Architects of U.S. test moratorium call for action on Test Ban Treaty

Former Senators James Exon, Mark Hatfield and George Mitchell urged the Senate to act on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty without delay. The three Senators co-sponsored the landmark legislation which mandated an end to U.S. nuclear testing in 1992, and directed the executive branch to seek a CTBT. The Senators wrote today in The Washington Times of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty:
“Two crucial tasks remain: securing approval by the Senate and working with our friends and allies to persuade such current non-signatories as India and Pakistan that the treaty is in their national interest as well. The two tasks are inextricably linked. History shows the cause of peace and security around the world is best served when the United States leads. The CTB has since last September awaited the advice and consent of the Senate. Until the United States has ratified, our standing in urging the few remaining holdouts to join will be undercut, and the treaty will not enter into force.
“We urge the Senate to act on the treaty this year, as the president urged in his State of the Union address. And that, in turn, means the committee with primary jurisdiction over treaties -- the Foreign Relations Committee -- should hold hearings on CTB without further delay. ...
“We are confident that when hearings are held and the arguments pro and con the treaty are carefully weighed, the overwhelming majority of senators will reach the same conclusions -- as have four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the current Joint Chiefs of Staff, the directors of our three nuclear labs, and the secretaries of state, defense and energy.
“We urge the Senate to act on the treaty this year.... And that, in turn, means the committee with primary jurisdiction over treaties -- the Foreign Relations Committee -- should hold hearings on CTB without further delay.”









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“As senators, we stood second to none in insisting that the constitutional prerogatives of the Senate in the treaty-making area be respected. Treaties are the supreme law of the land, and the Founding Fathers did not intend that such international obligations be entered into lightly. That is why the Constitution requires a two-thirds ‘supermajority’ of the Senate to give its advice and consent if treaties are to be approved.
“But with prerogative comes responsibility. The responsibility of the Senate leadership is to ensure the intent of the Founding Fathers is respected: If 67 or more senators agree the CTB should be ratified, it should be. If 34 or more senators disagree, it should not. Consistent with the Constitution, though, this is a question of fundamental importance that all 100 should decide. And when they do, we are confident the Senate will send a clear signal to India and the world that the next century will be one without nuclear tests.”



Produced by the White House Working Group on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
For more information on the CTBT: Phone: 202-647-8677 Fax: 202-647-6928