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Statement by Civilian Leaders

Calling for Negotiations on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

The following statement was released to the press on 6 August 1998. Drafted by Jonathan Schell and David Cortright as a response to the nuclear crisis in South Asia, the Appeal is an urgent plea for greater progress toward the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons.

The nuclear tests in South Asia have jarred the world into new awareness of nuclear danger. They have demonstrated unmistakably the peril of nuclear proliferation and the weakness of international measures of control. They have also cast harsh new light on the persistence of the arsenals of the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, and France, who jointly possess some 35,000 nuclear weapons. These two main components of nuclear danger--proliferation on the one hand, and the remaining cold war arsenals on the other--can no longer be considered in isolation. They must be addressed together.

To this end, we call for negotiations to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons in a series of well defined stages accompanied by increasing verification and control. We direct our appeal especially to the nuclear powers, to confirm and implement their existing commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons in Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. India has declared a moratorium on tests and its willingness to give up nuclear weapons in the context of a global plan for their elimination. Today, only a commitment to nuclear abolition can realistically halt nuclear proliferation.

The tests of South Asia pose great danger but, against the background of the end of the cold war, they have also created an opportunity that must not be missed to take action that can at last free the world of nuclear danger. The hour is late, and the time for action is now.



Jimmy Carter
Former President of the United States

Mikhail Gorbachev
Former President of the USSR, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Oscar Arias Sanchez
Former President of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Alan Cranston
Former California Senator, Now serving as Chair of the State of the World Forum

Morton Halperin
Former National Security Council Staff


Joseph Rotblat
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Douglas Roche, O.C.
Former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament

Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll
Center for Defense Information

Jonathan Dean
Advisor on International Security Issues, Union of Concerned Scientists

Daniel Ellsberg
Director, Manhattan Project II

Mark O. Hatfield
Former U.S. Senator from Oregon

Marcus Raskin
Institute for Policy Studies

Most Revered Walter Sullivan
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond,
President of Pax Christi, USA

Admiral Noel Gayler
United States Navy (ret.)







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