August 4, 1994

REMARKS OF THE HONORABLE JOHN D. HOLUM
DIRECTOR, U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY
AT A PRESS CONFERENCE GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

I have come to Geneva -- I've been here since Sunday evening -- to reiterate and confirm President Clinton's very strong interest, and the United States' very strong interest, in the achievement of a comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) at the earliest possible date. And to underscore that, my agency and the rest of the U.S. government, will be doing all we can to make sure our ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Steve Ledogar, and his delegation have all the instructions and the support they need to proceed in these negotiations expeditiously.

I've also spoken to the conference about the importance of moving ahead with the second initiative, the fissile-material cutoff, with a simple negotiating mandate, so that we can get the process under way, in line with the U.N. General Assembly resolution at the earliest possible time. And it's very important, I think, that both of those initiatives receive the attention of the conference.

I have been very encouraged, in the conversations I have had here, by the seriousness of the work that is going on in the Conference on Disarmament, by what I think is a universal commitment in this organization, notwithstanding some disputes over particular issues, to accomplish a test ban.

A key point to keep in mind is that all five of the nuclear-weapon states last year joined the United Nations consensus resolution in support of a comprehensive test ban. There are some who suggest that there should be a linkage between a test ban and the accomplishment of an indefinite extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) next year. Obviously, all of these issues have relationships to each other; they are mutually reinforcing. But there should be no artificial linkage, because both the Nonproliferation Treaty and the comprehensive test ban stand on their own two feet.

Our instructions, as I have said, are to negotiate a comprehensive test ban as soon as possible. If we are completed with the comprehensive test ban by April of next year, that will be within the United States'national interest. If we haven't, and if the Nonproliferation Treaty is extended indefinitely, our negotiating instructions will still be to negotiate a comprehensive test ban at the earliest possible time. We are committed to both of these outcomes.

With that, I'll be happy to take your questions.