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Statement by Heads of State and Civilian Leaders Worldwide
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:

"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

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More on the Web
List of Signatories (Scroll down page)
Speech given by General Lee Butler
Abolition 2000 Home Page

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 weapon 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  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."

This statement was drafted by a number of leaders, from a number of lands, primarily Americans and Russians.

Leaders were signing it up to the last minute.  Altogether, when the list closed this morning, there were 117 signatures from 46 nations, including 47 past or present presidents and prime ministers.

Among them are former heads of state from four of the five declared nuclear powers:  Michel Rocard of France, Mikahil Gorbachev and Egor Gaidar of the Soviet Union and Russia, Lord James Callaghan of the U.K., and Jimmy Carter of the U.S.  China, the fifth nuclear power, is represented by a former ambassador and by a prominent leader of what the Chinese uniquely call a G.O.N.G.O. ¾ a Government Organized Non Governmental Organization.  China's official policy was stated at the U.N. on September 25, 1996, by Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen who said, "We always stand for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons."

The three principle nations under the nuclear "umbrella" are represented by former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of Germany, Shin Hyon-Hwak of Korea, and ¾ not surprisingly ¾ five former prime ministers of Japan including the most recent, Tomiichi Murayama.

Notable among present heads of state on the list is President Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia, who as Soviet Foreign Minister did so much, along with President Gorbachev, President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz, to reverse the super power nuclear arms race.

Prominent individuals from two of the three threshold nuclear states, Israel and Pakistan, signed on.  No one did from India, but India officially supports abolition ¾ on condition that a deadline be set for achieving it.  Two Indian Generals did sign the companion abolition statement made by professional military leaders a year ago.

The military statement gave new momentum to the drive to reduce and ultimately end nuclear dangers. We believe this civilian statement will further advance the cause.  General Butler, in his brief summary of progress since the generals spoke out, mentions the remarkably rapid spread of Nuclear Weapons Free Zones in a literal tidal wave of treaties that now covers the entire land area of the Southern Hemisphere and is headed north.  Maps are available at the press table showing the zones that have been formed and the more than 100 nations and areas they embrace.  All five nuclear powers are parties to the treaty establishing the Antarctic zone and have signed protocols to one or another of these treaties acknowledging that they are prohibited from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against the contracting parties.  All five, for diverse reasons, have also declined to sign such protocols to one or another of the treaties.

A leader of one nations in the African Zone, former President Obote of Uganda, signed the civilian statement but requested that we note his view that "small arms are a bigger problem to poor countries."

On this day when the latest federal budget is made public I want to note nuclear weapons have cost American taxpayers approximately $6 trillion dollars since 1940. According to a book, "Atomic Audit" edited by Stephen I. Schwartz and to be published by the Brookings Institution this spring, the cost in this year's budget will exceed over 34 billion. Over 24 billion of that sum will cover operation and maintenance of our nuclear arsenal.  This cost will not diminish significantly year after year into the future unless our present nuclear policies are revised in view of the changes in the world that followed the end of the Cold War. The statement by civilian leaders points the way not only to reductions in dangers but also to reductions in spending.

These world leaders propose a prudent path which can and should be embarked upon immediately.  They propose taking nuclear weapons off their present perilous hair-trigger alert posture, beginning immediate U.S./Russian negotiations towards deep reduction of nuclear arsenals irrespective of START II ratification, and working towards the ultimate goal of elimination.  The U.S. Government believes that the principle threat today to our national security lies in the clear and present danger that terrorists or rogue states will somehow acquire nuclear weapons ¾ and proceed to use them.  The measures these leaders propose ¾ particularly halting production of fissile materials, and placing all materials needed to produce nuclear weapons under international safeguards ¾ would increase national and world security and decrease the possibility of proliferation into irresponsible hands.

As these well-respected world leaders urge, "Let Us Begin."