News

Tracking Number:  414641

Title:  "McNamara: Treaty of Roratonga, French Nuclear Testing." Assistant Secretary of State Thomas McNamara discussed the treaty of Roratonga and French nuclear testing during testimony before a House subcommittee. (951115)

Date:  19951115

Text:
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11/15/95 MCNAMARA: TREATY OF RAROTONGA, FRENCH NUCLEAR TESTING (Text: 11/15 testimony before the Asia-Pacific HIRC) (2140) Washington -- Thomas E. McNamara, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, spoke about the issue of the Treaty of Rarotonga, a treaty to create a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone and also French nuclear testing in that zone during his testimony before the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific House International Relations Committee November 15.

The Treaty of Rarotonga was opened for signature on August 6, 1985 at Rarotonga. All nations of the South Pacific are eligible to join the treaty. The treaty entered into force on December 11, 1986. The treaty also has three protocols. "Protocol I of the treaty provides that states with territories within the zone are to apply the basic provisions of the treaty to their respective territories. Under Protocol 2, the nuclear weapons states agree not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any party to the treaty or the territory within the zone of protocol parties. Under Protocol 3, the nuclear weapons states agree not to test nuclear weapons within the zone established by the treaty. The protocols to the treaty were opened for signature on August 8, 1986 in Suva, Fiji."

McNamara stressed that none of the U.S. current or prior activities or practices within the zone established by the treaty are inconsistent with either the treaty or its protocols.

On the issue of nuclear testing in the South Pacific, McNamara said, "The issue of nuclear testing by France, or by any other nation, is best viewed in the context of efforts to achieve a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996. The CTBT is a high priority of this administration. A universal and verifiable CTBT will serve the U.S. national interest by foreclosing the possibility of further nuclear weapons modernization by the five nuclear weapons states and by establishing barriers to the development of modern nuclear weapons by the non-nuclear weapon and threshold-nuclear states."

The assistant secretary said, "France is a strong supporter of a zero yield CTBT by the fall of 1996. We take note of President Chirac's strong commitment to end testing and conclude a CTBT by May of 1996, and to sign a CTBT no later than the fall of 1996. In addition, France has been extremely helpful in working within the P-3 and P-5 to forge agreement on all details of a zero-yield CTBT, and we believe their continued active participation is critical to signing the Treaty by next fall. ...While we welcome France's commitment to a zero yield CTBT and its support of our efforts to have such a treaty ready for signature by the fall, we regret the French decision to resume testing."

Following is the text of McNamara's testimony: (begin text) Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the sub-committee. I am here today to discuss two issues that have direct relevance to the nuclear nonproliferation regime, the issue of the treaty creating a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, known as the Treaty of Rarotonga, and French nuclear testing in that zone. First, however, I would like to put these discussions into a global context.

The cornerstone of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the NPT, was extended indefinitely and unconditionally in May of this year. The extension of the NPT, a treaty which is essential and invaluable in securing global peace and security, was made possible through the combined efforts of many nations.

Leadership on the indefinite extension of the NPT was exercised by a very diverse group which included among others, the united States, the Western European countries, Canada, Australia, Japan, Argentina, and South Africa. --South Africa played a unique role in the conference, as the only country to have possessed nuclear weapons and then to have renounced them to join the NPT. President Mandela's courage and wisdom on this issue were central in achieving the treaty's permanent extension. In addition, the contributions of the nations of the mouth Pacific, while less public, were equally vital.

These states were long term advocates of NPT extension, endorsing the principle of indefinite extension at the 1993 and 1994 meetings of their regional organization, the South Pacific Forum. They joined with us at the NPT Review Conference in sponsoring the resolution to extend the NPT indefinitely and without conditions, a resolution ultimately cosponsored by a majority of all the NPT parties. President Clinton called this overwhelming consensus in favor of making the treaty permanent critical" in making the American people -- and the people of the world -- more safe and secure.

I would like to turn now to the Treaty of Rarotonga, or the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone. As we noted in connection with the decision to extend the NPT, the U.S. believes that internationally recognized nuclear weapon free zones, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the states of the region concerned, can and do contribute to international peace and security. The 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference Resolution on Principles and objectives repeated this judgment and encouraged the creation of such zones as a matter of priority. The conference also recognized that the cooperation of all the nuclear weapons states, and their respect and support for the relevant protocols, are necessary for the -maximum effectiveness of such nuclear weapon free zones. In this light, the U.S., the U.K., and France jointly announced on October 20, 1995 our intention to sign the relevant protocols to a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, the Treaty of Rarotonga, in the first half of 1996.

These states were long term advocates of NPT extension, endorsing the principle of indefinite extension at the 1993 and 1994 meetings of their regional organization, the South Pacific Forum. They joined with us at the NPT Review Conference in sponsoring the resolution to extend the NPT indefinitely and without conditions, a resolution ultimately cosponsored by a majority of all the NPT parties. President Clinton called this overwhelming consensus in favor of making the treaty permanent critical" in making the American people -- and the people of the world -- more safe and secure.

The Treaty of Rarotonga prohibits the testing, manufacture, acquisition, or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory-of the parties to the treaty, and also prohibits the dumping of radioactive wastes at sea within the zone. The treaty also requires all parties to apply full scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to all their peaceful nuclear activities. A comprehensive control system, which includes mandatory on-site inspections, has been established to verify compliance with the treaty. The treaty affirms the right of each party to allow visits by foreign ships and aircraft to its ports and airfields. Finally, the treaty specifically upholds the freedom of navigation on the high seas and passage through territorial waters guaranteed by international law.

In addition, the Treaty of Rarotonga also has three protocols. Protocol I of the treaty provides that states with territories within the zone are to apply the basic provisions of the treaty to their respective territories. The treaty will therefore apply to American Samoa and Jarvis Island once the U.S. ratifies this protocol.

Under Protocol 2, the nuclear weapons states agree not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any party to the treaty or the territory within the zone of protocol parties.

Under Protocol 3, the nuclear weapons states agree not to test nuclear weapons within the zone established by the treaty.

The Treaty of Rarotonga was opened for signature on August 6, 1985 at Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook islands. All nations of the South Pacific are eligible to join the treaty. The treaty entered into force on December 11, 1986. The protocols to the treaty were opened for signature on August 8, 1986 in Suva, Fiji. I would stress that none of the U.S.'s current or prior activities or practices within the zone established by the treaty are inconsistent with either the treaty or its protocols.

Our decision to sign on to the relevant protocols of the Treaty of Rarotonga at this time, and the recent joint announcement to that effect, reflect positive regional and global developments that have recently occurred. All countries relevant to the treaty and its protocols have become parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the NPT. In addition, as we have seen, the NPT itself was extended indefinitely and without conditions on May 11, 1995. We have also made progress on a comprehensive treaty banning the testing of nuclear explosive devices. All of these positive developments have contributed to our recent joint announcement with the U.K. and France that we will sign the relevant protocols of the Treaty of Rarotonga during the first half of 1996.

Finally on this issue, Mr. Chairman, I would like to emphasize an essential point. None of the practices or activities of the United States in the region are impaired by the Treaty of Rarotonga. In particular, rights of transit for naval forces are specifically guaranteed in the treaty. In short, this treaty helps to guarantee our own security and the security of the nations in the zone in a thoughtful manner consistent with U.S. global policies concerning nuclear nonproliferation.

Next, Mr. Chairman, I would like to turn to the issue of nuclear testing in the South Pacific. The issue of nuclear testing by France, or by any other nation, is best viewed in the context of efforts to achieve a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996. The CTBT is a high priority of this administration. A universal and verifiable CTBT will serve the U.S. national interest by foreclosing the possibility of further nuclear weapons modernization by the five nuclear weapons states and by establishing barriers to the development of modern nuclear weapons by the non-nuclear weapon and threshold-nuclear states. As an indirect but very real benefit, the CTBT will strengthen the NPT, the key to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime; most parties to the NPT, including successive U.S. administrations, have interpreted the NPT's Article VI to require the nuclear-weapons states to conclude a CTBT.

The President has given this issue his personal-attention and has twice made decisions designed to move the negotiations in Geneva forward: in January of this year, he decided to abandon the U.S. position enabling nations to withdraw from the treaty after ten years for reasons other than supreme national interest.; and in August of this year he announced that the United States would pursue a zero yield CTBT.

The United States consistently has urged other nations in' the Conference on Disarmament to move forward more quickly. We have, for instance, sought extra meetings during the periods between sessions. The President has also written his counterparts among the members of the Conference on Disarmament, urging them to instruct their negotiators to conclude a zero yield CTBT in time for signature in the fall of 1996 and to give their negotiators the flexibility needed to reach that goal. We believe that the CTBT can be concluded next spring and be ready for signature by the fall of next year.

France is a strong supporter of a zero yield CTBT by the fall of 1996. We take note of President Chirac's strong commitment to end testing and conclude a CTBT by May of 1996, and to sign a CTBT no later than the fall of 1996. In addition, France has been extremely helpful in working within the P-3 and P-5 to forge agreement on all details of a zero-yield CTBT, and we believe their continued active participation is critical to signing the Treaty by next fall.

While we welcome France's commitment to a zero yield CTBT and its support of our efforts to have such a treaty ready for signature by the fall, we regret the French decision to resume testing. We have repeatedly and consistently made our position known to them: we believe a global moratorium on nuclear testing will provide the most favorable environment in which to negotiate a true zero-yield Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). In this light, we were pleased to note the French decision to curtail their testing schedule from eight tests to six. Finally, by committing itself through the October 20 joint statement to sign the relevant protocols of the Treaty of Rarotonga that prohibit nuclear testing in the zone, France has signalled its intention to halt nuclear testing by mid-1996.

Once again, I would like to thank the committee for allowing me to speak before you here today on these important issues. I look forward to your questions.

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