ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago (13 October 2007)

Editorial from Volume IX, No 41, October 12, 1957.

Gamblers and speculators may be unproductive members of society, but neither their capacity for intelligent anticipation nor their sense of realism has ever been in doubt. Wall Street might have been cynical, but it was not unrealistic in boosting war equities on the assumption that the launching of an earth satellite by Russia would speed-up defence outlay by America and her Western allies. In its behaviour, Wall Street seems to have correctly anticipated Washington’s reaction to Moscow’s scientific achievement. M Khrushchev’s offer to ensure international control of all new scientific developments, including the earth satellite and all pilotless missiles, so as to avoid “the dangers of even more horrible weapons that science was bringing to the horizon” on condition of an understanding between USA and USSR on peaceful co-existence has been promptly turned down on the plea that America is opposed to any bilateral agreement with Russia. Washington’s rejection of Moscow’s gesture is sought to be justified on the ground that any such bilateral agreement would be contrary to the principles of the Charter.

There is something in the argument, but it can be emphasised. It is an undeniable fact that there can be no world peace without a prior understanding between the two Giants. More than once, similar offers by Russia have been rejected by America on the same grounds. America’s concern for the prestige and authority of the United Nations is commendable. But a closer analysis of the world situation makes it clear that reasons for the repeated rejection of Russia’s appeal for an agreement on peaceful co-existence lie elsewhere. America and her Western allies may not be unwilling to reach an understanding with Russia. But they have insisted over and over again that the Soviet Union will have to accept their terms and conditions for an agreement on world peace. It is the Western Powers’ obstinate refusal to agree to disagree that perpetuates “cold war” and the resultant world tension.

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