Letter from concerned citizens and organisations to the governments of the USA and Russia

Chairs of the US Senate and House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Defence

Chairs of the Russian Duma Committees on Foreign Affairs and Defence


President Barack Obama
President Vladimir Putin
US Secretary of State
US Secretary of Defence
Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs
Russian Minister of Defence

Dear Sirs and Madams:

The undersigned write to you to urge you to prioritise nuclear weapons abolition as a human survival imperative and a critical global security priority.

Your attention is also drawn to a letter on the same subject by Lawrence W. Krauss, physicist and vice-chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists board of sponsors, and other highly distinguished physicists.

The New Year, and a new US Congress, is a good time to start to think anew about nuclear weapons. New thinking that puts abolition clearly on the US agenda as a security priority, is very much needed, which is why we write.

The US and Russia together possess over 90% of all the nuclear warheads in the world. They possess the unique capability to render the planet essentially uninhabitable in less than an hour. The leadership and legislatures of Russia and the US thus have a primary responsibility to act resolutely and promptly to phase out nuclear weapons from security doctrines and build the framework for a secure and verifiably nuclear-weapons-free world.

The Congress and Duma need to debate and factor into security doctrines the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of large-scale nuclear weapons use, now the subject of a number of multilateral statements at the United Nations and of an international meeting in Oslo in March. These matters, of existential importance to the rest of the world, have never to our knowledge been discussed in the Duma or Congress.

The retention and ‘improvement’ of nuclear arsenals by both the US and Russia makes neither country more secure, but rather degrades the security of both countries and the rest of the world. Elimination of nuclear weapons would mean an improvement, not a degradation, in security, and the removal of a vast budgetary burden.

We urge you to take note of the Abolition2000 founding statement, and the organising statement for the US Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons- Free world.

Both statements call for immediate work on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament steps such as ratification of the CTBT, negotiations for a Fissile Material Treaty, taking all nuclear forces off high–alert status, decreasing the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines, reductions in nuclear stockpiles, curtailing of research and development of new nuclear weapons, and establishment of nuclear-weapons-free zones. The Abolition2000 Statement also calls for the immediate commencement of negotiations for the global prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons under strict and effective international control through a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

We encourage especially those who sit on, chair, or advice Duma or Congressional committees that deal with strategic weapons and security to have a copy of these statements on their desk.

Nuclear abolition is THE most urgent national, multilateral, and global security priority, and remains one in spite of reductions in nuclear arsenals.

The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, chaired by Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi, declared in 2009, that:

“Nuclear weapons are the most inhumane weapons ever conceived, inherently indiscriminate in those they kill and maim and with an impact deadly for decades. They are the only weapons ever invented that have the capacity to wholly destroy life on this planet, and the arsenals we now possess are able to do so many times over. The problem of nuclear weapons is at least equal to that of climate–change in terms of gravity, and much more immediate in its potential impact.”[ICNND, xvii]

The link made with climate change is very much to the point. Recent (from 2006) work by Professors Brian Toon and Alan Robock, both highly distinguished climate specialists, using the most up to date NASA climate models, has shown both that a ‘limited’, nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, using not more than 100 Hiroshima-sized warheads, aimed at cities, would still produce catastrophic global climatic effects. A US-Russia nuclear exchange, (most likely the result of miscalculation, malfunction, and/or panic, not deliberate policy or design), would return Earth’s temperatures to levels not seen since the last Ice Age for decades, imperilling the survival of most complex land based living things including humans.

No other technology has the capability to do this in less than an hour. The maintenance of current nuclear capabilities is irresponsible and hazardous in the extreme. Congress and Duma must therefore regard nuclear abolition as the topmost security priority.

Policy prescriptions that argue for retention of nuclear capabilities, or, worse, for their expansion, are simply not grounded in the realities of what nuclear weapons do and the existential risks they pose. Those who argue for them pose as ‘responsible’ and ‘realistic’ guardians of national security yet these prescriptions create extreme global and national insecurity. They are the very opposite of ‘responsible’ or ‘realistic’.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, when governor of California, said that:

“A nuclear disaster will not hit at the speed of a glacier melting. It will hit with a blast. It will not hit with the speed of the atmosphere warming, but of a city burning. Clearly, the attention focussed on nuclear weapons should be as prominent as that of global climate change.”

We call on Congress and Duma to give nuclear disarmament the priority it deserves as the world’s number one security and human survival issue.



(Institutional affiliations for Identification Purposes only)

Letter Editors:

John Hallam, People for Nuclear Disarmament/Human Survival Project

Prof. Peter King, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies/Human Survival Project

Bob Rigg, Former chair, NZ National Consultative Committee on Disarmament (NCCD)

Alyn Ware, Co-Chair of the World Future Council Disarmament Committee

Other Signatories:

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens,
Aaron Tovish, International Director, 2020 Vision Campaign, Mayors for Peace, Klosterneuburg, Austria,
Jayantha Dhanapala, Fmr UN Undersecy-General for Disarmament,
Tony Robinson, World Without Wars and Violence,
Alfred L. Marder, International Association of Peace Messenger Cities,
Martin Hinrichs, Ban All Nukes Generation (BANG), Geneva, Switzerland,
John Burroughs, Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, New York City, NY USA,
Carol Wolman MD, Fukushima Response Bay Area, Oakland, CA, USA.
Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities against a Radioactive Environment)
Lise Merriman, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA,
Mark Gubrud, Princeton, USA,
David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Santa-Barbara, Calif, USA,
David Hartsough, Peaceworkers, San Francisco, Calif,
Henry Lowendorf, Chair, Greater New Haven Peace Council, New Haven Ct, USA,
Reverend John Dear, USA,
Dennis F. Nester, (Roy Nuclear Waste Disposal Process) Phoenix Ariz
Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez, Enviromental Health and Justice Program, Tewa Women United, USA
Prof. Irene Gendzier, Political Science, Boston Univ, Boston, MA, USA.
Mike Helbick, Program Director, Peace Action Wisconsin, Wisc, USA,
Anthony DiFilippo, Professor of Sociology, Lincoln Univ, Pennsylvania, USA,
Sabina Sawhney, Hofstra University, NY, USA,
Steven V. Kobasa, Trident Resistance Network, New Haven, CT, USA,
Markus Atkinson, Footprints for Peace, Cincinnati, USA,
Diane Perlman PhD, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Transcend, George Mason Univ, USA,
Ellen Thomas, Proposition – 1 Committee, United States,
Prof. John D. Steinbrunner, Public Policy, Director CISSM, Univ. Maryland, USA,
Gordon Edwards, President/Founder, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Canada,
Professor Pierre Jasmin, Vice-Pres, Artists for Peace, Pugwash Canada, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Montreal, Quebec, Canada,
Donald Grayston PhD, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada,
Setsuko Thurlow, Hiroshima Day Coalition, Toronto, Ontario,
Setsuko Thurlow, Canadian Pugwash, Canada,
Larry Kazdan, Councillor, World Federalist Movement-Canada, Vancouver, Canada
Adele Buckley, Past Chair, Canadian Pugwash,
Ray Morris, Salmon Arms Kairos Committee, BC, Canada,
Dr H. Peter Langille, Director, Global Common Security, London, Ontario, Canada,
Catherine Delahunty Green List MP, Ont,
LGen the Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire (Ret’d) , Senator, Senate of Canada, Ottawa, Canada,
Satoko Norimatsu, Director, Peace Philosophy Centre, Vancouver, Canada
Steven Staples, President, Rideau Institute, Canada,
John Bart Gerald, Gerald and Maas, Ottawa, Canada,
Jennifer Allen Simons, Simons Foundation, Vancouver, BC, Canada,
Bev Delong, Chair, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons,
Barney Richards, Peace Council of Aotearoa, New Zealand,
Commander Robert D. Green RN(ret), Co-Director, Disarmament and Security Centre, Christchurch, NZ,
Dr Kate Dewes, Disarmament and Security Centre, Christchurch, NZ,
Dr R E White PhD, D.Sc., former Director, Centre for Peace Studies, University of Auckland, Auckland New Zealand, co-founder of Scientists Against Nuclear Arms New Zealand,
Joanna Santa-Barbara, IPPNW New Zealand,
Peter Low, Quaker Peace and Service, Aotearoa/New Zealand,
Richard Northey Patron Aotearoa / New Zealand Foundation for Peace Studies,
Gerald O’Brien, President of Honour, Peace Council Aotearoa New Zealand.
Don Borrie, Chair, NZ DPRK Society,
Dame Laurie Salas, DBE,  QSO, B.A.,  New Zealand
Patricia Waugh, Administrator, Alternatives to Violence Project Maori Focus, Enderley, Hamilton, N.Z
David Clendon MP, Green Party Member of Parliament, New Zealand
Marynan Street MP, Labour, Nelson, NZ, Chair, New Zealand Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, (NZPNND),
Irene Gale AM, Adelaide, SA, Member, Australian Peace Committee (APC)
Bronwyn Marks, Fmr Chair, Sydney Hiroshima Day Cttee, Manly-Waringah Teachers for Nuclear Disarmament, NSW Teachers Federation Peace and Disarmament Cttee.
Michel de Mol, Secy, Jawaid Hussain, World Citizens Association Australia,
Dave Sweeney, Nuclear-Free Campaigner, Australian Conservation Foundation, (ACF), Carlton, Vic, Aust,
Denis Doherty, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia,
Andrew Grieg, Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign, Sydney, NSW, Aust,
Lyn Allison, Former Senator and leader of the Australian Democrats, Vic, Aust,
Richard Broinowski, fmr Aust. diplomat, author, adjunct Professor in media and communications, University of Sydney,
Elizabeth A Evatt AC, Commissioner, International Commission of Jurists, Australia
Dr Jenny Grounds, President, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia
Jane Bremmer, Chair, Alliance for a Clean Environment, W.A.,
Jo Vallentine, Anti Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia,
Judy Blyth, People for Nuclear Disarmament Western Australia,
Mary Madigan, Friends of Westernport, Langwarrin, Vic,
Donna Mulhearn, Coordinator, Australian Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons
Nick Deane, Marrickville Peace Group,
Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith PhD (Law) Senior Advisor, National Toxics Network Inc.
Bangalow NSW
Father Claude Mostowick, msc, Director, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre, President, Pax Christi Australia,
Helen Caldicott, Founder, PSR,
Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, Fmr Director, Sydney Peace Foundation, Fmr MLC,
David Purnell, Quaker Peace and Legislation Committee, Religious Society of Friends, (Quakers) Australia,
Maria Arvaniti Sotiropolou, President, IPPNW Greece,
Efi Xanthou, Cyprus Green Party, Cyprus,
Joseph M. Cachia, Secretary, Malta Peace Council,
Derman Boztok, MD, IPPNW-Turkey General Secretary, Ankara, Turkey,
Issa Samandar, Coordinator, Land Defence Committees, East Jerusalem, Palestine,
Sharon Dolev, Israeli Disarmament Movement, Israel,
Gideon Spiro, Israel,
George Farebrother, INLAP/World Court Project, Sussex, UK,
Dave Webb, Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) UK,
Tony Simpson, Journal Editor, Bertrand Russel Peace Foundation,
Jenny Maxwell, Hereford Peace Council, Hereford, UK,
Philip Gilligan, Chair, Pat Sanchez Secy, Greater Manchester and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,(CND) Rochdale, UK,
Dominic Linley, Yorkshire CND, Yorks, UK,
Samir Chatterjee, Fmr National Vice-Chair, World Development Movement (UK),
Fazlun Khalid, Founder, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, Birmingham UK,
Angie Zelter, founder, Trident Ploughshares and Action Atomic Weapons Eradication (Action AWE), UK,
Monsignor Bruce Kent, Vice-President, Movement for the Abolition of War, Fmr Chair CND, UK,
Michael Connarty MP, Lithgow and East Falkirk, Parliamentary CND, UK,
Bill Kidd MSP, Co-President Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, Scotland,
Dominique Lalanne, Chair, Abolition2000 Europe,
Jean-Marie Matagne, President, Action des Citoyens pour le Desarmement Nucleaire, (ACDN), Saintes, France,
Prof. Andreas Nidecker, Past President PSR/IPPNW Switzerland, Basel, Switz,
Herman Spanjaard, Chair, IPPNW Netherlands,
Karel Koster, Research Department Socialist Party Netherlands,
Harry Van Bommel, MP, Belg, Socialist Party, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson,
Hans Lammerant, Vredesactie, Belgium,
Dirk Van Der Maelen MP, Flemish Social Democratic Party, Belgium,
Ludo de Brabander, Vrede Vzw, Belgium,
Josep Xercavins, World Democratic Governance Project Association, (WDGpa) Catalonia, Spain,
Jordi Armadans, director FundiPau (Fundacio per la Pau), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Xavier Masllorens, president FundiPau (Fundacio per la Pau), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain,
Pep Puig, PhD, Grup de Científics i Tècnics per un Futur No Nuclear – GCTPFNN, Barcelona,
Birgitta Jonsdottir, Icelandic Parliament,
Guðríður Sigurbjörnsdóttir, verkefnastjóri, MFÍK (Women for Peace and Culture in Iceland)
Hallgeir H. Langeland, MP Norway,
Prof Kirsten Osen, IPPNW Norway,
Bent Natvig, Chair, Norwegian Pugwash Committee,
Frederick S. Heffermehl, Lawyer, Author, ‘What Nobel Really Wanted’, Oslo, Norway,
Bjorn Hildt, IPPNW Norway,
Björn Röe, Head of NEI til atomvåpen in Trondheim, Norway,
Sigmund Knutsen, NTA Trondhiem, Norway,
Hans Ebbing, Bergen, Norway,
Prof Birgit Cold, Norwegian Univ of Science and Technology,
Agneta Norberg, Vice-chair, Swedish Peace Council,
Bodil Ceballos, Riksdagsledamot/Member of Parliament,
Unto Vesa, Research Fellow, University of Tampere, Finland,
Satu Hassi MEP, Greens, Finland,
Prof. Sergey Kolesnikov,member Russian Acad.Med.Sci., IPPNW EC member, Co-President of Russian public movement “For people safeguarding”, Moscow,Russia,
Natalia Mironova, Ph.D. President of the Movement for Nuclear Safety, Chelyabinsk, Russia
Jana Jedlickova, World without Wars and Violence, Prague, Czech Republic,
Andreas Pecha, Chair, Austrian Peace Council, Vienna Austria,
Ingrid and Klaus Schittich, Association of World Citizens, Uberlingen, Germany,
Chris Neumann, Sprecher Arbeitskreis, Hamburg, Germany,
Pastor Wolfgang Weber, Senden, Germany,
Harald Fuchs, DFG-VK Gruppe Köln
Hans-Peter Mortier, Information Bureau for Peace Work, Meckenhiem, Germany,
Esther Weinz, Deutsche Gesselschaft fur Sonnenenergie eV,
Karl Albert Magnus Friedrich, Die Linke, Humanistischer Verband Deutschland,
Harald Fuchs, DFG-VK Gruppe Köln, Germany,
Uta Zapf MP, Bundestag,
Rene Rospel MP, Bundestag,
Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, Peace Research Institute, Weilhiem, Germany,
Xanthe Hall, IPPNW Germany,
Prof. Manfred Frank, Philosophical Seminar, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany
Dr. Ranjith S. Jayashekera, Sri-Lankan Doctors for Peace and Development, Sri Lanka.
Chauyen Lai, Secy-General, Institute of International Relations, Nepal, Executive Cttee Nepali Congress,
Wilfred D’costa, Alliances Linkages Convenor, Indian Social Action Forum – INSAF, Delhi/Mumbai, India
Sushovan Dhar, VAK, Malad West, Mumbai, India,
Md. Mujibul Haque Munir (Mr.), Assistant Director-Food Security and Education Advocacy COAST Trust, Member, Coordination Committee of WFF
Brigadier Vijai K. Nair, Noida, India,
J. Narayana Rao, All-India Peace and Solidarity Organisation, Nagpur, India,
Pallab Sengupta, All-India Peace and Solidarity Organisation, (AIPSO) New Delhi,
Hiren Gandhi and Swaroop Dhruv, INSAF Gujarat, Ahmedabad, India,
Balakrishna Kurvey, Indian Institute for Peace, Disarmament, and Environmental Protection, Nagpur, India,
Gopal Krishna, Convener, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), New Delhi,
Professor Rasul Baksh Rais, Political Science, LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan,
Abdul H Nayyar, Pakistan Peace Coalition,
Prof (Ret) Syed Sikander Mehdi, International Relations, Univ. Karachi, Pakistan,
Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali, Malaysian Parliament, Political Bureau Member Malaysian National Justice Party,
Anwar Fazal, Director, Right Livelihood College, Malaysia,
Junko Abe, “See Hiroshima Project” coordinator, Ehime, Japan
Yayoi Tsuchida, Japan Council against A and H Bombs, Tokyo, Japan,
Yasunari Fujimoto, Secretary-General, Japan Congress Against A-and-H-Bombs,(Gensuikin) Tokyo, Japan,
Belhaim Sakuma, Palau Nuclear-Free Movement, Palau,
Luis Gutierrez-Esparza,President, Latin American Circle of International Studies (LACIS)
Thomas de Toledo, Cebrapaz (Centro Brasiliero de Solidariedade aos Povos e lute pela Paz) Sao Paulo, Brasil,
Corazon Valdez Fabros, Co-Convener, Stop the War Coalition Philippines, Philippines
Belhaim Sakuma, Chairman, Belau Cares, Inc, Palau Nuclear-Free Movement, Koror, Republic of Palau 96940
Mamadou Falilou Sarr, Director, African Centre for Peace and International Development, Dakar, Senegal,
Paul Saoke, IPPNW – Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya,