Daily Mail – 2 September 1998

It is wrong to claim that the International Court of Justice "has ruled nuclear weapons illegal" (letters, August 24). The Court declined to rule against nuclear weapons if the very survival of the state were at stake – precisely the situation in which Britain would threaten to use its "last resort" nuclear deterrent.

In any event, attempts to outlaw war by means of international tribunals have failed for centuries. The 1972 Biological Warfare Convention was obeyed by the Western signatories, but in 1992 President Yeltsin admitted that for 20 years the Soviet Union had secretly cheated and built up huge stocks of deadly germ weapons.

Cadnam, Hampshire