An Open Letter by parliamentarians from NATO countries to the United States President with reference to the US Nuclear Posture Review and the 10th Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
To: Joseph Biden Jr., President of the United States of America
Kamala Harris, Vice-President of the United States, President of the US Senate
Rep Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives
Senator Bob Menendez, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Senator James Risch, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Senator Jack Reed, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator James Inhofe, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Rep Gregory Meeks, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Rep Michael McCaul, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Rep Adam Smith, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee
Rep Mike Rogers, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee
Senator Ed Markey, Co-chair of the US Congress Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group and Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament
Senator King, Chair of the Senate Sub-committee on Strategic Forces
Senator Fischer, Ranking Member of the Senate Sub-committee on Strategic Forces
Rep Jim Cooper, Chair of the House Sub-committee on Strategic Forces
Rep Michael Turner, Ranking member of the House Sub-committee on Strategic Forces
Dear Mr President
We are parliamentarians from a number of NATO member countries and from differing political parties writing to you as your Administration undertakes a Nuclear Posture Review, and as you prepare for the 10th Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
We are concerned about the current conflicts and tensions between nuclear armed and allied countries, the risks that these could escalate, and the nuclear policies that contribute to this. We write in support of measures to reduce the risk of nuclear war, advance diplomacy and contribute to multilateral nuclear disarmament.
In particular we encourage your administration to:
- Give high priority to adopting a policy of no-first-use (or sole purpose) of nuclear weapons;
- Include in your Strategic Stability Dialogue with Russia, the possibility of a mutual or reciprocal no-first-use declaration/agreement;
- Engage with the other recognized nuclear-weapon States in the P5 NPT dialogue on adoption of no-first-use policies and the operational measures to implement them in order to build transparency, confidence and mutual security.
We commend you for raising the possibility of the USA adopting a no-first-use or sole purpose policy. We note that some members of the US Congress have been arguing against such a policy on the grounds that the US allies are demanding a first-use option for their protection.
Let us state clearly that we do not believe that a first-use option is in the security interests of our countries or in the interests of NATO as a whole. We encourage you to take leadership on this issue and we pledge our support.
While not detracting from other important nuclear risk-reduction and arms control measures, we support, in particular, the adoption of a no-first-use policy as a vital measure to reduce the risk of a nuclear war and to start phasing out the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines while maintaining strategic stability.
Options to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict, and preparations to enable such a first-use, escalate tensions and risks, stimulate counter measures such as launch-on-warning, justify nuclear modernisation programs and prevent negotiations on nuclear disarmament.
On the other hand, unilateral no-first-use declarations, and mutual agreements or reciprocal declarations on no-first-use, can reduce these risks and pave the way for more far-reaching nuclear arms control and disarmament measures.
Our parliaments – as well as the US Congress and Russian parliament – as members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have given support for no-first-use policies in declarations such as the Berlin Declaration (July 11, 2018) and the Tbilisi Declaration (July 5, 2016), which were adopted by consensus.
In addition, we bring to your attention the support for no-first-use from influential voices from the USA, NATO and globally as expressed by a June 10, 2021 Open Letter to yourself and President Putin which was endorsed by over 1200 political, military and religious leaders, as well as legislators, academics and scientists and other representatives of civil society. More than 400 of these endorsers are from NATO countries, and nearly 700 from the USA.
Finally, we note the resolutions supporting no-first-use introduced into the US Senate by Senator Warren (S.1219) and into the US House of Representatives by Congressman Smith, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee (H.R.2603), as well as a July 22, 2021 letter to you from the US Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group which cites your statement that “Given our non-nuclear capabilities and the nature of today’s threats — it’s hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary. Or make sense,” and calls on your Nuclear Posture Review to “operationalize your previously stated view that the United States will not need to fire the first shot in a nuclear conflict and that it configures its nuclear forces away from that warfighting posture accordingly.”
We concur with these comments and offer our support for their implementation.
Mr President, we extend our highest considerations and respect.
Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (UK)
Member, All Party Parliamentary Group on Future Generations.
Member All Party Parliamentary Group on the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
Vice-President of the National Association of Local Councils.
Dr Milan Brglez MEP (Slovenia)
Member of the European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.
Former Speaker of the Slovenian National Assembly.
Mr Sven Clement MP (Luxembourg)
Member of parliamentary committees on Finance & Budget and on Health & Sports.
Alternate Member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Mr Tony Colman (UK)
Former Member of the House of Commons.
Member, World Future Council.
Mrs Özlem Demirel MEP (Germany)
Vice-Chair, European Parliament Sub-committee on Security and Defence.
Dr. Ute Finckh-Krämer (Germany)
Former Deputy-Chair of the Bundestag Sub-committee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation.
Dr Hedy Fry MP (Canada)
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Special Representative on Gender Issues.
Ms Alena Gajdůšková (Czech Republic).
Council Member, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND).
Former Member of the Czech Senate.
Mr Andrej Hunko MP (Germany)
Member of the Bundestag and the Council of Europe.
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (UK)
Leader of the Green Party in the House of Lords
Senator Farah Karimi (Netherlands)
Head of Netherlands Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
OSCEPA Special Representative on Youth Engagement.
Mr Jan Kavan (Czech Republic).
Member, European Leadership Network.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Former President of the UN General Assembly.
Dr. Franziska Kersten MdB (Germany)
Member of the Deutscher Bundestag.
Former Head of Unit at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
Mr Bill Kidd MSP (Scotland/UK)
Co-President, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND).
Convenor, Cross-party Group in the Scottish Parliament on Nuclear Disarmament.
Ms Franziska Kersten (Germany)
Member of Deutsche Bundestag
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Köster MEP (Germany)
Member, European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Member, European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the United States.
Dr. M. Sevki Kulkuloglu (Turkey)
Former Member of Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
Former Vice Chair of Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions.
Ms Aaja Chemnitz Larsen (Greenland/Denmark)
Chair, Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region
Baroness (Ruth) Lister of Burtersett CBE (UK)
Former Member, Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Fellow of the British Academy.
Former Director, Child Poverty Action Group.
Ms Heather McPherson MP (Canada)
Deputy whip of the New Democratic Party.
Member of the Canada Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
Baroness Sue Miller (UK)
Member, UK House of Lords.
Co-President, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.
Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Security and Non-proliferation.
Mr Holger K Nielsen (Denmark)
Former member of parliament.
Former Foreign Minister.
Ms Eva Quistorp (Germany).
Former Member of the European Parliament.
Co-founder, Women for Peace, Germany
Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC (UK)
Board Member, European Leadership Network.
Former Foreign Secretary. Former Defence Secretary.
Senator Pierrette Ringuette (Canada)
Officer of the Ordre de la Pléiade.
Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.
Dr (med) Tina Rudolf MdB (Germany)
Member of the Bundestag.
Former Member, Jena City Council Climate Advisory Board.
Mr Mounir Satouri MEP (France)
Member of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Member of the European Parliament’s Security and Defence Sub-Committee.
Mr Christoph Schmid MdB (Germany)
Member of the Bundestag.
Former Mayor of Alerheim.
Lord Thomas of Gresford OBE, QC. (UK).
Member, UK House of Lords.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General.
Dr Andrea Varga-Damm MP (Hungary)
Member of the Hungarian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Senator Orry Van de Wauwer (Belgium).
Alternate Member of Belgium Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Alternate Member of Belgium Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
Mr Thore Vestby (Norway)
Former Vice-President of Mayors for Peace
Mr Karsten Voigt (Germany)
Member of the European Leadership Network.
Former President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Former German-American coordinator in the Federal Foreign Office.
Ms Uta Zapf (Germany)
Member, European Leadership Network.
Former Chair of the Bundestag Sub-committee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation.
Founding Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND).