Letter to US Senators Daschle, Biden, and Levin on ABM Treaty, Nuclear Weapons Policy

April 19, 2002

Dear Senators Daschle, Biden, and Levin,

The undersigned organizations and parliamentarians, representing large numbers of people from around the world, write to you to express our concern over the proposed withdrawal from the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty by the Bush administration, and our concern over the direction of US nuclear weapons policy as expressed in the recent nuclear posture review. This, combined with what seems to be a trend toward unilateral actions on a variety of fronts, can only serve to decrease the confidence of long-term US allies in US policy direction.

We strongly urge the Senate to do all that is in its power to prevent a withdrawal from the ABM treaty.

We further urge the Senate to impress on the administration the vital need for the US to demonstrate its determination to implement its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), especially Article VI, and the final document of the Year 2000 NPT Review Conference. In the light of recent revelations from the nuclear policy review this is now more important than ever.

The 2000 NPT Review Conference Final Document committed nuclear weapon states to an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. It also urged the '...early entry into force and the full implementation of START-II and the conclusion of START-III as soon as possible while preserving and strengthening the ABM treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability and as a basis for further reductions of strategic offensive weapons in accordance with its provisions'.

The US should not lightly set aside either the ABM treaty, or its obligations under the nearly universal NPT. The Senate has a clear duty and the power to ensure that it does not do so.

At a time when the US is working with a broad- based coalition of nations (including Russia and China) in the struggle against terrorism, unilateral withdrawal from an important arms- control treaty sends a very negative signal to the rest of the world. Now more than ever, the US should be mindful of its international treaty obligations.

In the post-cold-war era, it is important to proceed with Russia toward the total and unequivical elimination of nuclear arsenals, and to immediately remove weapons systems from launch on warning status.

The agreements proposed for finalising in Moscow and Petersburg 23-25 May do not do this. The deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system will make it unlikely that such an agreement can be reached. Already, the Russian Duma has passed a motion urging the Russian government to examine Russia's military options in response to the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.

The deployment of a US BMD system will also give China a pretext to further upgrade its nuclear missiles, from the current 20 single- warhead ICBMs to a system with 200 much more sophisticated warheads. This is not in the security interests of the US.

The deployment of a US BMD system would have been of no utility whatsoever in preventing the terrible events of 11 September 2001. Such a system is of no relevance to the real security needs of the US, but diverts vital funding and attention from the measures that are truly required.

The US Congress had to approve the ABM treaty before it became the law of the United States. In 1798 when the US had to withdraw from a treaty with France, the then President John Adams, signed an act of Congress to withdraw from treaty obligations. In 1846, Congress had to pass a joint resolution to withdraw from a treaty with the UK. The administration arguably does not by itself have the power to abrogate the ABM Treaty in the face of clear opposition from Congress.

A number of key US Senators have strongly expressed opposition to US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, and rightly so. It is vital that the good statements that have been made by you be translated into action.

There are a number of clear actions that the US should be taking instead of withdrawing from the ABM Treaty.

It is unfortunate and alarming that the current nuclear posture review seems to assume that nuclear weapons will remain a part of the US strategic posture indefinitely, and envisages even the development of new varieties of nuclear weapon. This is directly contrary to US obligations under the NPT as reinforced by the final document of the year 2000 NPT Review Conference.

We urge you to impress on other Senators and the Bush administration that the US, instead of proceeding to withdrawal from the ABMTreaty, should instead place the highest priority on the implementation of its obligations under Article VI of the NPT and the 13 points of the final document of the NPT Review Conference, on which international attention will be focussed at the NPT Prepcom of 8-19 April.

To Reiterate:
--The US should be seen to be clearly proceeding toward the implementation of its NPT obligations, to accomplish the total and unequivocal elimination of its nuclear arsenal.

--We strongly urge the Senate to do all in its power to prevent withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.

Signed:

INTERNATIONAL GROUPS

Mary Wynne-Ashford, Co-Chair, John Loretz Program Director, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), Victoria BC, Canada/Boston, USA,
William Peden, Disarmament Campaigner, Greenpeace International, London, UK,
Daria Cave, General Secy, Womens International League for Peace and Freedom International Office (WILPF-International), Geneva,
Colin Archer, International Peace Bureau (IPB) Geneva,
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (Globenet), Gainesville Fl, USA,
Lorraine Krofchock, Director, Grandmothers for Peace International, Elk Grove, Calif, USA,
Pol D' Huyvetter, For Mother Earth International, Ghent, Belgium,
Per de Rijk, World Information Service on Energy (WISE), Amsterdam, NL,
Peter Weiss, President, Phon Van Den Biesen, Secy, International Association on Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), The Hague, Neth,
Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Matalavea (Faga), Anglican Observer at the United Nations, 'on behalf of 73million Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world'
Rev. Vernon C. Nichols, President, NGO Committee on Disarmament, UN, NY,
David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), Santa Barbara, Calif, USA,
Dr. Rosalie Bertell (Recipient of the MacBride Peace Prize, International Peace Bureau, 2001 UNEP 500 Laureate 1993 Recipient of the Right
Livelihood Award 1986) International Institute for Concern for Public Health, Toronto, Canada,
Virginia Baron, International President, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, (IFOR), Alkmar, Neth,
Karen Talbot, International Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ), San Francisco USA,
Regina Hagen, Coordinator, International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP) Darmstadt, Germany,

UNITED STATES GROUPS

Robert K Musil PHD MPH, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Washington, DC, USA,
Andrew Harris MD, Past President, PSR,
John Burroughs, Executive Director, Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy (LCNP), New York, NY, USA,
James K. Galbraith, Chair, Economists Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR) NY,
Sally Light, Executive Director, Nevada Desert Experience, Las Vegas, NV, USA,
Carol Wolman, Nuclear Peace Action Group, Albion, Calif, USA,
Ellen Thomas Proposition One Committee Washington DC USA,
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director,Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment), Livermore, CA USA,
Mary Olson, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, (NIRS) Wash, DC.,
Bill Smirnow, Nuclear Free New York, Huntington, New York, USA
Steve Malkus, Project Catalyst, Falmouth, Ma, USA,
Robert M. Gould, MD, President, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), Berkley, USA,
Ed Arnold, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA,
Peter Wilk, Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine,
Alice Slater, GRACE Public Fund, NY, USA,
Dr Kathleen Sullivan, Nuclear Weapons Education and Action Project, NY, USA,
Stephen Kobasa, Trident Resistance Network, New Haven, Ct, USA,
Robert Alpern, Sonoma County Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, CA, USA,
Bob Kinsey, Peace and Justice Task Force, United Church of Christ, Rocky Mountain Conference, Colo, USA,
Andrew Greenblatt, Coordinator, Religious Leaders for Sensible Priorities, NY, USA,
Scott Kennedy, Chair, National Council, Fellowship of Reconciliation, NY,
Stacey Fritz, Nonukes North, Fairbanks, Alaska,
Andrew Hund, Coordinator, Alaska Arctic Environmental Defense Fund, Anchorage, Alaska, USA,
Alfred L. Marder, US Peace Council, NY,
Wilson(Woody) Powell, National Administrator, Veterans for Peace, St Louis, Mo,
Molly Johnson, Coordinator, Grandmothers for Peace San-Luis Obispo, Calif, USA,
Myra Breshanan, Earth Day New York, USA,
Elise Harvey, Lansing Area Peace Education Center, Lansing, Mich, USA,
Harvey Wasserman, Citizens Protecting Ohio, Ohio, USA,
Dave Kraft, Nuclear Energy Information Service, Evanston, IL USA.
Eric Garis, Director, Antiwar.com, USA,
Preston Truman -Director, Downwinders, Idaho, USA,
Jonathan Mark, Flyby News, Florida,
Norman Cohen, Executive Director, Coalition for Peace and Justice, NJ,
Greg Mello, Director, Los Alamos Study Group (LASG), Santa Fe, NM,
James C. Allen MD, Veterans for Peace Chapter 25, Madison, Wisc,
Michael J. Keegan, Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, Monroe, Mich,
Corrinne Carey, Don't Waste Michigan,
Keith Gunter, Citizens Resistance at Fermi-Two,
Fern Katz, Womens Action for New Directions (WAND)Metro Detroit, Detroit,
Mary Day Kent, Executive Director, Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) USA, Philadelphia, PA,
Rear-Admiral Eugene J. Carrol, USN(Retd), Vice Chair CDI(Pers Capy)
Hyman Rudoff, (Physicist, Ex-Manhattan Project), Los Alamos,

CANADIAN GROUPS
Peter Stoffer MP Sackville-Musquodboit Valley, Ottawa, Canada,
Svend Robinson, MP Burnaby-Douglas Ottawa, Canada
Jennifer Simons, President, Simons Foundation, BC, Canada,
Hannah Newcombe, Director, Peace Research Institute, Dundas Ontario, Canada,
Neil Arya, President, Ross Willcock, Physicians for Global Survival(PGS), Canada,
Carolyn Bassett, Coordinator, Canadian Peace Alliance, Canada,
Sara Estabrooks, Project Ploughshares, Ontario, Canada,
Gordon Edwards, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR)Montreal,
Joan Russow, Global Compliance Research Project, Victoria BC, Canada,
Stacey Chappel, Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group, Vancouver, BC, Canada,

UK GROUPS
Commander Robert D Green, Royal Navy (Retd) International Chair, World Court Project UK,
Peter Nicholls, Chair, Abolition 2000 UK,
Carol Naughton, Chair, CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) Lond, UK,
Anna Cheetham, Chair, Leicester Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,
Neil Kingsnorth/Dave Webb, Yorkshire CND,
Jenny Maxwell, West Midlands CND(WMCND), UK,
Jill Stallard, CND-Cymru, Wales,
Camille Warren, Greater Manchester and District CND,
David Platt, Christian CND, Lond, UK.,
Lindis Percy and Anni Rainbow Joint Co-ordinators CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF AMERICAN BASES (CAAB), Yorkshire, UK,
Helen John, Menwith Hill Women, Menwith Hill, Yorks, UK,
Sian Jones, Aldermaston Womens Peace Campaign, AWE, Berkshire, UK.,
Peter J. Davies, US Rep, Saferworld, UK.,
Di Mc Donald, Nuclear Information Service, Southampton, UK,
Elizabeth Compton, Vice-Chair, Fellowship of Reconciliation, UK,
Andrew Tanner, SMILE Tribe International, Cornwall, UK
David Drew MP, House of Commons, UK,
Frank Cook, MP for Stockton North House of Commons, UK,
Caroline Lucas MEP for SE England, Green Party, UK,

GERMAN GROUPS
Xanthe Hall, IPPNW-Germany, Berlin, Germany,
Hans-Peter Richter, German Peace Council,
Anette Merkelbach, Darmstaedter Friedensforum (Germany),
Roland Blach, Gewaltfrieie Aktion Atomwaffen Abschaffen Kornwesthiem,
Markus Pfluger, AGF-Trier, Germany,
Roland Blach, Landesgeschaftsführer
Deutsche-Friedens-Gesselschaft-Vereinigte Kriegsdienstgegner Innen Baden-Wurtemberg,
Hiltrud Breyer MEP,
Maria Reichl, President, Centre for Encounter and Active Nonviolence, Bad Ischl, Austria,

NETHERLANDS GROUPS
Martin Broek, Campagne Tegen Wapenhandel Amsterdam, Neth,
Karel Koster, Project on European Nuclear Nonproliferation (PENN), Neth,
Dr J.P. Feddema MP, Green-Left, Neth,

BELGIAN GROUPS
Eloi Glorieux, MP(Greens) Flemish Parliament, Belgium,
Peter Vanhoutte MP, Belgian Chamber of Representatives, Brussels, Belg,
Claudine Drion MP(Greens) Brussels, Belgium,
Zoe Genot, Federal MP, Greens(Ecolo), Belgium,
Leen Laenens MP, Brussels, Belgium,
Mich Crols, Forum Voor Vredesaktie, Belgium,

OTHER EUROPEAN GROUPS
Ospaaal-Solidaridad, Madrid, Spain,
Jordi Armadans, Director, Fundacio Per La Pau, Barcelona, Spain,
Alba Circle Nonviolent Peace Movement, Hungary,
Malla Kantola, Committee of 100, Helsinki, Finland,
Poul-Eck Sorensen, Peace Movement of Esbjerg, Esbjerg, Denmark,
Birgit Horn, Women for Peace, Denmark,
Thor Magnusson, Peace 2000 Institute, Reykjavik, Iceland,
Prof Bent Natvig, Chair, Norwegian Pugwash Committee, Oslo, Norway,
Bjorn Hildt, Norwegian Physicians Against Nuclear Weapons (IPPNW-Norway), Trondhiem, Norway,
Maj-Britt Theorin MEP, Sweden,(President, International Peace Bureau)

RUSSIAN GROUPS
Prof Sergei Grachev, Academician Sergei Kolesnikov (Member State Duma), IPPNW-Russia,
Prof Alexi Yablokov, President, Centre for Russian Environmental Policy, Moscow, Russia,
Vladimir Slivyak, co-chair, Ecodefense, Moscow, Russia,
Jennie Sutton, Baikal Environmental Wave, Irkutsk, Russia,
Dr Vyacheslav Sharov, Ural State Medical Academy, Chelyabinsk, Russia,
Dr.Valery Sukhanov, Chief Director, MediTrust (Chelyabinsk , Russia)
Oleg Bodrov, Chairman,NGO Green World, St. Petersburg region, RUSSIA Ecological North-West Line, St Petersburg, Russia,

Victor Khazan Member of Verkhovna Rada (Parliament of Ukraine),
Victor Khazan, Friends of the Earth Ukraine,
Ilya Trombitsky, BIOTICA Ecological Association, Moldova,

Farida Huseynova, Chairperson, Azerbaijan Green Movement, Baku, Azerbaijan

FRENCH GROUPS
Solange Fernex, Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), France, Paris, France,
Daniel Durand,Secy, Mouvement de la Paix, Paris, France,
Jean-Marie Matagne, President, Action des Citoyens pour le Desarmement Nucleaire (ACDN),
Dominique Lalanne, Stop-Essais, Paris, France,
Bruno Barrilot, Director, Nuclear Weapons Observatory, France,

ASIAN, AFRICAN, & LATIN-AMERICAN GROUPS
Bahig Nassar, Coordinator, Arab Coordination Centre of NGOs, Cairo, Egypt,
Ron Mc Coy, Malaysian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia,
Bishan Singh, President, Sustainable Development Network, (SUSDEN), Malaysia,
Longgena Ginting, WALHI-Friends of the Earth Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia,
Harley, Executive Director, Forum for the Environment (WALHI), Central Sulawesi, INDONESIA,
Prof M. Ismail, Chair, RISE-Peshawar, Pakistan,
Dr A. H. Nayyar, Pakistan Peace Coalition, Islamabad, Pakistan,
Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth/Environmental Rights Action Nigeria
Nam Abdul Hai, Secy General, Youth Approach to Development and Cooperation (YADC), Dhaka, Bangladesh,
Ammu Abraham, Womens Centre, Santa Cruz, Mumbai, India,
Myrla Baldonado, Coordinator, Alliance for Bases Cleanup (ABC), Quezon City, PHILIPPINES
Grace de Haro, APDH, Bariloche, Argentina,
Jean Patterson, LIMPA-Heredia, (WILPF) Costa-Rica,
Luis Gutierrez-Esparza, President, Latin American Circle for International Studies (LACIS) Mexico City (MEXICO)

JAPANESE GROUPS
Riko Asato, Japan Council Against A and H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo), Tokyo, Japan,
Satomi Oba, Plutonium Action Hiroshima, Hiroshima City, Japan,
Mari Takenouchi, Citizens Nuclear Information Centre (CNIC) Japan,

NEW ZEALAND GROUPS
Dr Kate Dewes, Disarmament & Security Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand,
Marion Hancock, Peace Foundation Aotearoa/NZ, Auckland, NZ,
Desmond Brough, Chair, National Consultative Committee on Disarmament and Peace, NZ,
Desmond Brough, President, Peace Council of Aotearoa/New Zealand
Peter Low, Quaker Peace and Service Action Committee, Aotearoa/NZ,
Alyn Ware, Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace, Aotearoa/NZ,
Roger Kemp, Quaker Peace and Service, Aotearoa/NZ.,
Margot Parkes/Simon Hales, Med Eco, Aotearoa/NZ,
Wellington Quakers Peace and Public Questions Committee, Aotearoa/NZ.,
Nelson Peace Group, Nelson, New Zealand,
John La Roche, National President, Engineers for Social Responsibility, Auckland, NZ
R.E. White, Deputy Director, Centre for Peace Studies, Auckland, NZ.,
Keith Locke MP, Greens, NZ.,

AUSTRALIAN GROUPS
Lee Rhiannon MLC, Greens, NSW, Aust,
Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja, Leader, Australian Democrats,
Senator Vicki Bourne, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Defence & Broadcasting, Australian Democrats Senator for NSW, Aust,
Senator Andrew Bartlett, Australian Democrats Senator for Qld, Aust,
Kelly Hoare MP, ALP Federal Member for Charlton, NSW, Aust,
Jill Hall MP, ALP Federal Member for Shortland, NSW, Aust,
Jann Mc Farlane MP, ALP Federal Member for Stirling, W.A.,
Sharon Grierson MP, ALP Federal Member for Newcastle, NSW,
Sue Wareham, President, Giji Gya, Executive Officer, Medical Association for the Prevention of War Australia (MAPWA),
Irene Gale AM, Australian Peace Committee, Adelaide, SA,
Jo Vallentine, People for Nuclear Disarmament W.A.,
Natalie Stevens, Campaigner, People for Nuclear Disarmament(PND) NSW, Surry Hills, NSW,
Michael Priceman, Nuclear Study Group, Sutherland Shire Environment Centre,
Joan Shears, Rally for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament Brisb, Aust,
Kirsten Blair and Mark Wakeham, Coordinators, Environment Centre of the Northern Territory(ECNT) Darwin, NT,
Jan Dixon, Big Scrub Environment Centre, Lismore, NSW,
Glenn Marshall, Coordinator, Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC), Alice Springs, NT,
Ray Richmond, Wayside Chapel, Uniting Church in Australia, Kings Cross, NSW,
Rev. Greg Thompson, St Johns Anglican Church, Darlinghurst,
Margaret Hinchley, Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace, Croydon Park, NSW, Aust,
Matt Skellern, National Environment Officer, National Union of Students, (NUS)
Cherie Hoyle, Urban Ecology Australia,
John Hallam, Nuclear Weapons Spokesperson, Friends of the Earth Australia