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Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

Obama on Track With Call for Deeper Nuclear Reductions

President Obama greets attendes after delivering remarks during a visit to Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul on March 26, 2012. (Image Source: LA Times) By Daryl G. Kimball On Monday President Barack Obama delivered a major address on his nuclear security agenda at Hankuk University in Seoul as he and other leaders gather for the second international Nuclear Security Summit. The bulk of his remarks focused on the progress made to secure nuclear weapons usable materials, but he also provided a status report on his broader nuclear risk reduction agenda three years after his stirring...

Possible North Korean Nuke Test Shows Power of CTBT Monitoring System

By Tom Z. Collina A new study in the March 2012 issue of Science & Global Security suggests that North Korea carried out a small nuclear explosive test in May 2010. If true, this would be the third nuclear test by North Korea and its first that was not announced. CTBTO radionuclide monitoring station, Okinawa, Japan The study argues that because there was no seismic reading to indicate a nuclear explosion at that time, the explosive yield of any such event would have been less than 50 tons (or .05 kilotons). The fact that a test this small could have been detected at all is a promising...

Indonesia Ratifies Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

The Indonesian House of Representatives approved the ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on Dec. 6, decreasing the number of states that must ratify the pact before its entry into force from nine to eight.

Daryl G. Kimball

The Indonesian House of Representatives approved the ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on Dec. 6, decreasing the number of states that must ratify the pact before its entry into force from nine to eight.

Indonesia signed the CTBT in 1996 and is the 156th country to ratify the treaty, which prohibits all nuclear weapons test explosions.

Formal entry into force of the CTBT requires that a specific group of 44 states named in Annex 2 of the treaty ratify it. Eight more Annex 2 states must still ratify the treaty to trigger formal entry into force: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and the United States.

In comments following Indonesia’s parliamentary vote, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said, “I am determined to ensure that Indonesia’s decision today will create momentum to encourage others who are still holding out to do the right thing. And the only right thing is to ratify the CTBT now, no more procrastination, no more delaying because it is right, it is proper, and it makes a more secure world.”

Indonesia—the world’s fourth most-populous country—is currently the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and recently helped negotiate an agreement between that group and the five original nuclear-weapon states to enable them to accede to the Treaty of Bangkok’s protocol. (See ACT, December 2011.) Under the protocol, nuclear-weapon states pledge to respect the Southeast Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone created by the pact.

Following Indonesia’s ratification vote, Ismet Ahmad, a lawmaker from the National Mandate Party, called on the world’s nuclear-armed countries, especially Israel and the United States, to follow suit. “Indonesia’s ratification has no significance unless other nuclear states take the same step,” he said, according to an Agence France Presse report.

In a Dec. 6 statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also urged others to ratify the treaty. “My message is clear: Do not wait for others to move first,” Ban said. “Take the initiative. Lead. The time for waiting has passed.”

In a joint op-ed published Dec. 18 on Al Jazeera’s Web site, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, who currently lead outreach efforts to the states that have not yet ratified the treaty, addressed the eight nonparties directly. “[N]ow the spotlight is on you,” they said.

In a statement issued Dec. 6, U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed Indonesia’s ratification and said, “The United States remains fully committed to pursuing ratification of the Test Ban Treaty and will continue to engage members of the Senate on the importance of this Treaty to U.S. security. America must lead the global effort to prevent proliferation, and adoption and early entry into force of the CTBT is a vital part of that effort.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praised Indonesia’s leadership. In a Dec. 6 statement, she said the United States “calls on all governments to declare or reaffirm their commitment not to conduct explosive nuclear tests” and “urge[s] all states that have not yet ratified the treaty to join us in this effort.”

Last May, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher announced that the Obama administration had begun informal briefings of senators and staff on the key technical and scientific issues that were cited as reasons for opposing the treaty in 1999, when the Senate voted it down. Those briefings have continued. Several members of Congress also have toured the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization’s headquarters in Vienna in the past year.

However, with the presidential election campaign under way and a new National Academy of Sciences report on the technical issues surrounding the treaty still under declassification review, few observers believe there is sufficient time for the Senate to conduct an in-depth review of the treaty before U.S. elections in November.

Test Ban Supporters Welcome Indonesian Ratification of the CTBT: New Momentum for Entry Into Force of 1996 Pact

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(Washington, D. C.) Today,  the Indonesian parliament approved the ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear weapons test explosions and establishes a global system for detecting and deterring clandestine test explosions.

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For Immediate Release: Dec. 6, 2011

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association, and publisher, Arms Control Today (202-463-8270, ext. 107)

(Washington, D. C.) Today,  the Indonesian parliament approved the ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear weapons test explosions and establishes a global system for detecting and deterring clandestine test explosions.

"Fifteen years since negotiations on the Test Ban Treaty were concluded, the long journey to end testing is not over, but with Indonesian ratification we are one step closer," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the  U.S.-based, independent Arms Control Association and coordinator of the Project for the CTBT, which brings together a network of over 50 nongovernmental organizations that support a permanent global ban on nuclear testing.

"We welcome Indonesia's action, which should create new momentum toward the realization of the CTBT,"  said Kimball.

Global support for the CTBT is widespread, but formal entry into force requires that a specific group of 44 states named in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified.  Eight more Annex 2 states must still ratify the treaty, including the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Iran, and North Korea.

"Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Given their existing nuclear test moratoria and 1996 signature of the CTBT, Washington and Beijing already bear most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them--and others--the full security benefits of CTBT entry into force."

On Nov. 28 the former head of the U.S. National Security Administration Linton Brooks  said: "... as a practical matter, it is almost certain that the United States will not test again.  The political bar against testing is extremely high.  I have been in and out of government for a long time.  And in recent years I never met anybody who advocated that we seek authorization to return to testing."

Under the CTBT, the established nuclear-weapon states would be barred from proof-testing new, more sophisticated nuclear warhead designs. Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, newer testing nations cannot perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads. With the CTBT in force, global and national capabilities to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will be significantly greater and short-notice, on-site inspections can be used to investigate suspicious events.

"While it might be possible to sustain the voluntary moratorium undertaken by the nuclear testing states for some years, the risk of a resumption of testing other nuclear weapons armed states will only grow over time," Kimball said.

"Also, concerns about clandestine nuclear testing might arise that could not be resolved in the absence of inspections provided for under the treaty. Failure to ratify the CTBT would increase uncertainty and weaken U.S. security," he warned.

In his address before the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, U.S. President Barack Obama said "America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons ...." Earlier this year President Obama and President Hu Jintao of China issued a joint statement expressing support for early entry into force of the Treaty.

"We welcome the positive statements from President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao for CTBT entry into force, but it would be better if they took concrete action toward approval of ratification by their legislatures," said Kimball.

"To indicate the seriousness of his intentions and to sustain the effort, we call on President Obama to promptly name a senior, high-level White House CTBT coordinator," Kimball said.

"Such efforts take time and may not show results in the next several months," he noted. "But to build the support necessary for U.S. ratification, the Obama administration can and must begin to make the case for the Treaty now."

"As the Obama administration provides updated information, senators have a responsibility to take a serious look at the merits of the treaty in light of the new evidence and not rush to judgment on the basis of old or misleading information," Kimball urged.

"Much has changed since the brief Senate debate on the CTBT in late-1999," Kimball noted. "As George Shultz, President Ronald Reagan's Secretary of State, said in April 2009, '[Republicans] might have been right voting against [the CTBT] some years ago, but they would be right voting for it now, based on these new facts.... [There are] new pieces of information that are very important and that should be made available to the Senate.'"

"U.S. and Chinese ratification is essential and would prompt action by the other CTBT hold out states," Kimball said.

The prospect of U.S. ratification of the CTBT has already begun to spur new thinking in India. In an August 30, 2009 interview in The Hindu, India's then-National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan said: "As of now, we are steadfast in our commitment to the moratorium. At least there is no debate in the internal circles about this."  Asked if India would have no problem signing the treaty if the others whose ratification is required for the CTBT to enter into force -- especially the U.S. and China -- did so, Mr. Narayanan responded: "I think we need to now have a full-fledged discussion on the CTBT. We'll cross that hurdle when we come to it."

CTBT ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would  help reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a Middle East Zone free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction.

"Iran was at one time an active participant in the CTBT negotiations and on September 24, 1996 it signed the treaty," Kimball noted. "And today, Iranian ratification would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads. Continued failure by Iran to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its sensitive nuclear activities, which remain under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency."

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. Arms Control Today is the monthly journal of the Arms Control Association.

The Test Ban and the 1956 Election

Barry H. Steiner is a professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach, where he has taught since 1968. Specializing in war and peace studies, he has worked on nuclear strategy, preventive diplomacy, arms races, and arms control. He gratefully acknowledges the comments of Lawrence D. Weiler on an earlier version of this article.

Barry H. Steiner

Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic presidential candidate in 1952 and 1956, has been called “the first national political leader to take a clear-cut position for the limitation of [nuclear weapons] testing.”[1] In his 1956 campaign against President Dwight Eisenhower, the former Illinois governor capitalized on widespread fear of radiation from nuclear weapons tests to propose a testing moratorium, but he had not intended to make the tests a major campaign issue at first.[2]

After initially referring to the moratorium in April 1956, he next mentioned it on September 5. Only in October did he establish his proposal as a campaign staple. Starting in September, the Republican camp argued strongly against the moratorium proposal.

Before and after the election, which Eisenhower won handily, leading Democratic officials put forward the view that Eisenhower had rejected a test ban initiative because Stevenson had proposed it. Stevenson’s running mate, Senator Estes Kefauver (D-Tenn.), mentioned in October a rumor that the National Security Council (NSC) on September 11 had considered halting nuclear weapons tests and had decided to dismiss the proposal because Stevenson suggested it.[3] Stevenson himself wrote in a postelection article that “[t]here
was…reason to believe that the National Security Council itself between September 5 and September 19 had voted ‘unanimously’ in favor of a similar superbomb proposal; but this decision had then been set aside for obviously political reasons.”[4]

The historian Robert A. Divine, tracking the U.S. public debate on the test ban, concluded in 1978 that, with NSC records “still tightly sealed, there is no way to know whether the President had indeed rejected a test ban recommendation, and if he had, whether political or security factors [were] decisive.”[5] This article, using declassified NSC and Department of State records, pursues this issue, confirming that

•   Eisenhower received from his closest advisers during the campaign a proposal for declaring a U.S. moratorium on testing and that neither he nor his administration ever acted on or acknowledged it in the course of the campaign;

•   the moratorium recommendation was made outside the NSC machinery and was never formally considered by the council; and

•   Eisenhower’s rejection of the moratorium was political in that he was unwilling to champion what Stevenson initially proposed.

Origins of the Proposal

Divine ascribes to Harold Stassen, who served as Eisenhower’s special assistant for disarmament from 1955 to 1958, the initiative for the administration’s 1956 test ban moratorium proposal. He also states that Eisenhower authorized the NSC “to restudy the whole question of a test ban” in response to a September 11 Soviet message to the president calling for a halt to nuclear weapons tests.[6] However, the proposal emanated from the State Department in late August, prior to the Soviet letter to Eisenhower as well as Stevenson’s September 5 speech, and did not entail any new time-consuming study.

Unlike virtually all arms control and disarmament initiatives of that era, the moratorium proposal did not receive formal consideration and debate in the NSC. Stassen, who was both policy proposer and negotiator, was the primary figure on this subject in the NSC, which under Eisenhower was a highly structured policy organization. As Stassen worked for interagency policy consensus and negotiating authority, his ideas were repeatedly debated and critiqued by other NSC members.

A prodigious worker, Stassen was said to be “playing several chess games simultaneously—one with Washington, one with the Allies, one with the U.S.S.R., and one with the general public.”[7] Appointed by Eisenhower and dependent on the president’s support, Stassen also was a Stevenson ally as the administration’s strongest advocate for nuclear weapons limitation. It would be entirely plausible for Stevenson, despite leading the opposing political camp, to be guided by Stassen when pushing weapons limitations.

Yet the State Department rather than Stassen was the source of the moratorium initiative. On August 31, 1956, Deputy Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Robert D. Murphy wrote to Stassen and argued, “We believe there are political considerations which make it highly desirable that the [United States] take the initiative with regard to nuclear tests. The Soviets have come out for discontinuing tests of atomic and hydrogen weapons independent of general agreement on disarmament.”[8] Murphy noted that the British government also favored discussing the testing issue separately from a general disarmament agreement and that U.S. opposition had isolated the United States politically on that question. He urged a unilateral announcement of a “temporary cessation for a one-year period of thermonuclear and large-yield nuclear tests,” and he provided a draft cessation announcement approved by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.

In the letter, Murphy referred to a shift on the test ban issue by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in July 1956, conceding that “overriding political considerations” could make agreement on limiting nuclear tests advisable.[9] The source of this shift is known to have been AEC Chairman Lewis Strauss, the strongest advocate among the president’s advisers for vigorous nuclear weapons testing.[10]

The origins of the proposal in the State Department indicated the need for a faster track and a different focus than the ones the NSC provided. Although arms negotiation policy was a focus of the council, the proposal was designed to gain a short-term propaganda advantage in the absence of negotiations. The Soviet Union had resumed nuclear testing on August 24, and the administration decided in August to begin publicizing Soviet nuclear tests in order to discredit Soviet support for a test ban. The initiative would have helped to direct negative attention to Soviet testing, if it persisted, or to influence the Soviet Union to cease a testing program that had military importance. At the same time, the moratorium did not restrict any U.S. military program; Murphy noted that the United States had no plans for tests in the Pacific for a period of “well over a year.”[11] The proposal was framed to permit the United States to initiate nuclear weapons testing when it would next be ready to do so.

The Policy Context

The test moratorium proposal also was unusual for being a stand-alone statement and for being a unilateral step. U.S. policy in 1956, approved by the NSC, insisted on a comprehensive disarmament agreement, in which test cessation depended on agreement by all states to halt production of fissionable materials for weapons and on on-site inspection. The conditions, which were publicized in a U.S. statement on April 26, 1956, to the three-power Subcommittee of the United Nations Disarmament Commission, held fast in spite of the State Department’s moratorium proposal.[12] The still-born administration moratorium proposal did not represent a change in this policy. Stassen, taking account of Stevenson’s “endeavor to infer that the administration was considering some different position,” privately denied on October 15 that any policy shift had occurred.[13]

The White House meeting of September 11, 1956, cited by Kefauver, did not focus on the test ban question alone, but reviewed a series of steps in a disarmament program Stassen had proposed in June 1956 for discussion and approval. Stassen now was seeking authority to prepare negotiating documents for that proposal.[14] A declassified summary of this meeting makes it clear that U.S. approval of a nuclear weapons test moratorium would continue to depend on Soviet approval of prior U.S. conditions: “There was spirited discussion regarding the discontinuance of atomic tests. Agreement was indicated that any stopping must be predicated upon an inspection plan for determining whether any tests are conducted, and for observing such further tests as are conducted. It would be necessary to develop an understanding on the part of the non-atomic powers of what the tests are for, and under what procedures they would be conducted.”[15] A second summary indicated that Eisenhower and Dulles believed Stassen’s test ban concept would need to be restudied.[16] Neither summary suggests a decision to propose a test ban publicly.

Eisenhower probably had received the test moratorium proposal by September 11, and the absence of discussion of that proposal at the meeting on that date, by officials who are known to have been aware of its existence, suggests that it had already been rejected. Instead, the more ambitious U.S. approach to disarmament remained in effect.

Response to Stevenson’s Proposal

Eisenhower generally preferred to insulate arms policy from public debate, but in this instance, he acted politically not only to reject the moratorium that his advisers recommended, but also to reject debate over its merits.[17] He did not want to be affected by public opinion in any way, to protect his freedom of action. He sought to avoid language that would “publicly tie his hands so that in the future [he could] do nothing,” and he suppressed his own view that “the need for atomic tests would gradually lift and possibly soon disappear.”[18]

Yet in seeking to affect public opinion on the test moratorium during his re-election campaign, Eisenhower publicly criticized Stevenson’s testing proposal in a way that was inconsistent with the logic behind the test moratorium proposal recommended by his own advisers, and he sought to mislead the public about it. For example, when publicly responding to Stevenson’s proposed moratorium in October 1956, Eisenhower, in spite of his advisers’ private support of such an initiative, maintained that “it would be foolish for us to make any…unilateral [moratorium] announcement.”

His advisers understood that preparations to test could be made during the moratorium period,[19] but Eisenhower, portraying his objection to the moratorium as based on national security considerations, observed that “months and months” were required to prepare for nuclear tests, while the Soviets “could make tremendous advances where we would be standing still.”[20] He portrayed the moratorium as a complex security initiative, even as his advisers privately informed him that it was relatively simple to implement, without cost to the United States. His public statement that debating the moratorium would “lead only to confusion at home and misunderstanding abroad”[21] made sense only on the assumption that the moratorium was a complicated issue.

Most effectively, the administration turned Stevenson’s initiative against him by publicizing on October 21 another Soviet letter to Eisenhower renewing Soviet support of a testing moratorium and noting that “certain prominent public figures in the United States” advocated a similar step.[22]

The Episode in Historical Context

According to McGeorge Bundy, Stevenson’s test ban moratorium proposal “was remembered as evidence of the danger to a challenger in seeming to be soft.”[23] Yet if not for this proposal, Eisenhower probably would have announced the temporary test moratorium that his advisers had proposed. Moreover, by mid-1957 the administration had proposed a two-year suspension of weapons tests in exchange for Soviet agreement to a nuclear weapons production cutoff, and Eisenhower publicly linked a temporary test suspension to disarmament.[24] In 1958 the United States entered into an informal test moratorium with the Soviet Union. Security interests had not changed in the interim to explain this shift.

Stevenson underestimated arms control politics. According to Divine, Stevenson “confronted the American people with vital issues that should have been aired years before,”[25] including the reasons for developing hydrogen bombs and for the emergence of the Soviet-U.S. deadlock over controlling them. However, the administration was determined not to respond, concealing its interest in arms restraint while putting Stevenson on the defensive for his interest in the same thing.

Stevenson’s ties to Stassen also might have hurt him politically. The administration could support and even depend on the Stevenson-Stassen alliance, for insofar as Stevenson believed he was helping Stassen’s hand in the administration, he was more likely to speak out as he did, unwittingly aiding the Eisenhower campaign.[26]

Domestic political controversy also has dogged more recent U.S. debate over a nuclear weapons test ban. Now the issue is whether U.S. adherence to the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty can be broadened by accession to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was negotiated under UN auspices from 1994 to 1996. Since 1992, the United States, a signatory to the CTBT, has been observing an informal moratorium on all nuclear weapons tests that has been virtually unchallenged on security grounds. For political reasons, however, the United States has been unable to turn this restraint into a formal treaty commitment.

When the Clinton administration, calling the CTBT “the longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in arms control history,”[27] sent it to the Senate for ratification in September 1997, Republican opposition focused on the difficulty of ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in the absence of testing and on the problem of ensuring the detection of cheating through existing means of verification. A vote on ratification in October 1999 failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate. One appraisal of this defeat cited inadequate appreciation of the CTBT’s “domestic political ramifications” as a cause.[28]

Since then, the United States has supported the CTBT regime, most notably its global network of test monitoring stations. The Obama administration has made clear that its objective in this support has been not only to deter nuclear weapons proliferation, which is the primary purpose of the treaty, but also to help make the case that strengthening CTBT verification capabilities makes the treaty more worthy of Senate ratification than it was in 1999.

Earlier this year, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher said the Obama administration had “begun the process of engaging the Senate” on the test ban.[29] It remains to be seen whether this administration will be successful in surmounting the political hurdles to ratification of a treaty that is central to the international arms control and nonproliferation agenda.

 

 


 

Barry H. Steiner is a professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach, where he has taught since 1968. Specializing in war and peace studies, he has worked on nuclear strategy, preventive diplomacy, arms races, and arms control. He gratefully acknowledges the comments of Lawrence D. Weiler on an earlier version of this article.

 


ENDNOTES

 

1. McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival (New York: Random House, 1988), p. 329.

2. Robert A. Divine, Foreign Policy and U.S. Presidential Elections (New York: New Viewpoints, 1974), 2:138. For an opinion that Stevenson favored a unilateral initiative, see Clinton P. Anderson with Milton Viorst, Outsider in the Senate: Senator Clinton Anderson’s Memoirs (New York: World Publishing Company, 1970), p. 141. Stevenson himself seems to have had in mind a joint Soviet-U.S. moratorium. Adlai E. Stevenson, “Why I Raised the H-Bomb Question,” Look, No. 21 (February 5, 1957), pp. 24-25.

3. Howard E. Frost, “Test Ban Negotiations and the 1956 Presidential Campaign” (unpublished paper, March 16, 1987), p. 2. The paper can be found in Box 127 of the Jerome Wiesner Papers in the Institute Archives and Special Collections at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For a published reference to the September 11 date, which a veteran contemporary journalist cited as being obtained from an “unimpeachable authority,” see Chalmers M. Roberts, “The Case for Harold Stassen,” The New Republic, March 10, 1958. For a reprint of the article, see Robert E. Matteson, Harold Stassen: His Career, the Man, and the 1957 London Arms Control Negotiations (1993), p. A-10. The source of the rumor is still undetermined.

4. Stevenson, “Why I Raised the H-Bomb Question,” p. 24 (emphasis in original).

5. Robert A. Divine, Blowing on the Wind: The Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1954-1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), pp. 91-92.

6. Ibid., p. 86.

7. Matteson, Harold Stassen, p. 37. Thus far, no study of Stassen has utilized declassified NSC and State Department records. For works neglecting Stassen’s role, see Bundy, Danger and Survival; Robert R. Bowie and Richard H. Immerman, Waging Peace (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). For Eisenhower’s policy structure, see Bowie and Immerman, Waging Peace, pp. v-vii.

8. Robert D. Murphy letter to Harold E. Stassen, August 31, 1956, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955-1957, Vol. 20, Regulation of Armaments: Atomic Energy (Washington: Government Printing Office (GPO), 1990), pp. 419-420 (hereinafter Murphy letter reproduction).

9. Ibid., p. 419.

10. A footnote in the reproduction of the Murphy letter cites to this effect a Strauss letter to Stassen dated July 26, 1956. For a larger excerpt from the Strauss letter, which was declassified in 1986 (four years prior to the publication of the Foreign Relations of the United States volume), see Frost, “Test Ban Negotiations and the 1956 Presidential Campaign,” pp. 10-11.

11. Murphy letter reproduction, p. 421.

12. See Harold Stassen letter to Emmet J. Hughes, October 15, 1956, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955-1957, Vol. 20, Regulation of Armaments: Atomic Energy (Washington: GPO, 1990), p. 436.

13. Ibid. At this point, the view that Stassen was taking in private with administration staff members was very different from the one that the Stevenson camp presumed he held and that Stassen knew the Stevenson camp held.

14. “Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Stassen) to the President,” June 29, 1956, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955-1957, Vol. 20, Regulation of Armaments: Atomic Energy (Washington: GPO, 1990), pp. 402-408. An initiative on weapons testing is mentioned in this memorandum (p. 407) as one of many “Courses of Action” proposed by Stassen.

15. A.J. Goodpaster, “Memorandum of Conference With the President, September 11, 1956; 3:45 P.M.,” September 14, 1956. A copy of this memorandum is attached to Frost, “Test Ban Negotiations and the 1956 Presidential Campaign.” Guiding the Frost paper, this memorandum is more explicit about the discussion of the test ban question at the September 11 meeting than is the lengthier summary of this meeting by W.H. Jackson. W.H. Jackson, “Memorandum of a Conversation, White House, Washington, September 11, 1956,” Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955-1957, Vol. 20, Regulation of Armaments: Atomic Energy (Washington: GPO, 1990), pp. 425-427.

16. Jackson, “Memorandum of a Coversation.” This report was found in the State Department Disarmament Files.

17. According to Bundy, Eisenhower “thought politics was a game only other people played, and he believed it should stop well short of the nuclear issue.” Bundy, Danger and Survival, p. 331.

18. Divine, Blowing on the Wind, pp. 86, 100-101. See Divine, Foreign Policy and U.S. Presidential Elections, pp. 2:156-157.

19. Divine, Blowing on the Wind, p. 90.

20. Divine, Foreign Policy and U.S. Presidential Elections, p. 2:141.

21. Divine, Blowing on the Wind, p. 91.

22. Ibid., p. 98.

23. Bundy, Danger and Survival, p. 330.

24. Divine, Blowing on the Wind, pp. 146, 149; Robert A. Divine, Eisenhower and the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), p. 126.

25. Divine, Foreign Policy and U.S. Presidential Elections, p. 2:161.

26. Divine writes that Stevenson “apparently only raised [the test ban proposal] because he understood that the National Security Council was planning a similar proposal.” Divine, Foreign Policy and U.S. Presidential Elections, p. 2:138. If this is true, then Stevenson must have trusted some authoritative figure in the administration who provided him with this information.

27. Terry L. Deibel, “The Death of a Treaty,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 81 (September/October 2002), p. 143. Background on the CTBT is provided in Keith A. Hanson, The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (Stanford:  Stanford University Press, 2006).

28. Ibid., p. 160.

29. Ellen Tauscher, “Statement to the Conference on Facilitating the Entry Into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty,” New York, September 23, 2011, http://usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/2011/173911.htm.

Science Replaces Nuclear Tests

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Volume 2, Issue 14, November 3, 2011

A front-page story in today’s Washington Post (“Supercomputers Offer Tools for Nuclear Testing--and Solving Nuclear Mysteries”) illustrates how far the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program has come since nuclear explosive tests ended in 1992. Scientists at the three U.S. national laboratories now have a deeper understanding of nuclear weapons than ever before.

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Volume 2, Issue 14, November 2, 2011

A front-page story in today’s Washington Post (“Supercomputers Offer Tools for Nuclear Testing--and Solving Nuclear Mysteries) illustrates how far the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program has come since nuclear explosive tests ended in 1992. Scientists at the three U.S. national laboratories now have a deeper understanding of nuclear weapons than ever before.

“We have a more fundamental understanding of how these weapons work today than we ever imagined when we were blowing them up,” Bruce T. Goodwin, principal associate director for weapons at Livermore National Laboratory, told the Post. Goodwin is in agreement with National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) administrator Thomas D'Agostino, who in 2008 said, "We know more about the complex issues of nuclear weapons performance today than we ever did during the period of nuclear testing."

It’s time for U.S. national policies to catch up with the science. The Senate voted against the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1999, in large part because the stewardship program was as yet unproven. Now, with two decades of experience, the Senate can ratify the CTBT with full confidence that the stewardship program can keep the U.S. arsenal safe and reliable.

Countries with nuclear weapons, such as China, India and Pakistan, cannot create advanced nukes without further nuclear test explosions. Without nuclear tests, Iran could not confidently build warheads for delivery by ballistic missiles. The CTBT would also improve America’s ability to detect, deter, and confront any nation that attempts to break the global taboo against nuclear testing. 

Stockpile Stewardship Passes the Test, Again

Almost 20 years after the last U.S. nuclear test explosion, it is clear that the existing arsenal can be maintained indefinitely, without nuclear test explosions and without pursuing new warhead designs.

Since 1994, each warhead type in the U.S. nuclear arsenal has been determined to be safe and reliable through a rigorous annual certification process. The Stockpile Stewardship Program includes nuclear weapons surveillance and maintenance, non-nuclear and subcritical nuclear experiments, and increasingly sophisticated supercomputer modeling.  Life extension programs have successfully refurbished existing types of nuclear warheads and can continue to do so indefinitely.

A 2009 study by JASON, a high-level independent technical review panel, concluded that the "lifetimes of today's nuclear warheads could be extended for decades, with no anticipated loss in confidence."

And as the National Academy of Sciences concluded in 2002, the stewardship program “provides the technical capabilities that are necessary to maintain confidence in the safety and reliability of the existing seven types of nuclear warheads in the active stockpile, provided that adequate resources are made available...and are properly focused on this task."

Stewardship Program Adequately Funded

Since fiscal year 2010, the Obama administration has requested, and the Congress has granted, significant increases for NNSA nuclear weapons activities, upping the budget by 10% to $7.0 billion from the previous year. Longer term, the administration has laid out an unprecedented $88 billion, ten-year plan for the nuclear weapons complex from 2012 to 2021. Then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted in 2010 that, "These investments, and the... strategy for warhead life extension, represent a credible modernization plan necessary to sustain the nuclear infrastructure and support our nation's deterrent."

On December 1, 2010, the then-directors of the three U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories wrote that they were "very pleased" with the administration's budget plan. Lawrence Livermore director Dr. George Miller, Los Alamos director Dr. Michael Anastasio, and Sandia director Dr. Paul Hommert said that the increased funding plan provides "adequate support" to sustain the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

For fiscal year 2012, the Obama administration is requesting $7.63 billion for NNSA weapons activities. Congress is likely to increase NNSA funding again, but not as much as the administration wants. The Republican-led House appropriations committee increased funding for NNSA weapons activities to $7.13 billion, and the Senate approved a similar increase to $7.19 billion.

However, these minor reductions in the President’s proposed NNSA budget will not prevent NNSA from completing its primary mission.  As House Energy and Water Subcommittee Chair Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said in June:

“Yes, ‘Weapons Activities’ is below the President’s request, but this request included hundreds of millions of dollars for construction projects that are not ready to move forward, capabilities that are secondary to the primary mission of keeping our stockpile ready, and, yes, slush funds that the administration has historically used to address its needs…The recommendation before you eliminates these weaknesses and it is responsible.”

Life Extensions: Be Conservative

Beyond funding questions, NNSA needs to ensure that the national labs are focused on the highest priority stockpile stewardship tasks. For example, the labs should only pursue cost-effective, technically conservative warhead life extension strategies that minimize unnecessary changes to already well-understood and proven warhead designs.

From fiscal year 2011 to 2031, NNSA plans to spend almost $16 billion on Life Extension Programs (LEPs) to extend the service life and in some cases modify almost every warhead in the enduring stockpile. This includes an estimated $3.7 billion on the W88 warhead, $3.9 billion on the B61 bomb, $4.2 billion on the W78 warhead, $1.7 billion on the W76 warhead, and $2.3 billion on the W80-1 warhead.

Some enhancements for safety and security may be warranted, but there is a risk. For years, stockpile managers and designers have preached design-change “discipline,” noting that an accumulation of unnecessary design and materials modifications could undermine confidence in warhead reliability.

For example, the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee warned in September that efforts to modify the B61 bomb with “untried technologies” should “not come at the expense of long-term weapon reliability. New safety and security features should be incorporated in weapon systems when feasible, but the primary goal of a life extension program should be to increase confidence in warhead performance without underground nuclear testing.”

As a result, the Senate reduced the B61 LEP budget request by more than $43 million. Former weapons designer Bob Peurifoy, a retired Sandia National Laboratory vice president, said that NNSA’s plans to change the B61 are “risking a very reliable system.”

The NNSA and Congress need to review the current life extension program to ensure that enthusiasm associated with extensively modifying warheads does not get out of hand. Marginal improvements in weapons security and safety should not come at the expense of long-term weapon reliability.  —Daryl G. Kimball and Tom Z. Collina

CTBT Signatories Push Entry Into Force

Fifteen years after the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature, more than 160 senior government officials met at a Sept. 23 conference at the United Nations to urge its signature and ratification by nine key remaining states to trigger entry into force.

Daryl G. Kimball

Fifteen years after the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature, more than 160 senior government officials met at a Sept. 23 conference at the United Nations to urge its signature and ratification by nine key remaining states to trigger entry into force.

More than 50 officials spoke at the seventh biennial Article XIV Conference on Facilitating Entry Into Force. Under the treaty’s Article XIV and Annex 2, 44 specified countries must ratify the treaty to bring it into force. Nine of those states—China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and the United States—have not yet done so.

The final conference declaration “urge[s] all remaining States…to sign and ratify the Treaty without delay” and endorses bilateral, regional, and multilateral initiatives to achieve the treaty’s “earliest entry into force.”

In his address to the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted the growing calls, at the international political level and from the many victims and survivors of nuclear testing, for bringing the treaty into force. “My message is clear: Do not wait for others to move first. Take the initiative. Lead. The time for waiting has passed,” he stated. “We must make the most of existing—and potentially short-lived—opportunities.”

Since the 2009 Article XIV conference, the treaty has been signed and ratified by Trinidad and Tobago and ratified by four other states: the Central African Republic, Ghana, Guinea, and the Marshall Islands. To date, 182 states have signed the treaty, and 155 have ratified it. Yet, entry into force remains years away.

Carl Bildt and Patricia Espinosa, the foreign ministers of Sweden and Mexico, respectively, presided over the conference. Sweden and Mexico will head multilateral efforts to promote CTBT entry into force for the next two years.

The United States and China, which have signed but not ratified the treaty, have repeatedly expressed their support for it. In a Jan. 19, 2011, joint communiqué, Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao declared that “both sides support early entry into force of the CTBT.”

In May of this year, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher announced that the administration would begin a quiet effort to discuss the technical issues of the treaty with some Senate offices. (See ACT, June 2011.) In an interview posted Sept. 2 on the Web site Arms Control Wonk, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller confirmed that the effort has begun, noting that “the way people are going to come to their decisions about the treaty [is] through [a] process of very serious discussion and debate, seeing the facts, and coming to understand them.”

Gottemoeller also said, “[W]e’re not going to set any deadlines for ratification…we’re not rushing into this. We’re playing this as a long game, and really want to have that serious discussion and debate, and to get all the facts in front of the responsible figures: the Senators, the members and their staffs who are going to have to absorb and understand what all the issues are.”

In his Sept. 21 address before the UN General Assembly, Obama pledged that “America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons.”

At the Sept. 23 CTBT conference, Tauscher reiterated the Obama administration’s support for the treaty and said, “[W]e intend to see it enter into force, but we cannot do it alone. As we move forward with our process, we call on all governments to declare or reaffirm their commitment not to test.”

Although movement toward U.S. Senate reconsideration of the CTBT remains slow, U.S. financial and technical support has substantially increased under the Obama administration.

Already the largest contributor to the Vienna-based Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the United States announced two voluntary contributions in September. The first, valued at $8.9 million, will underwrite in-kind projects implemented by U.S. agencies in coordination with the CTBTO. These include enhancing radionuclide and noble gas detection technologies, refining seismic detection techniques, and supporting auxiliary seismic stations, according to a Sept. 6 CTBTO press release. The second contribution of $25.5 million will be used to reconstruct a damaged hydroacoustic station in the French Southern Territories, thereby completing the global hydroacoustic network to detect prohibited nuclear explosions, according to the CTBTO.

Since the establishment of the CTBTO in 1997, the global monitoring and data analysis system for verifying the treaty has been built up and is nearly complete, with about 85 percent of the planned 337 monitoring stations now operational. The CTBTO’s International Data Center also contributes to information for tsunami early warning, and earlier this year, the CTBTO provided global surveillance of the radioactive emissions from the Fukushima nuclear reactor complex after the March 11 accident there.

Article XIV Conference on Facilitating CTBT Entry Into Force

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Description: 

Statement of Nongovernmental Organization Representatives to the UN (AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY), on September 23, 2011.

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Time to Translate Words Into Action
Statement of Nongovernmental Organization Representatives
(AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY)
September 23, 2011

Distinguished delegates, on behalf of nongovernmental organizations the world over, it is an honor to address you at this important meeting with our views on the path forward on the CTBT.

Nongovernmental organizations have been and will continue to be a driving force in the long journey to end nuclear testing.

Recall that some twenty years ago, a popular movement in Soviet-controlled Kazakhstan forced the government in Moscow to halt nuclear weapons testing at proving grounds in their homeland where more than 456 explosions had contaminated the land and damaged the health of its people.

As a result of their efforts and those of other nongovernmental and elected leaders, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev declared a test moratorium on October 5, 1991, prompting U.S. legislators to introduce legislation mandating a 9-month U.S. test moratorium. With strong nongovernmental support, the legislation was approved and a year later was extended. The last U.S. nuclear test explosion was conducted on September 23, 1992.

Just four years later, the world’s nations concluded the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to prevent nuclear proliferation and help end the nuclear arms race.

Since the opening for signature of the CTBT fifteen years ago, the vast majority of the world’s nations have signed and ratified the Treaty. They recognize that nuclear testing is a dangerous and unnecessary vestige of the past and understand that the CTBT is a cornerstone of the international security architecture of the 21st century.

By banning all nuclear weapon test explosions, the CTBT can help accomplish the indisputable obligation under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons to cease the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament. The established nuclear-weapon states would be barred from proof-testing new, more sophisticated nuclear warhead designs. Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, newer testing nations cannot perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads.

The CTBT also serves to reinforce the nonproliferation system by serving as a confidence-building measure about a state’s nuclear intentions and, in this regard, it can help head off and de-escalate regional tensions.

And with the CTBT in force, global and national capabilities to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will be significantly greater.

Accelerating Entry Into Force

Although 182 states have signed the CTBT, the long journey to end testing is not over. The CTBT must still be ratified by the remaining nine “holdout” states before it can formally enter into force.

We are grateful for the strong statements delivered at this conference on the value of the treaty and the need for prompt entry into force. But actions speak louder than words. We call upon every state at this conference, collectively and individually, to act. This conference must help produce a serious diplomatic action plan for getting the remaining holdout states on board.

The United States and China

Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Washington and Beijing have already taken on most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of the Treaty.

In April 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to “immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification. To date, however, the Obama administration has not done enough to mobilize the scientific and technical expertise necessary to debunk spurious assertions against the Treaty and to mobilize support for its reconsideration by the U.S. Senate.

We call upon President Obama to translate his lofty CTBT words into concrete action by pursuing the steps necessary to win the support of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate for ratification of the treaty without conditions. Such efforts take time and may not show results in the next several months. But to continue to move forward, the Obama administration can and must begin to make the case for the Treaty now.

To indicate the seriousness of his intention to do so, we call on President Obama to promptly name a senior, high-level White House coordinator for the CTBT effort.

While U.S. action on the treaty is essential, other Annex II states must provide leadership rather than simply remain on the sidelines on the CTBT.

In particular, it is time for China’s leaders to finally act on the CTBT. We note the January 19, 2011 Joint Statement by President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama in which they declared that “… both sides support early entry into force of the CTBT.”  Such statements are welcome but insufficient.

Concrete action toward CTBT ratification by China would increase its credibility as a nonproliferation leader and improve the chances that other states will follow suit. We invite China’s representatives to explain in detail what President Hu is doing to take China off the list of CTBT holdout states and to provide a timeline for Chinese action on CTBT ratification.

We also encourage China to constructively engage with other key Annex II states on the importance for international security and stability of universal accession to the Treaty.

India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan could advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and substantially ease regional tensions by converting their unilateral test moratoria into legally binding commitments to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

It is past time for India’s current leaders to pursue the recommendations of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s eloquent and visionary 1988 action plan for disarmament, which calls for “a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons … to set the stage for negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty.”

The states to which Prime Minister Gandhi appealed have done what he called for by implementing nuclear testing moratoria and negotiating and signing the CTBT.

India has pledged in various domestic and international contexts to maintain its nuclear test moratorium, which makes it all the more logical for New Delhi’s leaders to reinforce global efforts to detect and deter nuclear testing by others through the CTBT. Indian movement on the CTBT would direct more pressure toward China and the United States to ratify the Treaty.

Pakistan should welcome a legally binding test ban with India and entry into force of the CTBT.

UN member states that are serious about their commitment to the CTBT and nuclear risk reduction should insist that India and Pakistan sign and ratify the CTBT before they are considered for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and that India should sign and ratify before its possible membership on the Security Council is considered.

The Middle East

With no shortage of conflict and hostility in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a Middle East Zone free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Likewise, Israel’s ratification of the CTBT would bring that nation closer to the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and lend encouragement to other states in the region to follow suit.

Iran was at one time an active participant in the CTBT negotiations and on September 24, 1996 it signed the treaty. Today, Iranian ratification would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads. Continued failure by Iran to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its sensitive nuclear activities, which remain under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

We strongly urge the states involved in the Non-Aligned Movement to play leadership role in pressing Iran, the incoming chair of the NAM, to ratify the CTBT.

North Korea

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear tests undermine Asian security. We call on the DPRK to declare a halt to further nuclear testing and urge the participants in the Six-Party talks to make North Korea’s approval of the CTBT one of the key steps in the action-for-action process for denuclearization and normalization.  We note that the Russian Federation, the Republic of South Korea, and Japan—which have signed and ratified the Treaty—can play an especially important role in this regard.

Addressing the Damage Caused by Nuclear Testing

We must all also rededicate ourselves to addressing the harm caused by the 2,051 nuclear test explosions conducted worldwide. The deadly effects linger at dozens of sites from Lop Nor, to the atolls of the Pacific, to Nevada, to Algeria, to Australia, to Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, across Russia, and beyond.

Exposure to ionizing radiation is harmful to humans. The leaders of the nuclear testing nations have exposed their people – within and outside their territories – to radiation without their informed consent.

While underground nuclear blasts pose a smaller radioactive hazard than atmospheric tests, there has been widespread venting from underground explosions. In addition, underground nuclear blasts leave a legacy of radioactive contamination, which can be transported by groundwater into the surrounding environment.

Our knowledge of the extent of the harm caused by five decades of nuclear test explosions underground, in the atmosphere, and underwater is still incomplete. The governments responsible for the damage have not adequately provided assistance to survivors nor the resources necessary to mitigate the environmental contamination. In fact, the major testing states have been reluctant to recognize the harm inflicted by testing and the rights of those people who have been most affected.

We encourage the states gathered here to support the proposal, advanced by Kazakhstan last year, to establish an international fund—to be managed by the United Nations—to support those seriously affected by nuclear testing.

To move this from concept to reality, we call on the UN Secretary-General to organize a conference under the auspices of the United Nations to help mobilize resources for the remediation of contamination at nuclear test sites, and health monitoring and rehabilitation of populations most seriously affected by nuclear testing.

States responsible for the testing at major test sites should report to the conference—and on an annual basis thereafter—on their current and future efforts and resource allocations to address the health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing and to rehabilitate populations that have been particularly impacted.

Independent nongovernmental experts, and especially members of affected communities should be invited to help develop a multi-year program of action.

Reinforcing the Test Ban

There are other actions that should be pursued that would reinforce the de facto test moratorium and accelerate CTBT entry into force. Specifically:

  1. Responsible states should provide in full and without delay their assessed financial contributions to the CTBTO, fully assist with the completion of the IMS networks, and continuously and without interruption transmit data from the monitoring stations to provide the most robust capability to detect and deter clandestine nuclear test explosions. Every state should recognize that the Provisional Technical Secretariat to the CTBTO Preparatory Commission is–for all practical purposes–no longer “provisional.” The CTBTO and the International Monitoring System and International Data Center are now an essential part of today’s 21st century international security architecture that enables all states to detect and deter nuclear test explosions;
  2. In order to further reinforce the de facto global taboo against nuclear testing and deter any state from considering nuclear test explosions in the future, we call upon the UN Security Council to discuss and outline the penalties that could be imposed in the event that any state breaks this taboo;
  3. We urge states armed with nuclear weapons to refrain from pursuing new types of nuclear weapons or modifying weapons in ways that create new military capabilities. Such activities may not violate the letter of the CTBT, but they are contrary to one key purpose, which is to halt the qualitative improvement of nuclear arsenals. We urge all of the states armed with nuclear weapons to adopt clear, “no-new-nuclear-weapons” policies;
  4. We urge nuclear armed states to halt activities at the former sites of nuclear test explosions that might raise concerns about compliance with the CTBT or could undermine the purpose of the treaty by facilitating qualitative improvements in nuclear weapons;
  5. Finally, with only nine holdout states on the Annex II list remaining, it is time for CTBT member states to begin consideration of options for provisional entry into force once all five permanent members of the UNSC have ratified. After the decades-long journey to achieve a permanent, verifiable global ban on all nuclear weapon test explosions, the international community cannot allow one or two states to thwart the will of the vast majority of the world’s nations to bring the CTBT into force.

For decades, nongovernmental organizations and ordinary people the world over have prompted action to achieve a permanent, verifiable prohibition on all nuclear test explosions.

We respectfully urge each of the states present here to consider these recommendations and we look forward to working with you on our common goal of prompt CTBT entry into force.

Thank you.

Endorsers:

Dr. Rebecca Johnson,
Author of Unfinished Business: The Negotiation of the CTBT the End of Nuclear Testing (United Nations: 2009), and Executive Director, Acronym
Institute for Disarmament and Diplomacy

Daryl G. Kimball,
Executive Director,
Arms Control Association (United States)*

Paul Ingram,
Executive Director,
British American Security Information Council

Katie Heald,
National Coordinator,
Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World (United States)

Trevor Findlay,
Director, Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance,
Carleton University (Canada)

Togzhan Kassenova,
Associate,
Nuclear Policy Program,
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (United States)**

John D. Isaacs,
Executive Director,
Council for a Livable World (United States)

Harry C. Blaney III,
Senior Fellow,
National Security Program,
Center for International Policy (United States)

Mary Dickson,
Downwinders United (United States)

Charles D. Ferguson,
President,
Federation of American Scientists

Katherine Prizeman,
International Coordinator,
Disarmament Program,
Global Action to Prevent War (United States)

Paul F. Walker,
Ph.D.,
Director,
Security and Sustainability Program,
Global Green USA (U.S. affiliate of Green Cross International)

Christopher Thomas,
Executive Director,
Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (United States)

Dr. Kathleen Sullivan,
Program Director,
Hibakusha Stories

John Loretz,
Program Director,
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War(Recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize)

Xanthe Hall,
Expert on Nuclear Disarmament,
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Germany

John Burroughs,
Executive Director,
Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy (United States)

Aaron Tovish,
International Director,
2020 Vision Campaign,
Mayors for Peace

Ambassador Richard Butler,
Chairman,
Middle Powers Initiative

Irma Arguello,
Chair and CEO,
Nonproliferation for Global Security Foundation (Argentina)

David Krieger,
President,
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Jay Coghlan,
Executive Director,
Nuclear Watch New Mexico (United States)

Susi Snyder,
Nuclear Disarmament Programme Leader,
IKV Pax Christi (The Netherlands)

Kevin Martin,
Executive Director,
Peace Action (United States)

Jon Rainwater,
Executive Director,
Peace Action West (United States)

Ichiro Yuasa,
President,
Peace Depot (Japan)

Peter Wilk, M.D.,
Executive Director,
Physicians for Social Responsibility (United States)

Frank von Hippel,
Professor of Public and International Affairs,
Princeton University (United States)

Marylia Kelley,
Executive Director,
Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) (United States)

Rev. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson,
Director,
Two Futures Project (United States)

Lisbeth Gronlund,
Co-Director and Senior Scientist,
Global Security Program,Union of Concerned Scientists (United States)

Moeed Yusuf,
South Asia Advisor,
United States Institute for Peace** (Pakistan)

Susan Shaer,
Executive Director,
Women’s Action for New Directions (United States)

Ambassador Kenneth Brill,
President of The Fund for Peace, and
former U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA**

Morton H. Halperin,
former Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State, and
Member of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States**

Ambassador Carlo Trezza,
former President of the Conference on Disarmament** (Italy)

*Statement Coordinator

**Institution listed for identification purposes only.

Accelerating the Entry Into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

By Daryl G. Kimball Today, fifteen years after the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was opened for signature, more than 100 senior government officials will gather at the United Nations in New York for the seventh conference on "Facilitating Entry Into Force of the CTBT." To date, the United States and 181 other nations have signed the Treaty; 155 nations have ratified. While the CTBT has near universal support, the Treaty must still be ratified by nine hold-out states, including the United States and China, before it can formally enter into force. CTBT states will gather at the UN for...

Nongovernmental Experts Urge States to Translate Words Into Action on Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

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(New York/Washington) -- At a meeting of more than 100 senior government officials at the United Nations to discuss pathways to bring the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force, a diverse set of nongovernmental nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament leaders, as well as former government officials and diplomats are calling on all states to translate their words of support for the Treaty into concrete action.

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For Immediate Release: Sept. 22, 2011

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Director, Arms Control Association, (202-463-8270 ext. 107); Togzhan Kassenova, Carnegie Endowment for Intl. Peace (202-939-2306);

(New York/Washington) -- At a meeting of more than 100 senior government officials at the United Nations to discuss pathways to bring the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force, a diverse set of nongovernmental nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament leaders, as well as former government officials and diplomats are calling on all states to translate their words of support for the Treaty into concrete action.

In the statement to be delivered at the conference on behalf of NGOs by Nuclear Policy Associate Togzhan Kassenova of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the nongovernmental experts said:

"Fifteen years since negotiations on the Test Ban Treaty were concluded, the long journey to end testing is not over. The CTBT must still be ratified by the remaining nine “holdout” states before it can formally enter into force.

We are grateful for the strong statements delivered at this conference on the value of the treaty and the need for prompt entry into force. But actions speak louder than words. We call upon every state at this conference, collectively and individually, to act. This conference must help produce a serious diplomatic action plan for getting the remaining holdout states on board."

The full text of the statement can be found here.

Nine more states including—China, the DPRK, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, and the United States—must ratify before the CTBT can formally enter into force. To date, 182 states have signed the Treaty (including China and the United States) and 155 have ratified.

In the statement, the NGOs note that: “Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Given their existing nuclear test moratoria and 1996 signature of the CTBT, Washington and Beijing already bear most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of CTBT entry into force.”

"Under the CTBT," the NGO statement notes, "the established nuclear-weapon states would be barred from proof-testing new, more sophisticated nuclear warhead designs. Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, newer testing nations cannot perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads.

With the CTBT in force, global and national capabilities to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will be significantly greater and short-notice, on-site inspections can be used to investigate suspicious events.

In his address before the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, U.S. President Barack Obama said "America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons ...." Earlier this year President Obama and President Hu Jintao of China issued a joint statement expressing support for early entry into force of the Treaty.

“We welcome President Barack Obama's and President Hu Jintao's stated support for CTBT entry into force, but now they must act," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the U.S.-based Arms Control Association, which coordinated the NGO statement. "To indicate the seriousness of his intentions and to sustain the effort, we call on President Obama to promptly name a senior, high-level White House CTBT coordinator," Kimball said.

"Such efforts take time and may not show results in the next several months," he noted. "But to build the support necessary for U.S. ratification, the Obama administration can and must begin to make the case for the Treaty now."

The NGO statement also argues that "... ratification [of the CTBT] by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a Middle East Zone free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction."

"Iran was at one time an active participant in the CTBT negotiations and on September 24, 1996 it signed the treaty," the NGO statement notes.

"Today, Iranian ratification would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads. Continued failure by Iran to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its sensitive nuclear activities, which remain under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency. We strongly urge the states involved in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to play leadership role in pressing Iran, the incoming chair of the NAM, to ratify the CTBT," say the experts in their statement to the conference.


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