|February 5, 1997|
On behalf of the American Jewish Committee, we urge you to support ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. We believe the convention is of such importance in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction that its ratification by the Senate should not be linked to any other issues now before the Committee on Foreign Relations.
Chemical weapons have, in recent memory, threatened American and allied troops in the Gulf War, as well as the people of Israel. Their use during the Iran-Iraq War and Saddam Hussein's employment of them against his own Kurdish population should serve as ample warning of the dangers posed by chemical weapons, and of the urgency of establishing the CWC regime.
American national security will be enhanced by ratification of the CWC. It will reduce the chance that U.S. troops will face chemical weapons in the battlefield, which is why our military emphatically wish to see the Convention ratified. The Convention requires all members to destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles and forswear ever developing, producing or acquiring chemical weapons. The Convention also strengthens the ability of law enforcement agencies by giving them new and vital tools to investigate illicit chemical weapons activities against our citizens here in the United States. The CWC reduces the danger of this growing security threat.
Tough new trade controls will prevent anyone from selling to nonmembers--the so-called rogue states--ingredients for chemical weapons, making it more difficult for them to build such weapons. States outside the CWC thus become international pariahs when the Convention enters into force, and adhering to the CWC is one price they must pay to rejoin the community of nations.
Support for the CWC has been offered by a broad spectrum of political leaders from both parties, arms control experts, and those people who would know best the danger weapons pose: our military leaders. As JCS Chairman General John Shalikashvili has testified: "From a military perspective, the Chemical Weapons Convention is clearly in our national interest."
The United Stated has already pledged to destroy its own chemical weapons stockpiles. Failure by the Senate to ratify the CWC would seriously reduce the Convention's effectiveness. Therefore, the United States should set an example that will encourage other nations to do as we are committed to doing. Were we to fail to ratify the treaty, we would undermine America's ability to influence the ongoing international process of crafting the CWC compliance regime.
We hope you will take our views into consideration as the Senate addresses the matter of CWC ratification in the coming weeks.
With best wishes,|
|Robert S. Rifkind
|David A. Harris|
STATEMENT ON U.S. SENATE RATIFICATION OF
CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION TREATY
|January 15, 1997|
The American Jewish Congress strongly supports U.S. Senate ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty to ban chemical weapons. In the interest of civilized people everywhere, these abhorrent weapons should be eliminated entirely. The Treaty will enter into force in April 1997. But its effectiveness will be severely limited if the United States is not a party to it.
In any case, the U.S. has pledged to destroy its own chemical weapons stockpiles. By becoming a party to the treaty, we will be encouraging other countries to do the same. An effective Chemical Weapons Convention will lessen the chance that these weapons of mass destruction will be used in the future.
|February 10, 1997|
Dear Senator Helms:
The Anti-Defamation League has long advocated a tough United States response to the threat of terrorism, including from weapons of mass destruction. We have already witnessed attacks by disaffected cults, militias, and other ideologically driven terrorist groups, as in the bombing of the World Trade Center and a nerve gas attack on a Japanese subway.
Ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention will provide an additional tool to protect American civilians and troops from chemical attacks by enemies or rogue terrorist groups.
The United States must continue to assert its global leadership in the fight against chemical, and all forms of terrorism. We, therefore, urge you to approve ratification of the treaty before April 29 to ensure a U.S. role in the enforcement monitoring process.
Jess N. Hordes
|February 6, 1997|
Dear Senator Lott:
We strongly urge you to vote in favor of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
We in B'nai B'rith have no illusions about the kind of dangerous world in which we live or the nature and threat of our adversaries--rogue states as well as terrorist groups.
However, we believe that U.S. ratification of this Convention will significantly strengthen America's hand in effectively countering the threat of chemical weapons in the future--multilaterally if possible, unilaterally if necessary.
Indeed, if the U.S. Senate acts quickly and the U.S. becomes one of the original sponsors, it will strengthen our nation's hand even more, and thus our legal and moral authority to act.
We respectfully urge your support.
Tommy D. Baer
|February 12, 1997|
|February 17, 1997|
We urge the Senate to approve the Chemical Weapons Convention when it comes to a vote in September.
The Convention, negotiated and signed by former President George Bush, is one of the most significant treaties in the history of arms control. It will ban an entire class of weapons of mass destruction, including production, possession, transfer or use of chemical weapons. It will require all parties to destroy their chemical weapon stockpiles and production facilities and to open their chemical industries to international inspection.
The Chemical Weapons Convention is a valuable instrument for combating the spread of weapons of terror and mass destruction. The treaty's destruction and verification provisions can build confidence among potential rivals that they can avoid a chemical arms race. It will also help keep these weapons out of the hands of terrorists.
The United States chemical industry strongly supports the Convention. The Pentagon strongly supports the agreement as well. It is most certainly in both the national and international interest to achieve the global elimination of a class of weapons that have proved more dangerous to innocent civilians than to military forces.
By its terms, the Convention enters into force 180 days after the 65th state has deposited its instruments of ratification with the U.N. Secretary General. Sixty-one countries have ratified the Convention at this point. Timely action by the Senate will send a clear signal of strong U.S. support, allowing the United States to exert its full leadership in persuading other countries to ratify.
We urge the Senate to approve as quickly as possible the Chemical Weapons Convention, to oppose crippling reservations or amendments, and at the same time move ahead with elimination of these heinous weapons from our arsenal.
|John B. Anderson
World Federal Association
|Fr. Robert J. Brooks|
Director of Governmental Relations
The Episcopal Church
with 50 additional signatures
|February 14, 1997|
|March 18, 1997|
Dr. Thom White Wolf Fassett