French Protest Subritical Tests

Following are translations of two letters protesting U.S. subcritical tests sent by French NGO colleagues.

To the U.S. Ambassador
2 Avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris


Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signed by the U.S. stipulates that:
"Each party to the treaty, is committed... to pursue in good faith negotiations on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race... at an early date, and to nuclear disarmament..."

The International Court of Justice has declared unanimously that "the threat or use of nuclear arms is illegal" and that "there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament..."

It seems evident to us that every simulated nuclear explosion has military goals and is in total contradiction with these international obligations.

We cannot allow any State to not respect its signature or turn up its nose at the declarations of the International Court of Justice. We have said this, at appropriate times, to the French and the Chinese governments.

We urge you to kindly transmit to President Clinton and to Mr. Peog, our demand to renounce... their intention to proceed with any nuclear tests, whether they be simulated or subcritical. We ask them to renounce once and for all the "National Ignition Facility" project.

Please accept, Mr. Ambassador, our respectful greetings.

For the Committee,
C. Panne

Saint-Ouen, 1 July 1997
To the U.S. Ambassador
Your Excellence,

We have learned from the American press that the U.S. government intends to proceed tomorrow with a subcritical test at the Nevada Test Site. Such a decision seems to us to be unacceptable and unjustified!

Like other nuclear powers, the U.S. has in fact committed itself to sign the indefinite extension of the non-proliferation treaty, which provides, in its Article 6, that "each party to the Treaty is committed to pursue in good faith negotiations on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament."

Moreover, the U.S. has also signed last September, and we congratulate them for it, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Now, in proceeding with a subcritical test, the American government would be going against the spirit and the letter of these two treaties. It would also be taking the risk of resuming the nuclear arms race, by inciting not only; other nuclear powers, but also threshold countries to do the same.

Such a policy is moreover very expensive, since millions of dollars will be spent as much for subcritical tests as for the National Ignition Facility.

It does not seem to us that American nuclear arms, of whose modernity there is no doubt, needs such tests, unless it is to proceed with supplementary modernization, which would contradict all the international pledges of Your country.

The Mouvement de la Paix is associated with many actions taken by American peace movements to protest these "hypocritical subcritical tests," and to support having immediate negotiations to conclude a Convention on the elimination of nuclear arms by the year 2000.

In thanking you for kindly transmitting this message to the American government, I urge you to accept, Your Excellence, the expression of my very high consideration.

Daniel Durand
National Secretary

Jackie Cabasso * Western States Legal Foundation
1440 Broadway, Suite 500 Oakland, California USA 94612
Telephone: +(510)839-5877 / Fax: +(510)839-5397
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Western States Legal Foundation is part of Abolition 2000,
A Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

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