White House Statement on
the Soviet-United States Nuclear Testing Talks
December 15, 1988
United States and the Soviet Union today concluded the third
round of Nuclear Testing Talks (NTT) in Geneva. This round, which
began on August 29, has been a successful one, highlighted by the completion of
the Joint Verification Experiment (JVE) and by significant progress toward the
completion of effective verification protocols for the Peaceful Nuclear
Explosions Treaty (PNET) and the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT).
talks are part of step-by-step negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union on the subject of
nuclear testing. The first priority of the talks is agreement on effective
verification measures for two existing treaties, the PNET and TTBT. Neither
treaty has been ratified because they were not verifiable in their original
form. During this round, the delegations have substantially finished work on
the verification protocol for the PNET. They have also made progress on the
verification protocol for the TTBT.
noteworthy event during this round was the Joint Verification Experiment (JVE).
Under the terms of a U.S.-Soviet agreement negotiated in the previous round of
the NTT and signed at the Moscow summit, underground
nuclear explosions were conducted at the U.S. test site in Nevada in August and at the
Soviet test site at Semipalatinsk in September, with
observers from both sides present. The purpose of the JVE was to allow each
side to demonstrate its preferred verification method for the TTBT and PNET.
The results of the test were discussed during this round. We believe the
experiments demonstrated the effectiveness and nonintrusive
nature of CORRTEX, our preferred method of on-site measurement.
the verification provisions for the PNET and TTBT are finalized, the treaties
will be submitted to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification.
Following ratification, the United States will immediately
propose that we and the Soviet Union enter into negotiations
on ways to implement a step-by-step parallel program -- in association with a
program to reduce and ultimately eliminate all nuclear arms -- of limiting and
ultimately ending nuclear testing.
the past four decades, a strong nuclear deterrent has ensured the security of
the United States and our allies. As long
as we must rely on nuclear weapons, we must continue to test to ensure their
safety, security, reliability, effectiveness, and survivability. In this
context, the United States seeks effective and
verifiable agreements with the Soviet Union on nuclear-testing
limitations that would strengthen security for all nations. The substantial
progress which has been made in this round of the Nuclear Testing Talks is a
positive step which reflects the success of the administration's practical and
measured approach to nuclear testing.