The nuclear tests in South Asia have jarred the world into new awareness of nuclear danger. They have demonstrated unmistakably the peril of nuclear proliferation and the weakness of international measures of control. They have also cast harsh new light on the persistence of the arsenals of the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, and France, who jointly possess some 35,000 nuclear weapons. These two main components of nuclear danger-proliferation on the one hand, and the remaining cold war arsenals on the other-can no longer be considered in isolation. They must be addressed together.
To this end, we call for negotiations to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons in a series of well defined stages accompanied by increasing verification and control. We direct our appeal especially to the nuclear powers, to confirm and implement their existing commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons in Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. India has declared a moratorium on tests and its willingness to give up nuclear weapons in the context of a global plan for their elimination. Today, only a commitment to nuclear abolition can realistically halt nuclear proliferation.
The tests of South Asia pose great danger but, against the background of the end of the cold war, they have also created an opportunity that must not be missed to take action that can at last free the world of nuclear danger. The hour is late, and the time for action is now.
Oscar Arias, Alan Cranston, Daniel Ellsberg, Mark Hatfield, Joseph Rotblat, Admiral Eugene Carroll, Richard Barnet, Mikhail Gorbachev, Marcus Raskin, Bishop Walter R. Sullivan, Jimmy Carter, Jonathan Dean, Morton Halperin, Douglas Roche, David Cortright.