Study Guide

Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) or Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) Quotes

By the governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

  • National Identity

    The Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the "Original Parties" [...]. (1)

    Presenting: three big homelands that are in big trouble because they couldn't agree to disagree. Now, they're bundled together under one really unimaginative name to try to make things right.

    Each of the Parties to this Treaty undertakes to prohibit, to prevent, and not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion, or any other nuclear explosion, at any place under its jurisdiction or control [...] in any other environment if such explosion causes radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the State under whose jurisdiction or control such explosion is conducted. (6-8)

    Think of this as being the nuclear equivalent of the neighborly agreement not to spray weed killer on a windy day. No one wants their flowers (or small pets) killed because of someone else's carelessness.

    Each of the Parties to this Treaty undertakes furthermore to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in, the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion, or any other nuclear explosion, anywhere which would take place in any of the environments described, or have the effect referred to, in paragraph 1 of this Article. (10)

    It's pretty rude to go to another person's house to misbehave, just like it's pretty rude (on a global scale) to cozy up to another country in order to pursue nuclear tests that violate international law.

    This Treaty shall be open to all States for signature. (18)

    Mi casa es su casa, and the PTBT is for everybody.

    Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. (28)

    So, just in case things go belly up, the participating nations are still recognized as individual homelands (if not universally recognized as nations), and they have the option to opt out of the treaty for their own safety and security.

  • Warfare

    Each of the Parties to this Treaty undertakes to prohibit, to prevent, and not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion, or any other nuclear explosion, at any place under its jurisdiction or control: in the atmosphere; beyond its limits, including outer space; or under water, including territorial waters or high seas [...]. (6-7)

    In terms of warfare, perhaps the most important point here—aside from the prohibition on nuclear weapons testing in the air, space, etc.—is the mention of territorial waters and high seas. These aquatic areas are not easy to define, which means boundaries are easily crossed, and countries tend not to take kindly to having their borders violated. More often than not, it's considered a declaration of war. So lower the pirate flag, original parties, because the watery depths are super off-limits.

    It is understood in this connection that the provisions of this subparagraph are without prejudice to the conclusion of a Treaty resulting in the permanent banning of all nuclear test explosions, including all such explosions underground, the conclusion of which, as the Parties have stated in the Preamble to this Treaty, they seek to achieve. (9)

    One of the most admirable intentions of the PTBT is the prevention of future nuclear conflict. Here, it's trying to make room for any diplomatic improvements regarding the issue that might someday appear. Thanks for your willingness to step aside for the greater good, PTBT. It's very chivalrous of you.

    This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration. (27)

    Forever and ever.

    Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. (28)

    If a bomb goes off again, the deal is off the table. The PTBT relies on a delicate balancing act of compliance from all signing parties, though the responsibility weighs most heavily on the nuclear powers. Should any participant shirk its responsibilities regarding the nuclear agreement, the situation becomes one of every man for himself. It's certainly a frightening and unpredictable prospect.

    This Treaty, of which the English and Russian texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the Depositary Governments. (31)

    Okay, let's work through this one. Sure, it doesn't say anything about warfare...not directly, anyway. However, the very fact that the treaty is written in both English and Russian and both languages are considered "equally authentic" speaks volumes about the political situation. To have both languages possess equal importance isn't just a gesture of courtesy. It reveals the intensity of the Western and Soviet competition for worldwide influence.

    Neither concedes to the other, and thus the conflict continues even during a moment of accord.

  • Rules and Order

    This Treaty shall be open to all States for signature. (18)

    Rule No. 1 of the Partial Test Ban Treaty Club: everyone talks about the PTBT (and anyone can join).

    Rule No. 2 of the Partial Test Ban Treaty Club: everyone talks about the PTBT (and anyone can join).

    This Treaty shall be subject to ratification by signatory States. (20)

    No kidding around, the PTBT has to get the final approval from the governments that sign on to it. Otherwise, it's just a symbolic promise and not a binding one.

    This Treaty shall be registered by the Depositary Governments pursuant to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations. (25)

    Oof, so officious—but necessary. For the PTBT to get the endorsement of the United Nations is a big deal because it legitimizes the treaty on the international scene. Without U.N. support, the gravity and conditions of the treaty may not be taken seriously, defeating its purpose altogether.

    It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty three months in advance. (29)

    Nice try, but you can't just skip out on the PTBT on a whim.

    Duly certified copies of this Treaty shall be transmitted by the Depositary Governments to the Governments of the signatory and acceding States. (32)

    It won't come in a frame, but at least you'll have a copy to put up on the office refrigerator.