View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 20, 1999


Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Today the President renewed his call to the Senate to provide its advice and consent to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and praised the bipartisan group of Senators who are speaking out in support of this important goal.

The CTBT marks an historic milestone in America's efforts to reduce the nuclear threat and build a safer world.

The CTBT was negotiated in the Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD) between January 1994 and August 1996. The United Nations General Assembly voted on September 10, 1996, to adopt the Treaty by a vote of 158 in favor, 3 opposed, and 5 abstentions. President Clinton was the first world leader to sign the CTBT on September 24, 1996. 151 other nations have now signed, and 41 have ratified. The Treaty will enter into force following ratification by the United States and 43 other CD member states with nuclear power and/or research reactors. Twenty-one of these 44 states - almost half - have now ratified. Failure by the Senate to provide its advice and consent would prevent the entry into force of this important arms control agreement.

CTBT's Central Features

The CTBT will allow America to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent. It will constrain the development of more advanced nuclear weapons by the declared nuclear powers, as well as the proliferation of nuclear weapons in other states. The Treaty includes a robust set of monitoring and inspection provisions that will aid America's ability to detect and deter nuclear explosive testing. The United States conducted its last nuclear test almost 7 years ago, and has instituted a rigorous and technically sophisticated program of stockpile stewardship - supported by the Secretaries of Defense and Energy, the Directors of the National Weapons Laboratories, the Commander in Chief, United States Strategic Command, and the Nuclear Weapons Council - to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing.