The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• William J. Clinton
The President's Radio Address
April 20, 1996
Good morning. Today I speak to you from Russia, the final stop in a journey that has focused on my first priority as President: increasing the security and safety of the American people. Today, though the cold war is over, serious challenges to our security remain. In fact, the very forces that have unlocked so much potential for progress—new technologies, borders more open to ideas and services and goods and money and travelers, instant global communications, and instant access to unlimited amounts of important information all across the world—these very forces have also made it easier for the forces of destruction to endanger innocent lives in all countries.

Because so many threats to America's security are global in scope and because no nation is immune to them, we simply must work with other nations more closely than ever to fight them. Whether the threat is the aggression of rogue states or the spread of weapons of mass destruction or organized crime or drug trafficking or terrorism, no nation can defeat it alone. But together we can deal with these problems and we can make America more secure. That's what I have worked hard to do this week.

In Korea, President Kim and I proposed a new initiative to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, where 37,000 American troops stand watch on the last cold war frontier. In the last 3 years we have dramatically reduced North Korea's nuclear threat. Now the four-party peace process we call for among North and South Korea, China, and the United States can lead to a permanent peace. We hope and we expect that North Korea will take it seriously.

In Japan, Prime Minister Hashimoto and I signed a Joint Security Declaration adapted to the 21st century, after a year of very hard work. It strengthens the commitment of the world's two largest economies to work together to maintain peace in the Asia-Pacific region, a region that buys one-half of America's exports and supports over 3 million American jobs.

Here in Moscow, I am working with other world leaders in a summit to improve nuclear safety, protect the environment and public health against nuclear accidents, and prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands. Again, in the last 3 years we've done a great deal to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, the number of countries holding nuclear weapons; and there are no nuclear weapons pointed at the American people anymore. Still, there is a great deal of work to be done. We need a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, greater protections against environmental and public health damage, and we have to do even more to ensure the security of the nuclear materials that are out there now.

Just as we work with our friends and allies to protect the security of our people, we also must do our part at home, making sure that we're as well-prepared as possible to do what needs to be done to combat the forces of destruction, whether they are homegrown or whether they come from beyond our borders. This is especially true of our efforts against terrorism. That's why I'm very pleased that Congress has agreed to give the American law enforcement people important new tools to fight terrorism.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the bombing in Oklahoma City. We owe it to the fine Americans who were killed there, those who were wounded, and their families to do all we can to fight terrorism. Last year I sent Congress a bill to strengthen law enforcement's ability to protect Americans from terrorism. Right after the Oklahoma City bombing I strengthened the proposals, and congressional leaders promised swift passage of the legislation. This past Thursday, Congress passed the antiterrorism bill at last. Now, my fellow Americans, there will be no more delay. I will sign this bill into law early next week, and by Wednesday, law enforcement will have new tools to crack down, track down, and shut down terrorists.

Even though I'm pleased with what Congress, both Republicans and Democrats together, did, I am disappointed that some of my proposals were left out of the bill. I believe we should help police keep suspected terrorists under surveillance. I believe we should give law enforcement more time to investigate and prosecute terrorists who use machineguns, sawed-off shotguns, and explosive devices. These and other important antiterrorism measures were left on the cutting-room floor.

But this bill still makes important progress. It will make it easier for police to trace bombs to criminals who made them by requiring chemical taggants in some explosive materials. It will make it much harder for terrorists to raise the money they need to fund their crimes. It may not go as far as I would like, but it does strike a real blow against terrorism, and I will be happy to sign it.

From Egypt to England, from the Tokyo subway to the World Trade Center, from the heart of Jerusalem to America's heartland, terrorism ignores borders and strikes without discrimination. As we recognize crime victims everywhere this National Crime Victims' Rights Week, we must vow never to relent against these forces of destruction.

By working with other nations, we can put terrorists on the defensive and make the world a safer place. And by working together at home, we will keep America strong and secure as we move into the new century.

Thanks for listening.

Citation: William J. Clinton: "The President's Radio Address", April 20, 1996. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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