In the United States, the call by [Shultz/Perry/Nunn/Kissinger] has been echoed broadly and has received prominent support. There are no known decisions of support by European governments.

Our response reflects from a German perspective the expectations that are linked with the administration of Barack Obama. This century’s keyword is cooperation.

We unconditionally support the call of the four eminent U.S. persons for a radical change of direction in nuclear weapons policies, not only in the United States. This relates specifically to the following proposals: The vision of a world without the nuclear threat, as it has been developed by Reagan and Gorbachev in Reykjavik, has to be revived. Negotiations have to be started with the goal of drastic cuts in nuclear weapons, first between the United States and Russia, which possess the largest number of nuclear weapons, in order to also attract the other states that possess such weapons. The NPT has to be strengthened decisively. The United States has ratify the CTBT. All short-range nuclear weapons have to be dismantled.

From a German perspective it has to be added: The agreement on the reduction of strategic weapons will expire this year. From this results the most urgent need of action between Washington and Moscow.

It will be decisive for the 2010 NPT review conference that the nuclear weapon states finally fulfill their obligations under Article VI of the treaty to reduce their nuclear stockpiles.

The ABM treaty has to be restored. Outer space has to be used only for peaceful purposes.

[Post Cold War European stability] would for the first time be jeopardized by the American wish to deploy missiles with a matching radar system on extraterritorial bases in Poland and the Czech republic, on NATO’s Eastern border. Such a relapse into the times of confrontation with implications for an arms build-up and tensions can be avoided by an amicable agreement on the topic of missile defense which also reflects the interests of NATO and the EU – and best by restoring the ABM treaty.

Fundamental efforts by the United States and Russia to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world would facilitate an agreement with all nuclear weapon possessors – regardless whether they are permanent members of the the United Nations Security Council or not – about appropriate behavior. A spirit of cooperation could spread from the Middle East to East Asia.

Relics from the period of confrontation no longer fit into our new century. Cooperation does not fit well with NATO’s and Russia’s still valid doctrine of nuclear first use, even in response to non-nuclear attacks. A general no-first use treaty among the nuclear armed states would be a highly desirable step.

Germany, which has renounced nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, has to press for a commitment by the nuclear states not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states. We are also of the view that the remaining U.S. nuclear warheads should be removed from Germany.

The authors are well-respected German politicians. Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (Social Democrat); Former President Richard von Weizsaecker (Christian Democrat); Former Federal Minister Egon Bahr (Social Democrat); and former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (Liberal).