Academics and Lawyers Call for Abolition
Legal Experts and Lawyers Call for Abolition: [STATEMENT HERE]
On the Illegality of Nuclear Weapons; On the obligation to negotiate for nuclear disarmament
Steven Staples: MISSILE DEFENCE AND CANADA’S PURSUIT OF NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
A presentation to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Consultations with Civil Society on Issues Related to International Security, Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems.
By Steven Staples
February 25, 2004
First, let me begin by saying thank you to my colleagues who have asked me to make a presentation on behalf of civil society regarding this very important issue of Canada’s participation in the American missile defence system.
With so much expertise and experience in the room today, I won’t pretend to be able to cover all of the concerns of citizens, so I’m counting on my colleagues to contribute generously to the subsequent discussion. . .
Two summers ago my family and I took a vacation along the Acadian coast of New Brunswick. It is a beautiful part of Canada and not very far from my home town of Fredericton. We went for the beaches and the wonderful culture there, but I have to admit to indulging in a little “nuclear tourism.”
We took a little detour to the town of Chatham, the site of an old Canadian Air Force base that has since been closed and handed over to local industries. But during the Cold War there were lots of rumours about Chatham — rumours about the U.S. soldiers that were stationed there, and about the Canadian Voodoo jet fighters that were on constant alert, hooked into the continental NORAD system.
As kids growing up in Fredericton we always wondered what was going on up there in Chatham, just about an hour or so’s drive down the back roads?
Thanks to research done recently by John Clearwater and others, today we know: Chatham was one of the few places in Canada where the government had permitted the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons.
In this case, they were nuclear-armed Genie missiles that could be loaded onto the Canadian fighter jets and fired against Russian bombers coming in over the Arctic. The nuclear weapons were kept there for years until the last of the missiles were taken out of Canada in the early 1980s.
I was reminded of this little-known chapter of our history during that astonishing interview with David Pratt on CTV last weekend. When Craig Oliver raised the issue of Bomarc nuclear missiles in Canada, the defence minister said, “Well, you know, Craig, we’ve been in the missile defence business for some time in terms of the north warning system.”
In essence, he was arguing that our history with NORAD and the nuclear weapons that were placed in Canada has made us part of a missile defence system for decades — so whatxs the big deal?
And I think this explains why whenever the discussion of missile defence comes up, there is a sense of déjà vu in the minds of everyday Canadians: “Haven’t we gone through this before? This is Star Wars, right? From the Cold War. Oh yeah, Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union and all that evil empire stuff. Glad that’s over. . .”
Well, maybe not.
This headline from Monday’s Globe and Mail brought it all back: “Canada may host U.S. missiles.”
I think that headlines like this, and missile defence in general, are tapping into a growing unease about where this government is taking us.
It was no coincidence that the exchange of letters between Defence Minister David Pratt and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld occurred a few days before Paul Martin’s big breakfast meeting in Monterrey, Mexico.
Of course, everyone wants to have good relations with the neighbours, but how far is Paul Martin willing to go to get that invitation to the White House?
So I went to Monterrey, and even sat in on the Prime Minister’s first press briefing following his breakfast with Bush. Surprisingly, no mention of missile defence came up. Just Iraq contracts, Maher Arar, and possible movement on trade problems such as beef and lumber.
A reporter told me later that in a subsequent press briefing he had asked the Prime Minister what he offered the U.S. president in return for these concessions, and Paul Martin replied: nothing.
Now, as an advocate for disarmament I have been frequently called naïve — but I don’t think I’m that naïve. . .
A week later a Canadian Press story emerged to the effect that during the meeting in Mexico, Paul Martin proposed to reviewing Canada’s foreign policy to make it more complementary to that of the U.S.
Further, the story said that Paul Martin himself had a private meeting with U.S. Ambassador Cellucci last April. Only days later he announced he supported Canada’s participation in the U.S. missile defence program, along with increased military spending and improved security co-operation generally.
Since taking power Paul Martin has not failed to deliver on many of these promises. He has put an improved Canada-U.S. relationship and even a close personal relationship with George W. Bush at the top of his agenda.
The government has been reworked to include a new public safety department that mirrors the United States Department of Homeland Security. All capital spending has been frozen except for new military helicopters and tanks. And Martin appointed the most hawkish of the Liberal caucus, and a supporter of the Iraq invasion, as his minister of national defence.
Most revealing, it is apparently David Pratt who is leading the negotiations on Canada’s joining the national missile defence program — not the department of foreign affairs, where these discussions should rightfully be taking place.
These changes really fly in the face of popular opinion. There is no widespread demand for this in the Canadian public. Maclean’s Magazine’s annual year-end survey found that only one in ten Canadians felt that the Prime Minister’s top priority should be “having a closer relationship with the United States.” Further, three out of every four agreed that “It is important for Canada to set its own course and we were right to stay out of the war, even if it has annoyed our closest trade partner and may have cost Canadian jobs.”
So where is the pressure coming from in Canada for this new-found enthusiasm in the government to build up the military and join the U.S. missile defence shield?
Anyone who reads the business pages these days will know that a very active business lobby has sprung up in the last few years to push the government towards greater market integration with the United States.
According to the C.D. Howe Institute and other corporate think tanks, NAFTA has run out of steam. Many of the old players who were involved in the free trade debates are back, pushing what Thomas d’Aquino of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives calls “the second chapter of that transforming initiative.”
Only this time there is a difference — economic integration with the United States is linked with military and security integration. In the Bush administration security trumps trade, so the proposals from the business lobby today call explicitly for a beefed-up and more aggressive Canadian military, including Canadian participation in the American missile defence program. Even the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of joining missile defence.
If you go deeper into their proposals, you find there is more than just missile defence. In fact, business groups are arguing that we need to rethink our foreign and defence policy to fit that of the United States. They are being bolstered by the most extreme voices in the Canadian defence lobby — some of whom are now arguing that years of Canada’s work on multilateral arms control initiatives have been a waste of time. Others are questioning Canada’s traditional peacekeeping role and preparing the ground for the government to drop its opposition to the weaponization of space.
The result, in my opinion, is a serious crisis for the future of Canada’s foreign and defence policies — and our very role in the world.
Those voices that urge the government to embrace the national security policies of the United States are in fact urging that we turn our back on decades of support for nuclear disarmament.
In the final assessment, missile defence is an admission of failure. It accepts that nuclear breakout is now a fact, and as Donald Rumsfeld has pointed out, the United States has to “manage” the spread of nuclear weapons if it wants to maintain its own nuclear arsenals and superior strategic position in the world.
This strategy requires missile defences at home that will allow aggressive, counter-proliferation and pre-emptive wars abroad. We heard this very clearly from one of our presenters yesterday . . .
And we have to ask ourselves: Is this the best that Canada can do? Is this the best answer that all of these brilliant people in this foreign affairs building can come up with? I don’t believe it.
Canadians are proud of our tradition as a peacekeeper, as a diplomat, as a middle power that seeks novel solutions to seemingly intractable situations. If we look around we can see it every day.
Look at the soldiers in Afghanistan who know it’s dangerous to patrol in those open Iltis jeeps but who accept the risk because they want to have personal contact with local people.
See the everyday Canadian activists who have taken verification into their own hands, formed citizen weapons inspection teams, and confronted nuclear bases in the United States and other NATO members demanding that they live up to Article VI of the NPT.
And look at the Liberal members of Parliament who don’t even support their own party’s involvement in these missile defence talks.
One of our presenters yesterday asked an important question: If we are not working for zero nuclear weapons, what are we working for?
Personally, I believe that the abolition of nuclear weapons is still possible. I’m not ready to give up that easily.
I told you about the airbase in Chatham, and the nuclear weapons that were kept there. That base has been sold off to local business and is now open to the public. So we took a look around and we found the concrete bunkers that once stored the dozens of nuclear bombs were secretly held at the base.
Can you guess what those bunkers are used for today? They’re gardening sheds.
Canada should not join the United States in its missile defence system. Instead, we need to recommit ourselves to the task of nuclear disarmament.
The number of opportunities, while sometimes difficult to see, has in fact never been greater. The Cold War is over! Let’s leave these weapons and missile schemes to history.
Let’s not sit here in North America and hide behind an American missile shield.
Instead, let’s take Canadians’ new-found confidence and internationalism and engage the world to show that there are other, better answers.
Steven Staples Director,
Project on the Corporate-Security State
312 Cooper Street Ottawa, Ontario
K2P 0G7 CANADA
t. 613 237-1717 x107 c. 613 290-2695 f. 613 237-3359 e. firstname.lastname@example.org www.polarisinstitute.org
Church Resolution – National Missile Defence
Resolution – National Missile Defence
Whereas we believe that we are stewards of the creation and that Canada must therefore comply with its legal obligation to negotiate an agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons as such weapons threaten all of creation;
Whereas we believe that international security will be enhanced best through political and economic cooperation, reassurance and nuclear arms reductions rather than by threats;
Whereas the Missile Defence program of the US plans to intercept incoming missiles at a cost likely exceeding $100 billion (US), with the cost for Canadian participation remaining unknown;
Whereas the interceptors can be easily overcome by the use of decoys, chaff or other inexpensive methods or, alternatively, that states may simply use other methods of delivering weapons such as ships or trucks;
Whereas the interception of missiles would result in radioactive materials falling to earth and the creation of debris in space which would hinder both use of satellites and future space travel;
Whereas all states are obligated by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to engage in a process of disarmament;
Whereas planning the use of interceptors will encourage other states to increase their nuclear arsenals to overcome the interceptors, thus encouraging the spread of nucler weapons in breach of the NPT;
Whereas the Outer Space Treaty states that Outer Space…shall be free for exploration and use by all States and that Outer Space…is not subject to national appropriation …by means of use or occupation..
Whereas the long term plan (Vision 2020″) for the US Space Command anticipates the US developing an ability..to deny others the use of space and global surveillance with the potential for a space-based global precision strike capability with space becoming another medium of warfare in breach of the Outer Space Treaty;
It is hereby resolved by _____________________ that the Government of Canada should be strongly encouraged to:
1. Strongly oppose the American proposal for Missile Defence and object to the US Space Commands proposed Vision for 2020″;
2. Study options for a multilateral system for monitoring missile launches;
3. Call for the negotiation of a ban on military missile flight launches;
4. Call for the negotiation of a ban on all weapons in space; and
5. Proceed urgently to support the negotiation of an international agreement for the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.
General Lee Butler’s Address to Canadian Peaceworkers
Ottawa, March 11, 1999
A Round Table was hosted in the Department of Foreign Affairs by the Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development and the Canadian Network Against Nuclear Weapons to allow presentations by Gen. Butler, Mr. Robert McNamara (former U.S. Secretary of Defence) and Ambassador Tom Graham (former Presidential Advisor on Arms Control).
General Butler is a 1962 graduate of the US Air Force Academy. He attended the University of Paris as an Olmsted Scholar where he attained a master’s degree in international affairs. His military career included a wide range of flying and staff positions. He attained the rank of General in 1991. In this capacity he served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Air Command and subsequently Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. In this capacity, General Butler had the responsibility for all US Air Force and U.S. Navy strategic nuclear forces which support the national security objective of strategic defense. Over his career, he served in numerous policy positions in the Pentagon, his last one as the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The following are the opening remarks by Gen. Butler:
Let me begin by simply expressing my appreciation to those of you in the room who have labored in this vineyard for so many years, most I suspect, simply understanding intuitively what took years for those of us, presumably experts in this business, to appreciate.
And that is, that at the heart of the matter, nuclear weapons are the enemy of humanity. Indeed, they’re not weapons at all. They’re some species of biological time bombs whose effects transcend time and space, poisoning the earth and its inhabitants for generations to come.
So for those of you in the NGO community, I tell you right at the onset, that I personally take heed and encouragement from what you have done so assiduously all these years. I say in the same breath that for most of my life, certainly my years in uniform, I’d never heard of NGOs, and now I suppose I am one!
I think in that regard that I would begin by recalling a comment from what I understand was a Reform Party member at the hearing yesterday, who observed at the outset of his comments (a bit acerbic I might add, but that’s okay, we tend to be a lightning rod for that kind of view): “Say, weren’t you and McNamara two of those folks who used to advocate all this business, deterrence, etc?” I think Bob would join me in saying that we’re guilty as charged, if the charge is that we now consider it our responsibility to reflect, free from the emotional cauldron of the Cold War, and with greater access to the principals and the archives of that period. Guilty of the responsibility to reappraise our positions and certainly guilty of a keen sense of obligation to understand and to expound upon the lessons that we draw from that experience.
I recall the words of a wonderful American novelist of the Deep South, Flannery O’Connor, who once put this delicious line in the mouth of one her characters. “You should know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.” And in deference to our interlocutor yesterday, yes it can certainly appear odd. I appreciate that and that is why I am infinitely patient with people who are either surprised, shocked, or in some cases outraged that someone like myself or perhaps like Bob McNamara now express views that in an earlier part of our life we might have seen as antithetical.
But truth, in my own case, took me almost 40 years to grasp. What I now see as the truth of the nuclear era as I understand it in retrospect. It required 30 years simply to reach the point in my career where I had the responsibilities and most importantly, the access to information and the exposure to activities and operations that profoundly deepened my grasp of what this business of nuclear capability is all about.
What I have come to believe is that much of what I took on faith was either wrong, enormously simplistic, extraordinarily fragile, or simply morally intolerable. What I have come to believe is that the amassing of nuclear capability to the level of such grotesque excess as we witnessed between the United States and the Soviet Union over the period of the 50 years of the Cold War, was as much a product of fear, and ignorance and greed, and ego and power, and turf and dollars, as it was about the seemingly elegant theories of deterrence.
Let me just take a moment and give you some sense of what it means to be the Commander of Strategic Nuclear Forces, the land and sea-based missiles and aircraft that would deliver nuclear warheads over great distances. First, I had the responsibility for the day-to-day operation, discipline, training, of tens of thousands of crew members, the systems that they operated and the warheads those systems were designed to deliver. Some ten thousand strategic nuclear warheads. I came to appreciate in a way that I had never thought, even when I commanded individual units like B52 bombers, the enormity of the day-to-day risks that comes from multiple manipulations, maintenance and operational movement of those weapons. I read deeply into the history of the incidents and the accidents of the nuclear age as they had been recorded in the United States. I am only beginning to understand that history in the former Soviet Union, and it is more chilling than anything you can imagine. Much of that is not publicly known, although it is now publicly available.
Missiles that blew up in their silos and ejected their nuclear warheads outside of the confines of the silo. B52 aircraft that collided with tankers and scattered nuclear weapons across the coast and into the offshore seas of Spain. A B52 bomber with nuclear weapons aboard that crashed in North Carolina, and on investigation it was discovered that one of those weapons, 6 of the 7 safety devices that prevent a nuclear explosion had failed as a result of the crash. There are dozens of such incidents. Nuclear missile-laden submarines that experienced catastrophic accidents and now lie at the bottom of the ocean.
I was also a principal nuclear advisor to the President of the United States. What that required of me was to be prepared on a moment’s notice, day or night, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to be within three rings of my telephone and to respond to this question from the President: “General, the nation is under nuclear attack. I must decide in minutes how to respond. What is your recommendation with regard to the nature of our reply?”
In the 36 months that I was a principal nuclear advisor to the President, I participated every month in an exercise known as a missile threat conference. Virtually without exception, that threat conference began with a scenario which encompassed one, then several, dozens, then hundreds and finally thousands of inbound thermonuclear warheads to the United States. By the time that attack was assessed, characterized and sufficient information available with some certainty in appreciation of the circumstance, at most he had 12 minutes to make that decision. 12 minutes. For a decision, which coupled with that of whatever person half a world away who may have initiated such an attack, held at risk not only the survival of the antagonists, but the fate of mankind in its entirety. The prospect of some 20,000 thermonuclear warheads being exploded within a period of several hours. Sad to say, the poised practitioners of the nuclear art never understood the holistic consequences of such an attack, nor do they today. I never appreciated that until I came to grips with my third responsibility, which was for the nuclear war plan of the United States.
Even at the late date of January 1991, when the Cold War had already been declared over with the signing of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty in Paris in December of 1990, when I went downstairs on my first day in office to meet my war planners in the bowels of my headquarters. I finally for the first time in 30 years was allowed full access to the war plan. Even having some sense of what it encompassed, I was shocked to see that in fact it was defined by 12,500 targets in the former Warsaw Pact to be attacked by some 10,000 nuclear weapons, virtually simultaneously in the worst of circumstances, which is what we always assumed.
I made it my business to examine in some detail every single one of those targets. I doubt that that had ever been done by anyone, because the war plan was divided up into sections and each section was the responsibility of some different group of people. My staff was aghast when I told them I intended to look at every single target individually. My rationale was very simple. If there had been only one target, surely I would have to know every conceivable detail about it, why it was selected, what kind of weapon would strike it, what the consequences would be. My point was simply this: Why should I feel in any way less responsible simply because there was a large number of targets. I wanted to look at every one.
At the conclusion of that exercise I finally came to understand the true meaning of MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, this was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life. I was sufficiently outraged that as my examination proceeded, I alerted my superiors in Washington about my concerns, and the shortest version of all of that is, having come to the end of a three decade journey, I came to fully appreciate the truth that now makes me seem so odd. And that is: we escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.
The saving grace was that truly the Cold War was ending at this very moment and therefore I was faced with a decision of great personal consequence. Now having fully to appreciate the magnitude of our nuclear capability and what it implied, when joined in an unholy alliance with its Soviet counterpart, what was I to do? Awaiting in my inbox were $40 billion of new strategic nuclear weapons modernization programs, wanting only my signature. What should be our goals for the next rounds of arms control negotiations? How hard should I fight to maintain the budget of strategic forces, to keep bases open in the face of base closure commissions? And what to do with the nuclear war plan in all of its excess? My conclusion was very simple, that I of all people had the responsibility to be at the forefront of the effort to begin to close the nuclear age. That mankind, having been spared a nuclear holocaust, had now as its principle priority to begin to walk back the nuclear cat, to learn the lessons of the nuclear dimensions of the Cold War, in the interest that others might never go down that path again.
The substance is that I withdrew my support for every single one of those $40 billion of nuclear weapons programs and they were all cancelled. I urged the acceleration of the START I accords and that Minuteman 2 be taken out of the inventory at an accelerated pace. I recommended that for the first time in 30 years bombers be taken off alert. The President approved these recommendations and on the 25th of September 1991, I said in my command center and with my red telephone I gave the orders to my bomber troops to stand down from alert. I put 24 of my 36 bases on the closure list. I cut the number of targets in the nuclear war plan by 75%, and ultimately I recommended the disestablishment of Strategic Air Command, which the President also approved. I took down that flag on the first of June 1992.
As you can imagine, I went into retirement exactly five years ago with a sense of profound relief and gratitude. Relief that the most acute dangers of the Cold War were coming to a close, and gratitude that I had been given the opportunity to play some small role in eliminating those dangers. You can also imagine, then, my growing dismay, alarm and finally horror that in a relatively brief period of time, this extraordinary momentum, this unprecedented opportunity began to slow, that a process I call the creeping re-rationalization of nuclear weapons began, that the bureaucracy began to work its way. The French resumed nuclear testing, the START 2 treaty was paralyzed in the US Senate for three years and now in the Duma for three more. The precious window of opportunity began to close, and now today we find ourselves in the almost unbelievable circumstance in which United States nuclear weapons policy is still very much that of 1984, as introduced by Ronald Reagan. That our forces with their hair-trigger postures are effectively the same as they have been since the height of the Cold War.
Even if the START 2 treaty were ratified, it is virtually irrelevant, its numbers 3000 to 35000 works meaningless. The former Soviet Union, today Russia, a nation in a perilous state, can barely maintain a third of that number on operational ready status, and to do so devotes a precious fraction of shrinking resources. NATO has been expanded up to its former borders, and Moscow has been put on notice that the United States is presumably prepared to abrogate the ABM treaty in the interest of deploying limited national ballistic missile defense.
What a stunning outcome. I would never have imagined this state of affairs five years ago. This is an indictment. The leaders of the nuclear weapons states today risk very much being judged by future historians as having been unworthy of their age, of not having taken advantage of opportunities so perilously won at such great sacrifice and cost of reigniting nuclear arms races around the world, of condemning mankind to live under a cloud of perpetual anxiety.
This is not a legacy worthy of the human race. This is not the world that I want to bequeath to my children and my grandchildren. It’s simply intolerable. This is above all a moral question and I want to reiterate to you and to those who may be watching these proceedings a quote that I gave yesterday to the joint committees. I took this quote to heart many years ago. It is from one of my heroes, one of my professional heroes – General Omar Bradley, who said on the occasion of his retirement, having been a principal in World War II and having witnessed the aftermath of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: “We live in an age of nuclear giants and ethical infants, in a world that has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. We have solved the mystery of the atom and forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on the Mount. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about dying than we know about living.”
We have a priceless opportunity to elevate, to nudge higher, the bar of decent, civilized behaviour, to expand the rule of law, and to learn to live on this planet with mutual respect and dignity. This is an opportunity we must not lose. My concern was such that I could not sit in silent acquiescence to the current folly.
And so, I have come back into the arena to join my voices with yours, to serve in the company of distinguished colleagues like Bob McNamara and Ambassador Tom Graham who share these concerns and convictions.
Thank you for the opportunity to join you today. Thank you for the work you have done over these many years. It is a privilege to have this opportunity to talk with you. Thank you.
Canadian Church Leaders’ Statement
The leaders of the following churches signed the letter of February 18, 1998 to Prime Minister Chrétien which included these comments:
The willingness, indeed the intent, to launch a nuclear attack, in certain circumstances, bespeaks spiritual and moral bankruptcy. We believe it to be an extraordinary affront to humanity for nuclear weapons states and their allies, including Canada, to persist in claiming that nuclear weapons are required for their security…. Nuclear weapons have no moral legitimacy, they lack military utility, and, in light of the recent judgement of the World court, their legality is in serious question. The spiritual, human and ecological holocaust of a nuclear attack can be prevented only by the abolition of nuclear weapons it is our common duty to pursue that goal as an urgent priority……
The time has come for Canada to take a strong, principled stand against the continued possession of nuclear weapons by any state, affirming abolition as the central goal of Canadian nuclear weapons policy and adding Canadas voice to the call to immediately begin negotiations on a nuclear Weapons Convention.
Anglican Church in Canada
Armenian Orthodox Church (Canadian diocese)
Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec
British Methodist Episcopal Church
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Evangelical Lutheran Church
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Coptic Orthodox Church in Canada
Council of Christian Reformed Churches
Ethiopian Orthodox Church of Canada
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Canada
Mennonite Central Committee (Canada)
Orthodox Church in America
The Presbyterian Church
The Polish National Catholic Church
Reformed Church in Canada
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Canada
The Salvation Army
The United Church of Canada
February 2, 1998
Statement by Alan Cranston
Former U.S. Senator, Chair of the State of the World Forum
February 2, 1998, Washington, D.C. National Press Club
First, I’ll read the statement by heads of state and civilian leaders worldwide, advocating that specific steps be taken now to reduce ongoing nuclear weapon dangers still facing us all after the end of the Cold War.
These leaders, many of whom led their nations during the Cold War, urge that the nuclear states declare unambiguously that their goal is ultimate abolition of nuclear weapons.
The statement is as follows:
Statement on Nuclear Weapons by International Civilian Leaders
The end of the Cold War has wrought a profound transformation of the international political and security arena. Ideological confrontation has been supplanted by burgeoning global relations across every field of human endeavor. There is intense alienation but also civilized discourse. There is acute hostility but also significant effort for peaceful resolution in place of violence and bloodshed.
Most importantly, the long sought prospect of a world free of the apocalyptic threat of nuclear weapons is suddenly within reach. This is an extraordinary moment in the course of human affairs, a near miraculous opportunity to realize that noble goal. But, it is also perishable: the specter of nuclear proliferation cannot be indefinitely contained. The urgent attention and best efforts of scholars and statesmen must be brought to bear.
Leaders of the nuclear weapons states, and of the de facto nuclear nations, must keep the promise of nuclear disarmament enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970 and clarified and reaffirmed in 1995 in the language codifying its indefinite extension. They must do so by commencing the systematic and progressive reduction and marginalization of nuclear weapons, and by declaring unambiguously that their goal is ultimate abolition.
Many military leaders of many nations have warned that all nations would be more secure in a world free of nuclear weapons. Immediate and practical steps toward this objective have been arrayed in a host of compelling studies, most notably in the Report of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Among these proposals, we, the undersigned, fully subscribe to the following measures:
1. Remove nuclear weapons from alert status, separate them from their delivery vehicles, and place them in secure national storage.
2. Halt production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.
3. End nuclear testing, pending entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
4. Launch immediate U.S./Russian negotiations toward further, deep reductions of their nuclear arsenals, irrespective of START II ratification.
5. Unequivocal commitment by the other declared and undeclared nuclear weapon states to join the reduction process on a proportional basis as the U.S. and Russia approach their arsenal levels, within an international system of inspection, verification, and safeguards.
6. Develop a plan for eventual implementation, achievement and enforcement of the distant but final goal of elimination.
The foregoing six steps should be undertaken immediately.
The following additional steps should be carefully considered, to determine whether they are presently appropriate and feasible:
Repatriate nuclear weapons deployed outside of sovereign territory.
Commit to No First Use of nuclear weapons.
Ban production and possession of large, long-range ballistic missiles.
Account for all materials needed to produce nuclear weapons, and place them under
The world is not condemned to live forever with threats of nuclear conflict, or the anxious, fragile peace imposed by nuclear deterrence. Such threats are intolerable and such a peace unworthy. The sheer destructiveness of nuclear weapons invokes a moral imperative for their elimination. That is our mandate. Let us begin.
Raul Alfonsin Former President
Malcom Fraser, Former Prime Minister
Gough Whitlam, Former Prime Minister, Former Foreign Minister
Kim C. Beazley, Leader of the Opposition ,Former Deputy Prime Minister
Richard Butler, Ambassador to U.N. , Chair, U.N. Special Commission on Iraq, Chair, Canberra Commission
Gareth Evans, Former Foreign Minister Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Member, Parliament
A.D.M.S. Chuwdhury, Deputy Opposition Leader, Parliament, Former Deputy Prime Minister
Managing Director, Grameen Bank
Jose Sarney, Former Prime Minister, Senator
Calso L.N. Amorim, Former Foreign Minister
Nicolai Dobrev , Chair, National Security Committee, Parliament; Former Minister of Interior
Nicolai Kamov , Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Parliament
Dimitra Pavlov, Minister of Defense
Pierre Trudeau, Former Prime Minister
Former Ambassador for Disarmament
Juan Somavia, Ambassador to U.N.; Past President, UN Security Council
Qian Jiadong, Former Chinese Ambassador to U.N.
Chen Jifeng, Secretary General, Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament
Misael Pastrana Borrero , Former President
(Deceased Aug. 1997)
Jose Figueres, President
Oscar Arias, Former President
Rodrigo Carazo , Former President
Rebeca Grynspan Mayufis
Second Vice President
Rodrigo Oreamuno B.
First Vice President
President, United Democrats
Esmat Abdul Meguid
Secretary General, League of Arab States
Former Foreign Minister
Former Prime Minister
Chair, Committee on Development and Cooperation, European Parliament
Former Special Advisor to
Eduard A. Shevardnadze
Honorary Chair, International Council
Former Prime Minister, East Germany
Egon Bahr Former Minister for Special Affairs
Spokesperson for Defense,
Alliance 90/Green Party
Hon. Chair, Christian Democratic Party
Hans Koschnik, Former Administrator, European Union, Mostar
Markus Meckel, Former Foreign Minister, East Germany; Member, Bundestag
Dr. Walter Romberg, Former Minister of Finances, East Germany
Lothar Spth, Former Minister-President, Baden-Wurttemberg
Hans-Jochen Vogel, Former Mayor, Berlin; Former Minister of Justice; Former Chair, Social Democratic Party
Ervin Laszlo, Founder and President, Club of Budapest
Tsutomu Hata, Former Prime Minister; Member, Diet
Morihiro Hosokawa, Former Prime Minister; Member, Diet
Kiichi Miyazawa, Former Prime Minister; Member, Diet
Tomiichi Murayama, Former Prime Minister; Member, Diet
Noboru Takeshita, Former Prime Minister; Member, Diet
Takako Doi, Former Speaker, House of Representatives; Member, Diet
Masaharu Gotoda, Former Vice Prime Minister
Takashi Hiraoka, Mayor, Hiroshima
Iccho Ito, Mayor, Nagasaki
Yohei Kono, Former Vice Prime Minister
Hyosuke Kujiraoka Former Vice Speaker, House of Representatives; Member, Diet
Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel Laureate
Askar Akaev, President
Muratbek S. Imanaliev,
Former Foreign Minister
Ambassador to U.K.
Former Prime Minister
President, UN General Assembly
Miguel de la Madrid
Ambassador to U.S.
Former Speaker, Parliament
Ruud Lubbers Former Prime Minister
Minister of State
Andries van Agt
Former Prime Minister
Chair, Interaction Council
E. Korthals Altes
Former Ambassador to Madrid
J. van Houwelingen
Former Deputy Minister of Defence
Former Minister of Defence
Dr. D.J.H. Kruisinga
Former Minister of Defence
Mr. J. de Ruiter
Former Minister of Defence
Prof. Dr. J.C. Terlouw
Former Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Economic Affairs
Former Prime Minister
Sir Geoffrey Palmer
Former Prime Minister
Honorary President, Peace People
Nobel Peace Laureate
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan
Former UN High Commissioner for Refugees
President, Bellerive Foundation
Mahbub ul Haq
President, Human Development Centre
Former Minister of Finance
Principal Architect of UN’s Annual Human Development Report
Ricardo de la Espriella
Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo
Former Prime Minister
Republic of Korea
Former Prime Minister
Former Prime Minister
Director, Research Institute for the Economy in Transition
Former President, S.U.
President, Governing Board, Institute of USA and Canada
Former Soviet Foreign Minister
Former Soviet Ambassador to US
President, Foreign Policy Association
President, Russian Pugwash Committee
Former Permanent Representative of the USSR and Russia in IAEA
President, Center for Political Studies of Russia
Member, National Security Council
Alexander N. Yakovlev
Chair, President’s Commission on Rehabilitation of Repression Victims
Chair, Russian Public Television;
Former Member, Politburo
Principal Domestic Advisor to President Gorbachev
F.W. De Klerk
National Leader, National Party
Bishop Desmond Tutu
Enrique Baron Crespo
Member, European Parliament
Former President, European Parliament
Fernando Moran Lopez
Chair, Committee on InstitutionalAffairs, European Parliament
Former Foreign Minister
Leader, Sarvodaya Movement
Gandhi Peace Prize, 1996
Former Minister of Education
Former Leader of Opposition
President, NPT Review and Extension Conference, 1995
Former Ambassador to U.S.
Former Prime Minister
Maj Britt Theorin
Former Chair, UN Commission of Experts on Nuclear Weapons
Member, European Parliament
Al Hassan Mwinyi
Julius K. Nyerere
Chair, South Commission
Salim Ahmed Salim
Former Prime Minister
Secretary General, Organization of African Unity
President, U.N. General Assembly, 34th Session
Former Prime Minister
Judge, International Tribunal on Law of the Seas
Former Prime Minister
Dr. Paul Kaeanga Ssemogerere
Former Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister
Dr. Naphali Akena Adoko
Former Chief of State Security
Justice Emmanuel Oteng
Former Acting Chief Justice
Lord James Callaghan
Former Prime Minister
Member, House of Lords
Lord Denis Healey
Former Secretary of Defense
Former Chancellor of Exchequer
Former Chief Negotiator, CTBT
Former Head, Arms Control & Disarmament, Foreign Office
Nobel Peace Laureate
Dr. Robert Mugabe
We, military professionals, who have devoted our lives to the national security of our countries and our peoples, are convinced that the continuing existence of nuclear weapons in the armories of nuclear powers, and the ever present threat of acquisition of these weapons by others, constitutes a peril to global peace and security and to the safety and survival of the people we are dedicated to protect.
Through our variety of responsibilities and experiences with weapons and wars in the armed forces of many nations, we have acquired an intimate and perhaps unique knowledge of the present security and insecurity of our countries and peoples.
We know that nuclear weapons, though never used since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, represent a clear and present danger to the very existence of humanity. There was an immense risk of a superpower holocaust during the Cold War. At least once, civilization was on the very brink of catastrophic tragedy. That threat has now receded, but not forever — unless nuclear weapons are eliminated.
The end of the Cold War created conditions favorable to nuclear disarmament. Termination of military confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States made it possible to reduce strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, and to eliminate intermediate range missiles. It was a significant milestone on the path to nuclear disarmament when Belarus, Kazakhastan, and Ukraine relinquished their nuclear weapons.
Indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995 and approval of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by the UN General Assembly in 1996 are also important steps towards a nuclear-free world. We commend the work that has been done to achieve these results.
Unfortunately, in spite of these positive steps, true nuclear disarmament has not been achieved. Treaties provide that only delivery systems, not nuclear warheads, will be destroyed. This permits the United States and Russia to keep their warheads in reserve storage, thus creating a “reversible nuclear potential.”
However, in the post-Cold War security environment, the most commonly postulated nuclear threats are not susceptible to deterrence or are simply not credible. We believe, therefore, that business as usual is not an acceptable way for the world to proceed in nuclear matters.
It is our deep conviction that the following is urgently needed and must be undertaken now:
First, present and planned stockpiles of nuclear weapons are exceedingly large and should now be greatly cut back;
Second, remaining nuclear weapons should be gradually and transparently taken off alert, and their readiness substantially reduced both in nuclear weapon states and in de facto nuclear weapon states;
Third, long-term international nuclear policy must be based on the declared principle of continuous, complete and irrevocable elimination of nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia should – without any reduction in their military security – carry forward the reduction process already launched by START: they should cut down to 1000 to 1500 warheads each and possibly lower. The Other three nuclear states and the three threshold states should be drawn into the reduction process as still deeper reductions are negotiated down to the level of hundreds. There is nothing incompatible between defense by individual countries of their territorial integrity and progress toward nuclear abolition.
The exact circumstances and conditions that will make it possible to proceed, finally, to abolition cannot now be foreseen or prescribed. One obvious prerequisite would be a worldwide program of surveillance and inspection, including measures to account for and control inventories of nuclear weapon materials. This will ensure that no rogues or terrorists could undertake a surreptitious effort to acquire nuclear capacities without detection at an early stage An agreed procedure for forcible international intervention and interruption of covert efforts in a certain and timely fashion is essential.
The creation of nuclear-free zones in different parts of the world, confidence-building and transparency measures in the general field of defense, strict implementation of all treaties in the area of disarmament and arms control, and mutual assistance in the process of disarmament are also important in helping to bring about a nuclear-free world. The development of regional systems of collective security, including practical measures for cooperation, partnership, interaction and communication are essential for local stability and security.
The extent to which the existence of nuclear weapons and fear of their use may have deterred war – in a world that in this year alone has seen 30 military conflicts raging – cannot be determined. It is clear, however, that nations now possessing nuclear weapons will not relinquish them until they are convinced that more reliable and less dangerous means of providing for their security are in place. It is also clear, as a consequence, that the nuclear powers will not now agree to a fixed timetable for the achievement of abolition.
It is similarly clear that, among the nations not now possessing nuclear weapons, there are some that will not forever forswear their acquisition and deployment unless they, too, are provided means of security. Nor will they forgo acquisition if the present nuclear powers seek to retain everlastingly their nuclear monopoly.
Movement toward abolition must be a responsibility shared primarily by the declared nuclear weapons states – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; by the de facto nuclear states, India, Israel and Pakistan; and by major non-nuclear powers such as Germany and Japan. All nations should move in concert toward the same goal.
We have been presented with a challenge of the highest possible historic importance: the creation of a nuclear weapons-free world. The end of the Cold War makes it possible.
The dangers of proliferation, terrorism, and a new nuclear arms race render it necessary. We must not fail to seize our opportunity. There is no alternative.
INTERNATIONAL GENERALS AND ADMIRALS WHO HAVE SIGNED STATEMENT
ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Johnson, Major General Leonard V.. (Ret.) Commandant, National Defence College
Kristensen, Lt. General Gunnar (Ret.) former Chief of Defense Staff
Sanguinetti, Admiral Antoine (Ret.) former Chief of Staff, French Fleet
Erskine, General Emmanuel (Ret.) former Commander in Chief and former Chief of Staff UNTSO
(Middle East), Commander UMFII (Lebanon)
Capellos, Lt. General Richard (Ret.) former Corps Commander Konstantinides,
Major General Kostas (Ret.), former Chief of Staff, Army Signals
Koumanakos, Lt. General Georgios (Ret.) former Chief of Operations
Rikhye, Major General Indar Jit (Ret.), former military advisor to UN Secretary General Dag
Akmmerskjold and U Thant
Surt, Air Marshall N. C. (Ret.)
Sakonjo, Vice Admiral Naotoshi (Ret.) Sr. Advisor, Research Institute for Peace and Security
Shikata Lt. General Toshiyuki (Ret.) Sr. Advisor, Research Institute for Peace and Security
Ajeilat, Major General Shafiq (Ret.) Vice President Military Affairs Muta University
Shiyyab, Major General Mohammed K. (Ret.) former Deputy Commander, Royal Jordanian Air
van der Graaf, Henry J. (Ret.) Brigadier General RNA Director Centre Arms Control &
Verification, Member, United National Advisory Board for Disarmament Matters
Breivik, Roy, Vice Admiral Roy (Ret.) former Representative to NATO, Supreme Allied
Malik Major General Ihsun ul Haq (Ret.) Commandant, Joint Services Committee
Gomes, Marshal Francisco da Costa (Ret.) former Commander in Chief, Army; former President
Belous, General Vladimir (Ret.) Department Chief, Dzerzhmsky Military Academy
Gareev, Army General Makhmut (Ret.) former Deputy Chief, USSR Armed Forces General Staff
Gromov, General Boris, (Ret.) Vice Chair, Duma International Affairs Committee; former
Commander of 40m Soviet Arms in Afghanistan: former Deputy Minister, Foreign Ministry, Russia
Koltounov, Major General Victor (Ret.) former Deputy Chief, Department of General Staff,
USSR Armed Forces
Larionov, Major General Valentin (Ret.) Professor, General Staff Academy
Lebed, Major General Alexander (Ret.) former Secretary of the Security Council
Lebedev, Major General Youri V. (Ret.) former Deputy Chief, Department of General Staff,
USSR Armed Forces
Makarevsky, Major General Vadim (Ret.) Deputy Chief, Kouibyshev Military Engineering
Medvedev, Lt. General Vlad~rmr (Ret.) Chief. Center of Nuclear Threat Reduction
Mikhailov, Colonel General Georg~· (Ret.) former Deputy Chief, Department of General Staff,
USSR Armed Forces
Nozhin Major General Eugenq (Ret.) former Deputy Chief Department of General Staff, USSR
Rokhlin Lt. General Lev (Ret.) Chair, Duma Defense Committee; former Commander, Russian 4th
Sleport, Lt. General Ivan (Ret.) former Chief, Department of General Staff, USSR Armed Forces
Simonyan, Major General Rair (Ret.) Head of Chair, General Staff Academy
Surikov, General Boris T., (Ret.) former Chief Specialist, Defense Ministry
Tehervov, Colonel General Nikolay (Ret.) former Chief, Department of General Staff USSR
Vinogradov, Lt. General Michael S. (Ret.) former Deputy Chief, Operational Strategic Center,
USSR General Staff
Zoubkov, Rear Admiral Radiy (Ret.) Chief, Navigation, USSR Navy
Karunaratne, Major General Upali A. (Ret.) (Sri Lanka)
Silva, Major General C.A.M.N., (Ret.) USF, U.S.A. WC (Sri Lanka)
Lupogo, Major General H. C. (Ret.) former Chief Inspector General, Tanzania Armed Forces
Beach, General Sir Hugh (Ret.) Member, U. K. Security Commission
Carver, Field Marshal Lord Michael (Ret.) Commander in Chief for East British Army
(1967-1969), Chief of General Staff (1971-73) Chief of Defence Staff (1973-76)
Harbottle, Brigadier Michael (Ret.) former Chief of Staff, UN Peacekeeping Force, Cyprus
Mackie, Air Commodore Alistair (Ret.) former Director Air Staff Briefing
Becton, Lt. General Julius (USA) (Ret.)
Bums, Maj. General William F. (USA) (Ret.) JCS Representative, INF Negotiations (1981-88)
Special Envoy to Russia for Nuclear Weapon Dismantlement (1992-93)
Carroll, Jr., Rear Admiral Eugene J. (USN) (Ret.) Deputy Director, Center for Defense
Cushman, Lt. General John H. (USA) (Ret.) Commander, I. Corps (ROK/US) Group (Korea)
Galvin, General John R., Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1987-92)
Gavler, Admiral Noel (USN) (Ret.) former Commander, Pacific
Homer, General Charles A. (USAF) (Ret.) Commander, Coalition Air Forces, Desert Storm
(1991); former Commander U. S. Space Command
James, Rear Admiral Robert G. (USNR) (Ret.)
Kingston, General Robert C. (USA) (Ret.) former Commander. U.S. Central Command
Lee, Vice Admiral John M. (USN) (Ret.)
Odom, Gen. William E. (USA)(Ret.) Director, National Security Studies, Hudson Institute; Deputy
Assistant and Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (1981-85); Director, National Security
O’Meara, General Andrew (USA) (Ret.) former Commander U.S. Army, Europe
Pursley, Lt. General Robert E., USAF (Ret.)
Read, Vice Admiral William L. (USN) (Ret.), former Commander, U.S. Navy Surface Force,
Rogers, General Bemard W. (USA) (Ret.), former Chief of Staff, U.S, Army, former NATO
Supreme Allied Commander(1979-87)
Seignious, II, Lt. General George M. (USA) (Ret.), former Director Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency (1978-1980)
Shanahan, Vice Admiral John J. (USN) (Ret.) Director, Center for Defense Information
Smith, General William Y., (USAF) (Ret.) former Deputy Commander, U.S. Command Europe
Wilson, Vice Admiral James B (CSN) (Ret.), former Polaris Submarine Captain.