It is becoming increasingly obvious that the NATO resolution of December 12, 1979, to “close the arms gap” was a fateful mistake. The expectation that agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union aimed at limiting strategic weapons systems in Europe could be reached before a new generation of American intermediate-range nuclear weapons is deployed in western Europe does not appear to have been fulfilled.
A year has passed since Brussels and not even the commencement of such talks is in sight. On the contrary: the newly elected president of the United States has frankly declared that he does not want to accept even the already signed SALT II treaty to limit Soviet and American strategic nuclear weapons and therefore does not wish to pass it on to the Senate for ratification.
By refusing ratification, however, the United States would inevitably be pushing any prospect of negotiations to limit strategic nuclear weapons in Europe still further into the future. A suicidal arms race could not be stopped at the last moment; the increasing acceleration [of the arms race] and the ever firmer belief that a nuclear war could be limited would subject the European peoples, first and foremost, to an intolerable risk.
The participants of the Krefeld talks on November 15-16, 1980, therefore appeal jointly to the federal government to retract its endorsement of deploying Pershing II and cruise missiles in central Europe and, in the future, to adopt a position within the alliance [i.e., NATO] that no longer exposes our country to suspicions that it is seeking to pave the way for a renewed arms race, which would endanger Europeans primarily.
The public is becoming increasingly concerned about the most recent developments. Options for alternative security policies are being discussed with growing resolve. Such considerations are of great significance for the democratic process of developing an informed opinion and can help make sure that our country will not suddenly be faced with a fait accompli.
All citizens are therefore called upon to support this appeal, so that public opinion will create unremitting and growing pressure in order to force a security policy that:
– rejects the arms buildup that would turn central Europe into a nuclear weapons platform for the United States;
– values disarmament over deterrence;
– directs the development of the army of the Federal Republic toward this aim.
Source: Krefelder Appeal (November 1980), Deutsche Volkszeitung, special issue, January 1981; reprinted in Lutz Plümer, ed., Positionen der Friedensbewegung. Die Auseinandersetzung um den US-Mittelstreckenraketenbeschluß. Dokumente, Appelle, Beiträge. [The Views of the Peace Movement. The Debate about the U.S. Intermediate-Range Missle Resolution. Documents, Appeals, Articles]. Frankfurt am Main, 1981, p. 64.
Translation: Allison Brown