FACT SHEET: CONSEQUENCES OF FAILURE TO RATIFY CWC

(White House on Chemical Weapons Convention) (690)

(The following fact sheet, entitled "The Chemical Weapons Convention:
Consequences of Failure," was issued by the White House on April 4.)

The Chemical Weapons Convention will enter into force April 29, 1997,
with or without U.S. participation. Without positive Senate action on
the treaty before that date, there will be significant political,
economic and diplomatic costs.

Americans will be less secure. The United States must monitor and seek
to control the spread of chemical weapons worldwide, with or without
the CWC. If the Congress fails to act and bring the CWC and its
domestic legislation into force, we will deny ourselves important
tools to track and control the spread of these weapons globally, and
to punish violators. By going it alone, we will deny ourselves access
to additional information about rogue states and terrorist groups. We
will sharply limit our ability to apply political, diplomatic and
economic pressure, as well as other penalties against violators of the
Convention's ban on poison gas. By rejecting this international effort
to ban chemical weapons, American troops and citizens alike will be
less secure and more vulnerable to two of the most serious emerging
threats in the post-cold-war era, the spread of weapons of mass
destruction and terrorism. As former Secretary of Defense William
Perry and Attorney General Janet Reno have stated, "To increase the
battle safety of our troops and to fight terror here and around the
globe, the Senate should ratio the Chemical Weapons Convention now."

American business will suffer. The nation's largest exporter -- the
chemical industry -- has said as much as $600 million a year in U.S.
sales will be placed at risk if the United States does not ratify the
Convention. American businesses will face trade restrictions by
nations who are party to the treaty. Some treaty members have a
history of denying the United States access to their home markets, and
could use the Convention as an excuse to immediately suspend trade
with the United States in treaty-controlled chemicals. As Fred Webber,
President and CEO of the Chemical Manufacturers Association has said,
"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 United States may be the first
to feel the sting and stigma of defying the Convention."

American global leadership will be damaged. Other countries, who look
to the United States for leadership, would have to look elsewhere. Our
ability to lead not only in this effort, but on a broad range of
proliferation and terrorism challenges will be sharply undermined. If
we reject a treaty which wouldn't have been concluded without our
determined effort, we will also find ourselves subject to the same
trade sanctions and restrictions as rogue states such as Libya. As
former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger has said, "If we do not
lead in 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 50 years of the 20th century."

America will lose its seat at the table implementing the CWC. The
United States will not be part of the governing body which oversees
implementation, nor will U.S. citizens serve as international
inspectors or in other key positions. Americans, with the most
comprehensive experience in implementing and verifying international
arms control agreements and with a large chemical industry, would not
have an input on implementing the treaty's reporting and inspection
protocols. The United States has the most experience in eliminating
chemical weapons stockpiles, having made the decision in 1985 to begin
destroying our chemical weapons. But there would be no American
inspectors on the teams that make sure other countries are doing what
we as a nation have already decided to do.