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Public Papers - 1989

White House Statement on the Soviet-United States Nuclear Testing Negotiations


Today marks the beginning of round IV of the nuclear testing talks (NTT) in Geneva between the United States and the Soviet Union. Ambassador C. Paul Robinson heads the U.S. delegation to the talks.

The U.S. approach to these negotiations complements our efforts to reach agreements that will strengthen our security and enhance stability. A priority for these step-by-step talks is to complete protocols to provide for effective verification of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 1974 (TTBT) and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty of 1976 (PNET), neither of which has been ratified because they were not verifiable in their original form.

Much has been accomplished in the negotiations, and we will build on the progress that has been made. We have substantially completed the protocol to the PNET, and we will be working to complete the TTBT protocol, which governs nuclear weapons testing. Since the TTBT and PNET are complementary treaties, they and their protocols will be submitted to the Senate as a package for advice and consent to ratification.

Our approach to these negotiations is based on a realistic approach to our security: For the past four decades, a strong nuclear deterrent has been the foundation of our security and freedom. As long as we must rely on nuclear weapons, we must continue to test to ensure their safety, security, reliability, effectiveness, and survivability. We resume these negotiations determined to complete the task of concluding the verification provisions, which are essential to sound and stabilizing agreements.

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