Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) (June 2002)

  CND submits to the Defence Committee its position that global peace and security are best-served by the abolition of NATO.

  We are in fundamental disagreement with NATO's 1999 Strategic Concept which states: "The supreme guarantee of security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Allies, particularly those of the United States . . . They will be maintained at the minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability." This Concept also commits NATO to a nuclear first-use policy in a number of scenarios including possible nuclear attacks on Non-Nuclear Weapons States who may threaten its members' strategic interests.

  We believe that the notion that the possession and possible use of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons, can preserve peace and stability, to be profoundly and tragically mistaken.

  We note that the use of weapons of mass destruction is illegal under international law, as they are unable to discriminate between combatants and non-combatants.

  We note with grave concern the recent statement to NATO Defence Ministers on 6 June 2002, by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in which he said that the alliance could no longer wait for "absolute proof" before taking action. We deplore the possibility that millions of innocent civilians could die on the basis of unsubstantiated suspicion.


  We note that support for NATO's Strategic Concept is in contradiction to our government's international treaty obligations to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), under which we are committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons rather than their maintenance.

  We call upon our government to honour its commitment to the NPT and begin the process of abolition by decommissioning our Trident nuclear weapons system rather than the recommissioning process that is currently being undertaken.

  We express also our grave concerns that NATO enlargement could mean the stationing of nuclear weapons in newly-admitted countries. We note that this would contravene Article 1 of the NPT which states that "Each Nuclear-Weapon State party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons".

  We urge our government to maintain its treaty obligations and oppose any such extension of nuclear weapons siting.

  CND believes that global abolition of nuclear weapons is a fundamental requirement for achieving a peaceful and secure world. Our government's commitment to NPT is in agreement with our position and in contradiction to NATO's nuclear policy.

  We urge the British government to follow the path of peace and take the lead in securing global abolition as an immediate priority to stabilise our troubled and increasingly dangerous world. We believe that the abolition of NATO would hasten this process.


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