September 28, 2001

Dear Member of Congress:

We are writing to express our concerns about language in the Administration's proposed anti-terrorism legislation that would waive restrictions on U.S. weapons exports and military assistance to countries that may assist the U.S. in its fight against terrorism. As representatives of religious, development, arms control and human rights organizations working to limit the negative impact of the weapons trade on international peace and security, we are concerned that the proposed language could undermine the core values of U.S. foreign policy - freedom, democracy, and respect for human life - and ultimately jeopardize American security.

Specifically, we believe that Congress should continue to oversee U.S. arms exports and military assistance while not sacrificing the following central foreign policy goals:

Current U.S. law already includes emergency provisions that permit the President to provide military equipment and aid to allies in times of crisis. Before exercising such national security waivers, we urge Congress and the President to consider the broader foreign policy goals articulated above and to take steps to ensure that any waiver be limited in both scope and duration.

Existing restrictions on U.S. weapons exports and military aid have been carefully crafted over the last fifty years to protect U.S. national security and prevent the misuse or diversion of U.S. military assistance or equipment. The tragic events of September 11 demonstrate that the U.S. must take steps to protect the country and bring to justice those responsible for the terrorist attacks. But in an effort to overcome the threat of terrorism, the U.S. should not reverse laws and policies that have served to keep weapons out of the hands of governments and terrorists who may threaten U.S. national security.


Mike Amitay

Executive Director, Washington Kurdish Institute

Kurt Biddle

Washington Coordinator, Indonesia Human Rights Network

Loretta Bondi

Advocacy Director, Fund for Peace

Salih Booker

Executive Director, Africa Action

Peter J. Davies

U.S. Representative, Saferworld

Darryl Fagin

Legislative Director, Americans for Democratic Action

Tamar Gabelnick

Director, Arms Sales Monitoring Project

Federation of American Scientists

Natalie J. Goldring

National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives

William Goodfellow

Executive Director, Center for International Policy

William D. Hartung

World Policy Institute

Martha Honey

Director, Peace and Security Program

Institute for Policy Studies

John Isaacs

President, Council for a Livable World

Greg Davidson Laszakovits
Coordinator, Church of the Brethren Washington Office

Christina Lindborg

Analyst, British American Security Information Council

Kevin Martin

Executive Director, Peace Action Education Fund

James Matlack

Director, Washington Office

American Friends Service Committee

Karen Orenstein

Washington Coordinator, East Timor Action Network

Stephen G. Price

Director, Office of Justice and Peace

Society of African Missions

Susan Shaer

Executive Director, WAND, Women's Action for New Directions

Joe Volk

Executive Director, Friends Committee for National Legislation

Miriam A. Young

Executive Director, Asia Pacific Center for Justice and Peace