Current as of: February 10, 1997


The following are statements made by prominent citizens, business leaders and current and former government officials who support the Chemical Weapons Convention.

President George Bush:

"I ... strongly support ... efforts to get this chemical weapons treaty approved. This should be beyond partisanship. ... I think it is vitally important for the United States to be out front. ... We don't need chemical weapons, and we ought to get out front and make clear that we are opposed to others having them."

After meeting with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Houston Texas

James Baker:

"I continue today to believe in a bipartisan foreign policy. One example of that is the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty that was negotiated under Presidents Reagan and Bush, and that is currently awaiting ratification by the Senate. I support that Convention, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with domestic politics, and everything to do with the national interest. I support it because it will make America and Americans more secure, in a world of terrorists and a world of rogue states."

Former Secretary of State, at the James Baker Public Policy Institute, Rice University

General Norman Schwarzkopf:

"I am very, very much in favor of the ratification of that treaty [Chemical Weapons Convention]. We don't need chemical weapons to fight our future warfares. And frankly, by not ratifying that treaty, we align ourselves with nations like Libya and North Korea, and I just as soon not be associated with those thugs in this particular matter. So I am very, very much in favor of ratification of that particular treaty."

Gulf War Commander, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Hearing on Persian Gulf War Illnesses

Secretary Madeleine Albright:

"As this committee well knows, the CWC was begun under President Reagan and negotiated under President Bush. It is supported by many in both parties, by the business community and by our military. The CWC is no panacea, but it will make it more difficult for rogue states and others hostile to our interests to develop or obtain chemical weapons. ... It is absolutely essential that the U.S. be an original party to the CWC. Our military does not wish to use chemical weapons and the CWC is the single best way to ensure that others don't have the military capability to use chemical weapons. This is totally in U.S. interests. We have a robust battle plan and we will work with you to get it ratified."

Secretary of State, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Secretary William Cohen:

"Two points are to be made here. Number one, whether we ratify this ... convention or not, we are engaging in unilateral disarmament. So we're getting rid of all of ours [chemical weapons]. By the year 2004, we'll have none. Secondly, whether we ratify this or not, it's going into effect. It's far better ... that we have at least some role on the executive council to help establish the protocols. ... if we were not to ratify this particular treaty, then we face the prospect of losing as much as $600 million in our own commercial sales because there will be sanctions imposed on us as a nonratifying country..."

Secretary of Defense, ABC "This Week"

Frederick L. Webber:

"The American chemical industry is the nation's largest exporter -- more than 10 cents of every export dollar is a product of our industry. Exports are the lifeblood of the chemical industry and sustain hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs for American workers. ... If the U.S. rejects the Convention, our industry will face both immediate and long-term trade sanctions by our largest trading partners. ... Sanctions were placed in the treaty, at the urging of the United States, to force rogue nations to the table. The treaty is designed to make any nation pay a high price for flouting the will of the international community. Ironically, the U.S. may be the first to feel the sting and stigma of defying the Convention."

President of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, in a letter to President Clinton

Senator Arlen Specter:

"I believe the chemical weapons treaty ought to be ratified. I'm hopeful that it will be brought up at an early date. We'll debate it. Hear from people who oppose it. Some do ... In any event, I think we ought to move ahead and do it. ... There has been testimony that ratification of the treaty would protect our troops in the field."

Statement during a news conference on Capitol Hill

George Tenet:

"There are tools in this treaty that as intelligence professionals we believe we need to monitor the proliferation of chemical weapons around the world."

Acting Director of Central Intelligence, testimony before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee

Lawrence S. Eagleburger:

"The Chemical Weapons Convention is an important part of an international structure that would increase U.S. and global security in the next century. If we do not lead this effort to curb the proliferation of chemical weapons and initiate their global elimination, we increase the chances that we will encounter disasters in the 21st century reminiscent of those that occurred in the first fifty years of the 20th century."

Secretary of State during the Bush administration, statement given to the Henry L. Stimson Center

General Brent Scowcroft:

"Success in rolling back the threat of chemical weapons proliferation requires well-equipped U.S. military forces and chemical defense preparedness. However, the clear international norms against chemical weapons, the legal framework, and the challenge inspections embodied in the Chemical Weapons Convention are also needed. The time has come for the Senate to uphold U.S. leadership in combatting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by providing its advice and consent to the Convention."

National Security Adviser during the Bush administration, statement given to the Henry L. Stimson Center

General John M. Shalikashvili:

"From a military perspective, the Chemical Weapons Convention is clearly in our national interest. The Convention's advantages outweigh its shortcomings. The United States and all other CW-capable state parties incur the same obligation to destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles ... if we do not join and [we] walk away from the CWC an awful lot of people will probably walk away from it as well, and our influence on the rogue states will only decrease."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

James Woolsey:

"In sum, what the Chemical Weapons Convention provides the intelligence community is a new tool to add to our collection tool kit. It is an instrument with broad applicability, which can help resolve a wide variety of problems. Moreover, it is a universal tool which can be used by diplomats and politicians, as well as intelligence specialists, to further a common goal: elimination of the threat of chemical weapons."

Former Director of Central Intelligence, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Senator Joseph R. Biden:

"The single greatest threat facing the United States today is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We need to use every means at our disposal to reduce the chances of a chemical attack in our country. The Chemical Weapons Convention is an irreplaceable tool to achieve that goal. Further delay by the U.S. Senate in considering the CWC would be a dereliction of our duty to serve those we represent. It would bring comfort only to those rogue states and terrorists who are trying feverishly to acquire chemical weapons."

Statement given to the Henry L. Stimson Center

Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum:

"The Chemical Weapons Convention will not prevent all future chemical attacks, particularly by terrorists. But it nevertheless is an important and constructive international mechanism to check and reverse the proliferation of chemical weapons. The United States cannot stop the proliferation of these weapons alone, and that is why our participation with other nations in ratifying and implementing the Convention is so crucial. The Senate has to do its part, and I believe our leadership is important for the uncertain times that lie ahead."

Statement given to the Henry L. Stimson Center