[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book II)]
[August 11, 1995]
[Pages 1251-1252]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks Announcing Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Test Ban Negotiations
August 11, 1995

    Good afternoon. Today I am announcing my decision to negotiate a 
true zero yield comprehensive test ban. This is an historic milestone in 
our efforts to reduce the nuclear threat to

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build a safer world. The United States will now insist on a test ban 
that prohibits any nuclear weapons test explosion or any other nuclear 
explosion. I am convinced this decision will speed the negotiations so 
that we can achieve our goal of signing a comprehensive test ban next 
    As a central part of this decision, I am establishing concrete, 
specific safeguards that define the conditions under which the United 
States will enter into a comprehensive test ban. These safeguards will 
strengthen our commitments in the areas of intelligence monitoring and 
verification, stockpile stewardship, maintenance of our nuclear 
laboratories, and test readiness.
    They also specify the circumstances under which I would be prepared, 
in consultation with Congress, to exercise our supreme national interest 
rights under a comprehensive test ban to conduct necessary testing if 
the safety or reliability of our nuclear deterrent could no longer be 
    As a part of this arrangement, I am today directing the 
establishment of a new annual reporting and certification requirement 
that will ensure that our nuclear weapons remain safe and reliable under 
a comprehensive test ban.
    I appreciate the time, the energy, and the wisdom that the 
Secretaries of State, Defense, and Energy; the Chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff; the Directors of Central Intelligence and the Arms 
Control and Disarmament Agency have all devoted to the review of this 
crucial national security issue over the last several months.
    American leaders since Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy have 
believed a comprehensive test ban would be a major stride toward 
stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Now, as then, such a 
treaty would greatly strengthen the security of the United States and 
nations throughout the world. But now, unlike then, such a treaty is 
within our reach.
    It would build upon the successes we have achieved so far: Securing 
a permanent extension of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty; freezing 
North Korea's nuclear program; cutting existing nuclear arsenals by 
putting the START I Treaty into force; persuading Ukraine, Belarus, and 
Kazakhstan to give up their nuclear weapons and to reach agreements with 
Russia that now mean that both our nations no longer target our missiles 
at each other.
    A comprehensive test ban is the right step as we continue pulling 
back from the nuclear precipice, a precipice which we began to live with 
50 years ago this week. It moves us one step closer to the day when no 
nuclear weapons are detonated anywhere on the face of the Earth.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:05 p.m., in the Briefing Room at the 
White House.