Late, Right…..And Forgotten

June 26, 1997

Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned, believe that the current U.S.led effort to expand NATO, the focus of the recent Helsinki and Paris Summits, is a policy error of historic proportions. We believe that NATO expansion will decrease allied security and unsettle European stability for the following reasons:

In Russia, NATO expansion, which continues to be opposed across the entire political spectrum, will strengthen the nondemocratic opposition, undercut those who favor reform and cooperation with the West, bring the Russians to question the entire post-Cold War settlement, and galvanize resistance in the Duma to the START II and III treaties; In Europe, NATO expansion will draw a new line of division between the “ins” and the “outs,” foster instability, and ultimately diminish the sense of security of those countries which are not included;

In NATO, expansion, which the Alliance has indicated is open-ended, will inevitably degrade NATO’s ability to carry out its primary mission and will involve U.S. security guarantees to countries with serious border and national minority problems, and unevenly developed systems of democratic government;

In the U.S., NATO expansion will trigger an extended debate over its indeterminate, but certainly high, cost and will call into question the U.S. commitment to the Alliance, traditionally and rightly regarded as a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy.

Because of these serious objections, and in the absence of any reason for rapid decision, we strongly urge that the NATO expansion process be suspended while alternative actions are pursued. These include:


—opening the economic and political doors of the European Union to Central and Eastern Europe;—developing an enhanced Partnership for Peace program;

—supporting a cooperative NATO-Russian relationship; and

—continuing the arms reduction and transparency process, particularly with respect to nuclear weapons and materials, the major threat to U.S. security, and with respect to conventional military forces in Europe.


Russia does not now pose a threat to its western neighbors and the nations of Central and Eastern Europe are not in danger. For this reason, and the others cited above, we believe that NATO expansion is neither necessary nor desirable and that this ill-conceived policy can and should be put on hold.



George Bunn Townsend Hoopes Sam Nunn
Robert Bowie Gordon Humphrey Herbert S. Okun
Bill Bradley Fred Ikle W.K.H. Panofsky
David Calleo Bennett Johnston Christian Patte
Richard T. Davies Carl Kaysen Richard Pipes
Jonathan Dean Spurgeon Keeny Robert E. Pursley
Paul Doty James Leonard George Rathjens
Susan Eisenhower Edward Luttwak Stanley Resor
David M. Evans Michael Mandelbaum John Rhinelander
David Fischer Jack F. Matlock Jr. John J. Shanahan
Raymond Garthoff C. William Maynes Marshall Shulman
Morton H. Halperin Richard McCormack John Steinbruner
Owen Harries David McGiffert Stansfield Turner
Gary Hart Robert McNamara Richard Viets
Arthur Hartman Jack Mendelsohn Paul Warnke
Mark Hatfield Philip Merrill James D. Watkins
John P. Holdren Paul H. Nitze