Open Letter

to the President of the French Republic, Jacques Chirac,

to the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder





Your Excellencies,

As an international network of thousands of scientists and engineers around the World dedicated to the peaceful progress of humankind we are deeply worried about the seemingly unstoppable preparations for a war against Iraq. We oppose this US-led war and support all non-violent opposition to it. We appeal to you as representatives of two nations dedicated to a peaceful solution, and in your capacities as a permanent member and as the current chairman of the Security Council, to resist the US pressure and say NON and NEIN to the efforts to gain UN Security Council approval for a unilaterally declared war.

The next meeting of the Security Council will go down into history as a landmark date, either of strengthening the rule of law even against a militarily most dominant superpower, or as the ultimate surrender of the rule of law to the rule of power. The latter, from an old but more than ever relevant European experience, would mean to fall back not only behind the model of international regulation established by the 20th century Briand-Kellog-Pact and the UN Charter, but even behind the minimum standards of international rights established to end the 17th century 30 years war in the Westphalian peace.

We call upon you to defend these essential achievements of modern civilization, and we assure you our fullest support in this respect. The future of the United Nations and international law is at stake, and unlike some comments try to suggest - the UN will lose its relevance not if the Security Council follows an appeal to reason and against war, but if it agrees to a doctrine of pre-emptive wars declared by the remaining superpower.

We support your suggestion that diplomacy and politics must be the priority instruments in the strive for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, which is also one of the core objectives we are actively supporting in all continents. In this sense not in the intention to wage war on unruly subjects Iraq can only be the beginning.

For all these reasons, we call upon the President of the French Republic, in defending the values France has been symbolising for more than 200 years, if necessary to make use of his Veto to save the credibility of the United Nations, limit the damage already done for the peaceful relations of nations, and to prevent a war as far as possible.

For the same reasons, we call upon the Federal Chancellor of Germany to share the history lesson that Germany has learnt, that a war except in immediate self defence can never be a justifiable instrument of politics. We urge upon his Excellency Gerhard Schröder to use his highly symbolic position as the acting chairman of the Security Council to denounce any claimed military solution.

Your Excellencies,

Scientists and engineers are a traditional voice of reason. We strongly hope that our support for a peaceful solution, and in particular for saving the credibility of the UN system and rule of law will contribute to encourage you and others to continue withstanding the US pressure. The fact that the majority of the World population shares our concerns, and in particular the people of France and Germany, makes us expect that you will sustain the choice for reason, law and peace in this historic situation.



Prof. Armin Tenner, chairman, NL

Dr. David Krieger, deputy chairman, USA