“We continue to count on the valuable contributions of the Arms Control Association.”

– President Joe Biden
June 2, 2022
Administration Launches CTBT Effort
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April 2000

On March 13, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and retired General John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, formally launched the Clinton administration's renewed push for U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Shalikashvili's appointment to head the administration's task force on the test ban was announced in late January. (See ACT, January/February 2000.)

Shalikashvili will serve as special adviser to the president and the secretary of state on the test ban. According to Albright, Shalikashvili "will meet with senators and others to hear their concerns and suggestions, help clear up misconceptions about the treaty, and recommend steps the administration might take to gain a favorable Senate vote." He will be supported by former Ambassador James Goodby and by John Holum, senior adviser for arms control and international security.

At the State Department press briefing announcing the new effort, Shalikashvili emphasized that the administration was not planning to resubmit the treaty during the remainder of President Clinton's term. According to Shalikashvili, the current effort is an attempt to "lay the groundwork for eventual ratification" of the treaty and to reassure other signatories about U.S. intentions regarding the treaty.

For example, China, which was sharply critical of the U.S. Senate's rejection of the treaty, is not expected to ratify the CTBT before the United States does. China reportedly submitted the CTBT to the National People's Congress for approval prior to the legislature's first full annual meeting on March 5, but there have been no indications that the body has acted on the treaty to date.

The CTBT has continued to pick up ratifications. Bangladesh ratified the treaty March 8, shortly before Clinton's visit to South Asia, and Macedonia ratified the treaty March 14. Lithuania and Turkey have also ratified the treaty in recent months. The CTBT has now been signed by 155 countries and ratified by 55. Of the 44 states required to ratify the treaty before it can enter into force, 28 have done so.