Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Time for Control

By Taina Susiluoto | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11

THE SEPTEMBER 1991 PRESIDENTIAL NUCLEAR
INITIATIVES AND THE ELIMINATION, STORING
AND SECURITY ASPECTS OF TNWS

Joshua Handler*


OVERVIEW

The unilateral declarations exchanged by the Presidents of the United States and the Soviet Union in 1991 concerning tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) were neither treaties nor empty promises. They were public pledges to take specific disarmament steps, for the most part unconditionally. The key commitments comprised in the declarations were to remove, eliminate and consolidate, either in part or in their entirety, certain categories of TNWs. 1 This chapter reviews the status of implementation of the declarations and offers an assessment—from a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) perspective—about the current status of TNWs, their safety compared to other nuclear weapons and their future.

Table 1 summarises the commitments made by Presidents Bush, Gorbachev and Yeltsin in September 1991, October 1991, January 1992 and President Clinton's September 1994 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in regards to the removal, elimination and consolidation of TNWs. President Clinton's NPR is included as it had some important implications for the American TNWs force and can be seen as a follow-on to the steps taken by the other presidents in 1991-1992.

Table 2 summarises the details of the American TNWs to be removed, eliminated and consolidated under the presidential declarations. 2

The figures of United States TNWs provided are noteworthy because they are the first such figures released by the United States. 1,700 of 2,150

-107-

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