Page 1: 1999-2002: The United States and the CTBT

1999: The Clinton Administration pushes for ratification

The South Asian nuclear tests led to intense efforts by the US Administration under President Bill Clinton to persuade India to join the CTBT now that it had successfully conducted nuclear weapon tests. In 1996, Pakistan announced it would sign the CTBT if India did, thus India’s signature would effectively bring both countries into the fold.

In the fall of 1997, President Clinton presented a ratification package to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Jesse Helms (Republican-North Carolina), Chairman of the Committee, opposed the Treaty and demanded that President Clinton send forth the Kyoto Protocol and amendments to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty to the Committee before agreeing to hold hearings on the CTBT. Aware that the Kyoto Protocol and the ABM Treaty amendments would likely face defeat if sent to the Committee, President Clinton delayed presenting the CTBT to the Committee until 1999.

The 1998 South Asian nuclear tests led to intense efforts by the US Administration under President Bill Clinton to persuade India to join the CTBT. Pakistan announced it would sign the CTBT if India did.

Senate Democrats wanted to ensure that the deliberations on the Treaty allowed for proper consideration and adequate debate, and proposed scheduling a vote in March 2000. However, Senators Trent Lott (Republican-Tennessee) and Helms instead pressed for an earlier vote that would in effect constrain debate on the issue, predicting that a truncated period of deliberations would favour opponents of the Treaty.