MAJOR R. OWENS 11TH DISTRICT. New York
Congress of the United States
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT
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
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.
MAJOR R. OWENS
Member of congress