Science for Peace Statement on the NPT and Nuclear Testing

NUCLEAR THREAT REBORN

The nuclear arms race, that central feature of the Cold War, is still with us. That is the message of the decision by France to resume testing in the Pacific. We believe the world will not be free of the threat of nuclear holocaust until every last nuclear weapon is destroyed, and it is in this wider context of nuclear disarmament that the behaviour of the nuclear-weapon States needs to be examined. We summarize very briefly the issues, and then ask you to consider joining yourself in protesting what is taking place.


On May 11 at the U.N., 175 states agreed to the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with no binding commitments on the nuclear powers to honour their obligations under that treaty. On the other hand, the agreement was secured on the understanding that various commitments would be honoured, as set out in the Statement of Principles and Objectives adopted by these states. These included that "the nuclear-weapon States reaffirm their commitment, as stated in Article VI, to pursue in good faith negotiations on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament", and (a) that they would seek a universal, comprehensive test-ban treaty (CTBT) by 1996, (b) and a convention banning production of fissile material for weapons, and (c) the promise of "determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of...efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating these weapons".

In the present state of the world, there can be NO ARGUMENT CONSISTENT WITH THESE COMMITMENTS for conducting further nuclear tests. On May 15 China tested a nuclear device, and in mid-June President Jacques Chirac announced that France would resume tests in the Pacific. This can only be seen as BAD FAITH, and outrage is being expressed throughout the world. Furthermore the other nuclear-weapon States, all signatory to the NPT, have been suspiciously unwilling to denounce France's decision: there is apprehension that they may be willing to join France in thumbing their noses at the non-nuclear states which, by signing the NPT extension, albeit in some cases under political or economic pressure, signified trust in their good faith. If so, we have begun a new round of the nuclear arms race.

A likely consequence will be the decision of some non-nuclear states to abandon their own NPT obligations; the resulting horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons will put many peoples and large regions of the world in mortal jeopardy.

Nor is this all. Although France and the other nuclear States are still affirming their intention of achieving a CTBT next year, there is already talk of allowing "small" tests (by which is meant the equivalent of several hundred tons of TNT) -- i.e. of replacing a Comprehensive by a Threshold Test Ban Treaty. For the nuclear-weapon States, with their sophisticated technology, this would allow full-scale weapon development. Any such move is completely inconsistent with their obligation under the NPT to seek "elimination of nuclear weapons". Indeed even non-nuclear explosions and mere computer simulations already pose serious threats in sophisticated and unscrupulous hands; these are further matters needing continued attention if we are ever to achieve nuclear DISarmament.

Science for Peace is only too well aware that, as Canadians, we bear some extra responsibility. In spite of the opposition of many citizens and NGOs, Canada played a significant part in securing the unconditional NPT extension, both by sponsoring the motion for its acceptance and by vigorous lobbying. Will not our country now be viewed as a mere tool of the nuclear-weapon States in a plan to hoodwink the non-nuclear States? If that is not a role it wants to accept, then Canada will have to denounce the bad faith of France in stronger terms than it has so far used, and to question aloud the sincerity of the other nuclear States.

We, Science for Peace, believe that the policy of the U.S.A. and its allies is to dominate the world for the foreseeable future, by military power backed by the implied or, if necessary, actual threat of nuclear weapons. Until that policy is altered, the long-tem outlook is bound to include eventual confrontation with a new nuclear superpower or alliance, and a return to the great risk of instant destruction of human civilization to which we were subjected for forty years of the Cold War.


WHAT YOU CAN DO

1. At the end of this page, you will find an abbreviated statement of the fears and outrage expressed above. Please feel free to make use of this letter. (Or if you prefer write your own.)

You will have friends and colleagues who may also wish to express their concerns on these matters. Please forward this material to as many others as possible.

The following are some relevant addresses (those for ambassadors other than the U.S.A. and Canada not being easily available to us):

France: 
President Jacques Chirac              FAX: 33-147-42-2465
Ambassador in Ottawa                  FAX: 613-789-0279
Ambassador in Washington              phone disconnected!!!

U.S.A.: 
President Bill Clinton                FAX: 202-456-2461
                                      e-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

China: 
Deng Xiaopeng                         FAX: ???
Ambassador in Ottawa                  FAX: 613-789-1412
Ambassador in Washington              TEL: 202-328-2500[2507]

U.K.: 
Prime Minister John Major             FAX: 44-171-930-1419
Foreign Secretary ???                 FAX: 44-171-270-2144
High Commissioner in Ottawa           FAX: 613-237-7980
Ambassador in Washington              FAX: 202-898-4255

Russia: 
President Boris Yeltsin               FAX: ???
Foreign Minister Andrezj Kozyrev      FAX: 7-095-2442-401
Ambassador to Canada                  FAX: 613-236-6342

Canada: 
Of interest only to Canadians, since Canada is not a nuclear power!
Prime Minister Jean Chretien          FAX: 613-957-5571
Please let us know promptly about any difficulties encountered with these addresses, and feel free to offer alternative suggestions, and especially e-mail addresses if you learn of them.

2. There are many additional protests underway. The following statement was drafted by some Japanese scientists and is being sent to Chirac with a list of people endorsing it (which already stood at 55,000 names from 102 countries as of August 19, 1995). (There is a world-wide web homepage on this initiative; it can be seen at http://www.iijnet.or.jp/nuke/.)

You can add your name to the list by sending a message expressing this wish to Science for Peace at sfp@physics.utoronto.ca.

More information about Science for Peace.

Text of statement:

"We strongly disapprove of the French Government's decision to restart nuclear tests. We are gathering names of people who think the French Government should should stop nuclear tests. We will send the list to Mr. Chirac, the President of France and the French Government to tell them that there are many people who think what France is doing is wrong."

3. The International Peace Bureau is sponsoring a BOYCOTT of French goods. For example, a serious cutback in the purchases of French wines and cheeses would certainly be noticed. In fact the business community in France is already expressing concern about the effects. Many Science for Peace members are observing this boycott.


Science for Peace Letter on the NPT and Nuclear Testing

Dear --------:

I write to express extreme dismay at the nuclear test by China on May 15 and at the announcement by France of an intention to resume nuclear tests in the Pacific. These acts run counter to the hope of people throughout the world for an end to the nuclear terror in which we still live.

They also run counter to solemn commitments made to the world in the agreement to extend the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which was renewed by all five nuclear-weapon States and one hundred and seventy other nations on May 11 at the United Nations. Let me remind you of the words of the Statement of Principles and Objectives of that Agreement: "the nuclear-weapon States reaffirm their commitment...to pursue in good faith negotiations on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament", and, in explanation of this commitment, "determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons". The elimination of nuclear weapons remains an essential component of our future security, even of our survival. In signing the agreement for NPT extension, the non-nuclear States were accepting the good faith of the nuclear powers with respect to these commitments.

There is NO ARGUMENT CONSISTENT WITH THESE COMMITMENTS THAT WOULD JUSTIFY FURTHER NUCLEAR TESTS AT THIS TIME. Thus outrage is being expressed throughout the world at what appears to be bad faith on the part of France and China. Timed as they were, the actions of France and China seem to express a cynical disregard for the trust placed in them by the non-nuclear States. A likely response may be rejection of their own NPT obligations by some of them, leading to a horrifying horizontal proliferation of nuclear weaponry; this can be in no one's interest.

The world calls out for reconsideration of the French plans, and that all nations should desist from all further testing.

I wish to emphasize as well a further commitment, that for "completion ... of the negotiations on a universal ... Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty no later than 1996". It is essential that this be pursued vigorously, and in particular that it should be truly "Comprehensive": exceptions for tests below some "threshold" of destructiveness would be entirely INCONSISTENT with your NPT commitments to the elimination of nuclear weapons, and would instead indicate a desire to maintain a nuclear arms race.

Yours very truly,