View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 4, 1996


           Statement by General Goodpaster and General Butler
                on Reduction of Nuclear Weapons Arsenals

Lifting the threat of nuclear weapons destruction and limiting their dangerous spread has been and remains at the top of President Clinton s foreign policy agenda. Over the past four years, the Administration has worked hard and successfully to secure detargeting of U.S. and Russian missiles; the entry into force of the START I Treaty; the complete denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan; the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty; Senate ratification of the START II Treaty; and the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. We are working with the Russian government to achieve Russian ratification of START II. We are prepared to work on further reductions in strategic nuclear arms once START II enters into force.

While pursuing this agenda, the Administration s National Security Strategy has made clear that the United States 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.

The Joint Statement made today by retired Generals Goodpaster and Butler on Reduction of Nuclear Weapons Arsenals underscores the continuing American and global interest in a deliberate process to further reduce and ultimately eliminate nuclear dangers and is supportive of the goal outlined by President Clinton in his speech to the United Nations on September 24, 1996. In that speech, the President said he looks forward to a new century &in which the roles and risks of nuclear weapons can be further reduced, and ultimately eliminated.

While we differ on some of the specific recommendations outlined by Generals Goodpaster and Butler -- for example, we do not believe that removing nuclear weapons from alert status and placing the warheads in controlled storage or further restricting U.S. nuclear declaratory policy is in our security interests -- many of their recommendations are consistent with and supportive of Administration policies, in particular, the need for further negotiated, bilateral U.S.-Russian reductions.

# # #