SfP Bulletin April 1988
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The leading article in the Globe and Mail of March 22, entitled “This Brutal Century”, recalled how the First World War, originally sparked by a conflagration in the powder keg of Europe (as the Balkans were then called), precipitated in the words of Bertrand Russell, “a whole population, hitherto peaceable and humane, down the deep slope to primitive barbarism”. The hostilities of 1914, noted the Globe and Mail, ‘began the first major war in Europe in 100 years and set the scene for decades of depravity everywhere”.
Having just come back from the Balkans, I turned my mind to what I had seen and heard that might affect the perspective for peace in this hitherto tormented part of the world. Historically the Balkans have been the scene of carnage in the days when military power was based upon land forces and when this region provided the routes for the struggle for power between contending Empires at the junction of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.
The occasion of my visit was the 110th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano. My grandfather negotiated and signed this treaty on March 3, 1878 at the conclusion of the Russo-Turkish War. The Bulgarian government have declared this day to be a public holiday to commemorate the liberation of the Bulgarians from more than five hundred years of Turkish rule.
Where does this historic diplomatic event fit into current events? Bulgaria, because of its strategic geographic location, was the victim of the concept of the balance of power, as played in the last century by the “Concert of Europe”, set up originally to redefine and maintain the boundaries of Europe in the era after the massive impact of the Napoleonic wars which ushered in the 19th century. Russia’s role in the defeat of Napoleon’s Grande Armee in his catastrophic campaign of 1812, immortalized by Tolstoy in his War and Peace, led eventually to the Crimean War in which Britain joined with 4.- France in trying to reduce Russian power and build up a counter-force, notably through a united Germany. In justifying the Crimean War to the House of Commons in London, the Prime Minister said that the British were fighting “to maintain the independence of Germany and of all European nations”.
The Congress of Berlin which was assembled to revise the Treaty of San Stefano was again used to reduce the power of Russia and build up not only Germany but also the power of Turkey as a counter-balance to Russia. Instead of addressing the burning problems of conflicting nationalisms in the Balkans which were to turn the region into a powder-keg, the Congress of Berlin took the short-term expedient of forcing concession on the Bulgarians and the Russians, leaving succeeding generations to pay the price.
That the concept of the balance of power did not prevent wars and bloodshed was emphasized in the Globe and Mail editorial: “Some 20 million Soviet citizens lost their lives in the Second World War, as six million Jews and others were systematically killed in Nazi murder factories. That war ended with the vengeful fire-bombing of Dresden and atomic explosions over Japan which demonstrated that 70,000 people can die in one second”.
The fact that the demoralization and destruction of civilian populations is the main objective of modern war has been underlined by a morbid survey of the Economist of London, which in a recent article estimated that “17 million people have lost their lives in conflicts since World War II ranging from Vietnam to Lebanon”.
History admittedly is affected in its interpretation by one’s political bias. I approached this Bulgarian anniversary with a certain amount of scepticism fearing that I would be exposed to Communist propaganda. To my surprise the historical perspective I was exposed to was based upon serious scholarship, tinged with a predictable pride in what had been achieved by a relatively small population inhabiting a beautiful but predominantly mountainous country. The celebrations focussed mainly on the impact of war on civilians in Bulgaria as well as their gratitude to their Russian liberators. I was particularly moved by attending the special religious service in the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral which included a memorial service for those who had died for the liberation of Bulgaria. The cathedral was packed, the polyphonic singing of the large mixed choir was of a haunting beauty. The presence of the Patriarch of Bulgaria accompanied by the whole Bulgarian Synod, added solemnity to an occasion that obviously evoked an emotional response from the packed congregation. I was personally welcomed by those who were close to me as a representative of their forefathers and therefore as a “brother” as some called me — not “a comrade”.
The cult of forefathers which is allotted an important place in the Bulgarian outlook does not apparently interfere with a close linkage with children and the future generations. At two schools bearing the name of my grandfather I was surrounded by friendly young faces eager to hear about Canada as well as to see a descendant of one who was numbered among their ‘forefathers”. Even more impressive was the park for the children of the world, established at the foot of Mount Vitosha. It is called the Park of Peace and is dedicated to “creativity, friendship and peace” among all children of the world. Each country is permanently represented by a bell and when the children come together, I am told they try to develop some harmony from the cacophony of bells ringing and finding their echo on the Vitosha mountain-side. I was shown the Canadian bell which I hope contributes to some harmony.
Most important of my impressions is that the concept of balance of power is so obviously obsolete in an age where military power is no longer decisive because war can escalate to dimensions that risk mutual suicide. Recognizing this, the countries of the Balkans have just met in Belgrade and opened a dialogue on the possibilities of constructive cooperation including a move towards a possible common market and eventually even a nuclear-free zone for the Balkans. The powder barrel of Europe may yet set an example of “Perestroika” in action. As we approach the 21st century, there is some hope of having learnt something from the experiences of ‘this brutal century”.
Following the custom set by the Rapoports four years ago, the meeting was preceded by an informal dinner, hosted this time by Jean Smith and John Valleau in their home at 12 Belle Ayre Blvd., Toronto. The nineteen members in attendance included Bob Korol (McMaster), Janet Wood (Guelph) and Rank Thompson (Waterloo). Typically the meeting began about 7:30 p.m. and ended around 11:00. Following established procedures, reports were received from the four executive officers and from the Chapter representatives present.
A detailed report on the extensive publicity campaign undertaken by the Canadian Nuclear Association was given by Norm Rubin of Energy Probe. The original campaign was to be jointly financed by Ontario Hydro and AECL in the amount of $4 million per year for a period of 5 years — glossy magazine ads, TV commercials, educational junkets, the works. Under public pressures and actions by such organizations as Energy Probe, Ontario Hydro withdrew support, so the campaign level is now $2 million per year.
An account by the President of his visit to Bulgaria to participate in the celebrations of the signing, 110 years ago, of the Treaty of San Stefano is given elsewhere in this issue. The Executive Vice President reported on the continuing work of organizing the Conference on Peaceful Cooperation in the Arctic which is to take place in Toronto in October of this year; a fuller account of this conference appeared in last month’s Bulletin. The Treasurer reported assets of $7032 in the general fund and liabilities of $4981, leaving a working balance of $2051. The Gordon Foundation grant for secretarial services in the main office (Catherine Armstrong) is invested in term deposits. The bulk of the Blumenfeld Peace Fund, $41,000, is invested in bonds. New donations to the Blumenfeld Fund stand at $888 and there is about $4000 in a bank account. Automating membership renewals for Science for Peace is now well under way. In the interim cash flow will have to be carefully monitored. A new membership campaign should be undertaken as soon as it can be arranged.
Frank Thompson reported that an analysis of the Defence White Paper is being developed at Waterloo, and a report should be ready in the Fall. Rob Dickinson is proceeding, despite funding difficulties, with a project to bring youth in the USSR and Eastern Bloc countries into the world-wide International Student Information Service (ISIS). Janet Wood reported briefly on the Guelph Chapter’s plans to host a South-Central Ontario meeting this spring. The Toronto Chapter remains very active with its popular Wednesday evening lectures on peace issues. Its first book of lectures entitled The Name of the Chamber was Peace has now appeared in publication (U of T Press) and is available through the National Office for $10.
The Bulletin came in for considerable discussion both as to content and processing. Generally members felt very positive about the latest format. Dr. Dove stated that the Executive was looking for a temporary Editor for the next three issues, pending appointment of an Editor by the new Board for the 1988-89 series beginning in September. (No issues are produced in July and August.) There was considerable support for the Bulletin’s continuing to publish short articles, letters and information items keeping members up-to-date, while the Publications Committee dealt with substantial (edited) papers in the ‘Occasional Papers’ series.
A notice of motion in the form of a letter from Executive members Dove, Valleau and Trainor had been sent to the Board members; it recommended ‘that in recognition of his outstanding service to the cause of peace, and as an expression of their wish to facilitate a continuance of that service, the 1987-88 Board of Directors of Science for Peace strongly recommends to the members of the incoming Board that Dr. George Ignatieff be elected Honorary President of Science for 1988-89’. In the discussion it was pointed out that previous Presidents Fawcett and Rapoport now hold University of Toronto appointments and thus have operating bases within a university. This motion was intended to give a base to Dr. Ignatieff, to allow him to continue his work. In introducing the motion the Secretary paid tribute to all three Presidents: to Dr. Fawcett for having conceived the idea and for getting Science for Peace off the ground, to Dr. Rapoport for having professionalised Science for Peace and expanded its activities, and to Dr. Ignatieff for his remarkable leadership over the past two years. The motion passed unanimously, as did a motion recommending to the incoming Board that it extend to Gwen and Anatol Rapoport “appropriate expressions of appreciation and an invitation to participation and responsibility in the organization”.
The following specific actions were taken:
- Chandler Davis (Chair) and Brian Turrell were appointed as the Nominating Committee members, following the resignations of Anatol Rapoport and Michael Lanphier.
- Derek Paul was appointed temporary Chairman of the Publications Committee following the resignation of Anatol Rapoport, and given authority to proceed with the publication of Occasional Papers, in consultation with the Executive and within the financial limits of the revolving fund established and contributed to by Anatol Rapoport.
- A Committee consisting of Terry Gardner, Ed Barbeau and Bill Klassen was established to examine the relationship between Science for Peace and University College with respect to such matters as continuing space for the National Office, and to bring in a set of proposals to the Executive for an eventual approach by the Board to Principal Peter Richardson. Additional discussion involved such questions as the plutonium overflights, the bumping of ships in the Black Sea, organizational arrangements for the Arctic Conference in October, the Polanyi Fund, and contact with the press. A suggestion was made that someone attached to the Executive next year, but living in Toronto, perhaps the Assistant Treasurer, could be appointed to oversee the day-to-day operations of the National Office and to maintain liaison with the predominantly Western Executive. Walter Dom announced preliminary planning for a Fall workshop on chemical weapons and verification. A request by Lee Lorch that the minutes be sent routinely to Members of the Advisory Committee was approved.
— Lynn Trainor, Secretary
Call For Nominations for the next Board of Directors and Executive
The Annual General Meeting of Science for Peace will take place on May 7, 1988, so that nominations are now needed for election to the Board of Directors. The present Board is listed in this year’s brochure. The terms of office of the following members of the Board of Directors end in 1988: Walter Dorn (Toronto), Philip Ehrensaft (Montreal), Cynthia Folzer (Waterloo), Terry Gardner (Toronto), David Horwood (Montreal), Robert Korol (Hamilton), Margarida Krause (Fredericton), Michael Lanphier (Toronto), Paul LeBlond (Vancouver), Robert Malcolmson (Kingston), Peter Nicholls (St. Catharines), David Parnas (Kingston), Derek Paul (Toronto), David Roulston (Waterloo), Norman Rubin (Toronto), Frank Thompson (Waterloo), Lynn Trainor (Toronto), Michael Wallace (Vancouver), Philip Wallace (Pointe Claire).
All members of Science for Peace, including retiring members of the Board, are eligible for nomination. The present Board has 7 women and 34 men, the largest proportion of women that we have had, but still unbalanced in gender representation. All of the Executive positions — President, Executive Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer, are open for nominations. Elections to these positions will take place at the Board meeting immediately following the Annual General Meeting.
Send nominations to the Chairman of the Nominating Committee, Science for Peace, University College, Toronto, M5S 1A1.
In recognition of the dedication of recent Nobel prizewinner John Polanyi to peace initiatives, the Canadian Pugwash Committee, Science for Peace, the Royal Society of Canada and University College of the University of Toronto have created the Polanyi Peace Fund. This group will raise an endowment of at least $1 million to enable scholars and scientists of any field to pursue research into the varied aspects of peace and to support widespread collaboration in finding alternatives to military means of ensuring security.
Tax-deductible donations, with cheques payable to The Royal Society of Canada, should be sent to the Polanyi Peace Fund, University College E101, King’s College Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. M5S 1A1. Further information can be obtained from William Klassen of this address; phone (416) 978-8698.
Science for Peace has, over the years, been steadily promoting the idea of an International Satellite Monitoring Agency (ISMA) or, more generally, the concept of a multinational system of peace-keeping satellites. In 1982, a SfP delegation made a presentation to the Standing Committee on External Affairs and National Defence, which strongly endorsed the ISMA proposal in its report. Since then several members of Science for Peace have written articles on the topic, including Professor John Polanyi, and there is a comprehensive review by Walter Dorn.
Science for Peace has sponsored several workshops on the topic. The first “Peace-keeping Satellite Workshop” was held in October 1986, bringing together members of the peace movement, academia and government to discuss the possible future of the peace-keeping satellite concept. A Workshop Statement was developed and sent to various government ministers.
Shortly after the Workshop, a new study group, called the Working Group on International Surveillance and Verification was created to examine further the possibilities for a satellite surveillance agency and other types of international monitoring systems. In addition to individuals with relevant expertise, the Working Group is composed of the following member organizations: Science for Peace, World Federalists of Canada, Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, Lawyers for Social Responsibility, Peace Research Institute — Dundas, Engineers for Nuclear Disarmament, and the Group of 78.
In May 1987, a delegation from the Working Group was invited to present a paper to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Research and Technology. The paper made a case for Canadian leadership in the use of surveillance for peace-keeping and verification purposes. Passages from the paper were quoted in the committee’s final report (“Canada’s Space Program: A Voyage to the Future”).
A second workshop on “Satellite and Airborne Surveillance”, chaired, as was the first workshop, by Dr. Larry Morley, Executive Director of the Institute for Space and Terrestrial Science, was held in July 1987. Participants included several chief executive officers from Canadian companies and a representative of the Department of National Defence. At the end of the workshop, the following consensus statement was adopted:
“The mandate for the research and development of technologies for arms control verification and crisis monitoring should be included as part of the mandate of the proposed Canadian space agency.”
Over time, the working group has expanded its interests to cover other areas of verification and monitoring: the Stockholm agreement on notification of large troop manoeuvres, verification of the INF Treaty, the verification regime under the proposed Chemical Weapons Convention and other areas. The Working Group is preparing further recommendations for the Canadian government, and a workshop on the verification of a Chemical Weapons Convention is being planned for the Fall of 1988.
— Walter Dorn
Meetings of the Working Group on International Surveillance and Verification are held in the Physics Building at the University of Toronto (Room 1203). The next meeting will be on Thursday, April 21, 1988 at 5 pm. All interested Science for Peace members are welcome to attend. For more information please call Walter Dorn (Working Group Chairman) at 978-6568 or 293-8660.
Hans Blumenfeld died on January 30. In the March Bulletin we published a memorial to him by our President, George Ignatieff, recalling especially his magnificent contribution over many years to the cause of peace. One aspect of that contribution was his creation of the Franz Blumenfeld Peace Fund, in memory of his brother who died in the first world war. The Fund is now in the care of Science for Peace, and its purpose is to award grants to assist projects in peace education and research.
Many people responded to the invitation to make a contribution to the Fund in memory of Hans. Some of their letters were accompanied by personal thoughts about him: Helen Burpee wrote “I have admired his steadfast and effective work for peace through all the years he has been in Toronto”; Derek Quin recalled “I used to see Hans at demonstrations for peace, and, although I didn’t know him well, I liked him as a person and for his dedication”. The donations make a useful addition to the Fund’s endowment.
Should you wish to make such a contribution, the cheque should be addressed to Science for Peace and accompanied by a letter stating that the donation is intended for the Franz Blumenfeld Peace Fund. Donations are tax-deductible. Enquiries should be directed to Professor Christian Bay, Science for Peace, University College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A1.
The Group of 78 is an informal association of Canadians seeking the integration of global priorities for peace and disarmament, equitable development for all, and a strong and revitalized United Nations system. On March 22, 1988, the Executive of Science for Peace endorsed a statement of the Group calling for demilitarization of the Arctic.
The statement argues that, although the Government has recently sought a stronger military presence in the Arctic through nuclear powered submarines, there are strong reasons to adopt an earlier recommendation of the Special Joint Committee on Canada’s International Relations that Canada seek demilitarization and cooperation. The recent conclusion of the INF treaty and joint initiatives between the USSR and Scandinavian countries raise hopes that Mr. Gorbachev’s October 1987 proposal for Northern cooperation can bear fruit. Such an approach, in keeping with Canada’s traditional peacekeeping role, is supported by an increasing public opinion that the USSR does not pose the major threat to Canadian security.
As a major Arctic power, Canada is in a strong position to give leadership in demilitarization and in a fully cooperative approach to surveillance and verification. With others, Canada can develop the resources of the region, coordinate scientific research, protect the fragile northern environment, and bring into being a just and peaceful community. The Canadian government is urged, in the statement, to negotiate with the Soviet Union and other northern nations in order to stop and reverse the militarization of the Arctic and create instead a zone of peaceful cooperation for the benefit of all.
This statement will be published in the newspapers.
The Name of the Chamber was Peace
A collection of twelve articles by persons widely recognized for their scholarly contributions to the understanding and advancement of peace. Eleven of the articles are edited versions of recent University College Lectures in Peace Studies. Topics: a role of the universities in the preservation of peace; nuclearism; the Canadian peace movement; the Armageddon neurosis; living in the shadow of continual fear; uses and abuses of terrorism; international law and nuclear arms control; legal aspects of the proposed International Satellite Monitoring Agency; evolution of world society; SDI technology, status and trends; SDI and professional responsibility. A publication of Science for Peace, 1988, 172 pp, edited by Janis Alton, Eric Fawcett, and L. Terrell Gardner. Available for $10 (special offer) from the SfP Office.
Life Begins at 65
Hans Blumenfeld’s autobiography “Life Begins at 65”, was mentioned in last month’s Bulletin. The publisher is Harvest House, Suite 1, 1200 Atwater Ave. Montreal.
The North and Canada’s International Relations
This is the report of the Working Group of the National Capital Branch of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. It gives a wide-ranging survey of Arctic issues, including scientific and defence matters, and will be of great interest to many members of Science for Peace, especially in view of our forthcoming Arctic conference. The Report has just been published by the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee; copies may be purchased ($20) from the Canadian Institute of International Relations, University College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1.
Science for Peace at UNSSOD III
A few non-government groups will be given the opportunity to address the General Assembly of the United Nations directly during the second week of the Third Special Session on Disarmament. Science for Peace has done the preliminary work necessary for this to be a possibility for us; the preparation of our brief statement is beginning. Members who have ideas to offer the drafting group (G. Ignatieff, D. Paul, and W. Dorn) should send them without delay by phone or by electronic mail.
Sanity, Science and Global Responsibility
An International Interdisciplinary Conference at Brock University, July 9-13, 1988 in cooperation with the Global Futures Group at San Diego State University. Further information from: Robert Malone, Program Coordinator, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1.
Learned Societies Conference — Call for Papers
A workshop on “Power Elites as War Monger? will be included in the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Annual Meeting at the Learned Societies Conference, University of Windsor, June 1988. This workshop calls for papers that examine the role of the military-industrial complex in Canada. Please contact: Rose Csicsai, 24 Clyde Street, Hamilton, Ont. L8L 5R4.
The acting editors wish to thank Ian Graham and Frank Jones, of the Chemistry and Physics Departments of the University of Toronto, for giving generously of their time and computer expertise in preparing the March Bulletin for the Press. Ian has again been very helpful in the preparation of this issue.