Arms Control and the U.S. Russian Relationship



The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which would culminate 40 years of U.S. efforts to limit nuclear testing, was introduced at the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament in January 1994. If entered into force, the treaty would strengthen the nonproliferation regime; retard the development of advanced nuclear weapon designs, such as those necessary to deploy powerful nuclear explosives on missiles; pressure potential prohferators not to test; and reduce discrimination inherent within the NPT, which is strongly criticized by nonnuclear weapon states. The CTBT, critical to U.S. nonproliferation and disarmament strategy, has been under intensive negotiations in the CD in Geneva. On June 28, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban tabled a revised draft text for consideration of its approval when the conference reconvened on July 29. President Clinton informed Russia and the other three nuclear weapon states (the United Kingdom, France, and China) that the text was acceptable to the United States and urged them to join the United States in a public announcement to this effect.

Agreement on the text among the five nuclear weapon states was reached in early August 1996, including incorporation of a U.S.-Chinese final agreement on verification procedures. By a vote Of 158 to 3 in early September 1996, the U.N. General Assembly approved the treaty, and on September 24, 1996, President Clinton signed the treaty at the United Nations, as did representatives from the United Kingdom, China, France, and Russia.


India has announced it will not sign the CTBT, and it blocked consensus in Geneva. The entry-into-force provision requires rat-


ification by 44 states, including India. Because the entry-into-force formulation casts doubt on whether the CTBT will in fact enter into force within a reasonable period of time, the United States and others could address its provisional entry into force in the event that India does not change its present position over the next several years.


  1. The United States, Russia, and the other three nuclear weapon states should encourage other countries to sign the treaty (induding Israel and Pakistan, who, together with India, constitute the three threshold nudear weapon states).

  2. The United States should reach agreement with Russia, the other three nuclear weapon states, and as many of the threshold states as possible that, upon signature of the CTBT, they will not conduct nuclear tests pending its ratification and entry into force.

  3. The United States should take the lead, with Russia and the other three nuclear weapon states, in designing a process to bring the CTBT into force within several years of its opening for signature.