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Title: August 5, 1963-President Kennedy's Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed in Moscow, Russia

On August 5, 1963, after more than eight years of negotiations, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The destruction of Hiroshima andmore » Nagasaki by atomic bombs marked the end of World War II and the beginning of the nuclear age. As tensions between East and West settled into a Cold War, scientists in the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union conducted tests and developed more powerful nuclear weapons. In 1959, radioactive deposits were found in wheat and milk in the northern United States. As scientists and the public gradually became aware of the dangers of radioactive fallout, they began to raise their voices against nuclear testing. Leaders and diplomats of several countries sought to address the issue. In May 1955, the United Nations Disarmament Commission brought together the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and the Soviet Union to begin negotiations on ending nuclear weapons testing. Conflict soon arose over inspections to verify underground testing. The Soviet Union feared that on-site inspections could lead to spying that might expose the Soviets' vastly exaggerated claims of the number of deliverable nuclear weapons. As negotiators struggled over differences, the Soviet Union and the United States suspended nuclear tests—a moratorium that lasted from November 1958 to September 1961. John F. Kennedy had supported ban on nuclear weapons testing since 1956. He believed a ban would prevent other countries from obtaining nuclear weapons, and took a strong stand on the issue in the 1960 presidential campaign. Once elected, President Kennedy pledged not to resume testing in the air and promised to pursue all diplomatic efforts for a test ban treaty before resuming underground testing. He envisioned the test ban as a first step to nuclear disarmament. President Kennedy met with Soviet Premier Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961, just five weeks after the humiliating defeat of the US-sponsored invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Khrushchev took a hard line at the summit. He announced his intention to cut off Western access to Berlin and threatened war if the United States or its allies tried to stop him. Many US diplomats felt that Kennedy had not stood up to the Soviet premier at the summit and left Khrushchev with the impression that he was a weak leader. President Kennedy's political and military advisers feared that the Soviet Union had continued secret underground testing and made gains in nuclear technology. They pressured Kennedy to resume testing. And, according to a Gallup poll in July 1961, the public approved of testing by a margin of two-to-one. In August 1961, the Soviet Union announced its intention to resume atmospheric testing, and over the next three months it conducted 31 nuclear tests. It exploded the largest nuclear bomb in history—58 megatons—4,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In his commencement address at American University on June 10, 1963, Kennedy announced a new round of high-level arms negotiations with the Russians. He boldly called for an end to the Cold War. "If we cannot end our differences," he said, "at least we can help make the world a safe place for diversity." The Soviet government broadcast a translation of the entire speech, and allowed it to be reprinted in the controlled Soviet press. The Limited Nuclear Test Ban treaty was signed in Moscow on August 5, 1963, by US Secretary Dean Rusk, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, and British Foreign Secretary Lord Home—one day short of the 18th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Over the next two months, President Kennedy convinced a fearful public and a divided Senate to support the treaty. The Senate approved the treaty on September 23, 1963, by an 80-19 margin. Kennedy signed the ratified treaty on October 7, 1963. The treaty: prohibited nuclear weapons tests or other nuclear explosions under water, in the atmosphere, or in outer space allowed underground nuclear tests as long as no radioactive debris falls outside the boundaries of the nation conducting the test pledged signatories to work towards complete disarmament, an end to the armaments race, and an end to the contamination of the environment by radioactive substances. Thirty-three years later, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Signed by 71 nations, including those possessing nuclear weapons, the treaty prohibited all nuclear test explosions including those conducted underground. Though it was signed by President Bill Clinton, the Senate rejected the treaty by a vote of 51 to 48.« less
Title: August 5, 1963-President Kennedy's Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed in Moscow, Russia
Authors:
Publication Date: 2015-12-08
OSTI Identifier: 1364600
Resource Type: Multimedia
Research Org: USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Sponsoring Org: USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Subject: 98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION ; NNSA ; TREATY ; NUCLEAR WEAPONS ; NUCLEAR TESTING ; UNITED STATES ; SOVIET UNION ; NEGOTIATIONS ; RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT
Country of Publication: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 00:02:08
System Entry Date: 2018-05-23