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Vice President, Institute for Contemporary Studies

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Vice President, Institute for Contemporary Studies
Good morning. Let me start off by thanking everybody for coming and Jane Wales especially for putting together this conference. It is wonderful to see that the Executive Office of the President, the White House, has assembled a group like this on a topic like this. It is critical that we look at international affairs and national security affairs and how science and technology can really contribute.

When you look at weapons of mass destruction and what science and technology and diplomacy and intelligence have done over the years, it is by and large made the spread of weapons of mass destruction far less than what we had expected. When I was Deputy to Jeane Kirpatrick at the United Nations, I used to tell of this favorite comic strip that I had from Peanuts, that had Charlie Brown missing 15 free throws or striking out 18 times in a row, and Lucy coming up to him and saying, "Oh, Charlie, do not feel so bad. You win some and you lose some." He looked at her and said, "Gee, that would be nice!"

At the United Nations we never seemed to get into the situation where we won some and we lost some. I am thinking some day that would be nice. Looking at nuclear proliferation, I think it is fair to say that the Nonproliferation Treaty and the whole regime of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons has been one where we not only won some and lost some, but we have won a lot more than we ever lost.

When you look at the strategic literature of the 1950s and even early 1960s, you see the books filled with predictions that the world was going to become one of many, many states with nuclear weapons all around the world. In fact, President John F. Kennedy in 1963 predicted that by 1975 there would be 15 to 20 nuclear weapons states in the world. That was 20 years ago. There are not 15 to 20 nuclear weapon states. When he made the prediction, there were four. Now there are six or seven. There was one the next year after he made that, in 1964, with China.

Since that time there have been very few additions. This has been an area where because of a lot of singles and very few home runs over the years, the world has done far better than predicted. Whether that will remain the case in the foreseeable or distant future is the subject of our panel this morning.

To start us off, we have Secretary Charles Curtis. Charles Curtis is Under Secretary of Energy. He comes with a very nice portfolio that is perfect for our panel discussion. He is in charge of science and technology, national security, environmental clean-up, and a whole host of other responsibilities for the Department of Energy. He was an attorney in private practice before coming to the Clinton Administration. In the Carter Administration he was chairman both of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Federal Power Commission. Before that time he had positions with the Office Comptroller of the Currency, the Treasury Department, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Secretary Curtis, if you could start us off, we would appreciate it.

Charles B. Curtis
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