Change of US Policy on Nuclear Weapons

22 August 1980

The 21st Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 19-23 August, 1980 in Hamden, Connecticut:

To all WILPF Sections and first two paragraphs to President Carter:

By issuing Presidential Directive #59, the Administration in Washington, DC, has shifted its nuclear war strategy from deterrence to “first-strike” capability, maintaining that a “limited and prolonged nuclear war” could insure security. Directive #59 moves from the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), primarily targeting Soviet cities and industrial centers, to a policy of counter force, targeting Soviet weaponry and sheltered command centers. The Directive encourages rather than deters nuclear war. Finally, its implementation would divert vast sums of money towards a further escalating arms race.

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, meeting in our 21st International Congress at Quinnipiac College, August 18-23, 1980, strongly rejects the thought that any nuclear exchange could remain limited or could be prolonged without irreversible consequences to life and the environment, and the League continues to oppose the concept of “first-strike” capability.

Be it therefore resolved that WILPF call urgently and immediately upon members in all Sections, but particularly in the U.S. Section, to exert the strongest possible pressure upon governments, especially the U.S. government, for a reversal of this policy direction.