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Former Policy-Makers Voice Concern Over NATO Expansion

June 26, 1997

In an open letter to President Clinton released today more than forty former senators, cabinet secretaries and ambassadors, as well as arms control and foreign policy analysts, have called for a postponement of NATO expansion while other options for European security are explored. The group recommends making it a priority to open the doors of the European Union to Central and Eastern Europe, enhance the Partnership for Peace program, and vigorously continue the arms reduction process.

NATO expansion, as it is currently envisioned, risks undermining the alliance itself and could require an "indeterminate, but certainly high, cost" the letter says. And continued failure to articulate the scope of the future NATO could seriously jeopardize the ability of the alliance "to carry out its primary mission."

The signers also expressed concern about drawing "a new line of division in Europe, between the 'ins' and the 'outs' of a new NATO," which could "foster instability, and ultimately diminish the security of those countries which are not included."

"We hope that our letter will encourage the public and our elected officials to ask some hard questions, and get the answers they need, before the ratification process is set in motion," said Susan Eisenhower, who played a key role in organizing the effort. "An enhanced debate on the implications of enlarging NATO is crucial at a time when we are contemplating greater commitments while funding resources for defense and national security are diminishing."

The letter, organized by a group of individuals involved in foreign policy analysis, reflects only a fraction of those who oppose the administration's current approach. "The list was in no way intended to be a comprehensive attempt to poll the Washington foreign policy community," said Jack Mendelsohn, who also helped to organize the list. "Rather, the list is representative of a diverse group of thoughtful and knowledgeable people who have deep concerns about the open- ended nature of this policy."

The bipartisan group consists of many well-known and highly respected individuals, including former Democratic Senators Sam Nunn (one of the Senate's foremost defense experts), Gary Hart, and Bennett Johnston, as well as former Senate Republicans Mark Hatfield and Gordon Humphrey. Two recent ambassadors to the Soviet Union, Jack F. Matlock, Jr. and Arthur Hartman also signed the letter.

Other signatories include: Ambassador Paul Nitze, President Reagan's chief arms control negotiator; Robert McNamara, former Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, AdmiralJames Watkins, Secretary of Energy during the Bush years; and President Carter's Director of the CIA, Admiral Stansfield Turner. Former NATO Assistant Secretary General Philip Merrill is also among those listed. The signatories also include many distinguished arms control negotiators and academics, many of whom--like the Reagan administration's Professor Richard Pipes and Carter administration's Professor Marshall Shulman--also served in government.



PLEASE NOTE: This material is embargoed until 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 26

We, the undersigned, believe that the current U.S.-led effort to expand NATO, the focus of the recent Helsinki and Paris Summits, is a policy error of historic proportions. We believe that NATO expansion will decrease allied security and unsettle European stability for the following reasons:

In Russia, NATO expansion, which continues to be opposed across the entire political spectrum, will strengthen the non-democratic opposition, undercut those who favor reform and cooperation with the West, bring the Russians to question the entire post-Cold War settlement, and galvanize resistance in the Duma to the START II and III treaties;

In Europe, NATO expansion will draw a new line of division between the "ins" and the "outs," foster instability, and ultimately diminish the sense of security of those countries which are not included;

In NATO, expansion, which the Alliance has indicated is open-ended, will inevitably degrade NATO's ability to carry out its primary mission and will involve U.S. security guarantees to countries with serious border and national minority problems, and unevenly developed systems of democratic government;

In the U.S., NATO expansion will trigger an extended debate over its indeterminate, but certainly high, cost and will call into question the U.S. commitment to the Alliance, traditionally and rightly regarded as a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy.

Because of these serious objections, and in the absence of any reason for a rapid decision, we strongly urge that the NATO expansion process be suspended while alternative actions are pursued. These include:

  • opening the economic and political doors of the European Union to Central and Eastern Europe;
  • developing an enhanced Partnership for Peace program;
  • supporting a cooperative NATO-Russian relationship; and
  • continuing the arms reduction and transparency process, particularly with respect to nuclear weapons and materials, the major threat to U.S. security, and with respect to conventional military forces in Europe.

Russia does not now pose a threat to its western neighbors and the nations of Central and Eastern Europe are not in danger. For this reason, and the others cited above, we believe that NATO expansion is neither necessary nor desirable and that this ill-conceived policy can and should be put on hold.


Ambassador George Bunn
(IIS Consulting Professor, Center for International Security and Arms Control, Stanford, University)
The Honorable Robert Bowie
(Former Director, Policy Planning Staff, and Counselor, Department of State; former Deputy Director for Intelligence, C.I.A.)
Senator Bill Bradley
(U.S. Senator (1979-1996))
Professor David Calleo
(Director of European Studies, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University)
Ambassador Richard T. Davies
(Former Ambassador to Poland (1973-1978); Political Officer, NATO International Staff; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs)
Ambassador Jonathan Dean
(Former Ambassador heading U.S. Delegation to NATO Warsaw Pact Negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions; Deputy U.S. Negotiator, Four Power Agreement on Berlin; Adviser for International Security Issues, Union of Concerned Scientists)
Professor Paul Doty
(Emeritus Director, Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)
Susan Eisenhower
(Chairman, Center for Political and Strategic Studies)
David M. Evans
(Former Senior Adviser to Helsinki Commission (1990-1995); President, Integrated Strategies International)
Ambassador David Fischer
(President, World Affairs Council of Northern California)
Ambassador Raymond Garthoff
(Former Ambassador to Bulgaria (1977-1979); Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution)
Dr. Morton H. Halperin
(Former National Security Council and Department of Defense Official)
Owen Harries
(Editor, The National Interest)
Senator Gary Hart
(U.S. Senator (1975-1987))
Ambassador Arthur Hartman
(Former Ambassador to The Soviet Union (1981- 1987))
Senator Mark Hatfield
(U.S. Senator (1967-1987))
Professor John P. Holdren
(Chairman, National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control; Professor, Harvard University)
The Honorable Townsend Hoopes
(Former Undersecretary of the U.S. Air Force)
Senator Gordon Humphrey
(U.S. Senator (1979-1991))
The Honorable Fred Ikle
(Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (1981-1988))
Senator Bennett Johnston
(U.S. Senator (1972-1996))
Professor Carl Kaysen
(Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University)
The Honorable Spurgeon Keeny
(Former Deputy Director Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Senior Staff Member, National Security Council; President, Arms Control Association)
Ambassador James Leonard
(Former Assistant Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; former Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations)
Dr. Edward Luttwak
(Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies)
Professor Michael Mandelbaum
(Professor, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University)
Ambassador Jack Matlock
(Former Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1987- 1991))
The Honorable C. William Maynes
(Former Editor, Foreign Policy; Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations Affairs (1977-1980))
Ambassador Richard McCormack
(Former Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs (1989-1991))
The Honorable David McGiffert
(Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs (1977-1981))
The Honorable Robert S. McNamara
(Secretary of Defense (1961-1968); President of the World Bank (1968-1991))
Jack Mendelsohn
(Former Senior Foreign Service Officer; Deputy Director, Arms Control Association)
Philip Merrill
(Former NATO Assistant Secretary General)
Ambassador Paul H. Nitze
(Former Special Adviser to President Reagan and Secretary of State Shultz for Arms Control; former Deputy Secretary of Defense; former Secretary of the Navy)
Senator Sam Nunn
(U.S. Senator (1972-1996))
Ambassador Herbert S. Okun
(Ambassador to East Germany (1980-1983); Ambassador to the United Nations (1985-1989))
Professor W. K. H. Panofsky
(Emeritus Professor, Stanford University)
Major General Christian Patte (ret.)
(Former Director of NATO Logisitics (1990-1996))
Professor Richard Pipes
(Director, East European and Soviet Affairs for National Security Council)
Lt. General Robert E. Pursley (ret.)
(Lieutenant General, U.S. Air Force)
Professor George Rathjens
(Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
The Honorable Stanley Resor
(Former Secretary of the Army; Ambassador to the Mutual Balanced Force Reduction Negotiation)
The Honorable John B. Rhinelander
(Former Legal Adviser to U.S. SALT I Delegation; Deputy Legal Adviser, Department of State)
Vice Admiral John J. Shanahan (ret.)
(Former Military Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to NATO; Director, Center for Defense Information)
The Honorable Marshall Shulman
(Professor Emeritus, Columbia University)
Dr. John Steinbruner
(Senior Fellow and former Director, Foreign Policy Studies, Brookings Institution)
Admiral Stansfield Turner (ret.)
(Former Director of the C.I.A.)
Ambassador Richard Viets
(Former Ambassador to Tanzania and Jordan)
The Honorable Paul Warnke
(Former Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs)
Admiral James D. Watkins (ret.)
(Former Secretary of Energy; former Chief of Naval Operations)

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: KRISTIN NEWMEYER, Center for Political and Strategic Studies, 301-652-8181

The Center for Political and Strategic Studies
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 410
Chevy Chase, MD 20815 USA
T: 301-652-8181, F: 301-652-8451

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