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Statement on the Anniversaries of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Limited Test Ban Treaty

September 24, 1998

Two years ago today, I was proud to be the first world leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty—first proposed by President Eisenhower over 40 years ago. Since then, 150 states have signed this historic treaty, including all of our NATO Allies, Russia, China, Israel, Japan, and South Korea. Twenty states already have ratified the CTBT, including Britain, France, Germany, Australia, and Brazil. It is my strong hope that India and Pakistan will join the list and thereby reduce nuclear tensions in South Asia. I discussed this with Prime Minister Sharif on Monday, and I welcome his commitment yesterday to adhere to the treaty by next fall. I look forward to further discussion with the leaders of Pakistan and India as we emphasize our common obligation to build peace and stability.

Today also marks the 35th anniversary of the Senate bipartisan vote, 80-19, to approve the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which President Kennedy considered his greatest accomplishment as President. In 1963, Senate approval of the LTBT took place less than 2 months after it was signed and within 7 weeks of its submission to the Senate. Contrast that with the CTBT. A year after it was submitted, the Senate has yet to take any action toward ratification.

The CTBT will ban all nuclear weapons explosions. As a result, it will constrain the development of more sophisticated and powerful nuclear weapons and give us a powerful new tool in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The American people understand that Senate approval of the CTBT is the right thing to do. I strongly urge the Senate to give its advice and consent as early as possible next year.

NOTE: The statement referred to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan.

William J. Clinton, Statement on the Anniversaries of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Limited Test Ban Treaty Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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