Holy See: Accession to Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

Action type
Government of the United States of America
25 February 1971
A declaration was annexed to the instrument of accession to the Treaty by the Holy See, the text of which reads as follows:
“1.  This accession by the Holy See to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is inspired by its constant desire, illuminated by the teaching of universal brotherhood and of justice and peace between men and peoples contained in the Gospel message to make its contribution to undertakings which, through disarmament as well as by other means, promote security, mutual trust and peaceful co-operation in relations between peoples.
In that perspective, the Holy See judges – as is said in the official document of accession – that the aims of disarmament and easing of international tension by which the Treaty is inspired correspond with its own mission of peace, and that the Treaty, although it has its intrinsic limitations, constitutes a noteworthy step forward on the road to disarmament.  In fact, in so far as the Treaty proposes to stop the dissemination of nuclear weapons – while awaiting the achievement of the cessation of the nuclear arms race and the undertaking of effective measures in the direction of complete nuclear disarmament – it has the aim of lessening the danger of terrible and total devastation which threatens all mankind, and it wishes to constitute a premise for wider agreements in the future for the promotion of a system of general and complete disarmament under effective international control.
“2.  In the first place, therefore, the Holy See appreciates and shares the following considerations and intentions which the States Party to the Treaty have expressed or declared in the Preamble of the Treaty:
1)  The awareness of the devastation ‘that would be visited upon all mankind by a nuclear war and the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to take measures to safeguard the security of peoples’;
2)  The reaffirmation of the principle that ‘in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, States must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations, and that the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security are to be promoted’;
3)  The intention ‘to achieve at the earliest possible date the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to undertake effective measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament’;
4)  The intention ‘to further the easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust between States in order to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery pursuant to a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control’.
“3.  The Holy See is furthermore convinced that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will be able to attain in full the noble objectives of security and peace which constitute the reasons for contracting it and justify the limitations to which the States Party to the Treaty submit only if it is fully executed in every clause and with all its implications.
In the Holy See’s view, that actuation concerns not only the obligations to be applied immediately but also those which envisage a process of ulterior commitments.  Among the latter, the Holy See considers it suitable to point out the following:
a)  The adoption of appropriate measures to ensure, on a basis of equality, that all non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty will have available to them the benefits deriving from peaceful applications of nuclear technology, in the spirit of paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Preamble, and in conformity with articles IV and V of the Treaty;
b)  The pursuit of negotiations in good faith ‘on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control’, in accordance with the commitment foreseen in article VI.
The Holy See, therefore, expresses its sincere wish that these undertakings will be executed by all the Parties.  In particular it declares its special interest and expresses its earnest desire:
1)  That the current talks between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the limitation of strategic armaments may soon lead to a satisfactory agreement which will make possible the cessation in an effective and lasting manner of the preoccupying arms race in that costly and murderous sector of warlike preparations, both offensive and defensive;
2)  That the proposals and drafts of agreements which have been put forward for some time past by various sources, especially within the Conference of the United Nations Committee for Disarmament, and which concern complete nuclear disarmament, the prohibition of bacteriological and chemical weapons and the limitation and control of conventional armaments, as well as the draft treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, may attain speedy and concrete results, in conformity with the repeated resolutions of the United Nations Organization and in fulfilment of the justified and anxious expectations of men and peoples of every continent.
“4.  In the spirit of the considerations expressed above, which gave rise to and which accompany this accession to the Treaty, the Holy See is convinced that the attainment of the Treaty’s aims of security and peace will be all the more complete and effective according as the extent of its application is the wider and more universal.
“From the Vatican, 25 February 1971.”
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