CND today welcomed the news that 110 US tactical nuclear weapons had been withdrawn from Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk. The report 1 by Hans Kristensen, one of the foremost nuclear researchers with the Federation of American Scientists, concludes that there are now no US nuclear weapons in Britain – for the first time since 1954.
However, CND cautioned against the installation at Lakenheath of interceptor missiles as part of the US Missile Defence system, which could potentially replace one historical arms race with another, with Europe again at the centre. Tony Blair asked the US to consider Britain as a possible launching pad for US missile interceptors in February 2007.
Kristensen also suggested the findings in the US Air Force Blue Ribbon Review that ‘most sites’ currently used for deploying US nuclear weapons in Europe did not meet Department of Defense security requirements would lead to further ‘consolidation’ of the weapons in Europe.
The removal of the weapons from Lakenheath comes after many years of mass campaigning across Europe, against the deployment of US nuclear weapons on the continent. US nuclear weapons were withdrawn from Greece in 2001, and the Belgian Senate passed a resolution in April 2005 calling for the withdrawal of all US nuclear weapons in Europe. Only last week as a result of the Blue Ribbon Review, the German Social Democrats called for the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from German military bases.
Kate Hudson, Chair of CND, said: “The news that these bombs have been withdrawn from Lakenheath is extremely welcome. We would like official confirmation from the government that this has happened and believe an open admission will be a confidence-boosting measure for future disarmament initiatives.
However, withdrawal of the tactical nuclear weapons from Lakenheath should not now give way to the installation of interceptor missiles for the US Missile Defence system, a proposal Tony Blair put to the US in February last year. To withdraw the Cold War weapons but still pursue US Missile Defence would be to replace one historical arms race with another, with Europe again at the centre.”
Notes to Editors:
For further information and interviews please contact CND’s Press Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859 The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.