Derek Paul (scientists), 1990

Derek Paul, 19 August 1990 by phone.
Interviewer — Metta Spencer
Derek Paul is a Canadian physicist, Pugwashite, and serious activist. He is my friend. Eric Fawcett was also a physicist, Pugwash, and founding president of Science for Peace, in which I im active.

Derek attended meetings during Brezhnev and Andropov times. Has complete list of participants

May and July stories.

Soviet effort, starting about 1981, in later Brezhnev years the Soviet Academy of Sciences tries to set up an international committee to declare to the world the impossibility of the nuclear situation and the necessity to reverse the NA race. Science for Peace [the peace organization in which Derek, Eric Fawcett and I were active] got involved in it from the beginning. Eric and Derek were approached first. Derek insisted in a cautious approach. Derek was asked to be on it, but he said it would have to be truly international and financed internationally. He was approached more than once and the idea was given up. D. said you already have an international committee, the Pugwash Council, which is felt to be a relatively balanced council — include nonaligned, third world, etc. They didn’t buy this and Eric was the one who went to USSR in about 1982. The idea died in the middle of 1982 and was revived suddenly in mid-1986. Derek agreed to join it because it had an immediate purpose. This international cttee was set up, called the Initiative Group. Now it had a different purpose — not as declarative, but a ctte that would act rapidly to call together an urgent conference when there seemed to be a need to do so. It was called because the peacniks in the Academy of Sciences felt that something should be done to prevent the Soviet moratorium on testing from lapsing. It was due to lapse near beginning of August 1986. At the end of May, 1986, there was a huge meeting the Second All-Union Conference of the Soviet Academies of Science (from entire east bloc were there) plus 150 foreigners, including 3 Canadians — Geoffrey Pearson, Rod Byers, and Derek. About a 3 day conference. Enormous numbers of east bloc scientists. Focus was the abolition of nuclear weapons. During that conference, which was 1 month after Chernobyl. The host was physicist Velikhov, VP of Soviet Acad of Sci , who was in charge of Chernobyl cleanup. His deputy was Roald Sagdeyev, who personally invited Derek to join the 18 person ctte, the Initiative group, to convene a conference within two months to persuade the Soviet govt with evidence, to support the continuation of the Soviet moratorium. Emphasis on verification of nuclear tests. Derek was authorized to invite doves and hawks from Canada and elsewhere to it. The agenda was determined by the 18 person cttee, which met about twice a day during the conference, which took place 12 -14 July. It drafted in a democratic way a final statement which it then took to Gorby, presented to him. The 18 person cttee continued after this July conference, still exists in a moribund sort of way. If there were an urgent need to call a conference to prevent a war, say in the Middle East, they could contact each other. Some of the people were extremely well connected with government. This is written up. It was initiated by the Academy of Sciences. Gorby didn’t say that he would extend the initiative. He said that the government would make up its mind at the end of August. Derek has Russian newspaper record of the interview with Gorby, verbatim, in Russian. The publicity given to the 18 person mtg with Gorby was probably part of a publicity effort given to it to prepare the public for the fact they were going to continue for about 6 months.

When the 6 months were up, the same 18 person initiative group organized another peace conference on similar theme, which Derek did not attend, but he did attend the planning mtg in Geneva. Four other groups in USSR set up similar conferences. At the end Gorby addressed all mtgs together in one conference hall. One of these organizing groups was Institute for Canadian and American Studies, which Trudeau attended. The four mtgs all intermingled on the final day. Derek had invited some non-Canadians too. Jean-Pierre Stroot (Belgian living in Switz) and Hylke Tromp, director of the Polemological Institute in the Netherlands, and advisor to the netherlands government. Eric Fawcett went. Brian Macdonald, then director of the Canadian Strategic Studies Institute, went. Arthur Forer may have gone. Derek tried to get people from all walks of life. Mrs. Hylke Tromp is a Yugoslav. She went. Eric met Trudeau there. Russian Orthodox church sponsored it, invited clerics from Christian churches all over the place.

It started with Brezhnev and the 1981 party congress, in February. At end of March 1981 a special conference was called by IMEMO to try to see what they could do to stop the Pershing IIs and cruise missiles. It was a manipulated conference, loaded with west-bloc communists, unpleasant people. A nutty English woman who worked for British Labour party.

Eric has a lot of it. Derek has copies of the papers he gave at those conferences. He gave several papers. If you took multiple copies of you paper and left a stack of 80 copies, there would be none left by 5 p.m. Everything from the West was picked up.

Derek’s sense was that there was a terrific thirst for information from the West, because their own stuff was doctored. They knew that everything they read from people on their own side of the curtain was in a way censored. At least censorable. They knew that Derek’s stuff was not censored. He never presented any papers on peace subjects prior to 1986. The IMEMO mtg was the highest level mtg that he attended. There were Central Cttee members present.

I asked Derek about Pugwash. They sent high level scientists. They rarely sent anyone as high as the VP of the Academy of Sciences. But they did send Kapitsa and Goldansky, reasonably high level academicians. The official head of the delegations early on was Markov [??] a disappointing person, who didn’t really speak out. He was hounded by the KGB man, who always accompanied the delegation, a man called Sokolov. [portion deleted here to adhere to Pugwash rule of non-attribution.]

See also
Eric Fawcett, Arthur Forer, Derek Paul, and Anna Lou Little, 1986

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books