Letter of Submittal

Department of State,
Washington, September 20, 1997

The President:

I have the honor to submit to you the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (the Treaty, or CTBT), opened for signature at New York on September 24, 1996, and signed by the United States of America and 145 other countries to date.

The Treaty includes as integral parts, two Annexes and a Protocol (on verification) with two Annexes. Accompanying this Report for the information of the Senate, is an Article-by-Article analysis of the Treaty.

The President,

The White House.


The Treaty represents the culmination of nearly four decades of efforts, beginning during the Eisenhower Administration, to ban completely all nuclear weapon test explosions, and any other nuclear explosions, wherever they might be carried out. Since 1963, the carrying out of a nuclear weapon test explosion, or any other nuclear explosion, in the atmosphere, in outer space or underwater has been prohibited by the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water (the Partial or Limited Test-Ban Treaty, or LTBT), done at Moscow August 5, 1963. More than 120 states are party to the LTBT, but importantly two of the formally acknowledged nuclear weapon states, China and France, are not. During the 1977-1980 time frame, trilateral negotiations on a comprehensive test ban were carried out by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. These negotiations reached an impasse over a number of issues, including seismic monitoring. They continued following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in early December 1979 and were adjourned in November 1980.

In the decade that followed, efforts to explore the verification needs for a comprehensive test ban were undertaken by the Group of Scientific Experts, a group of the Conference on Disarmament (the CD), while strong calls were made for negotiations on a test ban by many non-nuclear weapon states. In making their case for negotiation of a test ban, these non-nuclear weapon states repeatedly referred to the preambular expressions of support for continued negotiations on a test ban contained in the LTBT and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), done at Washington, London, and Moscow July 1, 1968.

Since December 11, 1990, the United States and the Russian Federation (as successor to the Soviet Union) have been legally precluded from conducting nuclear explosions with yields greater than 150 kilotons in the one environment to which the 1963 LTBT was not applicable, beneath the surface of the earth, by the Treaty on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapon Tests (TTBT) and the Treaty on Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes (PNET), signed on July 3, 1974 and May 28, 1976 respectively. Following signature of these Treaties and pending their entry into force, the United States and the Soviet Union in 1976 each publicly stated its intention to observe the 150 kiloton limit, provided that the other did likewise. Following agreement on new verification Protocols, the two Treaties were ratified and entered into force on December 11, 1990.

The CTBT will prohibit all nuclear weapon test explosions and any other nuclear explosion, however small, and it does so in each and every environment, without exception.

The text of the Treaty was negotiated in Geneva, between January 1994 and August 1996, in the CD. Nearly all of the member states of the CD, initially numbering 38, but subsequently expanded to 61 in June 1996, participated actively in the negotiations. On behalf of the United States, representatives of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Department of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Intelligence Community, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Department of Energy all played important roles in the development of the Treaty through participation in the negotiations in Geneva and the development of policy in Washington. Throughout the negotiating process, the United States consulted and worked closely with its Western Allies in the CD, as well as with Israel and with the non-Western nuclear weapon state members of the CD, Russia and China.


When the United States made the decision in mid-1993 actively to pursue conclusion of a comprehensive test-ban treaty it did so in an environment, both international and domestic, significantly different from that in which negotiations of a test ban had taken place from 1977 to 1980. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the appreciation of the magnitude of the security threat posed by the possible proliferation of states having nuclear weapon capabilities fostered a new look at the impact a comprehensive test-ban could have on constraining such threats. Additional factors included the redress of the major imbalance in conventional forces in Europe brought about by the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (the CFE Treaty), -- done at Paris December 19, 1990, which greatly reduced the levels of tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack aircraft, and helicopters, -- and the major reduction in the strategic forces of the United States and the former Soviet Union resulting from the START negotiations. Finally, it was determined that the United States had no current military requirement for new-design nuclear warhead production. Accordingly, the constraints of a test ban could be accepted. In contrast to earlier comprehensive test ban negotiations, all the negotiating parties were willing to accept relatively intrusive verification measures, including extensive in-country sensors and on-site inspections.

In addition, legislation was signed into law by President Bush in 1992 that directed the United States to stop all testing by September 30, 1996, provided no other state tested after that date, and to engage in negotiations to achieve a comprehensive test-ban by that date. In the meantime, the legislation (sponsored by Senators Hatfield, Exon, and Mitchell) precluded the expenditure of funds for more than 15 nuclear weapon tests (including three for the United Kingdom) and permitted the expenditure of appropriated funds for such tests only if they were found by the Executive Branch to be necessary for the sole purpose of maintaining the reliability and safety of the existing nuclear weapon stockpile.

As regards the international climate that contributed to the U.S. decision actively to support negotiation and conclusion of a comprehensive test-ban, the then forthcoming 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the NPT focussed new light on the importance of a comprehensive test-ban to the member states of the NPT and to the continued viability of the nonproliferation regime. The United States was deeply committed to the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT, and it became clear that a comprehensive test-ban could make a major contribution to achievement of the NPT's permanent extension. The decision to support a concerted effort to conclude a comprehensive test-ban was thus based on the careful assessment that any possible risks were outweighed by the benefits to United States nonproliferation and other security objectives in constraining the spread and improvement of nuclear weapon capabilities. However, the U.S. decision to pursue actively a comprehensive test-ban was conditioned on having the capability to ensure a high level of confidence in the safety and reliability of the U.S. stockpile and to achieve an effective verification regime for the Treaty. At the same time, the United States sought to ensure protection of U.S. interests with respect to the scope, membership, and termination provisions of the Treaty.

The negotiations in the CD continued throughout 1994, 1995, and most of 1996. The CD was working to meet a target date for signature of the Treaty in the fall of 1996 set by a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution unanimously adopted in December 1995. The objective was for the CD to forward the agreed-upon text to a resumed 50th session of the UNGA, which could then request the Secretary-General to open the Treaty for signature. As the 1996 CD session drew close to an end it became clear that one state, India, would block consensus action by the CD to forward the text to the UNGA. The member states of the CD that supported the text thereupon began to consider other means by which the text that had resulted from the deliberations within the CD's Ad Hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test-Ban might be forwarded to the UN. Australia took the lead in its individual capacity, not as a member of the CD, and formally requested that the UNGA President convene a resumed session of the 50th General Assembly for the purpose of considering and acting upon the text of a comprehensive test-ban treaty. At its resumed session the General Assembly adopted the text of the Treaty by a vote of 158 to 3 with 5 abstentions. Thereafter the Secretary-General opened the Treaty for signature on September 24, 1996. At the same time, the Signatory States held a series of consultations regarding the Text on the Establishment of a Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization that had been developed at the CD. At a meeting of Signatory States of the CTBT on November 19, 1996, the Signatory States, at that time numbering 130, adopted by acclamation the Text, thereby establishing the Preparatory Commission for the Organization. This document provides the basis for the work of the Preparatory Commission, which is the entity responsible for preparing detailed procedures for implementing the Treaty and for laying the foundation for the operation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (the Organization) that is established by the Treaty and will come into being once the Treaty enters into force. The Text, which is relevant to but not part of the Treaty, is enclosed for the information of the Senate. On November 20, 1996, the Preparatory Commission convened its first meeting (which was reconvened and concluded in March 1997), and began the process of developing Rules of Procedure, Financial Regulations, and other necessary measures for the future operation of the Organization in implementing the Treaty.


The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty consists of a Preamble, 17 Articles, and two Annexes, as well as the Protocol to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (the Verification Protocol) having three Parts and two Annexes. The basic obligations of the States Parties are set forth in Article I. Specifically, each State Party undertakes: (a) not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion, or any other nuclear explosion; (b) to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control; and (c) to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any such nuclear explosion by anyone else. The prohibitions and undertakings thus apply to geographic areas (i.e., any place under the jurisdiction or control of a State Party), as well as to the activities of a State Party (e.g., the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion) wherever such activity might take place.


The Treaty establishes the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (the Organization, or CTBTO) located in Vienna, Austria, as the body that is charged with achieving the object and purpose of the Treaty and overseeing implementation of the provisions of the Treaty and the international verification system described in the Protocol to the CTBT. Each State Party to the Treaty is a member of the Organization, which itself has three organs: the Conference of the States Parties, the Executive Council, and the Technical Secretariat.

The Conference of the States Parties (the Conference) is the body responsible for overseeing implementation of the Treaty, the activities of the Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat, and the States Parties' compliance with the Treaty's provisions. It is charged with considering and reviewing scientific and technological developments that could affect the operation of the Treaty, and with taking the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the Treaty and to redress and remedy any situation that contravenes the provisions of the Treaty.

The Executive Council is composed of 51 member states, elected by the Conference of the States Parties. Annex 1 to the Treaty assigns each potential State Party to one of six geographical regions. Each region will present to the Conference designations of States Parties for seats on the Executive Council. Designations will be based, inter alia, on a State Party's nuclear capabilities relevant to the Treaty as well as the number of monitoring facilities and financial contributions to the Organization. The United States expects to serve continuously on the Executive Council. The Executive Council is the executive body of the Organization, responsible for the supervision of the Technical Secretariat. The Executive Council serves as the liaison with the National Authority of each State Party, and carries out the preparatory and follow-up work for sessions of the Conference. The Executive Council has important functions with respect to verification and compliance: it is directed to facilitate cooperation among the States Parties through the exchange of information; to facilitate consultations among States Parties; to receive, consider, and act on requests for on-site inspections; and to take action on the reports of such inspections. It may make recommendations to the Conference based on the results of on-site inspections, or, if a case is urgent, take a matter directly to the United Nations.

The Technical Secretariat is responsible, inter alia and most importantly, for supervising the operation of the International Monitoring System (the IMS), operating the International Data Center (the IDC), and the conduct of on-site inspections. It is headed by a Director-General, appointed by the Conference, who will serve a four-year term and not more than two terms. Data from the monitoring stations in the IMS is provided by States directly or through their own national data centers, to the IDC, where it is processed, analyzed and stored, and made available to all States Parties. The IDC products that will be made available to all States Parties at no cost include: standard screened event bulletins, executive summaries of data acquired, and integrated lists of all signals detected by the IMS.


In addition to the implementing organs established by the Treaty itself, the Treaty requires each State Party to establish a National Authority to serve as a focal point for liaison with the Organization and with other States Parties. States Parties are also expressly required to take the steps necessary to prohibit natural and legal persons on their territory and natural and legal persons in any other place under their jurisdiction or control, from undertaking any activity that the State Party itself is prohibited from undertaking. In addition, they are required to prohibit their nationals from undertaking such activities anywhere. These prohibitions complement the basic obligation of each State Party under Article I to "prohibit and prevent" nuclear explosions at any place under its jurisdiction or control.


The verification regime established by the Treaty has four separate but interdependent components: an international monitoring system, consultation and clarification procedures, on-site inspections, and confidence-building measures. The Protocol to the Treaty contains the specific objectives, authorities, functions, and requirements for the international monitoring system, on-site inspections, and confidence-building measures. The Treaty also provides for the States Parties to take measures necessary to ensure compliance and to redress a situation that contravenes the Treaty, including the possibility of the imposition of sanctions. In conjunction with States Parties' obligations to provide data and accept on-site inspections, provision is made for the protection of sensitive facilities and confidential information and data provided by States Parties. The Treaty also specifically recognizes States Parties' rights to use information obtained by national technical means in a manner consistent with generally recognized principles of international law, including the respect for the sovereignty of states, for purposes of verification generally, and in particular, as the basis for an on-site inspection request.

Each State Party is required to maintain and operate, in accordance with agreements or arrangements between it and the Organization, those facilities for seismological, radionuclide, hydroacoustical, and infrasound monitoring comprising the IMS, as well as laboratories and related communication facilities, listed in Annex 1 to the Protocol, located on its territory or for which it is otherwise responsible. The Organization is also authorized to enter into similar agreements or arrangements with states not party to the Treaty as necessary.

For the purpose of clarifying whether a nuclear explosion has been carried out in violation of the Treaty, each State Party has the right to request an on-site inspection. Within specific time frames an inspection request must be processed and referred to the Executive Council, which must take action within 96 hours from the time the request is first received. Approval of the request requires at least 30 affirmative votes of the 51 members of the Executive Council. If the request is approved, the inspection team must arrive at the point of entry no more than six days following the Executive Council's receipt of the request. Following the inspection, an inspection report is provided to all States Parties, and the Executive Council reviews the report and must address any concerns expressed by a State Party as to whether any non-compliance with the Treaty has occurred and whether the right to request an on-site inspection has been abused. If the Executive Council determines that further action may be necessary, it may make recommendations to the Conference on measures to redress the situation.

Recognizing that signals from non-nuclear explosions might create ambiguities, the Treaty calls upon each State Party, on a voluntary basis, to participate in a number of confidence-building measures, including the provision of information relating to any chemical explosions using over 300 metric tons of TNT-equivalent blasting material that it intends to carry out.


Annex 2 to the Treaty names the 44 states that are members of the Conference on Disarmament and that are also listed in Table 1 of the International Atomic Energy Agency's April 1996 edition of "Nuclear Power Reactors in the World" or listed in Table I of the IAEA's December 1995 edition of "Nuclear Research Reactors in the World." Pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article XIV of the Treaty, these 44 states are those whose ratification is required for the Treaty to enter into force. Once those states have ratified the Treaty will enter into force 180 days following the deposit of the last instrument of ratification by the 44, or two years after September 24, 1996 (the date on which the Treaty was opened for signature), whichever is later.

By virtue of this Article XIV provision, each of the 44 named states could effectively block the entry into force of the Treaty. The Treaty therefore provides that three years after the opening of the Treaty for signature, if it has not yet entered into force, a majority of the states that have deposited their instruments of ratification can request the Secretary-General of the United Nations (the designated Depositary for the Treaty) to convene a conference to consider what measures, consistent with international law, might be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the Treaty's entry into force. This conference would not, however, have the authority to waive the requirement for ratification by the 44 designated states.

The Treaty is of unlimited duration. The Treaty contains a "supreme interests" clause, in accordance with which a State Party may withdraw from the Treaty upon six month's notice to all the other States Parties, the Executive Council, the Depositary, and the United Nations Security Council, if it determines that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of the Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. A State Party exercising this right is required to provide, along with its notice of withdrawal, a statement of the extraordinary event or events that it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.


Reservations may not be taken to the Articles of the Treaty or the Annexes to the Treaty. Reservations may be taken to the Protocol and the Annexes thereto so long as they are not incompatible with the object and purpose of the Treaty.

The procedures for amendment of the Treaty, the Protocol or the Annexes to the Protocol provide that any State Party may propose an amendment, which, if considered and adopted at an Amendment Conference by a majority of States Parties and without a negative vote by any State Party, shall enter into force for all States Parties 30 days after deposit of an instrument of ratification or acceptance by all those States Parties that voted for the amendment at the Amendment Conference.

In addition, the Treaty provides that, for the purpose of ensuring the viability and effectiveness of the Treaty, the Parties may make changes of an administrative or technical nature to Part I (dealing with the International Monitoring System and the International Data Center) and Part III (Confidence-Building Measures) of the Protocol, as well as the Annexes to the Protocol, in accordance with a separate procedure and without going through the formal amendment process.


The expenses of the Organization are to be borne by the States Parties in accordance with the United Nations scale of assessments, adjusted to take into account differences in membership between the United Nations and the Organization. It is anticipated that the United States share will be approximately 25 percent. The Treaty provides that each State Party establishing or upgrading International Monitoring Facilities (IMS) may reduce its annual assessed contribution by up to 50 percent pursuant to agreement with the Organization and, if applicable, the state(s) on whose territory the facility is based. The expenses of the Preparatory Commission are to be divided in the same manner as the expenses of the Organization, and provision is made for giving credit to States Parties for their contribution to the Preparatory Commission as offsets against their assessed contributions for the regular budget of the Organization.


As noted above, the Treaty requires that each State Party establish a National Authority that will function as its liaison with the Organization and other States Parties. Each State Party is required to inform the Organization of its National Authority upon entry into force of the Treaty for it.

In order for the United States to ensure full compliance with its obligations under the Treaty, implementing legislation will be required. Such legislation will be submitted separately to the Congress. In addition, any environmental documentation that may be deemed appropriate will be forwarded separately to the Senate for its information.


I believe that this Treaty, by banning all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions, as described above, and by establishing a comprehensive verification system to monitor compliance and assist States Parties in making compliance decisions, will significantly strengthen the national security of the United States and its Allies and will contribute to global and regional security as well. I therefore recommend that the Treaty be transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification at the earliest possible time.

Respectfully submitted,


Enclosures: As stated.