British last-minute contribution to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference

The new British government\’s announcement today of a total limit of 225 nuclear warheads is to be welcomed as a next step in the transparency and disarmament process, said Paul Ingram, Executive Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC). “Britain, by following the example of the United States and France in such a transparency measure concerning their nuclear arsenals, will help encourage Russia and China to follow suit,” said Ingram. “However, Britain needs to show more confidence and flexibility in disarmament negotiations at the NPT Review Conference, where recent negotiations appear to have been hampered by a stubborn attachment to current nuclear postures within the nuclear weapon states.”

He was commenting on the statement by William Hague, Foreign Secretary, delivered in the House of Commons that the United Kingdom\’s stockpile of nuclear weapons will not exceed 225 (the previous government had announced a total of 160 warheads in the operational stockpile only). The speech coincided with the final days of negotiations at the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which ends on Friday.

Hague also referred in his speech to a forthcoming review of Britain\’s declaratory policy – its open policy on the circumstances in which the United Kingdom may use its nuclear arsenal. The recent nuclear posture review in the United States gave clear security guarantees to non-nuclear weapon states in compliance with the NPT, and it seems likely the United Kingdom is considering a similar guarantee. Ingram said: “The announced review of declaratory policy is very welcome. It will also give the new government the chance to visit for its own satisfaction the reasons why Britain is continuing to deploy nuclear weapons, and to contribute to the global disarmament agenda by reducing the salience of its nuclear weapons in its defence posture.”



Paul Ingram, Executive Director
United Kingdom: +44 (0)7908 708175
pingram (at)

Anne Penketh, Program Director
United States: +1 202-570-6701
apenketh (at)

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