(White House on Chemical Weapons Convention)

(The following fact sheet, entitled "The Chemical Weapons Convention:
Common Sense Security," was issued by the White House on April 4.)

The Chemical Weapons Convention will help us combat two of the gravest
security challenges we face in the post Cold War era -- the spread of
weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. The CWC will outlaw the
production, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical
weapons. The United States has been a consistent and strong world
leader in the 25-year effort to ban these horrific and indiscriminate
weapons. The Convention, which was successfully concluded by President
Bush, will take effect without the United States if the Senate falls
to approve it before April 29, 1997. The Convention should be ratified
because it is in our national security and economic interests.

The CWC will make Americans more secure. The treaty will increase the
safety of our troops on the battlefield and our citizens at home by
dramatically reducing the chances that either will be exposed to
poison gas. Well before this treaty was completed, Congress directed
the destruction of the vast majority of our stockpile. The CWC will
require that other nations do the same under strict international
supervision. And, by impeding the spread of chemical weapons, we
reduce the possibility that U.S. forces will encounter poison gas in
future conflicts. As Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General
Shalikashvili has testified, "Desert Storm proved that retaliation in
kind is not required to deter the use of chemical weapons... From a
military perspective, the Chemical Weapons Convention is clearly in
our national interest... The non-proliferation aspect of the
Convention will retard the spread of chemical weapons, and in so doing
reduce the probability that U.S. forces may encounter chemical weapons
in a regional conflict."

The CWC is a useful tool in the fight against terrorism. By
eliminating existing stockpiles of chemical weapons and restricting
the flow of chemicals that can be used to make poison gas, the CWC
will make it more difficult and more costly for terrorists to acquire
or use chemical weapons. The domestic laws required by the Convention
will also enhance our authority to investigate and prosecute chemical
weapons-related activities, well before these weapons can be used.
Furthermore, by tying the United States into a global verification
network and strengthening our information sharing with the
international community, this treaty can provide early warning
information that is essential for combating terrorism. As Attorney
General Reno and former Secretary of Defense Perry have stated "In an
era when terrorists can seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction,
the Convention advances our broadest national security interests ...
the Convention provides additional vital tools for preventing a
terrorist attack.

The CWC will protect American business and jobs. The CWC has the
strong support of the chemical industry. The actual impact on small
business will be negligible. The industry provided advice to the
United States government during the Reagan and Bush Administrations on
the provisions affecting industry. But, should the United States fall
to ratify the CWC, trade restrictions originally intended to put
pressure on rogue states such as Libya would be imposed on U.S.
chemical companies. The chemical industry has estimated that failure
to ratify the CWC, could place at risk about $600 million a year in
U.S. sales. As more than 50 CEOs of the major chemical companies
recently stated, "The U.S. chemical industry has spent more than 15
years working on this agreement and we long ago decided that ratifying
the CWC is the right thing to do."

The CWC will intensify pressure against rogue states. Without the CWC,
rogue states such as Libya and North Korea would proceed, business as
usual, in their efforts to acquire chemical weapons. The CWC goes
further than any other arms control agreement to date in applying
pressure to those outside. Nations who refuse to join the convention
will find themselves unable to trade in many chemicals that can be
used to make poison gas. This economic pressure will be buttressed by
the same kind of political pressure which helped drive membership in
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty from 43 states in 1970 to more
than 180 states today. With the CWC, not only will we know more about
what rogue states are doing, but it will be harder for them to do it,
and it will cost them -- even if they hold off on joining. As former
Secretary of State Warren Christopher testified, "If we had this
Convention two decades ago, we might have been able to prevent or at
least severely hamper Iraq's chemical weapons activities."