January 31, 1995

AMBASSADOR RALPH EARLE II, DEPUTY DIRECTOR
U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY
STATEMENT BEFORE THE CONFERENCE ON
DISARMAMENT, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Mr. President, first, on behalf of the United States delegation, I would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament in this year of such critical importance for arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. I would also like to join in welcoming the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Walter Gardini, to whose important statement we have listened with great care. For my own part, I am pleased to return to Geneva after many years of association with this city in strategic arms control and disarmament negotiations. I am especially pleased to be sent by the President of the United States to address you at the opening of this new round of negotiations to end the testing of nuclear weapons for all time.

The world has changed dramatically since my work here in the 1970s on bilateral strategic nuclear arms talks. With the passing of the bipolar conflict between West and East, the agenda and global focus of this Conference encompass the priority disarmament issues facing the world today. With the achievements of the NonProliferation Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and other agreements as prologue, the Conference on Disarmament is now, as we say, "where the action is" for test ban, for cutting off fissile material production for weapons, and for transparency in armaments.

One of the foremost goals of the United States is completing the negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty at the earliest possible date. I have the honor to convey to you three decisions made by President Clinton this past weekend that underscore his determination to achieve as much progress as possible in the test-ban negotiations before the NPT Review and Extension Conference convenes in April. First, on the assumption that a treaty will be signed before Sept. 30, 1996, and subject to the same understandings that govern our current moratorium, the President has decided to extend the moratorium on American nuclear tests until a CTB Treaty enters into force. Second, the President has directed Ambassador Ledogar to propose that the Conference on Disarmament remain in session until September if the negotiation is not concluded during the round now scheduled to end in April. Third, the President has directed that the United States will withdraw its proposal for a special "right to withdraw" from the CTB Treaty 10 years after it enters into force. Let me also note that the CTB will contain a traditional "supreme national interest" clause. In articulating his national security strategy last July, President Clinton declared that the United States will retain strategic nuclear forces sufficient to deter any future hostile foreign leadership with access to strategic nuclear forces from acting against our vital interests. In this regard, the President considers the maintenance of a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile to be a supreme national interest of the United States.

In his remarks to a conference in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 30,1995, the National Security Advisor to President Clinton, The Honorable Anthony Lake, pointed out that one of the most complicated and challenging issues in the CTB negotiations is the question of what kinds of experiments and other stockpile stewardship activities will be permitted under the Treaty, what are termed "activities not Treaty-prohibited." In that connection, the United States position with regard to these activities is determined on the basis of three criteria. First, the CTB Treaty must be comprehensive and it must promote our vital national interest in curbing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons; second, the CTB Treaty must not prohibit activities required to maintain the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile; and finally, the CTB Treaty must be signed by all declared nuclear-weapon states and as many other nations as possible. As the negotiations proceed, the United States will continue to review its position on this issue to ensure that the Treaty meets these criteria.

In my statement today, I want to relate President Clinton's decision on a comprehensive test ban to the broader international security context for this initiative. The long and difficult history of efforts to achieve a test ban is well known to this body. There were times in the past when success seemed within reach, particularly in the early 1960s, and again in the late 1970s. Valuable partial agreements were achieved during those years - the Limited Test-Ban Treaty, the Threshold Test-Ban and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaties. But the international environment was not yet ripe for success. Now the Cold War is for historians to study. Strategic stability is strong. The threat of nuclear and conventional conflict between West and East is at its lowest level in decades. We can be immensely grateful that the persistently upward spiral in numbers of nuclear weapons has at last been reversed. Historic progress was made in 1994 with the entry into force of the START I Treaty. The United States has already launched an aggressive effort to ratify the START II Treaty, which will codify dramatically lower United States and Russian strategic force levels. This includes the removal of more than 14,000 nuclear weapons from missiles and bombers. With respect to our aggressive efforts to ratify the Treaty, in fact in about five hours, Secretary Christopher will be testifying on that subject before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Yet, the nuclear genie is not back in the bottle. In addition to the nuclear-weapon states, a number of so-called "threshold" states possesses unregulated nuclear capabilities.

Uncontrolled quantities of fissile materials, both plutonium and highly enriched uranium, constitute a clear and present danger. With regard to conventional conflict, our largely peaceful world has tragically bleak elements: in Rwanda, in Bosnia, in Somalia, and elsewhere. The use of heavy and light conventional weapons and the suffering caused by land-mines are all too real. Clearly, our task of building and strengthening the structures of international arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament is far from over.

In this broader context, concluding the comprehensive test-ban negotiations on which you have made such a good start in 1994 is an imperative for my Government. President Clinton's decision to extend our moratorium on nuclear testing is a decision by the United States to adhere to a comprehensive test ban. The work before us is to codify this decision, and similar decisions by others, in a treaty of unlimited duration and ultimately universal adherence.

You may ask: Why is a CTBT important now? Because it will permanently and significantly constrain the further development of nuclear explosive capabilities by the established nuclear-weapon states. Because it will set in place a high barrier to advancing the development of nuclear-weapons technologies of threshold states that might seek more sophisticated capabilities. Miniaturization and improved deliverability of advanced designs are aspects of nuclear-weapons development well worth constraining. And in the broader international political framework, the CTB will represent a most important building block in the enduring structure of nonproliferation that we seek to erect.

The United States recognizes the importance of the CTBT to both nuclear and nonnuclear states for achieving global non-proliferation objectives. In particular, we recognize the important contribution that the CTBT makes to fulfilling the obligations of the parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty under its Article VI. But the United States firmly believes there should be no linkage between conclusion of the CTBT negotiations and the indefinite and unconditional extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is itself a vital building block of global nuclear stability. The NPT is too important to regional and global security to hold it hostage to completion of other arms control measures.

During 1994, the Conference on Disarmament registered remarkable progress in the Ad Hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban, under the leadership of Ambassador Miguel Marin Bosch of Mexico. In just this one year, the Conference has demonstrated its commitment to the negotiations by producing a rolling text for the treaty, by carrying out intersessional work, and by reaching substantial agreement in the area of verification. The progress to date is, we believe, essentially irreversible. It is probable that, despite further progress in this body between now and April, there will remain parts of the CTBT and its protocol still to negotiate. The United States delegation is here to negotiate the CTBT now, and it will be here in full force after the NPT Review and Extension Conference to complete any remaining tasks. We need to maintain and even accelerate the rapid pace set in last year's session and work with real urgency to have an agreed text that this body can forward to the General Assembly It would be altogether fitting if that welcome event would occur in this silver anniversary of the NPT, which is also the golden anniversary of the United Nations.

As an instrument for constraining nuclear-weapons development and proliferation, the test ban needs as parties the five nuclear-weapon states as well as other countries. We seek universal adherence to the CTBT, and have joined in the consensus adoption of two United Nations General Assembly resolutions in support of this objective. But, we also believe that entry into force of the CTBT should not be unduly delayed because of the recalcitrance of any individual state that might be tempted for essentially mischievous reasons to obstruct the will of a larger number of states. Thus the NTB Ad Hoc Committee should seek provisions that bring about early entry into force of the Treaty, with the five declared nuclear-weapon states, while at the same time promoting the widest possible adherence to the agreement.

We welcome the significant progress made in 1994 in agreeing on the verification regime for the CTBT. As we see it, there will be four carefully designed and interrelated components, or "pillars," as we call them, in this regime. In the United States' view, there should be a robust but cost-effective international collection and exchange of data, derived from networks of remote sensors employing seismic, hydroacoustic, radionuclide and intrasound techniques. This exchange should provide a wealth of information that would enable the detection, and permit the identification, of attempts to evade the ban on testing down to levels of a few kilotons or below. But there will remain instances when ambiguities are not successfully resolved by the States parties, based on data from the international monitoring system, or when other information suggests a party has attempted to evade the test ban. The Treaty should, therefore, as a second "pillar," provide for a system of quick-acting, mandatory on-site inspections. This system would help reduce uncertainties, and provide a responsive and technically competent means of confirming the occurrence of a nuclear explosion. A third "pillar" would consist of a package of so-called "associated measures" designed to facilitate the exchange of information that might help resolve ambiguities, for example, concerning events detected by the networks of remote sensors. And fourth, there would be an international implementing body whose roles and competencies are clearly defined and directed at facilitating the smooth and efficient functioning of the other three "pillars." Taken together with Treaty provisions for consultation and clarification, and with national means of verification available to Treaty parties, these four "pillars" should provide an effective deterrent to cheating. In the event deterrence fails, they also should provide effective capabilities to establish whether cheating in fact had taken place.

The United States recognizes that the verification arrangements will not be cost-free. We are prepared to accept a fair share of the costs for establishing and operating the international monitoring system, and "associated measures" necessary to make the CTBT an effective international instrument for nuclear stability. But we also look to other members of the international community, who will benefit from the final achievement of the CTBT, readily to shoulder their own share of these costs. Compared with those of military forces, these costs are modest indeed.

I want to turn to another high-priority issue on the arms control agenda which has already been mentioned - a ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear explosives. A fissile material cut-off treaty is a key element in curbing nuclear arms and reducing nuclear risks worldwide. It would cap the amount of material available for nuclear weapons, reinforcing the nuclear-weapon states' commitment to nuclear arms reduction, and reducing nuclear risks in other regions as well. It would extend international safeguards to new facilities. It would be an essential step toward farther reaching arms control in the future. President Clinton has attached considerable importance to achieving as soon as possible a global, non-discriminatory and effectively verifiable cut-off treaty. The United States, like many others, regrets that negotiations have not already begun. The informal workshop graciously hosted by the Government of Canada earlier this month helped clarify some of the issues that need to be dealt with. But nothing can take the place of negotiations. We hope the CD promptly adopts a mandate that enables them to begin. A cap on future production of fissile material for nuclear explosives is possible in the relatively short term, and it would mark a major milestone in making the world a safer place. It would help advance progress on other multilateral and regional arms control and non-proliferation measures. And it would constitute an important measure toward implementing the obligations of the parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty under Article VI. To try to link such a cap to capturing already existing unsafeguarded fissile material stocks in various countries would be a recipe for endless disputes - while stocks in some states would continue to grow. So, together, we must act and act soon. This body faces an unprecedented challenge: namely, to negotiate two major treaties in parallel. A CTBT is of the highest priority, but a cuff-off treaty must be given high priority at the same time. This challenge requires us all to summon substantial energy and resources and to rededicate ourselves to the goals that we are here to serve.

In less than three months many of the countries represented in this Conference will convene to review and decide on the extension of a most important treaty for stability and security in the nuclear era. The Non-Proliferation Treaty was negotiated in this forum, as were other single accomplishments such as the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and the Chemical Weapons Convention. This structure of constraints represents our best hope for a safer world, for a viable alternative to military means of security. The NPT, I am confident, will be extended indefinitely and without conditions. It will be so extended because its parties will decide that the NPT is in their own best interests and the best interests of the international community. The parties will decide to secure their future against the nightmare of proliferation, and to create the conditions for even further progress toward the objective of a world free of nuclear weapons enshrined in Article VI.

This Conference can be proud of its accomplishments. It can be proud of its success story that the NPT truly is a Treaty that has, since 1990, been adhered to by Algeria, Belarus, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Ukraine, and many other states. But the Conference's work is not finished. The CTBT will not be concluded without intensive negotiations in Geneva, and significant decisions in capitals. That is why the United States proposes today that after the NPT Review and Extension Conference, the CD negotiate continuously into September to conclude this highest-priority task. Our delegation is prepared to resume work after the Review and Extension Conference concludes and remain here until we are finished. We recognize the difficulties this poses for many countries, but the stakes are very high. President Clinton has extended the moratorium on United States testing in the confident expectation that your work will rapidly conclude. We are prepared to proceed.