President's Corner

THE ENIGMA of exactly what happened at Reykjavik from a scientific peacemaking standpoint seems to revolve around the relative weight attached by President Reagan to the pursuit of his concept of a missile-proof shield against the threat of Soviet ballistic missiles, against the cost of sacrificing the opportunity for drastic reductions in the number and variety of these very missiles.

Choosing Star Wars over disarmament, President Reagan argued that this position is necessary insurance against the possibility of Soviet cheating. He clung to this position despite the expressed willingness of General Secretary Gorbachev to formalize cooperation in joint verification measures and in his evident eagerness to conclude some meaningful package of arms control with President Reagan now.One can judge that the Soviet Union prefers action now to waiting until another presidential election provides another enknown partner for negotiations two or more years later.

It would seem that Canada should press for respect for existing treaties and their restraints,notably the Salt II agreement and the ABM Treaty of 1972. We should also do everything possible to remove impediments to superpower agreements, especially in the area of verification of any test restrictions or bans, by the use of seismic technology and satellites. Canadian scientists, as well as scientists in the USA, have in large numbers called SDI dangerous to arms control as well as wasteful of resources. We must do everything possible to persuade our government that the insidious financial temptations offered by a “piece of the action” in the Star Wars programme divert Canadian research and development resources from much needed peaceful pursuits.

Science For Peace Extends Warmest Congratulations To Rosalie Bertell, who has received the Right Livelihood Award, and to JOHN POLANYI, 1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. They are valued members of Science for Peace. We honor them as scientists and as contributors to international peace.

- George Ignatieff