April 27, 1996


"The 1995 NPT Review Conference: Implications for the Future"

I would like to say what a pleasure it is to speak here today before the Air War College Class of 1996 and other members of the audience. I have enjoyed listening to the distinguished speakers and panelists and I hope that my comments prove to be equally thought-provoking.

The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the NPT, is, after the UN Charter itself, the central document of world peace and security. While the UN Charter boasts 185 adherents, the NPT is not far behind, with 181 states now party to the Treaty and more likely to join this year. The NPT envisioned a world without nuclear weapons at a time when all objective evidence seemed to exclude the possibility that this goal could ever be realized. In 1968, the world took a chance on multilateral arms control, even though the technique was unproven. The uncertainty and skepticism of the time was reflected in the NPT in Article X.2, which gave the Treaty an initial duration of twenty-five years, after which time a majority of the states parties to the Treaty would decide whether it should be extended indefinitely or for a fixed period or periods.

Twenty-five years later, in May of 1995, the foundation of virtually all security and arms control agreements finally became a permanent international fixture with the decision to extend the NPT indefinitely. Decisions were also taken regarding a commitment to certain nonproliferation and disarmament principles and objectives as well as the establishment of a strengthened NPT review process. The "Principles and Objectives" decision outlines 20 different measures that address all aspects of the Treaty and states that "nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear disarmament and international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be vigorously pursued and progress, achievements, and shortcomings evaluated periodically. . . ".

Achieving indefinite extension of the NPT was an important policy objective for many parties. In addition to the threat of a nuclear war or escalating regional nuclear rivalries, the possibility that a terrorist bombing could involve a nuclear device makes proliferation a serious danger for all states. During the 1995 NPT Conference, some parties from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) expressed concern over their perception of a lack of progress by the nuclear weapon states in fulfillment of their Article VI obligations to pursue good faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament. There was also concern expressed over the lack of universality of membership in the NPT. These parties wanted to see the completion of the arms control agenda which existed at the time of NPT signature in 1968 and which related to the basic NPT bargain, most importantly a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). More vigorous efforts in the direction of NPT universality were desired as well. The result was the package of decisions agreed to by the 1995 NPT Review Conference: a permanent NPT and separate decisions establishing a framework to insure a full implementation of the Treaty. Among the measures included in the 1995 NPT Principles and Objectives decisions are: vigorous pursuit of several nuclear disarmament objectives, including the conclusion of a CTBT "no later than 1996" and the early conclusion of a Fissile Material Production Cutoff Treaty, as well as an undertaking to support nuclear weapon free zones, strengthen International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, and achieve universality of membership in the NPT.

The United States held useful discussions with many NPT countries during the period leading up to the 1995 Conference, and these important consultations were largely responsible for the successful outcome. The achievement of indefinite extension of the NPT on May 11 of last year was a collaborative victory, not a competitive one. All of the states parties to the Treaty are winners as a result. We look forward to further disarmament progress with our NPT partners from around the world now that the necessary foundation for future arms control, the NPT, has been made permanent. This brings me to the topic I was asked to discuss here today: the future implications of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.


The most obvious and important result of the 1995 NPT Conference is that the NPT is now a permanent international norm. An international verdict was rendered in 1968 that the further proliferation of nuclear weapons was unacceptable. It was agreed that no additional nation would acquire nuclear weapons and the states that had them would agree to engage in disarmament negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, as well as a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. In 1995, the NPT parties decided to make that a lasting verdict by extending the NPT indefinitely. With this foundation of peace and security now a permanent part of the international system, the stage is set for an ambitious new era of arms control that will augment the NPT and eventually create a nonproliferation regime of such strength that it may someday bring about the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and comprehensive disarmament.

Of course, this goal is yet a long way off. In the immediate future, the arms control and nonproliferation agenda is full. The Principles and Objectives decision arrived at during the 1995 NPT Conference has left us with a number of initiatives to pursue. Let me address each of these in turn.

Reversing the Arms Race

For many years, critics of the NPT argued that the nuclear weapon states were not living up to their end of the "bargain" by failing to pursue disarmament in good faith. While the U.S. always rejected this, it is clearer today more than ever that such criticism is without foundation. The United States continues to reduce its nuclear arsenal at a rate of up to 2,000 weapons per year and has thus far dismantled more than 9,000 nuclear weapons. Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary recently outlined plans to downsize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex to 20 percent of peak capacity by 2005. Implementation of the START I reductions are running more than two years ahead of schedule. The U.S. Senate recently gave its advice and consent to ratify START II, and we hope for similar action from the Russian Duma in the near future. The START I and START II Treaties taken together represent approximately a two-thirds cut in the deployed strategic offensive arms of the parties. Both sides have taken operational measures to enhance stability. Heavy bombers are no longer on strip alert. The United States and Russia, as well as the United Kingdom, have detargeted their strategic ballistic missiles so that no country is targeted on a day-to-day basis.

As for further steps beyond START II, at the September 1994 United States-Russian summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin ordered their experts "to intensify their dialogue to compare conceptual approaches and to develop concrete steps to adapt the nuclear forces and practices on both sides to the changed international security situation and to the current spirit of U.S.-Russian partnership, including the possibility, after ratification of START II, of further reductions of, and limitations on, remaining nuclear forces." The Clinton Administration is currently studying the question of what further strategic arms control measures could contribute to strategic stability and enhance United States security overall. This internal U.S. review will lead to decisions that will enable the United States to consider next steps after START II is ratified.

The nuclear disarmament steps taken by the United States and Russia have been unprecedented in scope, and we can now look ahead to the next phase of this process and the possible involvement in it of all five declared nuclear weapon states. The United Kingdom and France have both taken measures and outlined steps for reducing their nuclear arsenals, a little-publicized but important fact.

Nuclear Weapon Free Zones

In addition to dismantling its own weapons, the United States has supported the establishment of nuclear weapon-free zones as long as they meet our long-standing criteria. The expansion of nuclear weapon free zones is an important trend which strengthens the world-wide NPT regime. It adds emphasis to the important regional aspect of the control of weapons of mass destruction, providing a bottom-up, "grass roots" approach to nonproliferation that can prove extremely effective.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco -- the Treaty for the Denuclearization of Latin America and the Caribbean -- is nearing full implementation. All Latin American and Caribbean countries, with the exception of Cuba, which has signed but not yet ratified, are parties and the five nuclear weapon states and relevant extraterritorial states are party to its protocols. The decision at the 1995 NPT Conference encouraged the same degree of support for additional Nuclear Weapon Free Zones, for example, by signature of the Protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga -- the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty -- and the recently concluded Treaty of Pelindaba -- the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty. The United States, France and the United Kingdom signed the Protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga on March 25; all five nuclear weapon states are now signatories to its Protocols. The Treaty of Pelindaba was opened for signature in Cairo on April 11 and the United States signed the Treaty and Protocols I and II without any reservations. All of the nuclear weapon states except Russia are now signatories of these Protocols. The U.S. decision to sign the Rarotonga and Pelindaba Treaty Protocols clearly demonstrates our commitment to the "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament" adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. In addition, I would note, the United States has been working closely with the ASEAN countries, led by Indonesia, to solve problems with the text so that the five nuclear weapons states can consider signing the Protocol to the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, which was opened for signature in December 1995 in Bangkok. A Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone will be another important step in the global fight against nuclear proliferation.

Universality of NPT Membership

Universal adherence to the NPT remains an important goal of the United States and other NPT Parties. One important lesson of the NPT Review and Extension Conference was that the Treaty and the nonproliferation regime become stronger and better with each new adherent. Since the conclusion of the 1995 NPT Conference, four countries have joined the Treaty: Chile, Vanuatu, the United Arab Emirates, and the Comoros. The United States welcomes these new members into the NPT. We hope that four more countries; Andorra, Angola, Djibouti, and Oman, will join the Treaty in the near future. With the accession of these states, only five countries would remain outside the NPT; Cuba, Brazil, India, Israel, and Pakistan. Since Brazil is a party to the Treaty of Tlatelolco and Cuba a signatory, we hope that these two nations will join the NPT in the next year or two. This would leave only three nations outside the NPT by the time of the next NPT Review Conference in the year 2000. 181 nations now adhere to the NPT, providing an enormous mandate to continue working to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

CTBT at an Early Date

Negotiators in Geneva are making a concerted effort to speed the negotiations on a CTBT to completion so that the Treaty can be opened for signature by this fall. The United States joined with all the parties to the NPT last May in making a commitment to achieve a CTBT no later than 1996. Subsequently, the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus last December a resolution calling for the CTBT to be opened for signature by this September. This objective was reaffirmed last week at the Nuclear Security Summit meeting in Moscow. Affirming the importance of fulfilling this commitment, President Clinton has called the negotiation of a CTBT one of his Administration's "highest priorities."

As all of you know, on August 11, 1995 the President announced his decision to seek a "zero" yield CTBT. A zero yield CTBT will be a truly comprehensive ban and will prohibit any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion. Subsequent to President Clinton's announcement, the objective of a zero yield CTBT was endorsed by both the United Kingdom and France and more recently by President Yeltsin.

A test ban treaty is a bulwark against the spread and further development of nuclear weapons capabilities. By fending off such developments, the CTBT will help to make nuclear war less likely and sustain today's trend toward smaller nuclear arsenals.

Unfortunately, some have argued that the completion of a CTBT should be linked to a commitment on behalf of the nuclear weapon states to agree to a time-bound framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons. I believe such a proposal is both unwise and short-sighted. As U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director John Holum pointed out in a speech to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, "holding one important goal hostage for another is a sure way to fail at both." It is crucial that we not fail at completing a CTBT because of inappropriate linkage to other initiatives.

In March, the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on a test ban, Dutch Ambassador Jaap Ramaker, tabled a structured Treaty text. By focussing on the issues which divide delegations and by showing the extent to which there is already widespread agreement on issues, his effort demonstrates what form the CTBT will take, and that our timetable is realistic. However, much remains to be done. The next month and a half will determine the fate of the CTBT and the ability of the international community to make good on its commitment to complete promptly a CTBT.

Fissile Material Production Cut-Off Treaty

The 1995 NPT Conference decisions also called for the commencement and conclusion of a "convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." A fissile material production cut-off treaty would contribute substantially to nonproliferation objectives by ending the production of fissile material for weapons purposes. Unfortunately, efforts to begin negotiation of a cutoff treaty continue to be thwarted by parties seeking to link it to other issues. Since a cut-off treaty would become another significant addition to the nonproliferation regime, it is important that these delays be overcome and that negotiations begin soon.


Looking to the future, the evolution of the NPT extension process suggests that just as the Cold War is part of the past, so is the narrow bloc politics in multilateral arms control negotiations. The reflexive antagonism between East and West and North and South has been overtaken by history. In preparation for the NPT extension decision, states of all sizes and compositions all over the world took a serious look at where their true interests lay and chose to put their security, and the security of the world, over "traditional" bloc interests. The new arena of multilateral diplomacy is characterized by independent states voting their interests both individually and as part of regional groupings. In my travels in preparation for the 1995 Conference, I learned that there are individuals concerned with the success of the NPT and nonproliferation all over the world. The extension decision re-affirms the support for the norm of nonproliferation and built bridges among equal partners in humanity's effort to eliminate nuclear weapons. Every sovereign nation at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference rendered an historic judgement. It opened up opportunities for progress toward our immediate goals and reminded us of our commitment to the ultimate objective of a nuclear weapon free world as well as general and complete disarmament under international control. Only time will tell if we are able to take advantage of these opportunities to meet these goals, but the decision to extend the NPT indefinitely certainly gives us a good start.