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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 12, 1975

INTERCHURCH PEACE COUNCIL (IKV), REPORT OF THE MEETING OF 12 NOVEMBER 1975

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    Meeting minutes showing the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense's respective interests in the IKV and Pax Christi's "small-steps-theory," a theory on gradual disarmament through a series of small unilateral steps. Includes discussion concerning a proposal to form a study group of both interested civil servants and peace activists to formulate an alternative policy.
    "Interchurch Peace Council (IKV), Report of the Meeting of 12 November 1975," November 12, 1975, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, International Institute for Social History, Amersterdam, Archief Interkerkelijk Vredesberaad, Notulen en Vergaderstukken 1975, Box 10. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122398
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Interchurch Peace Council

Report of the Meeting of 12 November 1975.

IKV/1975/79

Agreements and decisions:

  1. The reports and resolutions of the UNESCO Conference on Peace Education are available (soon) at the IKV-Secretariat.
  2. The secretary will write a letter to the Prime Minister to express our concerns regarding the intended delivery of reactor vessels to South Africa. IKV/1975/76
  3. OSACI.[1]  Mister Stuurwold (IKVOS[2]) is willing to join the board at OSACI on our behalf.
  4. Mr. Everts, Mr. Faber, Mr. Van Leeuwen and Mr. Schut will answer the questions of the members of parliament, following from the hearing about the Memorandum on Disarmament.
  5. The IKV sides with:
    1. The secretariat’s budget for 1976. IKV/1975/71.
    2. The draft memorandum on the NCV.
    [3] IKV/1975/68.

M.J. Faber

postoffice box 7627

The Hague

070-656823

[…]

5. The Memorandum on Disarmament  IKV/1975/67 + 67a

The reactions of the members of the permanent parliamentary committee of foreign affairs to our commentary on the Memorandum (IKV/1975/67) were practically universally positive, in that sense that one expressed admiration of the depth and realism. That this was more than a courtesy can perhaps be seen in the reactions to the commentary of the NIVV.[4]These were of a different nature; several committee members considered the NIVV commentary not very constructive and had expected a more useful contribution to the security debate from a scientific institute. Several times, the approach of IKV/Pax Christi was set against the commentary of the NIVV. From the side of the NIVV word came that one was comfortable with the somewhat negative tone of their report: “It is good to hold a mirror up to the government.”

The secretary reports that, from a conversation with Mr. Kok,[5] he got the impression that in circles at Foreign Affairs and Defense there is genuine interest in the ‘small-steps-theory’ of IKV/Pax Christi, but that there is a need for a well-defined framework (new policy) where these steps could be made to fit. Isn’t it possible, Mr. Faber suggests, to establish a study group consisting of interested civil servants and peace movement representatives, to formulate such a new policy, as is the case with the development aid problems.

Mr. Everts reports that he has started a workshop at his institute,[6] with participation from several high civil servants. Point of departure is our commentary on the Memorandum on Disarmament. The critique of these civil servants was directed at for example:

  • the statement: “one cannot deter with a war one cannot wage.”
  • the statement: “a conflict situation will escalate into a total nuclear war.”
  • whether IKV/Pax Christi really choose exclusively conventional armament?
  • it is imaginary to assume that nuclear weapons could be totally abolished.

Röling (and the Polemological Institute in Groningen) too still wants to formulate a position regarding the Memorandum on Disarmament. Probably the concept of ‘defensive deterrence’ will get a central place (ter Veer). It would be good if Röling was informed about the desires in official circles (Kok). It is important as well to try to draw up some scenarios of likely conflicts; this could give information for a new policy. Perhaps, we could discover a focus in the concept of ‘defensive deterrence’ to which we could relate our ‘small-steps-theory’.

The A.R. Party[7] has indicated that it would like to talk with us, especially about our points of departure. The Labour Party had already said it wanted to continue the conversation. It should be possible to make both parties accept the concept of ‘defensive deterrence’, because it is – as the name implies – defensive as well as deterring.

We promised the permanent parliamentary committee to respond to their questions in writing.

Mr. Van Veen asks why the IKV does not take part in the hearing and the discussions about a volunteer army. Mr. Landsman, former secretary of the Dutch Reformed Church, has been slightly disappointed about the lack of interest in this from the churches. The secretary remarks that Pax Christi is going to be heard; IKV was informed too late about the plans of Pax Christi because of an internal communication glitch.

It is 10.30 hours. The remaining agenda items are adjourned.

M.J. Faber

[1] Ecumenical Study and Action Centre on Investment.

[2] Interchurch Education Work concerning Development Cooperation.

[3] National Committee for Education and Consciousness-raising concerning Security Issues.

[4] Dutch Institute for Peace Issues.

[5] It is unknown who this is, but probably he was a civil servant at Foreign Affairs.

[6] Institute for International Studies at the Leiden University.

[7] Anti-Revolutionaire Partij, a Dutch political party, representing Reformed Christians.

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