MCCURRY ON 23 AGREED CONDITIONS ON CWC AS OF APRIL 16
THE WHITE HOUSE
April 16, 1997
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
CWC Agreed Conditions
In late January, President Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Lott
agreed to establish a process to address concerns raised by members of
the Republican Caucus regarding the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
During the last two and a half months, over 60 hours of negotiations
have taken place on various issues related to the CWC. These
negotiations began in a series of meetings conducted between the
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Samuel R.
Berger, and a nine-member Senate Task Force established by the
Majority Leader. Following additional meetings at the senior staff
level between the administration and Senator Lott's Task Force, a
second phase of negotiations was conducted between the Chairman of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Jesse Helms, and its
Ranking Minority Member, Senator Joe Biden.
The discussions have focused on a package of "conditions" to be
included in the Senate resolution of ratification on the CWC. These
conditions are binding between the Senate and the President, but do
not constitute amendments to the treaty itself. Yesterday, Senator
Biden released a package of 23 conditions agreed to by himself and
Senator Helms as a result of the process initiated by Senator Lott and
the President in January. The agreed conditions underscore the
extraordinary progress achieved since January in addressing virtually
all of the issues raised in the debate over this treaty.
Among the 23 are conditions that would: require the Secretary of
Defense to maintain robust chemical and biological defenses for U.S.
troops; ensure that instances of noncompliance will be subject to
tough U.S. enforcement action; require the U.S., under Article X, to
limit any assistance to countries of concern, such as Cuba and Iran,
to medical antidotes and treatment; obligate the President to obtain
assurances from our Australia Group allies that Article XI is fully
consistent with maintaining strict export controls on dangerous
chemicals; and ensure that nothing in the CWC requires any action by
the U.S. prohibited by the Constitution.
The administration is continuing discussions with Senator Lott on a
few issues of particular importance, including search warrants and use
of riot control agents in certain wartime situations. In those areas
where agreement cannot be reached, the administration has proposed
conditions that it believes address the underlying concern with regard
to the operation and effectiveness of the treaty. The administration
looks forward to the Senate joining these issues with debate and votes
prior to April 29, the deadline for the U.S. joining the CWC as an
original State Party.