May 12, 1995


President Dhanapala, Secretary General Davinic, and fellow delegates; this Assembly has just completed the most important multilateral arms control conference in history. Its successful outcome is due in large part, President Dhanapala, to your personal leadership, your diplomatic adroitness, your well-tested patience, and your unstinting devotion to build and then mobilize a consensus decision-making process. On behalf of the U.S. Delegation and for my own part, I heartily and sincerely congratulate you. I also congratulate the tireless and professional members of the Secretariat and the able members of the Sri Lankan Delegation who have assisted you and contributed so very much to the positive outcome of this Conference.

Mr. President: The decisions undertaken by this conference reflect the exhaustive efforts and the collective will of the international community. No single group of states and no single set of interests prevailed. Historians who review our efforts will note that our diplomatic compromises have been skillful, our language carefully chosen, and our decisions not without controversy. Nevertheless, they will also note that states parties made these historic decisions because fundamentally the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons serves the interests of its parties, but more importantly, of all mankind. Moreover, they will note that the Treaty's contribution to international peace and security grew in importance after our decisions were made. Our foresight to make this Treaty permanent is a gift to future generations and it will long overshadow the differences or the reservations that may have arisen during our deliberations these four weeks.

When Vice President Gore spoke to this Conference in April, he stated that the indefinite extension of the NPT without conditions would reduce the uncertainty that often leads states to develop weapons or to preserve their options to do so. With the decisions of this Conference, we have greatly reduced the potential for that climate of uncertainty. This Conference has definitively endorsed the authority of the NPT, and it has underlined the intention of the international community to strengthen, make universal, and extend the principles and objectives of non-proliferation. What lies ahead now is not only to reduce uncertainty regarding proliferation but to commit ourselves to the certainty of a safer, more secure world. Having adopted these principles, we must, with the good faith and pragmatic idealism that we have shown here this week, move toward the full implementation of the lofty objectives we have set for ourselves and our successors.

The United States Government is resolutely committed to do its part to support the non-proliferation regime and the terms and obligations of all the articles of the Treaty. In the short run this will mean redoubling our efforts to achieve a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a Fissile Material Cut-off Agreement; but at the same time we will be exploring ways to move beyond the significant reductions to which we are committing ourselves in the START I and START II Treaties. We will not -- we cannot -- walk away from this process.

The 1995 Review and Extension Conference decided to extend the NPT indefinitely, to adopt a set of principles and objectives on non-proliferation, and to create an enhanced review process. These decisions give us a framework for our future efforts and guiding principles by which we can judge our success. We are committed to them. It is particularly satisfying that the impetus for two of these decisions -- the principles and the enhanced review -- came from a recent adherent to the NPT, South Africa.

While the Conference was unable to complete a final document, the review process was comprehensive, thorough, and frank. As past reviews have demonstrated, there are a few issues on which we cannot reach easy accord. On some of these we have been unable to reconcile the differences.

On the other hand the review revealed large areas of agreement as well. We have agreed to give Conference endorsement to the IAEA's "93+2" plan for strengthened and cost effective safeguards. We have also endorsed the value of increased cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including particularly the safe and efficient utilization of nuclear energy. And we have agreed to pursue the creation of more nuclear weapons free zones, the universal adherence to the NPT, and the early attainment of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Finally, let me stress that the outcome of this Conference is in fact a significant victory for all the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. On March 1, 1995, President Clinton noted that the United States believes that nothing is more important to international security than the achievement of the indefinite extension, without conditions, of this Treaty. In that view we associated ourselves with an overwhelming majority of the Parties to the Treaty. We understand that every sovereign nation at the Conference rendered an historic judgment; we are hopeful that all States Parties will now work toward the Treaty's ultimate goal: a world without nuclear weapons.

Thank you, Mr. President.