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Excerpt from: Dismantling Nuclear Forces

F.W. de Klerk
Former President of South Africa


*F.W. de Klerk, former President of South Africa (HIMAT, 121)

No one who has visited the Peace Park in Hiroshima can fail to be deeply moved by the horror of nuclear war. The mute remains of the cataclysm — the scorched clothes, the burnt shadows on fragments of walls, the watches forever frozen at quarter past eight – speak much more eloquently of the tragedy than words can ever express. It is for this reason so important to keep the memory of Hiroshima alive as a stark and continuing warning to mankind.


*A watch, stopped at 8:15 AM forever. (Asahi Graph, 67)

We cannot put the genie of nuclear technology back in the bottle. The challenge for all mankind is to control this technology for the common good and to eliminate forever the idea that it can be used for destructive purposes. There are a number of ways of pursuing this goal:

  • We should all support the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • We should guard against the possibility of weapons being acquired illegally from the stockpiles of existing nuclear weapons states.
  • We should support steps to declare certain parts of the world to be nuclear free zones.
  • We must urge existing Nuclear Weapons States to move more rapidly toward the dismantling of their stockpiles.

The fact remains, that despite all the lip service that is given to the ideal of nuclear disarmament, South Africa is the only country that has ever voluntarily dismantled an existing nuclear capability. We did so in 1993 and have learned that true security comes from our ability to solve complex problems peacefully rather than by imagining that we can achieve anything by threatening ultimate destruction.

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