Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
March 14, 1997

The Honorable Bill Clinton President
The White House Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

On December 5, 1996, General Lee Butler (Ret.) And over 50 other general and admirals released a statement that "the continuing existence of nuclear weapons in the armories of nuclear powers, and the ever present threat of acquisition of these weapons by others, constitutes a peril to global peace and security and to the safety and survival of the people we are dedicated to protect." They noted that "in post-Cold War security environment, the most commonly postulated nuclear threats are not susceptible to deterrence or are simply not credible." The statement concluded that the threat will not finally recede "...unless nuclear weapons are eliminated.".

On July 8, 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in response to a request from the United Nations, concluded that "the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict', and that "there exists on obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control."

On December 10, 1996, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 51/45M following up on the ICJ decision. The UN called for the beginning in 1997 of negotiations leading to the conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention which would prohibit the development, production, testing, deployment stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination.

This letter is designed to respectfully urge you to enhance the security of the United States and respond to the decision of the ICJ by:

(I) Initiating a review of nuclear policy to consider which aspects of current policy may need to be modified in order to conform with our obligations and to adhere to international humanitarian law as indicated by the Court.

II) Initiating negotiations for nuclear disarmament in all aspects leading to the conclusion of a nuclear: weapons convention.

If the U. S_ does not take the lead in negotiating to achieve complete nuclear disarmament, other steps towards disarmament such as the Non Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), may unravel. Certain non-nuclear-nuclear countries have indicated that if the nuclear states do not implement their obligations: under the NPT, they may reconsider their membership of the NPT. India has stated that they refuse to sign the CTBT until the Nuclear Weapons States announce their willingness to negotiate a program for complete nuclear disarmament, and without India the CTBT will not be able to enter into force.

Mr. President, at the 51st United Nations General Assembly, you spoke about the desirability of a 21st Century free from the threat of nuclear weapons. We call upon you to make such a dream real.

Sincerely yours,

Member of congress