Statement by Senator Jesse Helms Prepared for the Senate Foreign Committee Hearing on the CTBT

October 7, 1999

MR. HELMS. -The committee will come to order. This is the final hearing by the Foreign Relations Committee on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We extend our sincere welcome to our first panel: The Honorable Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense for President Reagan; the. Honorable Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.; and the Honorable Stephen Ledogar, former chief negotiator of the CTBT. We welcome you all.

Following the testimony by these distinguished witnesses this morning, the Committee will convene a second session this afternoon in which we will hear from the distinguished Chairman of the Armed Services Committee (Senator Warner), and the ranking Democrat (Senator Levin), as well as from the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee (Senator Shelby), and the Vice Chairman of that committee (Senator Bob Kerrey). Then, we will hear from the distinguished Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and finally from a third panel of arms control experts: former ACDA Director Ronald Lehman; the Chairman of the Nevada Alliance for Defense, Energy and Business, Troy Wade; and from Dr. Richard Garwin of the Council on Foreign Relations.

I suggest that by the end of the day, it will be difficult for anyone credibly contend that CTBT has not been thoroughly discussed and debated.

Now then, I have a feeling that most people know where I stand on this treaty, so I will not engage in extended oratory this morning, except to say this: I sense a clear consensus is emerging in the foreign policy community against Senate ratification of the CTBT.

Four former Directors of Central Intelligence have weighed in against the CTBT, including two of President Clinton's CIA directors -- Jim Woolsey and John Deutch. Two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs -- Admiral Tom Moorer and General John Vessey -- are likewise strongly opposed. And yesterday the Senate received a letter signed by six distinguished former Secretaries of Defense -Caspar Weinberger (who is with us today), Frank Carlucci, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jim Schlesinger and Mel Laird. Such unanimity among the former Secretaries of Defense in opposition to an arms control treaty is almost without precedent.

Perhaps we shall be reminded that it was not the Republicans who asked for this vote -- it was forced upon us by the President and the 45 Senators on the other side of the aisle. But the fact remains, if this treaty is brought to a vote next Tuesday, I believe that it will be defeated. There is only one way the President can call off that vote: He must formally request in writing that (a) the treaty be withdrawn and (b) that the CTBT not be considered for the duration of his presidency.

If the President does so, then the CTBT will be effectively dead - just as the SALT II Treaty was effectively dead after President Carter made a similar written request of the Senate. If Mr. Clinton does not submit a written request, we will proceed with the vote and I am confident that the CTBT will be defeated. The President will have the choice.

Perhaps your testimony today, Secretary Weinberger and Ambassador Kirkpatrick, will serve convince the President that the time has come make such a request and commitment. If not, then I know your testimony will certainly be informative to many Senators as we proceed with Tuesday's vote.