April 24, 1997

President Pushes for Senate Ratification of Chemical Weapons Convention

Today, the Senate faces a crucial vote: whether to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, which enters into force April 29 even if we do not ratify.

It will require other countries to do what we are already doing -- eliminate chemical weapons. This treaty is not about getting rid of American weapons -- it's about getting rid of weapons that could one day be used against Americans.

Ratifying the Convention will protect our troops in the field, make it harder for terrorists to obtain chemical weapons, and help punish rogue states that use them.

First negotiated under President Reagan, completed under President Bush and submitted to the Senate by President Clinton, it enjoys the support of every chairman of the joint chiefs for the past twenty years, our current military leadership, the overwhelming majority of our veterans, the chemical industry and arms control experts.

Yesterday at the White House, a cross section of American leadership called for ratification: the President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Shalikashvili, former Chairman Colin Powell and Senator Bob Dole.

Senator Dole had raised concerns about the treaty six months ago. But since January, virtually all of those concerns have been addressed and Dole urged his former colleagues to vote for the treaty.


This Sunday, President Clinton and former President Bush convene the Presidents, Summit for America,s Future in Philadelphia, chaired by General Colin Powell. President Clinton attends from April 27-April 28. The Vice President, the First Lady, and Mrs. Gore will also attend.

At the Summit, the President will call on the nation to restore an ethic of citizenship and civic responsibility through service, especially by encouraging young people to give back to their communities.

In his weekly Radio Address this Saturday, the President will focus on service and AmeriCorps, the national service program that has allowed 50,000 young people to earn college assistance while serving their communities.

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