[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 
    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 
    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

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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.