CWC supporters rally at White House

President Clinton hosted a broad bipartisan show of support for the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty negotiated under President Reagan and concluded and signed under President Bush. Treaty supporters who attended the White House event include former JCS Chairmen Generals Colin Powell and David Jones as well as representatives from the VFW, the Reserve Officers Association and Gulf War, Vietnam and Korean War veterans groups. Other attendees include former Senator Warren Rudman, and Reagan Administration officials Paul Nitze, Edward Rowny and Ken Adelman.
Addressing the White House gathering were:
Vice President Gore:
“[This group represents] men and women in different political parties, different points on the ideological spectrum ... [there have been] dozens of important issues that have faced America where these individuals have argued with one another and been on different sides, passionately. But on this issue, every single one of them is in agreement because ... these individuals have concluded this is very definitely in the best interest of the United States of America. The time has come to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright:
“The time for Senate action is now. The treaty has been pending in the Senate for 180 weeks. It’s been the subject of more than a dozen hearings and scores of briefings. And we have supplied more than 1,500 pages of testimony, reports, correspondence and answers for the record concerning it. In summary, this treaty is a test of our ability to follow through on commitments.”
Secretary of Defense William Cohen:
“Quite simply, this treaty is critical to the safety of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. The Chemical Weapons Convention is needed to protect and defend the men and women in uniform who protect and defend our country.”
Former Secretary of State James Baker:
“...the Chemical Weapons Convention was negotiated under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. The argument that some have used against ratification of the CWC is that it would somehow undermine our national security. Frankly, the suggestion that George Bush and Ronald Reagan would negotiate a treaty detrimental to this nation’s security is outrageous.
“Ratification of the CWC is at its core really a test of American leadership ... if we fail to ratify, we will ... isolate ourselves from our friends in the international arena,
and ... throw in our lot with the rogue states which oppose this treaty. But most importantly of all, my friends, if we fail to ratify the CWC, we will be sending a clear signal of retreat from international leadership, both to our allies and to our enemies alike. This is a message we should never, never send. Instead, we should send another message; we should send a message that the United States of America is a nation aware of our international responsibilities and a nation confident enough to assume them. In a word, we should send a message that America is prepared to continue to lead.”
Former Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker:
“As a former member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 16 years who strongly supported President Reagan’s efforts to negotiate this treaty, President Bush’s efforts to complete it, and President Clinton’s efforts to ratify it, I can attest to the strong bipartisan support for this convention over the years.”
Former Senator David Boren:
“During the six years that I chaired the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, time and time again our intelligence experts came before our committee to warn us that the greatest threat to our national security and to the next generation is the spread of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons. ... The decision we must soon make about the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention is one of those decisions on which history will judge us, and I am proud to stand with those gathered today to urge its ratification.”
President Clinton:
“Presidents and legislators from both parties, military leaders and arms control experts have bound together in common cause because this is simpy good for the future of every American. ... Ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention ... says America is committed to protecting our troops, to fighting terror, to stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction, to setting and enforcing standards for international behavior, and to leading the world in meeting the challenges of the 21st century. I urge the Senate to act in the highest traditions of bipartisanship and in the deepest of our national interests.
“...the words that I have spoken today are nothing compared to the presence, to the careers, to the experience, to the judgment, to the patriotism of Republicans and Democrats alike and the military leaders who have gathered here and who all across this country have lent their support to this monumentally important effort.”
Produced by the White House Working Group on the Chemical Weapons Convention.
For more information on the Chemical Weapons Convention: Phone: 202-647-8677 Fax: 202-647-6928