CLINTON REMARKS ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION

Washington -- President Clinton has urged the U.S. Senate to enable
the United States to join 70 other nations around the world by
ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention "before it takes effect on
April 29th."

In hour-long ceremonies on the South Lawn of the White House April 4
at which numerous senior U.S. officials and former U.S. officials and
U.S. senators also spoke, Clinton said: "The Convention provides clear
and overwhelming benefits for our people. Under a law Congress passed
in the 1980s we were already destroying almost all our chemical
weapons. The Convention requires other nations to follow our lead, to
eliminate their arsenals of poison gas and to give up developing,
producing and acquiring such weapons in the future.

"By ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention, as Secretary Cohen
said, we can help to shield our soldiers from one of the battlefields
deadliest killers. We can give our children something our parents and
grandparents never had -- broad protection against the threat of
chemical attack. And we can bolster our leadership in the fight
against terrorism, of proliferation all around the world."

Acknowledging that the convention has its skeptics, Clinton said: "Of
course the treaty is not a panacea. No arms control treaty can be
absolutely perfect and none can end the need for vigilance. But no
nation acting alone can protect itself from the threat posed by
chemical weapons. Trying to stop their spread by ourselves would be
like trying to stop the wind that helps carry their poison to its
target. We must have an international solution to a global problem."

The President noted that "We are closing a 20th century which gives us
an opportunity now to forge a widening international commitment to
banish poison gas from the earth in the 21st century.

"This is a simple issue at bottom," the President said, "even though
the details are somewhat complex. Presidents and legislators from both
parties, military leaders and arms control experts, have bound
together in common cause because this is simply good for the future of
every American."

Following is the White House transcript:

(begin transcript)

THE WHITE HOUSE

April 4, 1997

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION EVENT

The South Lawn

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Senator Boren, for your words and
your presence here today. We were laughing before we came out here;
Senator Boren and I started our careers in politics in 1974 together,
but he found a presidency that is not term-limited -- (laughter) --
and I want to congratulate him on it.

Mr. Vice President, Secretary Albright, Secretary Cohen, Secretary
Baker, Senator Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, General Shalikashvili. Let me
thank all of you who have spoken here today for the words you have
said, for you have said it all. And let me thank all of you who have
come here to be a part of this audience today to send a clear,
unambiguous united message to America and to our Senate.

I thank General Colin Powell and Senator Warren Rudman, former arms
negotiators Paul Nitze, Edward Rowny and Ken Adelman; so many of the
Congressmen who have supported us, including Senator Biden and Senator
Levin who are here; the truly distinguished array of military leaders,
leaders of businesses, religious organizations, human rights groups,
scientists and arms control experts.

Secretary Baker made, I thought, a very telling point, which others
made as well. This is, in the beginning, a question of whether we will
continue to make America's leadership strong and sure as we chart our
course in a new time. We have to do that and we can only do that if we
rise to the challenge of ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention.

We are closing a 20th century which gives us an opportunity now to
forge a widening international commitment to banish poison gas from
the earth in the 21st century. This is a simple issue at bottom, even
though the details are somewhat complex. Presidents and legislators
from both parties, military leaders and arms control experts, have
bound together in common cause because this is simply good for the
future of every American.

I received two powerful letters recently, calling for ratification.
One has already been mentioned that I received from Senator Nancy
Kassebaum-Baker, Senator Boren and former National Security Advisor
General Brent Scowcroft. The other came from General Powell, General
Jones, General Vessey, General Schwarzkopf and more than a dozen other
retired generals and admirals -- all of them saying as one, America
needs to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention and we must do it
before it takes effect on April 29th.

Of course the treaty is not a panacea. No arms control treaty can be
absolutely perfect and none can end the need for vigilance. But no
nation acting alone can protect itself from the threat posed by
chemical weapons. Trying to stop their spread by ourselves would be
like trying to stop the wind that helps carry their poison to its
target. We must have an international solution to a global problem.

The Convention provides clear and overwhelming benefits for our
people. Under a law Congress passed in the 1980s we were already
destroying almost all our chemical weapons. The Convention requires
other nations to follow our lead, to eliminate their arsenals of
poison gas and to give up developing, producing and acquiring such
weapons in the future. By ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention,
as Secretary Cohen said, we can help to shield our soldiers from one
of the battlefields deadliest killers. We can give our children
something our parents and grandparents never had -- broad protection
against the threat of chemical attack. And we can bolster our
leadership in the fight against terrorism, of proliferation all around
the world.

If the Senate fails to ratify the Convention before it enters into
force, our national security and, I might add, our economic security
will suffer. We will be denied use of the treaty's tools against rogue
states and terrorists. We will lose the chance to help to enforce the
rules we helped to write or to have Americans serve as international
inspectors -- something that is especially important for those who
have raised concerns about the inspection provisions of the treaty.

Ironically, if we are outside this agreement rather than inside, it is
our chemical companies, our leading exporters, which will face
mandatory trade restrictions that could cost them hundreds of millions
of dollars in sales. In short order, America will go from leading the
world to joining the company of pariah nations that the Chemical
Weapons Convention seeks to isolate. We cannot allow this to happen.

The time has come to pass this treaty as 70 other nations already have
done. Since I sent the Chemical Weapons Convention to the Senate three
and a half years ago, there have been more than a dozen hearings, more
than 1,500 pages of testimony and reports. During the last three
months we have worked very closely with Senate leaders to go the extra
mile to resolve remaining questions and areas of concern. I want to
thank those in the Senate who have worked with us for their leadership
and for their good faith efforts.

Ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention, again, I say, is important
both for what it does and for what it says. It says, America is
committed to protection 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 interest.

And let me again say, 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.
We must not fail. We have a lot of work to do, but I leave here today
with renewed confidence that together, we can get the job done.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.

(end transcript)