As your Secretary, I shall concentrate in my report on organizational aspects of Science for Peace. It is very pleasing to be able to tell you that, while there have been no spectacular changes in Science for Peace during the past year,I believe that there has been steady progress in working – towards our aims and in improving our effectiveness as an organization.
The holding of regular meetings of the Board during the past year has been an important change in our way of operating. It has helped to bring more people into the centre of our activities, and has provided valuable advice on the many issues which have confronted us.
The effectiveness and activity of our Chapters is a key aspect of Science for Peace. The formation of new and strong Chapters in Ottawa and Toronto, and the promise of another in Winnipeg, is therefore important news. In Toronto, the active role being taken by the new Chapter is setting the National Office free to expend more of its energy on truly national and international issues.
Science for Peace is sponsoring the Conference on Accidental Nuclear War in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia on May 26-30, 1986. Under the able leadership of Professor Michael Wallace, the organizing committee has put together an impressive list of speakers including Bruce Blair, Paul Bracken, Ashton Carter, Brian Crissey, Lloyd Dumas, Daniel Frei, Martin Hellman, Johan Niezing, Severo Ornstein, Anatol Rapoport, Bruce Russett, Roger Schank, Linn Sennott, Henry Thompson, and Joseph Weizenbaum. The conference promises to make an outstanding contribution to understanding the problems and dangers of accidental nuclear war, which may be one of the greatest current threats to the world.
The Vancouver conference is being supported financially by the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, the Disarmament Fund of the Department of External Affairs, and — to a modest extent — by Science for Peace itself. I would like to pay special tribute to the very positive attitude of the officers and staff of CIIPS and to the moral and practical support that they have given in setting up the conference.
Science for Peace is holding a much more modest meeting in Toronto on May 8, 1986, at which a group of experts on atmospheric modelling, atmospheric chemistry, combustion science, and international politics is to discuss “Nuclear Winter and the Nuclear Deterrent”. The focus of the meeting will be an interesting and imaginative proposal by Dr. Don Bates for a “nuclear winter deterrent”, a scheme which is intended to reduce the incentive for a nuclear first strike and hence to lessen the instability inherent in any international crisis involving nuclear powers However, the meeting will also discuss recent developments in modelling the global effects of a nuclear war, and related strategic and political issues.
You will see, from the report of our President the great amount of dedicated and imaginative hard work of many talented people that is at our disposal. Our treasurer has shown you that, while we are certainly not rich and still must husband our financial resources very carefully, members are making significant sacrifices to help to keep the work going. At the same time, it is impossible not to be concerned at the enormous disparity that still exists between the needs for work towards the peaceful utilization of science and the resources at our command to meet those needs. For example, looking at the list of staff of my own University, I am constantly struck by the large number of persons who basically agree with our aims but yet have not taken the step of actually joining us and supporting our work directly. Clearly there is still a great challenge to bring in many of these people and to strengthen further our overall effectiveness.
- John Dove
(This is an abstract of the complete report of the secretary, which will be presented in full at the AGM May 10.)