Public Papers

Statement on the United States Nuclear Weapons Initiative


In the wake of the momentous changes in what was then the Soviet Union, last September 27 in an address to the Nation from the Oval Office I directed that the United States undertake dramatic changes and reductions in our nuclear arsenal and challenged the Soviet leadership to go down the same road with us. In that speech, I directed that the United States bring home from overseas and destroy our entire worldwide inventory of ground-launched theater nuclear weapons. At the same time, I announced that the United States would withdraw all tactical nuclear weapons from its surface ships, attack submarines, and those nuclear weapons associated with our land-based naval aircraft. Many of these are to be dismantled and destroyed.

Today I can tell you that all of the planned withdrawals are complete. All ground-launched tactical nuclear weapons have been returned to U.S. territory, as have all naval tactical nuclear weapons. Those weapons designated to be destroyed are being retired and scheduled for destruction.

These historic measures would not have been possible without the full support of our allies around the world and without the farsighted and courageous leadership of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, Republic of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Byelarus Stanislav Shushkevich. They pledged to honor Soviet commitments to take comparable steps reducing tactical nuclear weapons. It is important that the implementation of these commitments be successfully concluded.

Now I look forward to the prompt ratification of START and to concluding a treaty on the even more far-reaching reductions President Yeltsin and I announced at the recent summit in Washington.