[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1996, Book I)] [January 26, 1996] [Pages 104-105] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]
Statement on Senate Ratification of the START II Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty With Russia January 26, 1996 Today, Senate Democrats and Republicans, working together, have increased the security of the American people by ratifying the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. I applaud this historic step. As I stated in my State of the Union Address this week, it will make every American, every Russian, and people all over the world more secure. START II requires dramatic cuts in the nuclear arsenals of our two countries. Together with the START I treaty, which we put into force in December 1994, it will eliminate submarine, bomber, and land-based missile launchers that carried more than 14,000 warheads--two-thirds of the nuclear arsenal the United States and the former Soviet Union maintained at the height of the cold war. START II will also eliminate the most destabilizing type of nuclear weapon--the multiple warhead ICBM. Starting with President Nixon, six American Presidents from both parties have worked to control and reduce the number of nuclear weapons. President Bush negotiated START II and submitted it to the Senate in January 1993. I am proud that we have seized the opportunity presented by the end of the cold war to take this big step back from the nuclear precipice. As President, my most basic duty is to protect the security of the American people. That's why I have made reducing the nuclear threat one of my highest priorities. As a result, for the first time since the dawn of the nuclear age, there are no Russian missiles pointed at our people. We convinced Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan to give up the nuclear weapons left on their land when the Soviet Union broke up. We persuaded North Korea to freeze its dangerous nuclear weapons program under international monitoring. We're working with countries around the world to safeguard and destroy nuclear weapons and materials--so that they don't fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. We led global efforts to win the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which bans the spread of nuclear weapons to states that do not have them. Now, as I urged in the State of the Union, we must do even more to give the American people real, lasting security. We can end the race to create new nuclear weapons by signing a truly comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty this year. We can outlaw forever poison gas if the Senate ratifies the Chemical Weapons Convention this year. We can take the fight to terrorists, who would acquire terrible weapons of mass destruction, if Congress finally passes legislation I proposed after Oklahoma City to give [[Page 105]] American law enforcement an even stronger arsenal. Working together, I believe we can and we will take all these important steps to increase the security of the American people.