One of the greatest concerns that I had when I became President was the vast array of nuclear weapons in the arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union and a few other countries, and also the great proliferation of conventional weapons, non-nuclear weapons, particularly as a tremendous burden on the economies of developing or very poor countries.
All nuclear weapon states should now recognize that this is so, and declare - in Treaty form - that they will never be the first to use nuclear weapons. This would open the way to the gradual, mutual reduction of nuclear arsenals, down to zero.
The ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry, but they cannot kill ignorance, illness, poverty or hunger.
The bombs held in current nuclear arsenals are seventy times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. If we don't begin opposing the drift towards more and more of them, we will live in the shadow of the mushroom cloud for the rest of our lives - and millions may die there.
The Soviet Union has long been proposing to outlaw chemical weapons, to remove them from the arsenals of states. We are prepared for resolution of this problem either on a global basis or piece by piece. As one of the first steps the USSR and the other socialist countries proposed in January 1984 that agreement be reached on ridding Europe of all types of chemical weapons.
As long as the two nuclear superpowers maintain arsenals in the tens of thousands of nuclear warheads, there is no way they can with any consistency urge that other nations not be allowed to acquire theses weapons.
But elimination will only happen if all countries - nuclear and non-nuclear states - genuinely work towards this result. Nuclear states must abolish their arsenals, as was indicated by the unanimous opinion of the international Court of Justice, the highest international tribunal. The five nuclear states seem to expect others to refrain from obtaining bombs while at the same time maintaining their own caches of deadly weapons.
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.