Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Acting Under Secretary of
State and Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency John Holum participated
in a ceremony last week where they highlighted the need for action on the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty now pending before the Senate.
The officials took the opportunity to discuss the CTBT at the 10th anniversary
of the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, a 24-hour communications center which links
the United States with governments around the world, sending and receiving thousands
of messages annually under a wide range of arms control and security agreements.
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, in his prepared remarks said, “In the months
ahead, the Administration will be working with Congress on a ratification effort of our
own -- of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The CTBT will lock-in the current nuclear
powers at present qualitative levels of weaponry, and it will help to prevent states
that do not have nuclear weapons from developing them. The United States already
observes a moratorium on nuclear testing. It’s time to hold other nations to the
Acting Under Secretary of State John Holum said, “Arms control treaties ... are
substantially reducing the numbers of nuclear and conventional weapons threatening our
interests, our people, and our men and women in uniform.
“The treaties are only as good as the level of compliance and enforcement we can
ensure. ...The NRRC ... giv[es] us confidence that the parties to an agreement are
doing what they have promised ... [and] means the United States can approach arms
control from a position of confidence and strength, and thus pursue additional steps....
“...Our allies in Britain and France became the first two nuclear weapon states to ratify
the CTBT. The ball is now even more squarely in our court. The sooner we ratify the CTBT,
the sooner we set the rest of the world on the same path. U.S. leadership is critical to
the CTBT’s success. We should be in the business not of complicating arms control, but
making it happen.”
After the ceremony Mr. Holum said in a briefing, “The Senate has an historic opportunity
to complete an effort this year that began during the Eisenhower administration, and