One of my Administration's highest priorities is to negotiate a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to reduce the danger posed by nuclear weapons proliferation. To advance that goal and secure the strongest possible treaty, I am announcing today my decision to seek a "zero" yield CTBT. A zero yield CTBT wuld ban any nuclear weapon explosion or any other nuclear explosion immediately upon entry into force. I hope it will lead to an early consensus among all states at the negotiating table.
Achieving a CTBT was a goal of both Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. Now, as then, such a treaty would greatly strengthen U.S. and global security and create another barrier to nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons development. At the conclusion of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May, all parties to that treaty agreed to work to our commitment to do everything possible to conclude the CTBT negotiations as soon as possible so that a treaty can be signed next year.
As part of our national security strategy, the United States must and will retain strategic nuclear forces sufficient to deter any future hostile foereign 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 two years ago, and it is being developed with the support of the Secretary of Defence 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 optomistic that the stockpile stewardship program will be successful, as President I cannot dismiss the possibility, however unlikely, that the program will fall short of tis 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 in a CTBT.
In the event that I were informed by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy -- advised by the Nucear Weapons Council, the Directors of DOEs nuclear weapons laboratories and the Commander of U. S. Strategic Command -- that a high level of confidence in the safety or reliability of a nuclear weapons type which the two Secretaries consider to be critical to our nuclear deterrent could no longer be certified, I would be prepared, in the consultation with Congress, to exercise our "supreme national interests" rights under the CTBT in order to conduct whatever testing might be required. Exercising this right, however, is a decision I believe I or any future presidnet will not have to make. The Nuclear weapons in the United States arsenal are safe and reliable, and I am determined our stockpile stewardship program will ensure they remain so in the absence of nuclear testing.
I recognize that our present monitoring systems will not detect with high confience very low yield tests. Therefore, I am committed to purusing a comprehensive researchg and development program to improve our treaty monitoring capabilities and operations.
Thirty-two years ago, President Kennedy called the completion of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in Moscow, a "shaft of light cut into the darkness" of the Cold War. With it, he said, the nation could "step back from the shadows of war and sekk out the way to peace." We did, and the world is a safer place because of it. I believe we are ready to take the next step and lead the world to a comprehensive test ban. This would be a fitting tribute to all those, Republicans and Democrats, who have worked for a CTBT over the past four decades.
A Comprehenwive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is conditioned on:
A. The conduct of a Science Based Stockpile Stewardship program to insure a high level of confidence in the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons in the active stockpile, including the conduct of a braod range of effective and continuing experimental programs.
B. The maintneance of modern nuclear laboratory faculities and programs in theoretical and exploratory nuclear technology which will attract, retain, an densure the continuous applicaiton of our human scientific resources to those program on which continued progress in nuclear technology depends.
C. 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.
D. Continuation of a comprehensive resarch and development program to improve our treaty monitoring capabilities and operations.
E. The continued development of a broad range of intelligence gathering and analytical capabilities and operations to ensure accurate and comprehensive information on worldwide nucleaer arsenals, nuclear weapons development programs, and related nuvlear programs.
F. 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 DOEs 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 which the two Secretaries consider to be critical to our nuclear deterrent could no longer be certified, the President, in consultation with 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.