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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 183-97
April 18, 1997

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE HAROLD BROWN, ELLIOT RICHARDSON AND WILLIAM PERRY, FORMER SECRETARIES OF DEFENSE ON THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION

As former Secretaries of Defense, we would like to join former military leaders including past chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Generals Colin Powell, John Vessey, David Jones, and Admiral William Crowe, and former chiefs of staff from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, plus other combat veterans like General Norman Schwarzkopf in offering our strong support for the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

We firmly believe that U.S. ratification of the CWC will contribute significantly to the security interests of the United States and the safety of our armed forces. In conjunction with the Department of Defense's other efforts against chemical weapons proliferation, a robust chemical protection program and maintenance of a range of non-chemical response capabilities, the CWC will serve the best interests of the United States and the world community. In light of the decision under President Reagan to get rid of the vast majority of U.S. chemical weapons stockpiles, it is in our interests to require other nations to do the same. The access provided for by the treaty will enhance our ability to monitor world-wide CW activities,

We believe the CWC, which was negotiated under Presidents Reagan and Bush and completed by President Bush, to be a carefully considered treaty that serves our national interests well. Failure to ratify the CWC would send a clear signal of U.S. retreat from international leadership to both our friends and to our potential adversaries and would damage our ability to inhibit the proliferation of chemical weapons.

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