DECLARATION ON THE PROHIBITION OF THE USE
OF NUCLEAR AND THERMO-NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Resolution 1653 (XVI) of the United Nations General Assembly adopted on 24 November 1961
INTRODUCTORY NOTE: In the Declaration reprinted below the General Assembly expresses its views on the question of the legality of the use of nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons. The Declaration was submitted by twelve Asian and African states acting on the initiative of Ethiopia. In paragraph 2 the General Assembly requests the Secretary-General to ascertain the views of the member states on the possibility of convening a special conference for the purpose of signing a convention on the prohibition of such weapons. Of the 62 member states that replied to the Secretary-General in 1962, 33 viewed favourably the possibility of such a conference, 26 expressed negative views or doubts and three wished to await the results of the meetings of the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament before submitting their views. The General Assembly in later resolutions reaffirmed its view that the use of nuclear weapons is a direct violation of the Charter. See No. 17 and Res. 46/37 D of 6 December 1991, with further references.
AUTHENTIC TEXTS: Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
TEXT PUBLISHED IN: Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly during its Sixteenth session, Vol. 1, 19 September 1961–23 February 1962, General Assembly Official Records: Sixteenth session, Supplement No. 17 (A/5100), New York, United Nations, 1962, pp. 4-5 (Engl. - see also the Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish editions); Droit des conflits armés, pp. 137-139 (French).
The General Assembly,
Mindful of its responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as in the consideration of principles governing disarmament,
Gravely concerned that while negotiations on disarmament have not so far achieved satisfactory results, the armaments race, particularly in the nuclear and thermo-nuclear fields, has reached a dangerous stage requiring all possible precautionary measures to protect humanity and civilization from the hazard of nuclear and thermo-nuclear catastrophe.
Recalling that the use of weapons of mass destruction, causing unnecessary human suffering, was in the past prohibited, as being contrary to the laws of humanity and to the principles of international law, by international declarations and binding agreements, such as the Declaration of St. Petesbury of 1868, the Declaration of the Brussels Conference of 1874, the Conventions of The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907, and the Geneva Protocol of 1925, to which the majority of nations are still parties,