Letter from Senator Biden to Colleagues on the
"Grave Consequences that Senate Rejection of the CTBT Would Have
for U.S. National Security Interests"

October 4, 1999

United States Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations
Washington, DC 20510-6225

October 4, 1999

Dear Colleague:

Next week the Senate will vote on U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). This treaty will improve our national security by limiting the ability of other countries to develop and field advanced nuclear weapons arid by maintaining U.S. leadership on nuclear non-proliferation. In my view, the case for U.S. ratification of this treaty is overwhelming.

The reason I write this letter, however, is to ask you to consider the grave consequences that Senate rejection of the CTBT would have for U.S. national security interests. The most immediate consequence would be a tragic failure to secure the adherence of India and Pakistan to the Treaty. This would very likely lead to a new round of nuclear testing by India and Pakistan and a resulting nuclear arms race between the two countries. Further testing by India and Pakistan, and an apparent U.S. abdication of world leadership on non-proliferation, would set the stage for countries such as Iran and North Korea eventually to follow suit.

I urge you to read the enclosed letters from two of our country's most distinguished diplomats. Frank Wisner was U.S. Ambassador to India from 1994 to 1997; Robert Oakley was U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan during the Reagan and Bush administrations. Both arc convinced that Senate rejection of the CTBT would lead to new nuclear tests by India arid Pakistan, and perhaps by other countries as well.

I am sure you share my concern about the effect on our national security of a further proliferation of nuclear weapons. In light of that concern, and the clear view of Ambassadors Wisner and Oakley that our action on the Test-Ban Treaty will have serious implications for nuclear proliferation, I urge you to support U.S. ratification.

If you or your staff would like further information on the Treaty or on this particular concern, please contact mc, or have your staff contact Mr. Edward Levine of the Foreign Relations Committee staff(4-9033). We would be pleased to assist in providing information or arranging briefings for you or your staff.

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Ranking Minority Member