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Professionals' Coalition for Nuclear Arms Control Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-164

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the files of a lobbying coalition made up of professionals in the sciences, law, architecture, medicine and business. It helps to complete the picture of the nuclear freeze movement, as it was the group with which the Freeze Voter Education Fund and Training Institute merged (DG 156) in February 1988, and with which the Citizens Against Nuclear War (CDG-A) merged in 1988.

The collection consists of financial records, general and congressional correspondence, administrative files, material on national and state arms control efforts, fundraising and promotional appeals, legislative and training events and resources developed, and reference material. The correspondence was written mostly by David Cohen as Board President or by the Executive Directors, and was primarily related to fundraising/promotion or with legislation. Some correspondence, particularly that which went to state activists (see Series D), was written by Field Organizers Sean Meyer and Jessica Abberly. Several serious gaps in the collection come from the lack of certain materials, namely anything that documents the interaction between PCNAC and its member groups, or with other coalitions with which they worked on various efforts, such as the National Campaign to Save the ABM Treaty, or the Common Agenda Coalition. As there was no Board of Directors after 1985, there are no meeting minutes thereafter which reflect planning and decision-making.


  • Creation: 1984-1989


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access Note

All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Conditions Governing Use


Historical Note

The Professionals' Coalition for Nuclear Arms Control (PCNAC) was founded in early 1984 by its first member organizations: the Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Lawyers Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control, all of which were 501(c)(3) educational groups that could not use their funds to lobby Congress. The Washington-based PCNAC, a 501(c)(4) organization, was formed to enable its members to bring their professional expertise into the legislative arena, where their specialized knowledge and commitment could most effectively impact the struggle for arms control. As Board President David Cohen stated: "Citizens rely on understanding and applying the arguments of experts and not on protest marches. Elected officials are getting the message that they had better be informed and not accept Pentagon arguments on faith. Sound politics requires legislators to be informed so that they can respond to well informed pro-arms control constituents."

David Cohen was the President of the Board, and its chief lobbyist, during PCNAC's entire existence. In 1984-1985, the Board also consisted of Howard Ris, Treasurer (Union of Concerned Scientists), Dr. Irwin Redlener, Anthony Sager (Lawyers Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control), Alan Sherr (Lawyers Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control), Jane Wells (Physicians for Social Responsibility), and Henry Kendell (Union of Concerned Scientists). After 1985, Cohen was the sole Board member. Richard Mark served as the Executive Director from 1984 to June 1988; he was followed by Robert Musil (June 1988-1991), and Victoria Almquist (1992; previously Program Director).

In 1985, the Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility joined PCNAC; in 1987, the High Technology Professionals for Peace, and the Psychologists for Social Responsibility joined. In 1988, the Freeze Voter Education Fund and the Freeze Voter Training Institute merged with PCNAC, as did Citizens Against Nuclear War, a group of over 60 national organizations. In the fall of 1991, the Business Executives for Nuclear Age Concerns became an affiliate. PCNAC lobbied for the termination of nuclear weapons systems such as the B-2 bomber and the MX missile; for reductions in military spending so that the savings could be used for national domestic needs and to lower the budget deficit; for prevention of the development of space weapons systems such as "Star Wars"; and, for promotion of arms control treaties. When possible, it worked in coalition with other groups for a fuller analysis of an issue and to maximize legislative efforts. It joined the B-2 Campaign, made up of the Council for a Livable World, Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament, Physicians for Social Responsibility, SANE/Freeze's Campaign for Global Security, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and six other organizations. It worked together with the Comprehensive Test Ban Campaign/Coalition, the Common Agenda Coalition, the Citizens Budget Campaign, as well as the Budget for a Strong America Campaign/ Coalition. The latter was endorsed by over 25 national organizations and led by members of Congress. Its purpose was to cut at least $20 billion from military spending and, according to Robert Musil, offered "the best opportunity since the nuclear freeze to unite diverse constituencies in the U.S. who seek a nation devoted to peace and justice." The Monday Lobby Group, made up of staff from the Council for a Livable World, PCNAC, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and SANE/Freeze, called for $30 billion in cuts in the federal budget. The Invest in America Now Campaign/Working Group had over 100 diverse groups campaigning to change federal budget policies. The Economic Conversion Working Group tried to help pave the way for a smooth transition from a military economy to what they hoped would be a civilian economy. Robert Musil chaired the Persian Gulf Working Group. Numerous sign-on letters concerning nuclear weapons, military spending, and the Gulf War were endorsed by these coalitions and other groups and sent to the President and to Congress. Besides its coalitional efforts, PCNAC staff worked in various ways to meet the group's objectives. It lobbied Congress through correspondence, mailings, visits, and briefings with various Congresspersons and their staffs. It wrote a statement "War Is Not the Answer" to the President, and had it printed in TheWashington Post.. PCNAC staff also promoted programs and ideology through press conferences, letters to the editor, articles, fundraising letters and dinners, and radio "spots." They maintained a legislative alert network to inform supporters of upcoming arms control votes in Congress. They published an annual Voting Record of Congressional arms control votes; Resources for Grassroots Lobbyists flyers; B-2 Fact Sheets; and, a newsletter The Professional, which included legislative analysis and alerts, and coalition news concerning events, staff, finances and resources. The organization's network of professionals received resources and were offered training events to help them better understand arms control legislation and be more effective in their lobbying and media relations. These resources and events were funded by the Professionals' Coalition Education Fund, established in 1989 as PCNAC's tax-exempt, educational arm. Training events were also supported in part with grants from the Ploughshares Fund and the W. Alton Jones Foundation.

PCNAC disbanded in 1992. The records do not indicate why this occurred.


3.75 linear ft. (3.75 linear ft.)


Professionals' Coalition for Nuclear Arms Control was organized in 1984 as a coalition of organizations. It grew to include the Lawyers Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Architects, Designers, Planners for Social Responsibility, Psychologists for Social Responsibiity, High Technology Professionals for Peace, and Citizens Against Nuclear War, and Business Executives for Nuclear Age Concerns. It was formed as a lobbying and educational group to promote effective arms control legislation.


The Professionals' Coalition for Nuclear Arms Control (PCNAC) papers were in good order. However, certain files were merged for space considerations. For instance, instead of keeping a separate file for each resource developed by PCNAC, these were grouped by type (see Series E). Also, much of the same material relating to the programmatic efforts of a campaign and of the campaign coalition was kept by PCNAC in two files. Since the files of the Comprehensive Test Ban Campaign and the CTB Coalition were basically interchangeable, for instance, they were grouped together in one folder.

Material from Citizens Against Nuclear War that did not relate to its merger with PCNAC was removed to the CDG-A collection on CaliforniaNW. Five photos, four reel-to-reel tapes, one master reel, and three cassette tapes of radio spots, and one bumper-sticker were removed to their proper SCPC collection. Re-File Box, miscellaneous material received in 1999

Custodial History

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers/records.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Professionals' Coalition for Nuclear Arms Control, 1992 [Acc. 92A-119].

Related Materials

For related materials, search the library's online catalog

Separated Materials

  1. Photographs were removed to the Photograph Collection
  2. Reel to Reel Tapes/Cassette Tapes were removed to the Audiovisual Collection
  3. A Bumper-Sticker was removed to the Stamp/Sticker/Seal Collection

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff, and this checklist was prepared by Anne Yoder in November, 1995. This finding aid was created by Eleanor Fulvio in August, 2010.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2018: The file list was standardized in Summer 2017 by Min Cheng in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace. Elisabeth Miller added the notes in Fall 2017.

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