answer for me.
SEN. HELMS: Senator Gordon Smith, please.
SEN. GORDON SMITH (R-OR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Madame Secretary, I appreciate you being with us. I come to this hearing truly as one of those senators undecided and with an open mind. I also come to this hearing with a predicate of a cruel reality, a terrible truth, that nuclear weapons have kept wars -- since Nagasaki have kept wars regional in their expanse and conventional in the ways in which they've been fought. And so while I hate the thought of nuclear war, I realize nuclear weapons have kept us from a worldwide conflagration.
I guess with that in mind, I'm anxious to know -- I guess I'm appealing to your technical knowledge -- if our stockpile stewardship -- we're betting so much on that, because what's at stake is the credibility of our nuclear deterrent, it seems to me.
Now I know what I'm about to say is not a very good hypothetical, but I have an old car at home I really like. And I have a computerized trickle charger on it, and even if the battery works when I want to drive it every few times a year, it doesn't run very well, because the machinery needs to be operated.
I'm not suggesting we go firing nuclear missiles around, but I'm concerned if we are -- if the Stockpile Stewardship program is adequate to provide the verification, to provide the credibility that we need in order to prevent nuclear holocausts in the future.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Let me say this -- is that obviously I think we all have questions about, you know, our nuclear stockpile as our crown jewels, I guess, if you want to put it that way, in terms of our ability to defend ourselves. And in the reading that I have done and the testimony I've heard from those who really are experts in this, the lab -- the heads of the labs, they have -- as was said to you previously by the senators who were here, they may disagree about some timing, but they don't disagree about the fact that they can do the job. We have also now said that they would have $45 billion over a 10-year period to be able to update and keep going all the various parts of the stewardship program.
And I think that I have confidence, in the way that it has been described to me, about how various components of that stewardship program -- first, those that are on line already and those that are being brought on line, in order to make sure that these -- that the stewardship program can carry out everything that it is supposed to do.
Now there is no question that deterrence per se will continue, because I agree with you that deterrence has kept our -- certainly for the United States has kept us safe. What it does, really, this treaty, it bans the bang, but not the bomb. We'll continue to have that.
And on the -- and also, all parts of our nuclear arsenal are constantly being tested. They just will not be being exploded. And I think that, again, in the testimony that Secretary Richardson provided and others to me, I feel that we do have the know-how to keep updating it and rebuilding it. And it's not quite like your car; they're paying a little bit more attention to it, maybe.
SEN. G. SMITH: I'm sure you do. And that's a very poor analogy. But I just know that machinery doesn't work very well if you don't use it. And that's true of all kinds of machinery I've ever known. And so I'm hoping that as you and I bet the future security of our grandchildren upon this program, that you, as one of our political leaders, have the confidence that it's worth that. Which you're telling me you do.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: And I do, Senator. I do. But let me just say this, is that if at any stage we believe that we don't, and that something has gone wrong in terms of the stewardship program, the president, any president, will have the right to withdraw on the basis of supreme national interest.
SEN. G. SMITH: And how difficult a decision will that be? I mean, if technology takes a quantum leap and renders a lot of this obsolete, at that point do you think the president of the United States, whoever he or she may be, has the ability under this treaty to say we abrogate it and we're going on to another level?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: I think that, obviously, this would be done after careful thought and on advice from the secretary of Defense and secretary of Energy. I would hope, actually, on the side the secretary of State might be asked. But I think that yes, I do believe that if there is a question of supreme national interest, I think it would be irresponsible of any president not to withdraw if there was a question.
SEN. G. SMITH: Flexibility has been one of my questions, and I appreciate your answer. While I have a little bit of time remaining, from what I've learned today about the inspection regime, on-site inspections, that I'm not going to be able to put much confidence in our ability to actually go and inspect something if 30 members of this organization, of this convention, will have to approve United States inspectors going in. And having seen the way Saddam Hussein runs our inspectors around, I, frankly, don't have much confidence in on-site inspection being, frankly, worth risking our grandkids on.
So I guess my question is, is it your view that such explosions as could be a threat to us, we have the ability to detect them independent of any international committee?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Yes. The scientific information that I have been given would indicate that those explosions that in any way would harm us, would undercut our ability to have that deterrent, are detectable. And that we are confident that we can detect tests that would permit the development of new high-yield weapons that could have an impact on our deterrent, and we would have sufficient notice to respond.
At lower yields, I think it's very important -- if I may continue -- is that we think that Russia, for instance -- there have been some activities at their test sites, as at ours, frankly, but there is no conclusion that Russia has tested above the zero-yield.
SEN. G. SMITH: And as you talk about that, do you think Russia has the same interpretation of zero-yield as we?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Yes. We went through a negotiating process on this. That is correct, yes.
SEN. G. SMITH: Thank you, Madame Secretary.
SEN. HELMS: Thank you, sir. I'm trying to be fair in the time of senators and the recognition of them. We have two senators, one of whom has not had one bite of the apple today, Sam Brownback, and I think you had one brief period. If it's all right with you, I'm going to let them -- is that okay? And the reason I'm bringing this up is we generally go from side to side.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: I understand.
SEN. HELMS: So, Sam, you haven't had a bite at the apple. You go first.
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I don't refer to you, Madame Secretary, as an apple --
SEC. ALBRIGHT: As an apple -- (Laughs.)
SEN. BROWNBACK: But the chairman is very kind and I know he doesn't refer to you that way, either.
SEN. HELMS: (Off mike.) (Laughter.)
SEN. : Does that mean you're going to bite anyway? (Laughter.)
SEN. BROWNBACK: No. Not at all. Thanks for coming to the committee. Always appreciate you coming here.
I want to look back, and you talked about going on a technical basis or just a reasoning basis and look at it in a reasoning basis. The problem I'm have having with this treaty, at this point in time, is this point in time. It appears to me that we're talking about taking an irreversible step -- now, some might say there are ways that you could reverse your field here -- but we're in essence taking an irreversible step at a time that the world is in great flux on nuclear weapons issues. We've all noted India/Pakistan testing in recent times, whether they'll continue to or whether they won't. Tests taking place in Russia has been brought up by the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. We have Iran, Iraq, that we all know about, of desiring to be nuclear-capable countries that have not -- that have signed but have not ratified the treaty.
And I just -- I look at that universe, Madame Secretary, and I get real concerned that we're taking a step that we're gong to sign a major treaty that puts it in blood for us that we're not going to do this at a time you have so many other places in play and desirous of doing things. And I really question the thought process that says that if the U.S. does this, then they will follow, or they will come along with it.
I look at that list of nations that I've just listed, and I can't, within them, think to myself that, well, okay, if we would just ratify this, that's going to make the Iranians or the Iraqis ratify; I just have real question about that; if we would just ratify this, that's going to make the Chinese step forward and do that; if we would jut ratify this, that's going to make the Russians step forward, even though they've announced a new doctrine in their nuclear weaponry that they're pursuing; if we would just ratify this, that they will come along. As I rationalize and I think rationally, look at this, I don't see that.
And then you can go to the South Asia area, where we've been most concerned recently on India and Pakistan and, I think, for good and legitimate purposes, where you've got two nations that have been at war previously and then develop a nuclear capacity -- which I think there are some other issues we ought to actually be discussing there other than just nuclear; I think we ought to be talking conventional weaponry and building better and broader relationships with both nations. And we're just sending you some broader authority that sanctions --
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Yes.
SEN. BROWNBACK: -- can be waived, that I've worked hard on, and a number of members of the committee here swallowed pretty hard to do that, but it's to build a broader relationship.
I question that this is not a good time for us to be making this, what I would perceive and I think many would, an irreversible step, with so many countries in play still, with so many countries not really given to following U.S. leadership that are doing these things, and I think we are not at a proper moment.
And I've appreciated your testimony and I'd appreciate your thoughts in response to that rationale.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, actually -- first of all, let me thank you on the waivers that we now have for India and Pakistan. I think that that's very important, and I think that they will help us move forward in being able to have a better relationship with both countries. And I met with both foreign ministers while I was in New York. We can talk more about this some other time. But I would like to thank you on that.
Let me just say I kind of look at this from a different angle, which is I think this is exactly the time because, first of all -- I will keep repeating this because I think it's worth repeating -- we have no intention of testing because we have no need to test.
And there has been a moratorium in place, put in by President Bush, that we believe is -- there was a decision that we made that we had done enough testing and that through our various -- the Stockpile Stewardship program, we have a way of making sure that our nuclear deterrent is safe.
And if I might say, among the six safeguards here that we have is the maintenance of the nuclear labs at a level to guarantee continued progress in nuclear technology; maintain the capability to test again, should the need ever arise. So we're not going into Rumplestiltskin mode here, you know, this is -- we are ready to go. And basically, we have decided not to test.
So the question is, why do this now? And it is in order to prevent exactly the countries that you're talking about from taking the next step that they might be willing to take. I've already talked about Russia. China, for instance, I think they could -- probably couldn't develop their MIRV-ed warheads for existing systems and they couldn't exploit the information that they might have obtained. Everybody has been concerned about what it is they could have obtained through espionage. They can't use that unless they can test. This would prevent that from happening.
For India and Pakistan, it's an opportunity here to constrain a potential arms race and to limit lighter and smaller, more efficient warheads. As far as North Korea and Iran are concerned, this treaty would sharply limit their ability to develop small, efficient warheads that could be mounted on long-range missiles, including the North Korean Taepo Dong II, which is what we've been working to try to get a moratorium on that. And it constrains their ability to exploit the missile that is a potential threat to the United States. So I think here, this is why this is the exact moment to do this.
Now, the other point, we have found previously -- and I mentioned this -- is when we finally ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, it brought along the other countries because they do look to us for leadership. The other point, I think, as a safety, if you're interested in this, this cannot go into effect unless all 44 of those designated countries do in fact ratify. So if we ratify and those others do not, it doesn't go into effect. It's a safety feature of that kind. So for me, this is basically we lose nothing because we don't want to test.
We prevent them from testing and doing the kinds of things that are listed. We have a way out if we find that we have a problem, because we can do supreme national interest. And meanwhile, our labs have been directed to keep us in tip-top shape by virtue of other methods which, short of testing, which we don't need, will make our nuclear deterrent reliable.
SEN. BROWNBACK: I thank you for the comments, and Mr. Chairman, for your holding of the hearing. I think you're willing to step out a little further in faith and presumption that they're going to follow our lead than I would, or that by us signing, that we're going to be willing to reverse field later if they don't verify. I mean, I think we put very high stock in the fact that if we ratify, well, that's it, even if they don't come along. And I think you're going out in steps of faith that I'm not quite willing to assume at this point in time --
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Could I ask a question here, which is the following, is why do we think -- you think -- that we lose anything by getting them to stop testing?
SEN. BROWNBACK: Oh, I -- I think we --
SEC. ALBRIGHT: That is the question. Because we are not limiting ourselves in any form. And if they don't ratify, if those countries that you mentioned don't ratify, this treaty does not go into effect.
SEN. BROWNBACK: Well, I disagree with your presumption that we don't limit ourselves. I think this is a very big step for a Senate to ratify a treaty like this, saying that this is what we believe should be the case when you have so many other players out there that are still looking, testing, and not really willing to follow the United States lead. The countries I listed, I don't think they're going to be following our lead. Iran and Iraq I know for certain will not be following our lead; I highly question the other countries that we list. And to me, voting on this -- and you've got a treaty that you're doing this with, that is taking a step that I don't think you back away lightly.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your patience and holding the hearing.
SEN. HELMS: Thank you, Senator. (Gavels.) Senator Grams.
SEN. ROD GRAMS (R-MN): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Madame Secretary, again, I also add my thanks for your taking time to be before the committee today. And I've gone through all my questions, and I can tell maybe when the hearing's gone on long enough that every question, or good question has already been asked. So what I'm going to try to do is try to ask one of the old questions and just do it in a different way so I get something to say here. But -- I appreciate it.
I know we could line up experts on both sides of this argument. We've heard people say this is the right time, this is not the right time; we can verify, we can't verify. I mean, it seems like there's people on both sides of the argument. We're taking, I think as Senator Brownback just said, a leap of faith here in some concerns. I know, like the lab directors who -- Senator Levin said today when he asked them point-blank "Are you on board?" -- they said yes.
But also we've got statements from lab directors that say in order to contribute to a long-term confidence in the U.S. stockpile, testing of nuclear weapons should be done. Of course, if nuclear testing were allowed, we would gain greater confidence in the new tools.
Another quote: "From a purely technical standpoint, some level of nuclear testing would be useful."
Another quote: "A strong Stockpile Stewardship and management program is necessary to underwrite confidence."
So I think even some of the, you know, experts have been able to be on both sides of this issue. So I think you see how tough of an issue it is and, I think, for some of us to come to a conclusion. You've said this is the right time. We're being asked to vote basically up or down on a treaty. You know, there's been questions of whether the administration negotiated a position on the treaty different from what -- where we started -- you know, of having a definite duration, permitting low-yield tests, was a verifiable treaty, are we now doing something different from that. Article 15, dealing with reservations, that says, "The articles of and the annexes to this treaty shall not be subject to reservations." The U.C. that we have on the floor, if we take a vote, is basically unamendable. So we're being asked to vote up or down on a treaty.
Do you think this is the best time to vote on this treaty, or would you go along with maybe some of the suggestions that have been made that this vote not happen for maybe another two years?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me say that I am very glad that this hearing has taken place, and I think that I respect all the questions that have been asked and am very pleased to answer them.
And I also do think that the kinds of questions that you have asked of a technical nature all need to be answered in way that satisfy you. Just briefly I can say that, on some of the issues that have been raised by the labs, work is in progress on this. And they have been given not an inconsequential amount of money, $45 billion, to work on it, which presumably is in order to be able to carry through on this kind of work, to make sure that it can be done. I would hope very much that this conversation would not lead to our saying that we want to resume testing. I think that would be a U- turn of such major proportions that it would undercut our entire proliferation -- our nonproliferation policy, and I think it would be a very, very serious consequence for this country if we were to even contemplate that when we don't need to. In order to answer your question, let me just say that I do believe that this is an important treaty, that it deserves careful consideration. It is one of the, you know, landmark huge treaties that we have been -- you all -- we have negotiated and you have been asked to ratify. I think that the process has been artificially constrained and it doesn't give time to reach a careful judgment. And I think that the leadership ought to work out some kind of a serious process to give this treaty the careful attention it deserves at a later date.
SEN. GRAMS: One other question I wanted to ask, and I had asked it earlier of the earlier panel. But a lot of faith would be put in computerized testing and not actual testing of weapons, and there was an article this week in the Wall Street or the New York Times, I think it was, Mr. Adamov, who is the Russian minister of atomic energy, talking about having those supercomputers. And the article included, "Russia has long sought to acquire powerful American computers enabled to do this." And he said in the article that "the United States should share some of its computer techniques so that other nations can better assess the reliability of the nuclear arsenal without testing." He went on to say, "Conditions should be established that all nations possessing nuclear weapons will have the same opportunity to engage in computer simulations, and the Russians have long asserted that the Clinton promised to provide such advanced abilities to Russia if the Kremlin agreed to the test ban."
Does that mean under this negotiations, or has the administration given any indications that it would somehow share this generation or the next generation of our computer abilities with the Russians?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Let me say that we have made no such promise and we will not do that.
SEN. GRAMS: Okay. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. HELMS: Thank you.
Senator, we have another panel to go, but I want to --
SEN. BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, I will be brief. Let me make a couple points while my colleagues, all of whom, but the two gentlemen who are still here I respect greatly. They've raised questions that I think warrant further exploration. And I will not take the full time now. But I asked my staff, while you were testifying, Madame Secretary, to get the makeup of the Executive Council, this -- you know, you need 30 votes on the Executive Council to be able to have an on-site inspection.
And the question has been raised by many, would we actually really get 30 votes? And the analogy by that -- that was used by Ms. Kirkpatrick, before you testified, was the U.N., and you can't do anything in the U.N., et cetera. I actually went down the list -- or I didn't; my staff did -- and Africa gets 10 seats; Eastern Europe, seven; Latin America, nine; the Middle East and South Asia, seven; North America, Western Europe, 10; East Asia, 20. If you add these up, and you look at each of the nations, we get right away to 23 or 24 certain votes. And in the states that -- even the states that aren't certain -- let's take Eastern Europe. Bosnia- Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary -- Georgia because they're afraid of Russia, they're afraid of Iran and Iraq -- Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia -- I mean, these are all votes. These are all votes because in their naked self-interest, they're going to want to make sure that Iran and Iraq, the people they view their enemies to be, their potential threats, unrelated to us -- so if you go down the list here, I'd just say to my colleagues -- and I will put this in the record -- it is, it seems to me, pretty darn easy to get the 30 votes, not because more than 30 nations love us; because it's in their naked self-interest.
I mean, look, you know, you're in the Middle East section, okay? They get seven seats. Twenty-six eligible folks, right? What do you think Turkmekistan (sic) and the Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen -- you think they're going to say, "Aw, nah, we'll let -- we don't want them to check whether or not Iraq and Iran are blowing up nuclear weapons"? "Well, don't worry about. It's okay by us, because we don't like the Ugly American." I just think people should look at the list and look at people's interest. Again, obviously, you can't guarantee anything.
With regard to this issue of "the United States will not test," I find it kind of fascinating that the senator just indicated -- which is legitimate -- that, you know, we got these supercomputers. And the Russians are saying -- and every other nation -- everybody forgets, because we focus on the trees instead of the forest here -- everybody else we hear from today, from the chairman of the Armed Services Committee -- we heard from Mr. Schlesinger today -- I -- the chairman was kind enough to give me an opportunity as an ad hoc member of that committee -- about how our allies and our enemies are going to lose confidence in our ability to verify that our stockpile is reliable and that it is safe.
Now, with regard to our "enemies", quote-unquote -- that's how they view it -- Russia and China -- I don't consider Russia my enemy, but that's how it's considered, right? -- they are going to, so the argument went yesterday here on the floor, they are going to say "You know, those Americans can't rely on those 6,000 weapons because they're not testing any more. So now's our chance." That's the implication of it. When, in fact, the Russians are saying, "Hey, this ain't fair! You got these supercomputers. You guys are going to know your weapons system is reliable; we're not going to know. Give us the computer system."
I mean, Mr. Chairman, the way we argue in the alternative here, we say, "Hey, you know, our system's not going to be reliable, but look at those Russians who are trying to get a hold of our system how to deal without -- deal on reliability without testing." And then we say, "Well, we're not gonna -- we won't be allowed to modernize. But you know what? If this goes forward, those other nations will modernize." Whoa! Give me a break! We by far and away are more sophisticated than any other nation in the world. If we can't modernize, how the heck are they going to modernize?
And so my point, my thing I'd like you to speak with me about a second, Madame Secretary, and I'll end this, is that we are in a position where we've decided not to test. I don't know -- have you heard anybody, has anybody from the foreign policy establishment on the center-right, where you would find those who do oppose -- and a lot there don't oppose, but who do oppose the treaty -- has anyone suggested publicly and has anyone on this committee suggesting we should resume testing? Have you heard any -- I mean, I -- there may -- it's a legitimate question. I mean, I sincerely mean it. Have you heard -- has any significant name in the foreign policy establishment said to you publicly or privately that we should resume testing?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: No, no one has. And I think that the question here is Where do these questions lead to? Because that's the problem. It leads to the supposition that you might want to test when we don't want to test, when we have been the lead in not testing. And let me just --
SEN. BIDEN: There's a point I want to make, and my time's up. I'm sorry to do this to you, and I will end, because there is another panel. The second point I'd make is, if you look, if you cut through the concern of the people I most respect -- and I respect some of the very same people my chairman does, people like Schlessinger, people like Mrs. Kirkpatrick, people like Casper Weinberger -- you cut through it all, and here's the real objection, and it's legitimate: A, even though we can get out, we won't have the will to get out --
SEN. : That's correct.
SEN. BIDEN: -- number one, we don't have the political will.
Number two, that even though -- even though the circumstance would not allow any president, this or the next one, to unilaterally begin testing because the political climate would be so counterproductive if they did that; even though that's the case and we won't be testing, it is better to not sign on to a treaty because we want to hold off that possibility to test. The third thing you hear is -- the third legitimate argument, I think, is: "You know, if you stop testing, you lose an entire generation of nuclear scientists, who learned a lot about nuclear weapons by their testing." That is an argument Schlesinger and others make; it's legitimate. It's legitimate. But I don't understand how they don't understand, if you are going to spend $45 billion in those laboratories, how you are not going to attract an entire new generation, who are going to be even more sophisticated. So, Mr. Chairman, I have gone beyond my time as usual, but you're kind to let me do it. There are legitimate arguments against this treaty. I respectfully suggest none of them have to do with verification, with our -- stockpile not being reliable, et cetera. I think they go to deeper fundamental questions, which is always the case why my friend says, "As" -- I don't know -- I forget who he always quotes, but he quotes somebody and says, "We have never lost a war or won a treaty."
SEN. : Will Rogers.
SEN. BIDEN: I think that is something that is the fundamental dividing line here on this, and it's a legitimate one. But I think we should argue it up front; talk about the forest, not just the little tiny trees in the forest. But I thank you for being here.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Thank you. Let me just say one -- two words here, one on the list that you read. A lot of those countries were the countries that were in the NPT Review, who were the ones who said, "Go for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty." So that is part of our faith with them. And so why would they not in fact want us to be able to have those kinds of on-site inspections? It is for their benefit.
Let me say on the last point that you make about the treaties. I, along with all of you, have spent a major portion of my adult life looking at arms-control treaties. And there always are these questions, you know: "Why do we do them? They are not perfect. They can cheat." And as Ronald Reagan said, you know, verify here. I think -- don't trust; verify. I think we in the end all base on that. Everything that is important can be verified. The problem here is we have to understand, and I happen to believe, that we are better off because of the arms control treaties that we have had. They are not perfect. Neither is this one. But it is beyond my understanding as to why, when we are not going to test and, in my belief, should not test, and have the best scientists in the world, with the state of the art that they have $45 billion now to even improve, why would we give license to those countries that want to test the ability to do so with impunity when we can actually get our arms around the nuclear arms race and strangle it.
SEN. HELMS: Madame Secretary, I am one of the culprits in thinking that we could cover more territory than we've been able to cover today. And I am so apologetic to the third panel, but if they will persevere, I will. But I do have one question that bothers me, and I must ask it.
When we questioned John Holum as to why the treaty fails to define what it purports to ban, he gave me a very confusing response. He said, and I quote him, "The course of negotiations confirmed our judgment that it would have been difficult, and possibly counterproductive, to specify in technical terms what is prohibited by the treaty."
Now, my question is, one of them, is the reason that it would have been difficult and counterproductive to pursue such a definition because other countries interpret the treaty to permit low-yield testing? Do you feel it does?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: I believe that this treaty is zero yield, and that is the basis on which it has been presented to you.
SEN. HELMS: Well, that's not yes or no.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: (To Mr. Holum) John, do you want -- Undersecretary Holum may be --
SEN. HELMS: Yeah, he can testify. We're all friends here. We're trying to get to the truth.
JOHN HOLUM (Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs): The basic answer is that there was a history going back to the Threshold Test Ban Treaty and other treaties that no yield -- that zero means no testing at all. It was discussed extensively -- as Ambassador Ledogar went into, I believe, earlier today in his testimony -- among the nuclear weapons states, the only ones having any capability to do something very small. They had a long history of negotiations among themselves back and forth and came to an agreement, as Ambassador Ledogar described, that zero means no yield.
And all the other countries understand it that way, as do the five nuclear weapons states.
SEN. HELMS: Well, he handed me a note, which is correct. The treaty doesn't say "zero." It doesn't define its terms at all. That's the point I'm making.
MR. HOLUM: But it does ban any nuclear test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and in the negotiating record it's very clear that that means there can't be any critical yield from a nuclear event. You can do things that don't go critical, you can't do things that do.
SEN. HELMS: Yeah. What I'm getting at, of course, is the Russian government has clearly stated the view that hydronuclear testing is permitted. Now, there's a chart somewhere -- over there -- that contains a quote from the deputy minister of atomic energy stating this view.
Now, this is a senior Russian government official, and I'm sure that plenty of other Russians are claiming that they will adhere to a zero-yield ban, but the fact of the matter is that Russia has stated the need to develop a new low-yield tactical nuclear weapon and has stated the intent to conduct nuclear testing despite CTBT. That's correct, isn't it?
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Let me state here, Mr. Chairman --
SEN. HELMS: All right.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Some Russian officials that have not been involved in the negotiations appear to be confused about its limits. The negotiating record that Ambassador Ledogar described said that their zero means "no nuclear yield, however small," and that is the standard that we will apply. The Russians describe their test site activities as sub-critical; that is the same thing that we are doing. That is, those that do not have a chain reaction.
SEN. HELMS: I think I understand that, but Russia has a clear pattern of activity at its nuclear test site, and this is the bottom line: How is it possible to reach any conclusion other than that Russia does not interpret the test ban in the way the United States of America does?
MR. HOLUM: I'd just encourage you to look at what the ambassador -- closely at what Ambassador Ledogar has produced and the record of the negotiations. It's the same as legislation here. You rely first of all on the terms of the law, and then on the legislative history to identify what the agreement means, what the legislation means. And it is -- although Viktor Mikhailov would very much like to have the treaty say something other than it does and have it mean something other than what it does --
SEN. HELMS: Well, I get more confused as we get into this thing, and I'm almost sorry I did it. (Laughs.) Are you saying that the deputy minister of Atomic Energy does not know his government's position on nuclear testing? Is that what you are saying?
MR. HOLUM: It appears to be that that's the case, because he's saying something that's inconsistent with what his government agreed to in the conference on disarmament in Geneva.
SEN. HELMS: Very well.
SEN. BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, why didn't he answer the rest of your question? Because I don't think he did, in all due respect.
The chairman said that how can you interpret based on what's going on in Russia now, not verbally but in terms of, quote, "alleged testing", how can you interpret that they mean anything other than something less than zero? Is there any evidence, conclusive evidence that they are testing nuclear weapons now?
MR. HOLUM: No, there's not. There is activity at the test site, as the secretary said. And I'm sure most of you or many of you have had the briefing that the CIA has generated on that subject. There's no conclusion in that, and I can't go into it in detail here. But there is no conclusion in that that they are doing anything that would violate the threshold, or the level of permitted activity in this treaty.
SEN. HELMS: Well, what is this activity at the test site? Are they playing poker or something?
MR. HOLUM: Well, we're doing, Senator, the same thing -- Mr. Chairman, the same thing at our test site that they claim to be doing at theirs. We are doing subcritical experiments. We're setting off high explosive devices with material that serves the function of fissile material to see how that works. We're going that close. But as soon as it becomes critical it violates the treaty. If it produces a nuclear yield, then it violates the treaty threshold.
SEN. BIDEN: In other words, Mr. Chairman, you can have an explosion that can be detected that is not a nuclear explosion. It can be an explosion for the stuff that blows off the nuclear explosion, a bunch of high explosives. The way I understand the way a nuclear weapon works, there is an explosion, a high explosive that is not a nuclear device that, in effect, detonates the nuclear device.
MR. HOLUM: That's right.
SEN. HELMS: What we're doing --
SEN. BIDEN: And you can test that to determine whether that works, right?
MR. HOLUM: That's right. You can test all the way. But I feel -- as a lawyer, I feel very uncomfortable answering questions on that when you've got Dick Garwin on the next panel, who knows everything there is to know about how nuclear weapons --
SEN. HELMS: Well maybe we can get an answer that clears up my confusion from that panel. But seriously, I thank both you. And, Madame Secretary, I know this has been a grueling experience for you, particularly since you came across the country to do this, and I appreciate it very much.
SEC. ALBRIGHT: Thank you. Actually it's been quite enjoyable, and I appreciate the fact that you had the hearing, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
SEN. HELMS: Good. Thank you very much. And we have a vote on, and we will invite the third panel to come to the table, if they're still awake! (Chuckles.)