Washington Forum of Business Executives

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 5, 1998
As Prepared for Delivery


Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

May 5, 1998

I am delighted to address Business Executives for National Security, whichhas contributed so much over 16 years to strengthen the security of theUnited States.

I will never forget your unofficial slogan -- coined by your founder,Stanley Weiss -- "Being dead is bad for business" -- although I've alwaysfelt there were exceptions to the rule. For example, Elvis Presley.

When you formed BENS in the early 1980's, nuclear weapons and arms controlwere hotly debated topics. Citizens were marching across the country for anuclear freeze, and arms control disputes made the headlines nearly everyday. Many high school students could tell you the difference between theMinuteman and Midgetman, the ALCM and the SLCM, the SS-18 and the D-5. APentagon official was telling reporters how to build a bomb shelter bydigging a hole and covering it with doors and dirt. Star Wars was not justa Hollywood fantasy but a Beltway fixation.

The New Yorker magazine -- when it used to run long pieces -- ran evenlonger ones about the devastation that nuclear war would bring. A TV moviewarned of the agonies of the day after. Crowds thronged to "A Walk in theWoods," a stage play about the Geneva arms negotiations.

In that period of intense public concern about nuclear war, BENS played acrucial role -- bringing the prestige and knowledge of business leaders tobear on the debate and helping move the superpowers away fromconfrontational arms racing to lasting, verifiable arms control.

Unfortunately, some arms control groups faded away once the intense nucleardebate of the 80's had passed. But BENS has stayed in business -- pressingour Government to make the smartest possible choices with defense resourcesand remaining vigilant and aggressive on arms control matters.

President Clinton and his national security team share your goals -- astronger, well-managed defense and enduring efforts to reduce arsenals andprevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

While the intensity of the 80's seems far away in this more hopeful period-- with the Cold War over and nuclear reductions well underway -- the risksare no less real. Regional rivalries now drive dangerous arms races.Terrorists seek weapons of mass destruction. And although we have madeconsiderable progress with a democratic Russia in reducing nucleararsenals, we need to go further.

I want to talk this morning about what this President has accomplished onarms control and -- more importantly -- our plans to do even more as weseek to build a more secure future.

After years of confrontation, the Reagan-Bush Administrations made dramaticprogress in arms reduction agreements with the Soviet Union. As you know,START I limited each side to 6000 strategic nuclear warheads, and START IIwould lower the ceiling to between 3000 and 3500. Perhaps mostimportantly, these agreements banish forever multiple-warhead land-basedmissiles -- the most powerful, the most vulnerable, the most worrisomeweapons on both sides.

We have built on these accomplishments with a comprehensive agenda.Since 1993, the President has aggressively pursued efforts to halt thespread and testing of nuclear explosives. In 1995, working with othercountries, we succeeded in achieving an extension of the NuclearNonproliferation Treaty -- indefinitely and without condition. The nextyear, the nations of the world -- including the five declared nuclearweapons states -- signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. And last year,the President submitted the Treaty to the Senate, with safeguard provisionsto protect our national interests.

On strategic nuclear weapons, the President made entry into force of STARTI and II, and the denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, atop priority. START I went into force in December 1994, and with thecontinuing engagement of the United States, the last nuclear weapons wereremoved from the three former Soviet republics by May 1995. We made plansto structure our strategic forces to facilitate even deeper cuts whilemaintaining an effective deterrent.

And we reoriented missile defense from expensive, technologicallyimprobable programs that would have undermined the 1972 ABM Treaty togenuinely achievable efforts to protect against shorter-range missileattacks -- along with sensible research and development on larger-scaledefenses.

In March 1997 at Helsinki, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed on aframework for deeper cuts under START III. And in New York last September,our two nations signed four very important agreements concerning START IIand the ABM Treaty -- about which I will have more to say in a moment.

Where do we go from here? By the end of the President's second term, ourgoal is to have in place a sound START III agreement that reduces strategicnuclear arsenals by 80 percent from Cold War heights -- down to 2000 to2500 warheads per side. Reductions will continue to focus on ensuring asurvivable nuclear force capable of deterring a hostile opponent.

Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin are paving the way to a safer future. Butmatters now lie very much in the hands of our two legislatures.

The future of arms control, as American administrations -- Republican andDemocratic -- have pursued it over 40 years, could be decided in the nextseveral months as the Russian Duma addresses START II and the United StatesSenate debates and votes on, conceivably, five key agreements: theComprehensive Test Ban and the four agreements reached last year on STARTand ABMs. In the words of the late coach of the Washington Redskins,George Allen, the future is now. What happens will have a profound effecton U.S.-Russian nuclear relations -- and on our efforts to stop the spreadof nuclear weapons around the world.

Let me discuss the Test Ban Treaty first. President Clinton has called itthe "longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of arms control."It bans all nuclear explosive tests. We should pause and contemplate thisdevelopment: 149 nations have signed an accord to never, or never again,test a nuclear device. We must not let this extraordinary opportunity slipaway.

Four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- Shalikashvili, Powell,Crowe, and Jones -- plus all six current members of the JCS -- agree thatthe Treaty is in our national interest.

The directors of our three national nuclear weapons labs and numerousoutside experts have said we can maintain a reliable deterrent withoutexplosive testing. The public strongly supports the Treaty, as it has for40 years, since President Eisenhower first proposed it.

The Treaty will constrain the development of more advanced and dangerousnuclear weapons by the nuclear powers -- and limit the possibilities forother states to acquire such weapons. It will also enhance our ability todetect suspicious activities by other nations.

With or without a CTB, we must monitor such activities. The Treaty givesus new tools to pursue this vital mission: a global network of sensors tosupplement our national intelligence capabilities and the right to requestshort-notice, on-site inspections in other countries.

If the Senate rejected or failed to act on the Test Ban Treaty, theagreement could not, by its terms, enter into force for any nation. Wewould open the door further to regional nuclear arms races and a much moredangerous world.

In sum, the Senate needs to do what the President asked in his State of theUnion address: provide its advice and consent to the Test Ban Treaty thisyear.

Our legislatures must also go forward on strategic arms control. PresidentYeltsin's government has placed new emphasis on START II ratification.That is a hopeful sign. We also see more support in the Duma, reflecting agrowing recognition that START is in Russia's interest as well as ours.

Once the Duma ratifies START II, we can present the Senate with the accordsreached last year in New York. These agreements seem highly technical, andtheir signing received little attention. But they are essential.

Some Russian lawmakers have worried that we are on a fast path to breakingout of the ABM Treaty. Some are also concerned about the expense for themof destroying so many weapons so fast. The New York agreement on START IIaddresses these concerns by extending to the year 2007 the deadline fordestruction of weapons.

How do we benefit from this extension? It greatly weakens the argumentsraised by opponents of START II in the Duma. So we are more likely to getSTART II, and at little strategic cost, because the new agreement stillrequires that the subject Russian weapons systems be disabled by the year

The second New York agreement serves our interest by clarifying post-SovietUnion responsibilities under the ABM Treaty.

By including Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine as parties to the ABM Treaty,this new agreement aids us in working with those nations to keep existingagreements on strategic and intermediate-range nuclear weapons in place.

The final two agreements at last provide clarity as to what theater missiledefense systems are permitted under the ABM Treaty -- so we can keepworking seriously to protect our troops and allies from rockets launched byregional powers without upsetting the U.S.-Russian strategic equation.

The agreements achieve this balance by defining the speed and range of thetarget missiles that theater defense systems are permitted to shoot down intests.

These accords will not hamper any of the theater missile defense programsactive at the Pentagon. They will, however, ban both sides from deployingtheater defense interceptors based in outer space. This provision wasessential, because there is no way to distinguish space-based interceptorsaimed at theater missiles from space-based interceptors aimed at long-rangemissiles, already banned by the ABM Treaty.

Further progress on START -- meaning full implementation of START I andSTART II and the conclusion of START III -- won't happen unless we adhereto the ABM Treaty. There is no reason to believe that Russian politicaland military leaders will agree to sharply reduce strategic nuclearmissiles in the absence of the ABM Treaty's constraints on defenses againstthose missiles.

So the agreements reached in New York are necessary. But just as importantas the composition of the arsenals is their safety.

We will continue to work with the Russians to find the appropriate balancebetween survivability and protection against accidents. We believe Russiannuclear forces remain under firm command and control. But to protect ourcitizens we must work to see that these weapons are secure.

As our commitment to the CTB demonstrates, U.S.-Russian nuclear arsenalsare far from our only concern. We also must guard against the spread ofmass destruction weapons to others.

Two weeks ago, with the United Kingdom and the Republic of Georgia, wehelped secure a small amount of highly-enriched uranium in Georgia thatcould have posed a proliferation risk if it fell into the wrong hands.This kind of success is the result of strong multinational cooperation --and bipartisan support from Congress for the nonproliferation programcreated by Senator Lugar and then-Senator Nunn -- one of the wisestinvestments ever made in our national security.

We also need to slow the spread of chemical and biological weapons toprotect our populations and our troops. At the President's urging, lastyear the Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. BENS played acrucial role in the ratification effort -- and we are very grateful. Inthis year's State of the Union address, the President announced a newinitiative to bolster the Biological Weapons Convention by establishing astrong system of inspections to deter and detect cheating. We are activelyworking with other nations and with U.S. industry to create a framework, bythe end of this year, for such a system.

All of these efforts are essential if our children are to grow up in asafer world. President Clinton has extended the challenge. He has said,"Let us work harder than ever to lift the nuclear backdrop that hasdarkened the world's stage for too long now. Let us make these solemntasks our common obligation, our common commitment." Now, with the supportof the American people, and with leadership of the Senate, we can fulfillour responsibilities and build a better future.

NSC Speeches

U.S Institute of Peace

International Non-Proliferation Conference

National Security Advisor at Stanford University

Brookings Africa Forum Luncheon - May 1993

Council on Foreign Relations

10th Anniversary of the Center for Democracy

Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Foreign Policy Agenda for the 2nd Term

Chicago Council of Foreign Relations

Meeting New Security Challenges

The Road Forward in Bosnia

Great Lakes Naval Training Center

Insitute for the Study of Diplomacy

U.S. - Russian Business Council

Bosnia After Dayton

Carnegie Endowment

National Defense University Commencement

Marshall Legacy Symposium

Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith

Remarks Before European Institute

1996 American Jewish Committee

The Wilson Center

Remarks by Samuel R. Berger at The Business Roundtable

U.S. Institute for Peace, September 30, 1999

The Middle East on the Eve of The Millennium, October 20, 1999

Address to the Council on Foreign Relations, October 21, 1999

Address to the Bilderberg Steering Committee, November 11, 1999

National Press Club, February 13, 1998

National Press Club, January 6, 2000

Business Executives for National Security, May 5, 1998

National Press Club, October 30, 1998

Washington Forum of Business Executives

National Press Club, December 23, 1998

Council on Foreign Relations, July 26, 1999

Africare Dinner, September 27, 1999

Remarks to Mayors' Summit on Africa

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