National Security Advisor urges advice, consent to Treaty
National Security Advisor Samuel R. Berger addressed the annual Washington
Forum of the Business Executives for National Security today. Mr. Berger emphasized the
President’s agenda to build a more secure future, which includes seeking ratification of
the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty this year.
Mr. Berger said:
“Since 1993, the
President has aggressively pursued efforts to halt the spread and testing of nuclear
explosives. ... [In 1996] the nations of the world -- including the five declared
nuclear weapons states -- signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. And last year, the
President submitted the Treaty to the Senate, with safeguard provisions to protect our
The fate of agreements forged by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin -- and the
CTBT -- will be in the hands of our legislatures, Mr. Berger said, and as the
Senate considers these agreements, “The future of arms control, as American
administrations -- Republican and Democratic -- have pursued it over 40 years,
could be decided in the next several months....” He continued, “In the words of the
late coach of
the Washington Redskins, George Allen, the future is now. What happens
will have a profound effect on U.S.-Russian nuclear relations -- and on our efforts to
stop the spread of nuclear weapons around the world.
“Let me discuss the Test Ban Treaty.... President Clinton has called it
the ‘longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of arms control.’ It bans
all nuclear explosive tests. We should pause and contemplate this development: 149
nations have signed an accord to never, or never again, test a nuclear device. We
must not let this extraordinary opportunity slip away.
“Four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- Shalikashvili, Powell, Crowe,
and Jones -- plus all six current members of the JCS -- agree that the Treaty is in
our national interest.
“The directors of our three national nuclear weapons labs and numerous outside
experts have said we can maintain a reliable deterrent without explosive testing.
The public strongly supports the Treaty, as it has for 40 years, since President
Eisenhower first proposed it.