Following the State of the Union address, in which President Clinton called for "a constructive bipartisan dialogue to work to build a consensus which...will eventually lead to the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty," Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced January 28 that retired General John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will spearhead administration efforts to build domestic support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Shalikashvili will work with key senators to address concerns regarding the CTBT and will also make recommendations directly to the president and the secretary of state. An administration-appointed task force, whose creation was announced November 10 but whose composition and objectives still remain unclear, will support Shalikashvili's efforts.
In a January 28 briefing, State Department spokesman James Rubin said that President Clinton would not seek Senate ratification before the end of his term but that the administration hoped Shalikashvili's appointment would lay the foundation for Senate approval "in the near future." Rubin explained, "We think pursuing this effort is important for its own sake to develop support for ratification. An additional benefit we see is that other countries hopefully will regard this effort as a signal that the United States does intend eventually to ratify the CTBT...."