News Release

McNamara: U.S. a Violator of Proliferation Treaty


President Obama emphasized proliferation issues at his news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today.

Robert McNamara, who died today, is most noted for presiding over much of the escalation of the Vietnam War during the Johnson administration; he was also an increasingly outspoken advocate on nuclear non-proliferation.

In 2005, former Secretary of Defense McNamara told the Institute for Public Accuracy: “The NPT was signed by a president. It was submitted to the Senate; it was ratified by the Senate. It is today the law of the land. The U.S. government is not adhering to Article VI of the NPT and we show no signs of planning to adhere to its requirements to move forward with the elimination — not reduction, but elimination — of nuclear weapons. That was the agreement, these other countries would not develop nuclear weapons and the nuclear powers would move to elimination. We are violating that.”

One of the last major pieces written by McNamara was “Apocalypse Soon” in Foreign Policy.

Granoff is the president of the Global Security Institute. In 2005, Granoff moderated an event at the United Nations that featured McNamara as a speaker. At one point, McNamara stated: “U.S. and NATO nuclear policies today are immoral, illegal, [militarily] unnecessary, very very dangerous in terms of potential accidental or inadvertent use and destructive of the non-proliferation regime.” For video, see here at about 46:30.

Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, which monitors nuclear weapons policy.

She said today: “With respect to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), McNamara was right. The treaty requires the nuclear weapon states to negotiate in good faith to eliminate — not merely reduce — their nuclear arsenals. Today’s announcement that the U.S. and Russia will negotiate a modest follow-on treaty to START reestablishes the norm of verification in nuclear arms reductions, but leaves in place objectively huge arsenals for years to come, fails to address key security differences that are likely to impede meaningful nuclear disarmament in the future, and does nothing to reduce the central role of nuclear weapons in either country’s national security policies.

“In contrast, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, at their recent annual meeting, unanimously adopted a resolution calling on President Obama to announce at the 2010 NPT Review Conference the initiation of good faith multilateral negotiations on an international agreement to abolish nuclear weapons by the year 2020. I’d like to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt, but if he’s serious about getting rid of nuclear weapons, he’s going to have to make a major break with the policies of both the Bush and Clinton administrations, and take on some of the most powerful and entrenched forces on earth.”

Cabasso is also U.S. Coordinator of Mayors for Peace. She is a co-author of Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis and Paths to Peace and her latest information brief is [PDF] “Rhetoric vs. Reality: Elite Disarmament Proposals and Real Disarmament Prospects.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167