top of page

U.S. Senate Votes to Ratify Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Sept. 24, 1963 - The U.S. Senate approved the nuclear test-ban treaty today. By a vote of 80 to 19, it gave its constitutional advice and consent to the treaty prohibiting nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in space, and in the waters of the earth. Explosions underground are permitted so long as there is no fallout of radioactive material outside the testing country. The margin of victory was 14 more than the 66 ayes needed to meet the Constitution’s requirement of approval by two-thirds of the Senators present and voting. The only absent Senator was Clair Engle, Democrat of California, who is in the hospital recovering from a brain operation. He sent word that he would have voted aye if he had been present. President Kennedy (pictured today in Milford, Pa.) issued a statement saying that the Senate’s action was a step toward “the path of peace.” “I congratulate the Senate for its action,” the President said, “and I wish to particularly commend the painstaking work of the leaders of both parties in the Senate and Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas in bringing the treaty to this highly satisfactory vote.” Fifty-five Democratic Senators and 25 Republicans cast their votes for ratification. Eleven Democrats, nearly all of them from the South, and eight Republicans voted “no.” Neither Britain nor the Soviet Union has yet formally ratified the treaty.


bottom of page