Current as of March 21, 1997


The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits all development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. The Convention will enter into force on April 29, 1997. Following are excerpts from statements in which the President has spoken out on the need for the CWC:

"... we're both committed to securing ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention before it goes into force next month so that we can finally begin to banish poison gas from the Earth."
Joint News Conference with Russian President Boris Yeltsin
Helsinki, Finland
March 21, 1997

"Now we must rise to a new test of leadership -- ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention. Make no mistake about it, it will make our troops safer from chemical attack. It will help us to fight terrorism. We have no more important obligations, especially in the wake of what we now know about the Gulf War.

"This treaty has been bipartisan from the beginning, supported by Republican and Democratic administrations, and Republican and Democratic members of Congress, and already approved by 68 nations. But if we do not act by April the 29th, when this Convention goes into force -- with or without us -- we will lose the chance to have Americans leading and enforcing this effort. Together we must make the Chemical Weapons Convention law so that at last we can begin to outlaw poisoned gas from the Earth."
State of the Union Address
February 4, 1997

"Early CWC ratification by the United States is extraordinarily important. The security of our soldiers and citizens is at stake, as is the economic well-being of our chemical industry. I urge the Senate to act promptly to ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of international efforts to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the U.S. chemical industry maintains its international competitiveness. I look forward to working with the Senate leadership to get the job done."
Statement on the Fourth Anniversary of the signing of the CWC
January 13, 1997

"As we continue to investigate Gulf War illnesses, let me again take this opportunity to urge the Congress to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention which would make it harder for rogue states to acquire chemical weapons in the future, and protect the soldiers of the United States and our allies in the future."
Remarks on receiving the Report on Gulf War Illnesses
January 7, 1997

"The United States has six priority goals to further lift the threat of...weapons of mass destruction, and to limit their dangerous spread. First, we must protect our people from chemical attack and make it harder for rogue states and terrorists to brandish poison gas by bringing the Chemical Weapons Convention into force as soon as possible...I thank the nations here that have ratified the CWC. I deeply regret that the United States Senate has not yet voted on the Convention, but I want to assure you, and the people throughout the world, that I will not let this treaty die and we will join the ranks of nations determined to prevent the spread of chemical weapons."
Address to the 51st General Assembly of the United Nations
September 24, 1996

"Now we must pursue together our remaining arms control agenda...a chemical weapons convention so that our troops never face poison gas in the battlefield and our people never fall victim to it in a terrorist attack."
Remarks to the Parliament, Canberra, Australia
November 20, 1996

"Thatís why we have worked patiently and pragmatically to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction, to take on the challenge of terrorism...There is, to be sure, more hard work ahead of us. We must secure the ratification in the United States Senate of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to make it more difficult for rogue states and terrorists to acquire poison gas."
Remarks to the People of Detroit
October 22, 1996

"...we see new threats that we have lived with painfully -- in the World Trade Center bombing or the destruction of the Federal Building and all of the loss of life in Oklahoma City...They saw it in Japan in the Sarin gas attack -- chemical weapons in the Tokyo subway that took the lives of innocent people."
Democratic National Convention Reception
September 25, 1996

"Our military supports it, leaders of our nationís foreign policy, both Democrats and Republicans, including President Bush, General Colin Powell and Senator Dick Lugar support it. We all agree that we should be sending a strong message as a united country that America will do its part to banish poison gas from the earth. And meanwhile we must do everything we can to protect our soldiers and to keep such weapons out of the hands of terrorists. The Chemical Weapons Convention will clearly help us to do that."
Remarks on the Radio Address to the Nation
September 14, 1996

"...the fight against terrorism must be both a national priority -- and a national security priority...[P]art of our strategy is to give American law enforcement the most powerful tools available to fight terrorism -- without undermining our civil liberties...I urge the Senate to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention so we can eliminate chemical weapons stockpiles and give our law enforcement new powers to investigate and prosecute people planning attacks. We've seen the terrible destructive power of Sarin gas in the Tokyo subway. Within a month of that attack, Japan's Diet ratified the CWC. If the CWC were in force today, it would be much more difficult for terrorists to acquire chemical weapons. Terrorists don't wait and we shouldn't either."
George Washington University
August 5, 1996

"...we still need the disciplined support of our allies and a real system for dealing with the threats of the proliferation of dangerous weapons, chemical weapons...I want to help and I want to leave this country with a system, a regime, a disciplined end CW production...and to move swiftly and aggressively across national lines against terrorism...Those are the threats of the future, and we have to have them there."
Remarks to the Northern California DNC Gala, San Francisco
July 23, 1996

"And when people become more open to new ideas and new information it means that there are also more opportunities for the organized forces of destruction to take advantage of the openness. That's why terrorists can put poison gas on a subway in Tokyo...The more open we are...the more we'll have to be vigilant in dealing with these problems. It's why we have to be more vigilant in dealing with the problems of the proliferation of...chemical weapons. All of these things are the new security threats."
Remarks at a Ceremony for Boys and Girls Nation, The East Room
July 18, 1996

"There is more to be done for pass on an even safer and more prosperous world to our children...First, we must continue to seize the extraordinary opportunity to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction. We have set the most far-reaching arms control and nonproliferation agenda in history, and I am determined to pursue it and complete it...We have to ban chemical weapons by ratifying the chemical weapons convention now."
Remarks at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Commencement
May 22, 1996

"...No great nation can hide from terrorism. We saw it at the World Trade Center...We saw it in Oklahoma City...In the world we're living of our biggest challenges is seeing...the people who smuggle weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons, coming together and working together. I am determined that will not happen, and I intend to keep us involved with every freedom loving country in the world that will stand up to the terrorists and the thugs that would rob innocent people of their future."
Remarks at DNC Dinner in Columbus, Ohio
March 23, 1996

"As the Cold War gives way to the global village, too many people remain vulnerable...No one is immune -- not the people of Japan, where terrorists unleashed nerve gas in the subway and poisoned thousands...We must press other countries and our own Congress to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention."
United Nations General Assembly
Oct. 22, 1995

"I know we have more to do in trying to stem the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons, and to defeat the forces of terrorism around the world. No free country is immune from them...but we can do this -- and we must."
Memorial Day Address at Arlington National Cemetery
May 29, 1995