May 5, 1998

As Prepared for Delivery


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
May 5, 1998

                         As Prepared for Delivery

                        REMARKS BY SAMUEL R. BERGER
                                  TO THE
                        ANNUAL WASHINGTON FORUM OF

                           Georgetown University
                             Washington, D.C.

                                May 5, 1998

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, some arms control groups faded away once the intense nuclear
debate of the 80?s had passed.  But BENS has stayed in business -- pressing
our Government to make the smartest possible choices with defense resources
and remaining vigilant and aggressive on arms control matters.

President Clinton and his national security team share your goals -- a
stronger, well-managed defense and enduring efforts to reduce arsenals and
prevent 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 risks
are no less real.  Regional rivalries now drive dangerous arms races.
Terrorists seek weapons of mass destruction.  And although we have made
considerable progress with a democratic Russia in reducing nuclear
arsenals, we need to go further.

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

After years of confrontation, the Reagan-Bush Administrations made dramatic
progress in arms reduction agreements with the Soviet Union.  As you know,
START I limited each side to 6000 strategic nuclear warheads, and START II
would lower the ceiling to between 3000 and 3500.  Perhaps most
importantly, these agreements banish forever multiple-warhead land-based
missiles -- the most powerful, the most vulnerable, the most worrisome
weapons on both sides.

We have built on these accomplishments with a comprehensive agenda.

Since 1993, the President has aggressively pursued efforts to halt the
spread and testing of nuclear explosives.  In 1995, working with other
countries, we succeeded in achieving an extension of the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty -- indefinitely and without condition.  The next
year, the nations of the world -- including the five declared nuclear
weapons states -- signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  And last year,
the President submitted the Treaty to the Senate, with safeguard provisions
to protect our national interests.

On strategic nuclear weapons, the President made entry into force of START
I and II, and the denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, a
top priority.  START I went into force in December 1994, and with the
continuing engagement of the United States, the last nuclear weapons were
removed from the three former Soviet republics by May 1995.  We made plans
to structure our strategic forces to facilitate even deeper cuts while
maintaining an effective deterrent.

And we reoriented missile defense from expensive, technologically
improbable programs that would have undermined the 1972 ABM Treaty to
genuinely achievable efforts to protect against shorter-range missile
attacks -- along with sensible research and development on larger-scale

In March 1997 at Helsinki, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed on a
framework for deeper cuts under START III.  And in New York last September,
our two nations signed four very important agreements concerning START II
and 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, our
goal is to have in place a sound START III agreement that reduces strategic
nuclear arsenals by 80 percent from Cold War heights -- down to 2000 to
2500 warheads per side.  Reductions will continue to focus on ensuring a
survivable nuclear force capable of deterring a hostile opponent.

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

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

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

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

The directors of our three national nuclear weapons labs and numerous
outside experts have said we can maintain a reliable deterrent without
explosive testing.   The public strongly supports the Treaty, as it has for
40 years, since President Eisenhower first proposed it.

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

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

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

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

Our legislatures must also go forward on strategic arms control.  President
Yeltsin's government has placed new emphasis on START II ratification.
That is a hopeful sign.  We also see more support in the Duma, reflecting a
growing 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 accords
reached last year in New York.  These agreements seem highly technical, and
their signing received little attention.  But they are essential.

Some Russian lawmakers have worried that we are on a fast path to breaking
out of the ABM Treaty.  Some are also concerned about the expense for them
of destroying so many weapons so fast.  The New York agreement on START II
addresses these concerns by extending to the year 2007 the deadline for
destruction of weapons.

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

The second New York agreement serves our interest by clarifying post-Soviet
Union 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 existing
agreements on strategic and intermediate-range nuclear weapons in place.

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

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

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

Further progress on START -- meaning full implementation of START I and
START II and the conclusion of START III -- won?t happen unless we adhere
to the ABM Treaty.  There is no reason to believe that Russian political
and military leaders will agree to sharply reduce strategic nuclear
missiles in the absence of the ABM Treaty?s constraints on defenses against
those missiles.

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

We will continue to work with the Russians to find the appropriate balance
between survivability and protection against accidents.  We believe Russian
nuclear forces remain under firm command and control.  But to protect our
citizens we must work to see that these weapons are secure.

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

Two weeks ago, with the United Kingdom and the Republic of Georgia, we
helped secure a small amount of highly-enriched uranium in Georgia that
could 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 program
created by Senator Lugar and then-Senator Nunn -- one of the wisest
investments ever made in our national security.

We also need to slow the spread of chemical and biological weapons to
protect our populations and our troops.  At the President?s urging, last
year the Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.  BENS played a
crucial role in the ratification effort -- and we are very grateful.  In
this year?s State of the Union address, the President announced a new
initiative to bolster the Biological Weapons Convention by establishing a
strong system of inspections to deter and detect cheating.  We are actively
working with other nations and with U.S. industry to create a framework, by
the end of this year, for such a system.

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

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