I am very pleased this afternoon to participate in what I believe is an historical occasion. This is a ratification by the United States of Protocol I of the Tlatelolco Treaty, the deliberations for which were begun in November of 1964 following the Cuban missile crisis, when Brazil and 10 other Latin American countries, through the United Nations' auspices, began to evolve a commitment against the deployment or use of atomic weapons in the Latin American part of this hemisphere.
In 1971, our own country ratified Protocol II with the distinguished representative of our Government, Senator Hubert Humphrey, having signed that on behalf of the United States.
The ultimate hope of this commitment by all the nations involved is a complete prohibition against the ownership or deployment or use of nuclear weapons in the southern part of this hemisphere and complete international safeguards for all nuclear materials that are owned by all those countries.
So far, only two countries have not signed [ratified] this treaty. One is Argentina and the other one is Cuba. France has not yet signed Protocol I, which we are signing this afternoon, and the Soviet Union has not signed Protocol II.
This is a commitment of worldwide significance. As I said in my own Inaugural Address, our ultimate hope is that we can eliminate completely from the Earth any dependence upon atomic weapons, and I think it is significant and typical of our Latin American neighbors and those countries in the Caribbean that 10 years before that time they had already made this worthy commitment, which sets an example for the world.
So, at this time I would like to, on behalf of the American people, to sign Protocol I of the Tlatelolco Treaty, which means that we will not deploy nuclear weapons in the Caribbean or in the Central or Southern American Continents.
[At this point, the President signed the protocol.]
We are very proud of the leadership role that the nation of Mexico has played. Tlatelolco is in the suburbs of Mexico City, and if I had my preference I would have chosen a place that has a little bit easier pronunciation but--[laughter]--I have practiced, and with the help of many people I have now learned how to say it, I believe. The Mexican Foreign Office is in Tlatelolco.
Could Senator Humphrey come up and stand here by me, if you don't mind.
The reason for signing four documents is that they are in four languages--English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.