Project on European Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PENN)
PENN Newsletter No. 6 / October 1998

Newsletter

c/o BITS   Rykestr. 13  D-10405 Berlin    Germany    Phone: +49-30-446858-0      Fax: +49-30-4410221

 

Dear Friends!

After the Indian and Pakistani tests, the outlook is not all gloomy: PENN sees a window of opportunity for a major breakthrough in nuclear disarmament. At its recent strategy conference in Stockholm, PENN members decided to continue to argue for a comprehensive nuclear weapons disarmament initiative. PENN means to press for the elimination of tactical nuclear weapons as a gateway to a disarmament framework that leapfrogs the current stalemate and offers a starting point for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Reports and Current Activities

 

PENN Core Group to promote window of opportunity for nuclear disarmament

How to advance the goal of a Europe free of nuclear weapons was at the core of a meeting of the Project on European Nuclear Nonproliferation (PENN). Participants from BASIC (UK/US), BITS (Germany), CESD (Belgium), Working Group Eurobomb/AMOK (Netherlands) and the University of Linz (Austria) met in Stockholm on October 11, 1998 to discuss European security and the future of nuclear weapons as well as to coordinate and plan future activities. The one-day meeting, hosted by the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS), was also attended by representatives of the ACRONYM Institute (UK), Committee of 100 (Finland), the Fourth Freedom Forum (US), Nej til Atomvapens (Norway) as well as the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

There was a shared sense that the period leading up to the next NPT Review Conference in April 2000 will provide the NGO community with rare opportunities to advance the goal of reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons. PENN members discussed how national and international NGOs can work on them, especially with regard to nuclear disarmament in Europe. The Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security (BITS) – PENN's coordination center and clearing house – and other PENN members will work with national NGOs and individuals to prepare for forthcoming events and opportunities.

Several occasions in the near future can be used to push for a nuclear-weapons-free Europe. First NATO has to reconsider its reliance on nuclear weapons as part of its ongoing Strategy Review which will be presented in April 1999. At the same time, Russia is unable to maintain its current level of nuclear weapons for economic reasons. The NPT Preparatory Commission (PrepCom) in April 1999 – taking place shortly before NATO's 50th anniversary summit – will be a good opportunity to point out the continued reliance of NATO on nuclear weapons. In this field, NGOs can build on past successes: NATO nuclear sharing has already come under criticism from the Non-Aligned Movement during the second meeting of the NPT PrepCom in April 1998. In addition, the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan have heightened public awareness about nuclear weapons issues.

These events – against the background of a dynamic international environment – represent an exceptional opportunity to push for far-reaching disarmament steps by all nuclear weapon states. PENN members decided to continue promoting proposals for the elimination of tactical nuclear weapons, deep cuts in strategic arsenals and changes in NATO nuclear posture. During the discussions, three distinct contexts were named: talks on nuclear arms control and tactical nuclear weapons, the NPT review process leading up to the Review Conference in spring 2000, and the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC).

It was agreed that PENN members will intensify efforts to monitor and influence the process of formulating NATO's Strategy Review from different national and international angles. The overall goal is to achieve a revision of NATO's nuclear strategy and a withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Europe. There is disagreement on whether a third goal - ending NATO nuclear sharing - requires ending the associated consultation mechanisms as well. They provide an additional hurdle against the use of nuclear weapons because they could give each NATO member veto over such a decision. Therefore, many people think that these arrangements should remain in place as long as NATO has not developed a non-nuclear strategy. Others maintained that these arrangements are a Cold War anachronism that should be abolished to turn NATO into a non-nuclear organization. This would strengthen the NPT and open the way for a treaty on nuclear disarmament that would include Russian tactical nuclear weapons – a goal that is high on the agenda of many Western states.

It is not just the NPT PrepCom and the 2000 Review Conference that will provide opportunities to present these arguments and increase pressure on the nuclear weapon states. PENN members are also going to continue highlighting the options for change associated with the dialogue between NATO and Russia in the PJC, which already has a mandate to discuss topics such as tactical nuclear weapons, dealerting and detargeting measures and nuclear safety and security. The PJC mandate also explicitly contains the possibility of consultations on nuclear doctrines. PENN members agreed to continue to lobby for an expansion and strengthening of the work of this first multilateral forum on nuclear arms control.

Different activities towards these ends were discussed in Stockholm. Highly visible efforts include a seminar for independent experts organized by BASIC and BITS before the April 1999 NATO summit. It was pointed out that the character of the summit will largely depend on NATO's decision to delink the welcoming of new members into the Alliance with its 50th anniversary summit. Such a development could prove useful in highlighting nuclear issues, since in this case the media's attention would not solely focus on the expansion issue. Should the Russian political leadership attend the April summit, pressure could also increase to announce nuclear arms control initiatives after the meager progress of the September 1998 summit in Moscow. However much will depend on internal developments in Moscow.

These events will be complemented by activities from other NGOs such as the Fourth Freedom Forum. They will be accompanied by a number of publications such as an evaluation of the first year of the PJC to be published soon by CESD, a Research Note on tactical nuclear arms control, to be published by BITS at the end of this year, a report on "risk reduction" policies that should be implemented by NATO (published by BASIC), as well as papers on NATO's Strategy Review, to be published by March 1999.

In addition, PENN members decided to launch a concerted effort to highlight the possibilities of a reduction of nuclear arms in Europe around the 1999 PrepCom in New York. Many participants argued that this would be necessary to maintain the pressure on NATO states in this context to end nuclear sharing. PENN members will continue to coordinate their activities around this and other events with members of the Abolition 2000 and other NGO networks. It was agreed that a call for ending nuclear sharing and reducing nuclear weapons in Europe should also be included in the agenda of the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference in May 1999.

Most of these efforts will be conducted in close coordination with national NGOs. BITS, for example, has consulted with IPPNW Germany and the Peace Cooperative in Bonn on worksharing and a joint strategy towards making nuclear weapons in Europe the subject of a public campaign. Activities under consideration include publishing a supplement for a large German daily highlighting German participation in NATO nuclear sharing; and putting up posters on the subject in government districts. The primary goal of these and other activities will be to push for an end to nuclear sharing arrangements and the presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe. Other PENN members are involved in similar activities in their respective host nations and welcome input from NGOs, interested organizations, and individuals. OM

In Stockholm, PENN also updated and revised its strategy. PENN, the Project on European Nuclear Non-proliferation, has been set up:

* to monitor official discussions about the future of nuclear weapons in Europe and to help make them more transparent;

* to publish analysis of and commentaries on these developments;

* to promote further steps of nuclear disarmament in Europe and substantial European contributions to nuclear arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation;

* to promote full compliance with the NPT by NATO, the European Union and their member states;

* to create political hurdles against developments which might lead to a nuclear armed European Union;

* and to encourage the European Union and all

its members finally becoming non-nuclear members to the NPT.

***

Progress towards a nuclear-weapon-free Europe

One starting point for a far-reaching disarmament scenario is tactical nuclear weapons (tacnukes), including those still remaining in Europe.

With the uncertainty that has fallen on the future of the NPT after the Indian and Pakistani tests, the US and other nuclear weapon states must seek to convince the NPT's non-nuclear-weapons states that they adhere to their obligations under the treaty. Consequently, the nuclear weapon states can no longer ignore the insistence of an ever-growing number of non-nuclear-weapons states on nuclear disarmament if they want to limit nuclear proliferation. Actions are needed to save the NPT.

One focus of criticism is nuclear sharing in Europe. The NPT PrepComs in recent years have continuously heightened pressure on the US to end its nuclear sharing commitments to West-European NATO allies. Nuclear sharing in times of war would be a de-facto proliferation of nuclear weapons by the US, an action clearly prohibited by the NPT.

Tacnukes are also subject to strategic considerations. Faced with crumbling conventional forces, Russia is looking for ways to 'protect' its borders. Russia's New Military Doctrine, which is currently being drafted, might thus seek to outbalance conventional inferiority with tacnukes. Worries about theft, proliferation and safety of insufficiently guarded and maintained tacnukes make their inclusion in a disarmament framework even more desirable.

Russia, in turn, has always had a strategic interest in eliminating US tacnukes in Europe because, from a Russian point of view, they are considered strategic because they can reach Russian homeland.

Thus, an agreement to remove tacnukes from European soil would remove anxieties on both sides. Far more importantly, it would boost nuclear disarmament. Their removal could open the door for the elimination of thousands of nuclear warheads, a significant share of US and Russian warhead totals. This would be the kind of action needed to keep the NPT going.

A number of signs indicate that this line of reasoning is not purely speculative. NATO currently is in the process of revising its Strategic Doctrine. From internal sources it has become clear that nuclear strategy is coming under discussion within NATO. Already, the newly founded NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council has set up a nuclear weapons expert working group. Issues concerning the revision of NATO's Strategy Doctrine and mutual withdrawal - or even elimination - of tacnukes could easily be discussed by this panel.

An agreement on tacnukes could clear the way for a comprehensive approach to nuclear disarmament which could lead to negotiations on remaining nuclear weapons as well as among all declared nuclear weapon states. This could finally result in a Comprehensive nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty (CART) - a scenario suggested by BITS in March 1997.

Convinced that there is a window of opportunity for real progress in nuclear disarmament, PENN is looking to exploit this to the fullest. LH

***

EU calls for nuclear disarmament

According to press reports, the European Union has called on nuclear weapon states to make faster progress on nuclear disarmament. In a memorandum that was circulated during the first weeks of the 53rd annual session of the General Assembly, the EU said that "the systematic and progressive efforts by nuclear-weapons states to reduce nuclear weapons need to be intensified and pursued with determination." The statement, which is all the more remarkable as two nuclear weapon states – France and the UK – are EU members, also calls on Russia to ratify START II and urges Indian and Pakistan to sign the CTBT. There have been other hints of new political movement on nuclear disarmament among EU member states: Ireland and Sweden are supporters of the New Agenda Coalition and the European Parliament is considering a draft resolution supporting the New Agenda. Some have also argued that the new Social Democratic triangle Berlin-London-Paris might initiate progress on nuclear arms control issues, while it seems that London is moving closer to the continent, at least on European security issues. OM

***

New German government endorses nuclear disarmament and "no-first-use"

In an accord on the policy-guidelines of the new German government - the so-called coalition treaty, signed on October 19, 1998 - the future social democrat/green coalition clearly takes a position in favor of far-reaching disarmament proposals but fails to outline concrete steps.

The document declares that "controlled disarmament of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction remains one of the most important tasks in safeguarding global peace. ... The Federal Government sticks to the goal of total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and will join its partners and allies in initiatives to implement this goal." A number of initiatives deal with nuclear weapons:

  • the Federal Government will use its influence to support different non-proliferation regimes;

  • the Federal Government will support de-alerting;

  • it will support "no-first-use policies";

  • it will support cuts in (strategic) nuclear postures;

  • it will support initiatives to create nuclear-weapon-free-zones.

The new German government has taken a progressive stance on nuclear disarmament. The renunciation of "first use" marks a change in policy vis a vis the old government and might give impetus to the ongoing debate on NATO "first use". However, since the document remains vague on many points, continued and prolonged internal struggle over the practicalities of individual steps can be expected. In this situation, maintaining public pressure will be crucial to convince the government to implement its progressive agenda. ON/LH

***

US targets terrorists with nukes

Judging from US military documents, the US is considering the use of nuclear weapons against terrorists.

Nuclear strikes against "nonstate" actors are part of the official US doctrine for the theater use of nuclear weapons. This policy is contained in the 1996 Joint Chief of Staff's "Doctrine for Joint Theater Nuclear Operations", which is mandatory for all US-services. It lists "nonstate" actors who are in possession of weapons of mass destruction and their "facilities and operations centers" among the "likely targets" for the use of nuclear weapons. Terrorist groups assumed to possess weapons of mass destruction are likely to rank high among nonstate actors.

US nuclear planners do not believe that using nuclear weapons - even against nonstate actors - would violate international law: "Neither the law of armed conflict nor any other customary or conventional international law prohibits the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict" states the current version of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations". US nuclear weapons that could be used to attack terrorists are also deployed in Europe.

The importance of considering the use of nuclear weapons in doctrinal manuals against terrorists lies within the implications of such a strategy military planners well get accustomed to developing "nuclear options" and present them to decision makers on political level. Although the option might not be pursued seriously, military doctrine thus puts the US on a dangerous and slippery slope. LH

The US nuclear option against terrorists is more fully explored in Nuclear Futures III, a joint BITS/BASIC/CESD paper to appear soon. See in the publications section for more information.

The original press release announcing the US policy can be obtained from BITS, Rykestraße 13, 10405 Berlin, Tel.: +49-30-441-0220; Fax: +49-30-441-0221; e-mail: bits@bits.de

***

Publication of the UK’s Strategic Defence Review

The outcome of the UK’s Strategic Defence Review (SDR) was published on July 8, 1998, announcing, inter alia, changes to the UK’s nuclear weapons policy.

Shortly after entering into office in May 1997, the new Labour government in Britain initiated its SDR. The Review announces several steps towards nuclear disarmament. These include a reduction in the number of operationally available nuclear warheads to fewer than 200, and a cancellation of the acquisition of a further seven Trident missiles from the USA planned by the previous government. The SDR states that the UK will have one Trident submarine on patrol at a time with a reduced load of 48 warheads (the previous government’s maximum figure was 96). Furthermore, "the submarine on patrol will be at a reduced alert state" and its "missiles will be detargeted and at several days 'notice to fire’, rather than minutes as during the Cold War".

The SDR makes public the UK’s military holdings of fissile materials - i.e. 7.6 tonnes of plutonium, 21.9 tonnes of highly enriched uranium, and 15,000 tonnes of other forms of uranium - and declares that some of this will be put under international safeguards, i.e. 9,000 tonnes uranium and 4.4 tonnes of plutonium, including 0.3 tonnes of weapons grade material. More than this, the MoD will "begin a process of declassification and historical accounting with the aim of producing by Spring 2000 an initial report of defence fissile material production since the start of Britain’s defence nuclear programme."

The SDR also announces the creation of a small pilot study at its nuclear weapons research laboratory, AWE Aldermaston, to investigate how to initiate a nuclear verification research programme. If such a research programme is set up with appropriate resources and support, it could enhance the UK’s ability to stimulate effective multilateral nuclear disarmament.

Although small, these steps are not insignificant. It is hoped that the government will build on them to achieve its stated manifesto goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons. HW

The UK’s SDR can be accessed on the web at http//www.mod.uk/policy/sdr

***

States pressure for nuclear disarmament

The growing ranks of states criticizing the nuclear weapon states, among them states that have historically been reluctant to oppose nuclear weapon states, could be a breakthrough in efforts to move towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.

A group of eight countries, in a declaration released on June 9, 1998, demands the "speedy, final and total elimination" of nuclear weapons. This New Agenda Coalition (NAC), made up of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden, was formed at the initiative of Ireland and Sweden. In their declaration, the NAC calls on the five nuclear weapon states and the three nuclear-weapon-capable states to take a number of specific steps towards nuclear disarmament. Among these is the demand to "remove non-strategic nuclear weapons from deployed sites" which targets tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and elsewhere.

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Durban in September 1998 welcomed the NAC initiative. NAM heads of state or government called for a three-sided effort to pursue nuclear disarmament, demanding action in the UN Conference on Disarmament and the UN General Assembly as well as progress within the NPT framework, leading to "an agreement before the end of this millennium on a phased program for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons".

Their opening line that "there is no justification for the maintenance of nuclear arsenals" is an indication that NAM states are determined to challenge the nuclear status quo. LH

***

Kleine Brogel 'inspected' by activists, Faslane base intruded

Recently, two actions by nonviolent activists have raised attention on the continuing presence of nuclear weapons in Europe.

During open days at the NATO airbase of Kleine Brogel in Belgium on September 5 and 6 1998, Belgian anti-nuclear activists carried out an 'inspection' of the base. Kleine Brogel hosts Belgian dual capable aircraft and US B61 nuclear bombs.

On September 5, the Forum voor Vredesactie and For Mother Earth informed visitors, encouraged them to look out for nuclear bombs and, dressed as well-known detectives - such as Inspector Clouseau, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot - questioned the pilots about the B61s. They were arrested for "trying to obtain secret military information" but were released later. They continued the 'inspection' the next day, cutting their way through the fence but were arrested again. Another 'inspection' with more masquerade has already been planned.

In another operation, on August 18 three peace activists from the nearby Trident Ploughshares 2000 camp reached a nuclear submarine in Faslane Navel Base, Scotland. Clad in wet suits and carrying 'disarmament tools', they breached the outer circle of security at the Faslane Base and reached Berth 12 where the submarine was probably stationed. It is unclear how they entered the bases undetected by security forces that were on alert due to the camp nearby. LH

Contact: Trident Ploughshares 2000, 42-46 Bethel Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 INR, UK. Tel. +44-1603-611-953, fax +44-1603-666-879, http://www.gn.apc.org/tp2000

and

Forum voor Vredesactie, Van Elewijkstraat 35, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Tel. +32-2-648-7583, fax +32-2-640-0774, forum@vredesaktie.ngonet.be

***

Darmstadt declares itself nuclear-weapon-free zone

On July 14 1998 the deputy council of Darmstadt, a city near Frankfurt with a population of 150,000, has declared the city a nuclear-weapons-free zone. Darmstadt is also the first German city to have signed up to the global Abolition 2000 campaign. Not that any nuclear weapons are actually deployed in the vicinity of Darmstadt - the city council simply felt it should take action to promote nuclear disarmament. The resolution was initiated by a group of nuclear physicists, IANUS, from the technical university of Darmstadt. LH

Contact: Regina Hagen, Teichhausstr. 46, 64287 Darmstadt, Tel.: +49-6151-47114, Fax: +49-6151-47105, e-mail: regina.hagen@jugendstil.da.shuttle.de

New publications

Nuclear Futures III

As the public debate about the future role of nuclear weapons in NATO, its strategy and in European security gets renewed importance, PENN members BASIC, BITS and CESD are about to publish a major research report entitled Nuclear Futures: Western European Options for Risk Reduction. It will be released by mid-November.

The report is a compendium of the most recent and detailed facts on what is known about British, French and US nuclear weapons and postures in Europe. It contains information on current British, French and NATO nuclear doctrine and reflects the ongoing debate about whether nuclear doctrine and strategy should be revised. Finally the report looks into a wide range of nuclear arms control and disarmament initiatives that could be taken by both the nuclear and non-nuclear members of NATO. We hope this report will be useful to everybody engaged in the debate on the future role of nuclear weapons in Europe. ON

Nuclear Futures III is a joint BASIC/BITS/CESD publication. The hard copy publication costs $10, 7 UK pounds, or DM 20 including cost of mailing. It can be obtained from BASIC, BITS and CESD, or from http://www.basicint.org

BITS Research Report Highlights Consequences of South-Asian Nuclear Tests for Arms Control

The draft of a research report discussing the consequences of India and Pakistan's nuclear tests for nuclear arms control and nonproliferation was recently published by BITS. The study is based on more than 30 interviews with national delegations to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. The report puts the nuclear weapons policies of India and Pakistan in perspective, describes the range of reactions in the international community to the tests and outlines three different scenarios that could result from the existence of two new declared nuclear weapon states. It concludes that while India and Pakistan's steps have much complicated nuclear arms control, they have also increased pressure towards elimination of nuclear weapons.

The study comes to the conclusion that India and Pakistan should declare a freeze on their nuclear weapons programs and start a dialogue on confidence and security building measures. Such a step could provide a good basis for the involvement of both states in nuclear arms control.

The five recognized nuclear weapon states have an important part to play in this process. They should seek to multilateralize the nuclear arms control and disarmament process as soon as possible. The US and Russia should negotiate an agreement on deep cuts, thereby paving the way for multilateral negotiations on nuclear reductions and dialogue among all nuclear weapon states on issues like nuclear doctrine, postures, confidence and security building measures, dealerting measures and arms control can be initiated. Finally, consultations on future steps in nuclear disarmament will eventually have to involve all states, nuclear and non-nuclear. The report lists a number of concrete proposals such as steps to ensure entry into force of the CTB and get negotiations on a Fissile Material Treaty off to a good start. OM

The final version of the report will be published before the end of this year. The draft is available from Oliver Meier; 19, rue de Bâle, CH-1201 Geneva, Tel./ FAX +41-22-731-0812, email: meier@maxess.ch, or from BITS in Berlin.

***

Details on NATO nuclear sharing revealed

NATO nuclear archeologists will find this book of great help: John Clearwater has written The Untold Story of Canada's Cold War Arsenal and he has done well in presenting lots of military operational details. On over 300 pages, Clearwater describes Canada's participation in NATO Nuclear Sharing from 1963-1984, based on primary sources, very many of them not published before.

Clearwater's book proves helpful beyond the Canadian case. None of NATO's members has yet released this many details about its nuclear arrangements with the US. Clearwater makes timely use of the documents he has acquired. He reprints the bilateral US-Canadian "Exchange of Letters" governing the deployment of US nuclear weapons in Canada and the use of US nuclear weapons by Canadian forces. He documents the Service-to-Service Agreements between US and Canadian Armed Forces governing individual nuclear weapon systems. Clearwater describes in great detail how nuclear sharing worked within NATO during the 1960s and 1970s. Based on declassified materials from US and Canadian archives, he provides details that many researchers have been looking for for years. Clearwater intends to update his book as new material becomes available. Readers should hope this happens soon. ON

John Clearwater, Canadian Nuclear Weapons - The Untold Story of Canada's Cold War Arsenal, Dundurn Press, Toronto, 1998

Diary

9-13 November 1998

North Atlantic Assembly Meeting, Edinburgh.

17-18 November 1998

Rome, WEU ministerial meeting.

1 December 1998

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors Meeting, Vienna.

7-8 December 1998

North Atlantic Council + PJC Foreign Ministers. Draft NATO strategy to be discussed. EAPC.

8-9 December 1998

NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting, Brussels.

15 December 1998

US-EU Summit, Washington.

15-18 December 1998

US Secretary of Defense Cohen visit to Germany and Brussels.

17-18 December 1998

Brussels, NATO Defence Ministers + PJC Defence Ministers.

Spring 1999

CD Session.

12-22 April 1999

NPT PrepCom.

24-25 April 1999

Washington, NATO Summit "NATO at Fifty".

May 1999

Hague Appeal for Peace conference.

Oliver Meier has established an office at Geneva and is covering the work of the CD and reporting on other UN-related arms control and disarmament initiatives. Henrietta Wilson has recently joined BITS; she formerly worked for the British Pugwash Group. The BITS staff welcome her and looks forward to working with her.

BITS would like to thank the W. Alton Jones Foundation for its generous support for the PENN program.

ViSdP / Responsibility at BITS: Otfried Nassauer (ON) and authors indicated: Lutz Hager (LH), Oliver Meier (OM), Henrietta Wilson (HW).

ISSN 1434-4262