Eight US Arms Control Groups Issue 'Call to Action': Remove B61 Nuclear Bombs from Europe
On the 16 September 2014, eight US arms control groups issued an open letter calling for a new transatlantic advocacy campaign to remove US 'free-fall' B61 nuclear weapons from Europe.
The future of NATO’s nuclear-sharing plan will be determined in the next five to six years. We must combine our efforts in the United States with those of European and Canadian peace organisations in order to remove US B61 nuclear bombs from Europe.
Over the last 10 months, the bombs stationed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey have been debated in the US Congress. Some of the debate has revolved around NATO perspectives and whether or not Europeans want to keep the B61 in Europe. Together we can convince Congress that that the bombs are unwelcome and influence the removal of the bombs from Europe.
North American and European arms control groups should coordinate our advocacy for removing the B61 from Europe. Otherwise these Cold War relics could remain in Europe for another 30 years.
Over the last year, US and European arms control groups have worked together to encourage European parliamentarians to oppose the B61. In May, a “Dear Colleague” letter from over 130 parliamentarians was delivered to the Appropriations and Armed Services committees of Congress. That letter has opened the door for parliamentarians to express their position on the B61.
While our opponents have used the situation in Ukraine and current tension with Russia as a justification for keeping the B61 in Europe, and perhaps moving them further East, we must stand up to counter their arguments. US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe are an outdated means of reassuring the alliance’s security. NATO members should increase conventional military cooperation and stop relying on nuclear weapons. We must encourage more parliamentarians to oppose these weapons being stationed in Europe.
Some actions that we could pursue in NATO member nations:
1. Encourage parliamentarians to write letters opposing the B61 and supporting conventional military cooperation instead, to the US Congress. We can advise you on where the letters should be sent.
If you have any questions, contact David Culp at the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) by email at David@fcnl.org.