Public Papers

Statement on the 20th Anniversary of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons


Twenty years ago today, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) entered into force. One hundred and forty states have joined the treaty, making it the most widely accepted arms control instrument in history. The NPT represents the primary legal barrier to nuclear proliferation and thus constitutes a principal foundation of international security. Later this year, the parties to the NPT will convene the Fourth Review Conference of the treaty. In the context of this review, I reaffirm the determination of the United States to carry out its treaty commitments and to work to assure its continuance in the interest of world peace and security.

The NPT has been not only a significant arms control instrument, it has also facilitated international cooperation in a wide variety of peaceful uses of atomic energy under international safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency. These applications have included using nuclear technology to improve health conditions as well as to increase agricultural output, electric power generation, and industrial capabilities. The United States will continue to play a leading role in nuclear cooperation pursuant to the treaty. Our longstanding commitment to serious arms control negotiations has helped to bring forth a number of important arms control agreements, including the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty concluded in 1987. At this very moment we are making significant strides toward concluding far-reaching arms control agreements in the nuclear and conventional areas.

It is essential in these times of great change and great promise, and of major progress in arms control, that the community of nations works together even more diligently to prevent nuclear proliferation, which poses one of the greatest risks to the survival of mankind. I urge all states that are not party to the NPT to join and thereby demonstrate their support for the goal of preventing nuclear proliferation, and I call upon all states party to the treaty to join our efforts to secure the integrity of the NPT, which benefits all countries.