November 10, 1997


It is my great pleasure to be with you. I am honored to bring this message from Secretary Albright:

    "For many years, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have pursued a chemical weapons treaty. Its entry into force this year is a major foreign policy achievement that will increase our security and promote our prosperity. At every stage, the Chemical Manufacturers Association was a key player on the team that finally made it happen. Likewise the Business Executives for National Security were vital to U.S. ratification. We salute you for your determination to ensure that the products of the U.S. chemical industry will never be used for chemical warfare. You have demonstrated a vision and sense of responsibility that epitomizes the best of American industry. Now we need your help to make sure the Convention works effectively. And we look forward to building upon the public-private partnership we have established."

For myself, let me add that in all of the CWC ratification preparations, what I remember best is a lunch with Tom McInerney last December, and a separate meeting three weeks later with Fred Webber and Mike Walls from the CMA. In both there was a threshold question -- are the President and his Administration fully committed to getting this done. When I said "yes," we moved right on to detailed discussions of what it would take from each of us to succeed.

Now I've been in Washington for 32 years, working in and around politics and government. My studied observation is that on efforts like this, on average, people spend about 20 percent of their time actually doing things, and 80 percent of their time taking credit for what other people do, or for what was going to happen anyway.

But with Tom, Fred and Mike, and their colleagues -- with CMA and BENS -- it was 100 percent flat-out effort, from start to finish. They kept every commitment, touched every base, answered every question, enlisted every prominent supporter, refuted every falsehood, challenged every opponent, and wrestled every contrary argument to the ground.

I say with no hesitation that, more than anyone else, they -- you -- tipped the balance toward success. And so another practice too rare in Washington is due. Thank you.

* * * *

Today all your hard work is being vindicated. More than 100 countries have become parties in the Treaty's first six months. In just the last week Jordan, Pakistan and Iran have joined. Yesterday Russia deposited instruments of ratification at the UN. Meanwhile, inspections of declared chemical weapons-related facilities are underway around the world. Countries are revealing previously secret chemical weapons programs and undertaking to destroy them.

All this is encouraging. But it also falls under my predecessor, Ron Lehman's, general arms control rule: "First the treaty, then the hard work."

For example, as CMA knows better than anyone, we need prompt final action by the House on CWC implementing legislation, under which we will be able to collect required information from private firms. The Administration's push for this has tempted some on Capitol Hill to think that perhaps a price should be exacted in return. Let me suggest that forcing the United States out of compliance with a treaty we need to enforce against others is a singularly foolish way to seek bargaining leverage over the Executive Branch.

When our own record is impeccable, we will also see to strong enforcement of the treaty, and work to bring all nations with chemical weapons capabilities -- including Syria, Libya and North Korea -- under its controls. Another priority will be international help in destroying Russia's 40,000 ton stockpile. A number of CMA member companies are working on conversion of Russian production facilities to peacetime work.

Over time and with hard work, these efforts will succeed. Together, we will continue to fulfill the basic truths about chemical weapons -- to make them is a waste; to keep them, an affliction; to use them, an abomination. To champion their elimination makes us at once more civilized and more secure.

* * * *

The CWC is a vital part of what President Clinton has described as the most ambitious arms control and nonproliferation agenda since the atom was split. With Tom's permission, I'd like to mention briefly just one other item -- especially given that President Eisenhower figures so prominently in this evening's festivities.

For it was President Eisenhower, in the 1950s, who began the quest for an end to all nuclear testing. Now, at last, his vision is at hand. Beginning in 1993, President Clinton's policies made such a treaty possible. Last September, he was the first international leader to sign it.

Now it is up to the Senate -- to accept or reject the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to prohibit nuclear explosions of any size, by anyone, anywhere, forever.

You all know what happens next -- another hard fight for ratification.

This is not the time to lay out the full case for the test ban. But I do ask you to start weighing the stakes.

As with chemical weapons, the greatest danger from nuclear arms comes from their potential spread to rogue states or terrorist groups. Our efforts to prevent that rely on the test ban, as a high barrier against those who want nuclear arms.

A nuclear weapon can be made without testing. But remember that they had to dig trenches under B-29 bombers to load the first ones. To make a weapon small enough to fit on a rudimentary missile, or light airplane, or in a suitcase, is a much taller order, and requires explosive tests.

It comes down to this: The United States has conducted over 1,000 nuclear tests, hundreds more than any other country. How does it serve our interests if those on the steeper part of the learning curve keep on climbing?

The nuclear arms race is over. Arsenals are shrinking. Our dramatically fewer remaining weapons can be kept safe and reliable by other means. We don't need tests. Proliferators do. Under such circumstances, who thinks what the world needs now is more nuclear explosions?

* * * *

I am proud to join BENS tonight in honoring the Chemical Manufacturers Association, and also to join you in celebrating the opportunities history has laid before us -- to roll up our sleeves, work together, reach out to the Congress, bring others around the world into the fold, and reap the full value from the CWC, the test ban, and other arms control goals.

Again, on behalf of the President and the Secretary of State, I thank you for your prodigious efforts, for your leadership, for all you have done -- and especially for all you will do to build a more secure American and a safer world.