Text of a letter signed by 170 retired generals and admirals that appeared as a full page ad in the New York Times and other. papers on January 21, 1979. An introduction to the letter claimed that it marked "the first time in history that a large and distinguished group of military officers has publicly issued such a warning."

Dear Mr. President:

As former members of our country's armed forces, we are taking the liberty of addressing you directly as concerned citizens. Our concern is that current trends in U.S. policy may undermine the maintenance of peace -- for America and the world.

Years of frequently tragic experience have taught us that the achievement of genuine peace is not simply a matter of strong desire or good intentions. Peace requires courage as well as patience. It cannot be bought cheaply or easily. Above all, it demands the will to contend with observable realities -- even if they may not be to our liking.

The National Intelligence Estimate, the most authoritative U.S. government evaluation of intelligence data, acknowledges at last that the Soviet Union is heading for superiority -- not parity-in the military arena. This represents a complete reversal of official judgments that were a substantial factor in allowing our government to pursue detente and overall accommodation with the Soviet regime.

By any criteria, the increasing Soviet challenge to America's position in global affairs is manifest:

... while the U.S. has developed only one ICBM system since 1965, the USSR has developed seven;

... in addition to modernizing its ICBM systems, the Soviet Union has invested heavily in additional submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM);

... the Backfire bomber, the newest addition to the Soviet Union's strategic arsenal, launched from Arctic bases, is capable of delivering weapons anywhere in the U.S. without refueling;

... advances in Soviet MIRV technology are overcoming rapidly whatever lead we had in quality and quantity of warheads; the dramatic development in Soviet naval power matching the modernization of Soviet air and ground forces now threatens U.S. security in vital sea lanes providing access to essential resources.

Soviet defense literature explicitly rejects the Western doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction." It rejects specifically the notion that nuclear war means suicide. Soviet forces are structured to fight, survive and win nuclear war. We urge you, Mr. President, to bring these facts to the attention of our fellow citizens so that all Americans will understand the dimension of the Soviet military challenge.

Under the umbrella of growing strategic nuclear and tactical military superiority, the Soviet leaders have become more aggressive Soviet influence and power are increasingly evident in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf littoral. Afghanistan is being brought under Soviet control. Anti-American forces harass the governments of Iran and Turkey. Through the use of Cuban mercenaries, the USSR has moved north from Angola to Ethiopia and Zaire. Some Cuban forces have returned to Syria from Angola and also are entering Lebanon.

Soviet imperial objectives appear to include the neutralization of Western Europe in part by denying it access to critical raw materials, the encirclement of China; and the isolation of the U.S.

The Soviet focus on the Middle East, as a way of obtaining these aims, represents a real and growing threat to Western security. We strongly support the pursuit of friendship and improved relations with all responsible governments in the Middle East. However, the ability of the U.S. to protect its security interests in the Middle East is closely linked, if not dependent on, the maintenance of a potent Israeli military capability in the area.

In this context, a U.S. Interagency study on the global military balance concluded recently that, in the event of a non-nuclear super-power conflict in the Middle East, Israel, by itself, "might deter Soviet combat forces intervention or prevent the completion of such deployment." At this stage, no other society in the area can be counted on to mobilize reliable, battle-tested ground and air units, or to make available secure access points. In brief, if not for the proven capability of the Israeli armed forces, we would be forced now to station a significant number of men and substantial materiel in that region.

We urge you, Mr. President, to recognize that Israel's value as a strategic asset depends on its ability to defend itself, and to reinforce Israel's military capability so that we will not be forced to deploy our own armed forces to the Middle East.

Clearly, moreover, we must restore the global military balance at both the strategic and conventional levels, or neither we nor our allies will be able to defuse the Soviet challenge. Our diplomacy will have little meaning and our search for peace will be futile unless we can demonstrate the necessary political will and military credibility to press effectively for peaceful co-existence based upon balance of power between East and West, between Israel and its Arab neighbors, between our friends and Russia's clients in Africa and Asia.

We urge you, Mr. President, to make our pursuit of genuine peace realistic and effective by moving now to restore the global military balance and America's credibility as a leader of the Free World.

In the absence of this indispensable equilibrium, we oppose any "deal" that freezes the current imbalance and reinforces permanent Soviet strategic superiority. While SALT I accepted our quantitative strategic inferiority, it did not prevent us from doing what was necessary qualitatively to regain equality. Current reports intimate that a SALT II agreement may prevent even these remedial measures. We stress these aspects because military imbalance has inescapable political consequences of global significance.

We urge you, Mr. President, to desist from any new arms control agreement that would threaten to perpetuate the current strategic imbalance and reinforce permanent Soviet strategic superiority.

If one adds up the manpower, productivity and scientific resources of the world's democracies, we have the makings of an effective coalition for global peace. The U.S. is not a helpless and vacillating giant. The American people, we are convinced, have not lost their love of freedom nor their willingness to sacrifice in its defense. They and we believe it is possible to retain control over our destiny.

America must lead the way in facing the challenge to freedom. Together with our friends and allies, we can rally from the defeatist atmosphere of the recent past and build a better, more peaceful world.

For America and the world, we urge you, Mr. President, to lead in building a coalition for genuine peace in cooperation with the NATO nations, Japan, Israel and other proven friends and allies who share our commitment to freedom and human dignity.

Respectfully yours,

   	Brig. Gen. Frank Albanese, AUS (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. Edward M. Almond, USA (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. E.H. Almquist, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Glenn C. Ames, AUS (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. James H. Banville, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. C.H. Barnwell, Jr., USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Paul B. Bell, USAR (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Arthur D. Bertolett, USAR (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. Austin W. Betts, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Edwin F. Black, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Charles P. Brown, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. A.R. Brownfield, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Ernest H. Burt, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. W.P. Campbell, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. L.D. Carter, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Hugh J. Casey, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Gordon B. Cauble, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. J. Hart Caughey, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. C.H. Chorpening, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Wendell J. Coats, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Ralph W. Cooper, Jr., AUS (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Charles F. Craig, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. William A. Cunningham, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. John W. Dean, Jr. USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Elbert DeCoursey, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Sylvester T. Delcorso, USA (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. W.W. Dick, Jr., USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. W.E. Dunkelberg, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. William E. Ekman, USA (Ret.)
Rear Adm. J.E. Forrest, USN (Ret.)
General Paul L. Freeman, Jr., USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Ray D. Free, AUS (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. James C. Fry, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. R.G. Gard, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. David P. Gibbs, USA (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Duncan Hallock, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. William L. Hardick, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Harold F. Harding, USAR (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Joseph H. Harper, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. C.S. Harris, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Eugene L. Harrison, USA (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. W.K. Harrison, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Roderic L. Hill, AUS (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. S.R. Hinds, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Briard P. Johnson, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Herbert T. Johnson, AUS (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Stanley W. Jones, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. George J. Keegan, Jr. USAF (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. J.E. Kelsey, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. James I. King, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Albion W. Knight, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Philip F. Kromer, USA (Ret.)
Vice Adm. Fitzhugh Lee, USN (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Selig J. Levitan, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. John David Lewis, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Gerald F. Lillard, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. George E. Lynch, USA (Ret.)
Rear Adm. David L. Martineau, USN (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. J.W. Medares, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. H.M. Monroe, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Joseph Murray, Jr., USAR (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. John P. McKnight, AUS (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Raymond F. McNally, Jr. AUS (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Henry C. Newton, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Edward A. Pagels, AUS (Ret.)
General T.W. Parker, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Roy W. Peters, AUS (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. James H. Phillips, USA (Ret.)
General Robert W. Porter, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Royal Reynolds, Jr., USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. J. Milnor Roberts, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. H.F. Safford, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Patrick E. Seawright, AUS (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Dale O. Smith, USAF (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. F.G. Smith, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Maxwell C. Snyder, AUS (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Carl F. Steinhoff, USAR (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. C.E. Straight, USA (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. Gordon Sumner, Jr., USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Charles A. Symroski, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Alden P. Taber, USA (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. C.M. Talbott, USAF (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. D.A. Thompson, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Charles J. Timmes, USA (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. T.J.H. Trapnell, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Thomas K. Trigg, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. F.F. Urbane, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Herbert D. Vogel, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Clifton F. vonKann, USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. F.T. Voorhees, USA (Ret.)
General A.C. Wedemeyer, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. Arthur L. West, Jr. USA (Ret.)
Brig. Gen. Roger E. Whitcomb, AUS (Ret.)
General I.D. White, USA (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. Samuel T. Williams, USA (Ret.)
Maj. Gen. I.T. Wyche, USA (Ret.)
Lt. Gen. William P. Yarborough, USA (Ret.)
Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., USN (Ret.)

(Responses from additional signers arrived
too late for inclusion in the list.)

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