Issue No. 23, February 1998
Nuclear Abolition Statement by International Civilian
The abolition statement by international civilian leaders, made
public on 2 February 1998 by General Lee Butler and the State of
the World Forum - the full text of which follows this article -
follows the pattern set by the two widely noted statements made by
retired generals and admirals made public in late 1996 by General
Andrew Goodpaster, General Butler and the Forum. Like the military
professionals, the civilian leaders advocate that specific steps be
taken now to reduce ongoing nuclear weapon dangers still facing us
all after the end of the Cold War, and they urge that the nuclear
powers declare umabiguously that their goal is eventual abolition.
An Assessment and An Appeal
By Alan Cranston
The unexpected and surprising position taken by so many
prominent generals gave a significant boost to the abolition cause.
Drafted by leaders from several lands, primarily Americans and
Russians, the civilian statement is designed to do likewise.
Leaders are still adding their names to it. So far, as of 4 March,
128 noted individuals from 48 nations have signed it, including 52
past or present Presidents and Prime Ministers.Many of these heads
of State guided their nations during the Cold War.
Among the signatories are former heads of State or Government
from four of the five declared nuclear powers: Prime Minister
Michel Rocard of France, President Mikhail Gorbachev and Prime
Minister Egor Gaidar of the Soviet Union and Russia, Prime Minsiter
Lord James Callaghan of the UK, and President Jimmy Carter of the
US. All of these men are active today in public affairs.
China, the fifth nuclear power, is represented by two people,
one a prominent leader of what the Chinese uniquely call a GONGO -
a Government Organized Non-Governmental Organization. China's
official policy was stated at the UN on 25 September, 1996, by
Vice-President and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen who said, "We
always stand for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction
of nuclear weapons."
The three principal nations under the nuclear 'umbrella' are
represented by former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of Germany, former
Prime Minister Shin Hyon-Hwak of Korea and - not surprisingly -
five former prime ministers of Japan, including the most recent,
Tomiichi Murayama. These, too, remain active in public life. All
five Japanese are members of the Diet at present. Particularly
notable among the present heads of State on the list are President
Nelson Mandela of South Africa, leader of the only nation to
develop its own nuclear weapons and then abandon them, and
President Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia, who as Soviet Foreign
Minister did so much, along with President Gorbachev, President
Reagan, and Secretary of State Schultz, to reverse the superpower
nuclear arms race.
Also signatories are leaders of four nations known to have
commenced and then abandoned programs to develop nuclear weapons:
former president Raul Alfonsin of Argentina, former prime Ministers
Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating of Australia, former Prime Minister
Jose Sarney of Brazil, and present Prime Minister Goran Persson of
Sweden and his predecessor, Ingvar Carlsson. Also from Australia is
Ambassador Richard Butler, who today as Chair of the UN Special
Commission is directing the search for weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq. Butler signed the civilian statement before taking on the
Among the signatories are past and present heads of State and
important figures from other countries playing particularly active
roles in the movement to steer the world toward abolition,
countries such as Costa Rica, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and Sri
Lanka that view this effort as vitally necessary if proliferation
is to be prevented. One of the Sri Lankan signatories is Ambassador
Jayantha Dhanapala, who is heading the international diplomatic
team in the Iraq weapon search. Like Ambassador Butler, Dhanapala
signed the statement prior to his UN appointment.
No past or present head of State was enlisted from the three
threshold nuclear States where ambiguity about nuclear matters is
deemed so important, India, Israel and Pakistan. However, prominent
individuals are on the list from each of those nations.
Various individuals and NGOs in several countries and on several
continents and islands lent a significant hand in signing up these
leaders. It is clear that only lack of sufficient time and adequate
access prevented many more countries and eminences from appearing
among the signatories. The very task of seeking them out - and,
when necessary, convincing them to sign on - in itself promotes the
goal of abolition. Since gathering additional appropriate civilian
signatures would strengthen the statement and the cause, we would
welcome any efforts to add past or present heads of State, foreign
and defense ministers, parliamentary leaders, and other prominent
individuals whose qualifications and experience are comparable to
those already enlisted. I thank those of you reading these words
for whatever you might do to this end. We do not need actual
signatures, just authority to use names. The names, past and
present titles, affiliations and countries of any leaders who
authorize adding their names to the statement should be sent
STATE OF THE WORLD FORUM
PO Box 29434
San Francisco, CA 94129
A few days after the release of the civilian statement in
Washington, Moscow, and elsewhere, I traveled to Moscow with
several other Americans for discussions with Russian leaders and
experts from other countries regarding nuclear weapons and other
matters related to global security. Great interest was shown in the
statement and its proposals.
In these meetings and conversations - part of a systematic,
ongoing effort to explore nuclear issues with decision makers and
opinion leaders in key countries - the incredible financial cost to
the US and to Russia of these weapons came up repeatedly. The
difficulty Russia will face in maintaining not only the shrinking
arsenal of nuclear weapons authorized in START II, if ratified, but
even the lower levels agreed to at Helsinki by Clinton and Yeltsin
as targets for START III, was stressed. Cited in turn was the total
cost to the US of nuclear weapons and related expenditures since
1940, now estimated at $6 trillion, and a forthcoming estimate by
the Brookings Institute that the cost in this year's US budget will
exceed $34 billion. This led to discussions of whether nuclear
weapons really have any military or political value in today's
world. This point was considered in the context of the fact that
the US and Russia have traded positions on nuclear weapons: during
the Cold War the US placed primary reliance upon nuclear forces
because of a perceived relative weakness in conventional forces,
while now it is Russia that places primary reliance upon nuclear
forces because of a perceived weakness in conventional forces. It
was acknowledged that this new Russian posture led Russia to
abandon the Soviet Union's No First Use policy, and threatens to
impede progress toward reducing mutual reliance on nuclear weapons.
Several Russians expressed the belief, however, that these problems
are transitory and in time will recede as the long road to
abolition is traversed.
Jonathan Schell, the eloquent and thoughtful author of several
remarkable books on nuclear weapons and the editor of the recent
special issue of The Nation devoted to abolition, was a
member of the US delegation, and several times he and I pointed out
the following little noted fact: All five nations possessing
nuclear weapons have refrained from using them while losing wars to
nations that did not possess nuclear weapons: the US in Vietnam,
the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, China in Vietnam, France in
Algeria, the UK at Suez.
"You can add Chechnya to the list," muttered one Russian.
Another remarked, "The weapons are not only useless militarily,
they are useless politically as well. Who is now going to believe
the threats that they might be used under almost any circumstances
that can be imagined?"
In a public appearance in Washington on February 5, 1998, Robert
McNamara rattled off the names of every US president since Harry
Truman and flatly declared that no one of them under any
circumstances would have ordered first use of nuclear weapons.
McNamara told Jonathan Schell in a recent interview that while
serving as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and
Johnson, he advised both to threaten to follow NATO policy to
resort to nuclear weapons if the Soviets launched a conventional
attack on Western Europe - but that he also told them:
"Don't ever do it...even if the Soviet Warsaw Pact is, in fact,
overrunning West Germany."
McNamara also said that during the Cuban missile crisis - in
which he played a central role - the US and Russia "came within a
hairbreadth of nuclear war" due to misinformation and
It is increasingly recognized that other incidents - many of
them - have brought the world close to accidental nuclear war, and
that there is a rising threat that nuclear weapons will be acquired
by terrorists, rogues, or criminals who will not be likely to share
the compunctions that have prevented any leader of a nation
possessing nuclear weapons from ordering their use since World War
In is facts like these - above all the continuing reliance upon
deterrence by the US, Russia and other nations, and the realization
that if it ever fails the consequences will be apocalyptic - that
are causing so many leaders to speak out for ridding the world of
nuclear weapons. More leaders from other realms, leaders whose
views cannot be ignored, will be heard from in the time ahead.
Alan Cranston represented California in the US Senate
frrom 1969 to 1993. He is Chair of the State of the World Forum and
the Gorbachev Foundation USA.
Full Text of Statement "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
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
- Remove nuclear weapons from alert status, separate them from
their delivery vehicles, and place them in secure national
- Halt production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.
- End nuclear testing, pending entry into force of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
- Launch immediate US/Russian negotiations toward further, deep
reductions of their nuclear arsenals, irrespective of START II
- Unequivocal commitment by the other declared and undeclared
nuclear-weapon States to join the reduction process on a
proportional basis as the US and Russia approach their arsenal
levels, within an international system of inspection, verification,
- 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
- Commit to No First Use of nuclear weapons.
- Ban production and possession of large, long-range ballistic
- Account for all materials needed to produce nuclear weapons,
and place them under international safeguards.
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."
On the day of its release - 2 February - the Statement had
attracted 117 signatures. By 4 March, the total had risen to 128,
from the following 48 States:
Argentina (1): Raul Alfonsin, Former President
Australia (6): Malcolm Fraser, Former Prime Minister; Paul
J. Keating, Former Prime Minister; Gough Whitlam, Former Prime
Minister & Foreign Minister; Kim C. Beazley, Leader of the
Opposition & Former Deputy Prime Minister; Richard Butler,
Ambassador to UN, Chair, UN Special Commission on Iraq, Chair,
Canberra Commission; Gareth Evans, Former Foreign Minister &
Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
Bangladesh (2): A.D.M.S. Chuwdhury, Deputy Opposition Leader
& Former Deputy Prime Minister; Muhammad Yunus, Managing
Director, Grameen Bank.
Brazil (1): Jose Sarney, Former Prime Minister.
Bulgaria (3): Nicolai Dobrev, Chair, National Security
Committee & Former Minister of Interior; Nicolai Kamov, Chair,
Foreign Affairs Committee; Dimitra Pavlov, Minister of Defense.
Canada (2): Pierre Trudeau, Former Prime Minister; Douglas
Roche, Former Ambassador for Disarmament.
Chile (1): Juan Somavia, Ambassador to UN.
China (2): Qian Jiadong, Former Chinese Ambassador to UN;
Chen Jifeng, Secretary General, Chinese People's Association for
Peace and Disarmament
Colombia (1): Micael Pastrana Borrero, Former President
(Deceased August 1997).
Costa Rica (5): Jose Figueres, President; Oscar Arias,
Former President; Rodrigo Carazo, Former President; Rebeca Grynspan
Mayufis, Second Vice President; Rodrigo Oreamuno B., First Vice
Cyprus (1): George Vassiliou, Former President.
Egypt (1): Esmat Abdul Meguid, Secretary General, League of
Arab States & Former Foreign Minister.
Finland (1): Kalevi Sorsa, Former President.
France (2): Michel Rocard, Former Prime Minister; Jacques
Attali, Former Special Advisor to President Mitterand.
Georgia (1): Eduard A. Shevardnadze, President.
Germany (10): Helmut Schmidt, Former Chancellor; Hans
Modrow, Former Prime Minister, East Germany; Egon Bahr, Former
Minister for Special Affairs; Angelika Beer, Spokesperson for
Defense, Alliance 90/Green Party; Alfred Dregger, Hon. Chair,
Christian Democratic Party; Hans Koschnik, Former Administrator,
European Union, Mostar; Markus Meckel, Former Foreign Minister,
East Germany; Dr. Walter Romberg, Former Minister of Finances, East
Germany; Lothar Spath, Former Minister-President,
Baden-Wurttemberg; Hans-Jochen Vogel, Former Mayor, Berlin, Former
Minister of Justice & Former Chair, Social Democratic
Hungary (1): Ervin Laszlo, Founder and President, Club of
India (1): Dr.Karan Singh, Former Ambassador to the US &
Former Cabinet Minister.
Italy (1): Giuliano Amato, Former Prime Minister.
Israel (1): Yael Dayan, Member, Knesset.
Japan (12): Tsutomu Hata, Former Prime Minister; Morihiro
Hosokawa, Former Prime Minister; Kiichi Miyazawa, Former Prime
Minister; Tomiichi Murayama, Former Prime Minister; Noboru
Takeshita, Former Prime Minister; Takako Doi, Former Speaker, House
of Representatives; 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; Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel
Laureate. Kyrgyz Republic (3): Askar Akaev, President;
Muratbek S. Imanaliev, Foreign Minister; Rosa Otunbaeva, Former
Foreign Minister, Ambassador to UK.
Lebanon (1): Sadim El Hoss, Former Prime Minister.
Malaysia (1): Ismail Razali, President, UN General
Mexico (1): Miguel de la Madrid, Former President.
Mongolia (2): Punsalmaa Ochirbat, Former President; Jalbuu
Choinhor, Ambassador to US.
Namibia (1): Sam Junoma, President.
Nauru (3): Lagumont Harris, Former President; Ruben Kun,
Former President; David Peter, Former Speaker, Parliament.
Netherlands (9): Ruud Lubbers, Former Prime Minister;
Andries van Agt, Former Prime Minister; E. Korthals Altes, Former
Ambassador to Madrid; A.L. ter Beek, Former Minister of Defence; J.
van Houwelingen, Former Deputy Minister of Defence; J.G.
Kraaijeveld-Wouters, Former Deputy Minister of Culture; 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
New Zealand (2): David Lange, Former Prime Minister; Sir
Geoffrey Palmer, Former Prime Minister.
Northern Ireland (1): Mairead Maguire, Honorary President,
Peace People, Nobel Peace Laureate.
Pakistan (2): Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, Former UN High
Commissioner for Refugees; Mahbub ul Haq, President, Human
Development Centre, Former Minister of Finance.
Panama (1): Ricardo de la Espriella, Former President.
Philippines (1): Corazon Aquino, Former President.
Portugal (1): Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo, Former Prime
Minister. Republic of Korea (1): Shin Hyon-Hwak, Former
Russia (9): Egor Gaidar, Former Prime Minister; Mikhail
Gorbachev, former President of the USSR; Georgi Arbatov, President,
Governing Board, Institute of USA and Canada; Alexander
Bessmertnykh, Former Soviet Foreign Minister; Vitaly Goldansky,
President, Russian Pugwash Committee; Roland Timerbaev, Former
Permanent Representative of the USSR and Russia in IAEA; Oleg
Troynavsky, Former USSR Representative to the UN; Evgeny Velikhov,
Member, National Security Council; Alexander N. Yakovlev, Former
Member, Politburo, Principal Domestic Advisor to President
South Africa (4): Nelson Mandela, President; Thabo Mbeki,
Executive Deputy President; F.W. De Klerk, Former President; Bishop
Spain (2): Enrique Baron Crespo, Former President, European
Parliament; Fernando Moran Lopez, Former Foreign Minister.
Sri Lanka (3): A.T. Ariyaratne, Leader, Sarvodaya Movement;
Anura Bandaranaike, Former Minister of Education & Former
Leader of Opposition; Jayantha Dhanapala, President, NPT Review and
Suriname (1): I.M. Djwalapersad, Speaker, Assembly.
Sweden (3): Goran Persson, Prime Minister; Ingvar Carlsson,
Former Prime Minister; Maj Britt Theorin Former Chair, UN
Commission of Experts on Nuclear Weapons
Tanzania (4): Al Hassan Mwinyi, Former President; Julius K.
Nyerere, Former President; Salim Ahmed Salim, Former Prime
Minister; Joseph Warioba, Former Prime Minister.
Thailand (1): Anand Panyarachun, Former Prime Minister.
Uganda (4): Milton Obote, Former President; 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.
United Kingdom (4): Lord James Callaghan, Former Prime
Minister; Lord Denis Healey, Former Secretary of Defense &
Chancellor of Exchequer; John Edmonds, Former Chief Negotiator,
CTBT & Former Head, Arms Control & Disarmament, Foreign
Office; Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate.
United States (5): Jimmy Carter, Former President; Robert
McNamara, Former Secretary of Defense; Paul H.Nitze, Former Deputy
Secretary of Defense & Former Ambassador-at-Large on Arms
Control; Elliot Richardson, Former Secretary of Defense; Cyrus
Vance, Former Secretary of State.
Zimbabwe (1): Dr. Robert Mugabe, President.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.
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