Letter of Transmittal
|The White House,|
September 22, 1997
To the Senate of the United States:
I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the
Senate to ratification, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban
Treaty (the "Treaty" or "CTBT"), opened for signature and
signed by the United States at New York on September 24, 1996.
The Treaty includes two Annexes, a Protocol, and two Annexes to
the Protocol, all of which form integral parts of the Treaty.
I transmit also, for the information of the Senate, the report
of the Department of State on the Treaty, including an
Article-by-Article analysis of the Treaty.
Also included in the Department of State's report is a document
relevant to but not part of the Treaty: the Text on the Establishment
of a Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban
Treaty Organization, adopted by the Signatory States to the Treaty
on November 19, 1996. The Text provides the basis for the work of
the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban
Treaty Organization in preparing detailed procedures for implementing
the Treaty and making arrangements for the first session of the
Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty. In particular,
by the terms of the Treaty, the Preparatory Commission will be
responsible for ensuring that the verification regime established
by the Treaty will be effectively in operation at such time as the
Treaty enters into force. My Administration has completed and will
submit separately to the Senate an analysis of the verifiability of
the Treaty, consistent with section 37 of the Arms Control and
Disarmament Act, as amended. Such legislation as may be necessary
to implement the Treaty also will be submitted separately to the
Senate for appropriate action.
The conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
is a signal event in the history of arms control. The subject of
the Treaty is one that has been under consideration by the
international community for nearly 40 years, and the significance
of the conclusion of negotiations and the signature to date of more
than 140 states cannot be overestimated. The Treaty creates an
absolute prohibition against the conduct of nuclear weapon test
explosions or any other nuclear explosion anywhere. Specifically,
each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test
explosion or any other nuclear explosion; to prohibit and prevent any
nuclear explosions at any place under its jurisdiction or control;
and to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating
in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other
The Treaty establishes a far reaching verification regime,
based on the provision of seismic, hydroacoustic, radionuclide,
and infrasound data by a global network (the "International
Monitoring System") consisting of the facilities listed in
Annex 1 to the Protocol. Data provided by the International
Monitoring System will be stored, analyzed, and disseminated,
in accordance with Treaty-mandated operational manuals, by an
International Data Center that will be part of the Technical
Secretariat of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
The verification regime includes rules for the conduct of on-site
inspections, provisions for consultation and clarification, and
voluntary confidence-building measures designed to contribute to the
timely resolution of any compliance concerns arising from possible
misinterpretation of monitoring data related to chemical explosions
that a State Party intends to or has carried out. Equally important
to the U.S. ability to verify the Treaty, the text specifically
provides for the right of States Parties to use information obtained
by national technical means in a manner consistent with generally
recognized principles of international law for purposes of
verification generally, and in particular, as the basis for an
on-site inspection request. The verification regime provides each
State Party the right to protect sensitive installations, activities,
or locations not related to the Treaty. Determinations of compliance
with the Treaty rest with each individual State Party to the Treaty.
Negotiations for a nuclear test-ban treaty date back
to the Eisenhower Administration. During the period 1978-1980,
negotiations among the United States, the United Kingdom, and
the USSR (the Depositary Governments of the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)) made progress,
but ended without agreement. Thereafter, as the nonnuclear
weapon states called for test-ban negotiations, the United States
urged the Conference on Disarmament (the "CD") to devote its
attention to the difficult aspects of monitoring compliance with
such a ban and developing elements of an international monitoring
regime. After the United States, joined by other key states,
declared its support for comprehensive test-ban negotiations with
a view toward prompt conclusion of a treaty, negotiations on a
comprehensive test-ban were initiated in the CD, in January 1994.
Increased impetus for the conclusion of a comprehensive nuclear
test-ban treaty by the end of 1996 resulted from the adoption,
by the Parties to the NPT in conjunction with the indefinite and
unconditional extension of that Treaty, of "Principles and Objectives
for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament" that listed the
conclusion of a CTBT as the highest measure of its program of action.
On August 11, 1995, when I announced U.S. support for a "zero
yield" CTBT, I stated that:
The safeguards that were established are as follows:
". . . As part of our national security strategy, the United States
must and will retain strategic nuclear forces sufficient to deter any
future hostile foreign leadership with access to strategic nuclear
forces from acting against our vital interests and to convince it
that seeking a nuclear advantage would be futile. In this regard,
I consider the maintenance of a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile
to be a supreme national interest of the United States.
"I am assured by the Secretary of Energy and the Directors of
our nuclear weapons labs that we can meet the challenge of
maintaining our nuclear deterrent under a CTBT through a Science
Based Stockpile Stewardship program without nuclear testing.
I directed the implementation of such a program almost 2 years ago,
and it is being developed with the support of the Secretary of Defense
and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This program will now
be tied to a new certification procedure. In order for this program
to succeed, both the Administration and the Congress must provide
sustained bipartisan support for the stockpile stewardship program
over the next decade and beyond. I am committed to working with the
Congress to ensure this support.
"While I am optimistic that the stockpile stewardship program
will be successful, as President I cannot dismiss the possibility,
however unlikely, that the program will fall short of its objectives.
Therefore, in addition to the new annual certification procedure for
our nuclear weapons stockpile, I am also establishing concrete,
specific safeguards that define the conditions under which the United
States can enter into a CTBT . . ."
With regard to the last safeguard:
- The conduct of a Science Based Stockpile Stewardship program to
ensure a high level of confidence in the safety and reliability of
nuclear weapons in the active stockpile, including the conduct of
a broad range of effective and continuing experimental programs.
- The maintenance of modern nuclear laboratory facilities and
programs in theoretical and exploratory nuclear technology that
will attract, retain, and ensure the continued application of our
human scientific resources to those programs on which continued
progress in nuclear technology depends.
- The maintenance of the basic capability to resume nuclear test
activities prohibited by the CTBT should the United States cease
to be bound to adhere to this Treaty.
- The continuation of a comprehensive research and development
program to improve our treaty monitoring capabilities and operations.
- The continuing development of a broad range of intelligence
gathering and analytical capabilities and operations to ensure
accurate and comprehensive information on worldwide nuclear arsenals,
nuclear weapons development programs, and related nuclear programs.
- The understanding that if the President of the United States
is informed by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of
Energy (DOE) -- advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council,
the Directors of DOE's nuclear weapons laboratories, and the
Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command -- that a high level
of confidence in the safety or reliability of a nuclear weapon
type that the two Secretaries consider to be critical to our
nuclear deterrent could no longer be certified, the President,
in consultation with the Congress, would be prepared to withdraw
from the CTBT under the standard "supreme national interests"
clause in order to conduct whatever testing might be required.
As negotiations on a text drew to a close it became apparent that
one member of the CD, India, would not join in a consensus decision
to forward the text to the United Nations for its adoption. After
consultations among countries supporting the text, Australia
requested the President of the U.N. General Assembly to convene a
resumed session of the 50th General Assembly to consider and take
action on the text. The General Assembly was so convened, and by
a vote of 158 to 3 the Treaty was adopted. On September 24, 1996,
the Treaty was opened for signature and I had the privilege, on
behalf of the United States, of being the first to sign the Treaty.
The Treaty assigns responsibility for overseeing its implementation
to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (the
"Organization"), to be established in Vienna. The Organization,
of which each State Party will be a member, will have three organs:
the Conference of the States Parties, a 51-member Executive Council,
and the Technical Secretariat. The Technical Secretariat will supervise
the operation of and
provide technical support for the International Monitoring System,
operate the International Data Center, and prepare for and support
the conduct of on-site inspections. The Treaty also requires each
State Party to establish a National Authority that will serve as the
focal point within the State Party for liaison with the Organization
and with other States Parties.
The Treaty will enter into force 180 days after the deposit
of instruments of ratification by all of the 44 states listed
in Annex 2 to the Treaty, but in no case earlier than 2 years
after its being opened for signature. If, 3 years from the
opening of the Treaty for signature, the Treaty has not entered
into force, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his
capacity as Depositary of the Treaty, will convene a conference
of the states that have deposited their instruments of ratification
if a majority of those states so requests. At this conference the
participants will consider what measures consistent with international
law might be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in
order to facilitate the early entry into force of the Treaty.
Their decision on such measures must be taken by consensus.
Reservations to the Treaty Articles and the Annexes to the Treaty
are not permitted. Reservations may be taken to the Protocol and
its Annexes so long as they are not incompatible with the object
and purpose of the Treaty. Amendment of the Treaty requires the
positive vote of a majority of the States Parties to the Treaty,
voting in a duly convened Amendment Conference at which no State
Party casts a negative vote. Such amendments would enter into
force 30 days after ratification by all States Parties that cast
a positive vote at the Amendment Conference.
The Treaty is of unlimited duration, but contains a "supreme
interests" clause entitling any State Party that determines
that its supreme interests have been jeopardized by extraordinary
events related to the subject matter of the Treaty to withdraw
from the Treaty upon 6-month's notice.
Unless a majority of the Parties decides otherwise, a Review
Conference will be held 10 years following the Treaty's entry
into force and may be held at 10-year intervals thereafter if
the Conference of the States Parties so decides by a majority
vote (or more frequently if the Conference of the States Parties
so decides by a two-thirds vote).
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty is of singular significance
to the continuing efforts to stem nuclear proliferation and strengthen
regional and global stability. Its conclusion marks the achievement
of the highest priority item on the international arms control and
nonproliferation agenda. Its effective implementation will provide
a foundation on which further efforts to control and limit nuclear
weapons can be soundly based. By responding to the call for a CTBT
by the end of 1996, the Signatory States, and most importantly the
nuclear weapon states, have demonstrated the bona fides of their
commitment to meaningful arms control measures.
The monitoring challenges presented by the wide scope of the
CTBT exceed those imposed by any previous nuclear test-related
treaty. Our current capability to monitor nuclear explosions
will undergo significant improvement over the next several years
to meet these challenges. Even with these enhancements, though,
several conceivable CTBT evasion scenarios have been identified.
Nonetheless, our National Intelligence Means (NIM), together with
the Treaty's verification regime and our diplomatic efforts, provide
the United States with the means to make the CTBT effectively
verifiable. By this, I mean that the United States:
- The U.S. regards continued high confidence in the safety
and reliability of its nuclear weapons stockpile as a matter
affecting the supreme interests of the country and will regard
any events calling that confidence into question as "extraordinary
events related to the subject matter of the treaty." It will
exercise its rights under the "supreme national interests" clause
if it judges that the safety or reliability of its nuclear weapons
stockpile cannot be assured with the necessary high degree of
confidence without nuclear testing.
- To implement that commitment, the Secretaries of Defense
and Energy -- advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council or "NWC"
(comprising represen-tatives of DOD, JCS, and DOE), the Directors
of DOE's nuclear weapons laboratories and the Commander of the
U.S. Strategic Command -- will report to the President annually,
whether they can certify that the Nation's nuclear weapons stockpile
and all critical elements thereof are, to a high degree of confidence,
safe and reliable, and, if they cannot do so, whether, in their
opinion and that of the NWC, testing is necessary to assure, with a
high degree of confidence, the adequacy of corrective measures to
assure the safety and reliability of the stockpile, or elements
thereof. The Secretaries will state the reasons for their
conclusions, and the views of the NWC, reporting any minority views.
- After receiving the Secretaries' certification and accompanying
report, including NWC and minority views, the President will provide
them to the appropriate committees of the Congress, together with a
report on the actions he has taken in light of them.
- If the President is advised, by the above procedure, that a
high level of confidence in the safety or reliability of a
nuclear weapon type critical to the Nation's nuclear deterrent
could no longer be certified without nuclear testing, or that
nuclear testing is necessary to assure the adequacy of corrective
measures, the President will be prepared to exercise our "supreme
national interests" rights under the Treaty, in order to conduct
- The procedure for such annual certification by the Secretaries,
and for advice to them by the NWC, U.S. Strategic Command, and the
DOE nuclear weapons laboratories will be embodied in domestic law.
My judgment that the CTBT is effectively verifiable also reflects
the belief that U.S. nuclear deterrence would not be undermined by
possible nuclear testing that the United States might fail to detect
under the Treaty, bearing in mind that the United States will derive
substantial confidence from other factors -- the CTBT's "supreme
national interests" clause, the annual certification procedure for
the U.S. nuclear stockpile, and the U.S. Safeguards program.
I believe that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty is in
the best interests of the United States. Its provisions will
significantly further our nuclear nonproliferation and arms control
objectives and strengthen international security. Therefore, I urge
the Senate to give early and favorable consideration to the Treaty
and its advice and consent to ratification as soon as possible.
- will have a wide range of resources (NIM, the totality of
information available in public and private channels, and the
mechanisms established by the Treaty) for addressing compliance
concerns and imposing sanctions in cases of noncompliance; and
- will thereby have the means to: (a) assess whether the Treaty
is deterring the conduct of nuclear explosions (in terms of yields
and number of tests) that could damage U.S. security interests and
constraining the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and (b) take
prompt and effective counteraction.
September 22, 1997
THE WHITE HOUSE,