Saunders was a former US diplomat who led the US side of the Dartmoth Group.
SAUNDERS: Sorry. I spend more time away then I do here by a good bit so I’m glad that we could get together.
METTA: Well, I’m glad so too. I think we actually crossed paths in Moscow once but I couldn’t find you. Anyway. Sorry. I should tell you a little bit about what I’m doing, although I think you’ve got the drift of it. I’m writing a book on how the international peace movement influenced Soviet policy. Now, that sounds a bit arrogant and in fact, I have softened it a lot by including a lot things about internal critics and new political thinkers and so on so that about a third of the book is about Soviets who thought things up on their own. So, I’m very aware that the Dartmouth group conferences have had a lot of impact on people’s thinking, and I thought you might have some stories. I’m sort of… That’s the kind of thing I’m looking for is yarns about how somebody so so and so, and they got on, and made a difference. So…
SAUNDERS: I hear and I am delighted to talk to you. I’ll do my best.
SAUNDERS: I think I should start by saying here you’ve assigned yourself a very tough job because to try to demonstrate that these dialogues actually made an identifiable difference at a particular moment is very tough. It’s one thing for the Norwegians to have the Israelis and Palestinians together and then have Rabin and Arafat show up on the White House lawn. That’s drama beyond anybody’s imagination, but for the most part, it’s far too…
METTA: I know.
SAUNDERS: Make it concrete points that I’m telling you something that you already know very well.
METTA: Although I’ve got some stories, you know. I’ve got things, good stories.
SAUNDERS: The largest point that I would make and I’m sure that somebody could document this. It’s not one story of one person or two persons at one moment, but maybe it’s already self-evident to you but it seems to me that if one looks at the people who wrote the articles and speeches between 1985 and 1988 or so that became called the new political thinking in Moscow, you would find that virtually every one of those authors on the Russian Side had been part of Dartmouth or one or two of the other parallel dialogues — the U.N Association or Graham Allison’s group at Harvard or whatever, or had been members of a number of others. So I think in many ways strangely that new political thinking was probably made in those dialogue. I remember Arbotov saying one time in answer to a question like yours ‘What was the most important product of Dartmouth’ and his answer was ‘The people’s whose minds have changed.’ So I think when Vitaly Zhurkin wrote some of those articles and Primakov and others, you can’t say that they took one particular idea at one particular moment, but their way of thinking had changed.
SAUNDERS: I think Arbatov’s and Milshtein’s participation in the groups that produced that Palme commission, the group that produced the “Common Security” report. I know that when those two came out of that experience, that common security was part of their vocabulary. They pushed it and so on, so that was part. The word “inter-dependent” was one of the things learned in these dialogues. I’m sure that became part of their vocabulary.
More particularly, again I can’t demonstrate that it did any good but I know I can cite in particular… I’m sure you know that the Dartmouth Conference for many years took a plenary format but then in the 80s, two task forces came into being: one in arms control and one in regional conflict. And the one in regional conflict continues to this day. They just had its 24th meeting a few weeks ago. At the beginning, ’81 – ’82, the two co-chairman of that Dartmouth conference regional conflict task force were Yevgeny Primakov and myself. In the period, (I keep losing my exact date) a few months just before the Soviets announced that they were going to withdraw from Afghanistan. That announcement took place in a February of ’87 or 8. I have forgotten.
METTA: Yes, I can’t remember either. Right, I know.
SAUNDERS: In that period of time, we began (we the regional conflict task force) focusing on Afghanistan. We added it to our agenda in November of 1986. So in that period of time we have had very intensive discussions of Afghanistan and our Afghan specialist in our group tried to spend some time with people in the analytical office of the Soviet Foreign Ministry as well as in the Oriental Studies Institute. But one Saturday morning before we departed from Moscow we went in to see Yuli Vorontsov as a task force which one or two of our Russian colleagues. He then was one of the number two level in the Foreign Ministry and very shortly there after he had donned the second hat as the Soviet ambassador to Afghanistan—not in residence, but in any case. We went in for basically a conversation that was going to touch on Afghanistan and the Middle East and we ended up being there for about two hours while he just sort of put all kinds of questions to us on Afghanistan.
METTA: You had been working on Afghanistan for how long at that point?
SAUNDERS: Well, as I say, we added it to our agenda in November of ’86. And what I can’t remember is the year that we’re talking about.
METTA: I should be able to find it because I can’t remember either.
SAUNDERS: But anyway, the interesting thing was that the next day, we saw Vorontsov on a Saturday, and the next George Shultz arrived in Moscow to talk about Afghanistan. I can’t tell you what Vorontsov and Shultz talked about or how Vorontsov might have reflected what he heard. But what he was really trying to test with us was the strength and coherence of the Mujahedeen groups and ultimately, I guess, our views about what might happen with inside Afghanistan if the Soviet troops pulled out, and our argument at the time was (and it proves not 100 percent correct) that the Najibullah government did not have wide support. And that was the difference between us and our Russian counterpart. Anyway, there was a lot of back and forth in which our Afghan specialist was in our State department and I can’t say again that we generated any particular idea that led to a solution to a problem but just in terms of sharing perspectives and deepening the Soviet perspective of the American perspective.
METTA: Your Afghan specialist, you mean, somebody connected with the Dartmouth Group.
SAUNDERS: Yes, we had a task force of six or seven people. And we had one or two — we had a continuing agenda. The focus of the overall group was US-Soviet interactions in Central America, Southern Africa, the Middle East (two parts of the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli arena and the Gulf) Afghanistan, and in ’88, we added Cambodia and Korea. The idea was that… these two tasks forces (to go back) were born out of a plenary in 1981. The question before the Dartmouth Plenary was “what happened to detente?” and the answers roughly fell into two arenas. That detente foundered in the fields of arms deployments and arms control and also in areas of regional conflict: Angola, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, etc. So two task forces were established to probe more deeply in those particular areas to answer the question “what happened to detente”. The focus in our regional conflicts task force always was a dual focus. One, the ostensible focus was, what’s going on in Afghanistan or in the Arab-Israeli peace process? The underlying question was, “What does the Soviet-U.S. interaction in that situation tell us about the central US-Soviet relationship? In other words, why can’t we cooperate in the Arab-Israeli peace process? Ostensibly we’ve got some kind of interest in moving the peace process forward but when you really get down underneath it has something to do with U.S. deep human and political commitment to Israel which plays itself out in American politics, anti-semitism in Soviet policymaking. The more you get down into the politics of the thing, then you get to the real heart of the U.S Soviet relationship. I remember another time we had a meeting going on. During the Bush Administration Jim Baker was in Moscow talking about regional conflict and we happened to be meeting with our colleagues the same day and the Soviet line was, “Why don’t you just work with us towards resumption of a Middle East peace conference?” And our answer was, “There is no way an American Secretary of State can promise unreserved cooperation with the godless Communists in regard to the Jewish state. It is not politically permissible in the American body politic, and therefore we have certain —
METTA: You mean… I’m not sure what they were asking for.
SAUNDERS: They were asking for a U.S. open commitment of cooperation to resume the Middle East peace conference. What we were telling them was that there were going to be some conditions about the role of the PLO and Israeli reps and that time the issue was Soviet resumption of relations with Israel and so on. There was a lot of issues, and Baker just wasn’t going to say “Yes, we’ll cooperate with you on this” without saying, “we can only do that if you meet certain requirements” and we were trying to 
METTA: Was Primakov involve involved in that at that time?
SAUNDERS: No, that would’ve been… the Bush Administration began in 1989 and Primakov’s last meeting was May or June of ’88.
METTA: The last Dartmouth Meeting he went to?
SAUNDERS: Yes, because he was scheduled to participate in a meeting in New York in December of ’88 but by that time, he was working very closely with Gorbachev and he was sent off to London to… Gorbachev came to the United Nations in December of ’88. We had our task force meeting in New York during Gorbachev’s visit there. Primakov never got there because Gorbachev’s entourage sent him to London to prepare Gorbachev’s visit to London.
METTA: That first visit?
SAUNDERS: Yes, but Gorbachev never got to London. He went to Cuba and then the Armenian earthquake situation, he had to go straight home. Anyway. Primakov did not participate in December of ’88 and after that was never able to because he then went on to bigger things.
METTA: I would’ve been really pleased to know if you had found something out. I’ve spent several summers in Russia interviewing people and tried to get to Primakov and he wouldn’t see me. That was in ’92. I’m going to try again. I’m going for a week in a couple of weeks. I don’t expect to see him but I’m going to make another try. One of the things that has always interested me was the way the public opinion divided in Russia on the Gulf War in a very different way from here. I’m a peace activist in Canada and it was I think, probably 80 percent of us did not support the war. I would say in Russia, 95% of the people I used to know as peace activists did support the war, and they just always assumed that I did too. You know, we have such different perspectives on this thing. And one of the things that I have always wondered was when Primakov was sent off to Baghdad and came back with an offer, it was a real offer and I think there was substance to it, but it was treated as if it just even hadn’t happened. There was no serious attention given it and if I ask people about that, they don’t even remember that there was an offer. So, I can’t seem to get close enough to him to find out what that was all about.
SAUNDERS: I could tell you what he told me but I don’t think you can quote it as such.[An important passage here is deleted for reasons of confidentiality.] . . .
METTA: If I had been he, I would have been more mad at Gorbachev than at Bush. Bush, you have to expect that, but it seems to me that Gorbachev couldn’t make up his mind about which side he was on, Shevardnadze’s or Primakov’s. I still would like to know how he really saw things, whether he thought that was going to be a serious deal that Primakov might be able to pull off, and if so, why didn’t he support him more?
SAUNDERS: I don’t know the answer.
METTA: But you continue to see Primakov, or have seen since them.
SAUNDERS: I haven’t seen him for a little over a year now. I guess I just last him in a year and a few months ago at dinner at a mutual friend’s house in Moscow.
METTA: And he was already head of the super-
SAUNDERS: The intelligence. Yes, actually, I had lunch with him out in those quarters after he was appointed that ______.. their equivalent of CIA of course.
METTA: Is it the equivalent or is it something different?
SAUNDERS: I think that after the KGB was split up, I think of it as a Russian Foreign intelligence arm. I’m not sure there is a direct equivalence, bit I see it as being closer to the CIA then to the old image of the KGB. It is not the old image of the KGB as a domestic security apparatus. That’s not them.
METTA: But there is something like that.
SAUNDERS: Well, there is a continuation of the domestic KGB. Gorbachev split the KGB into two pieces. One is a foreign intelligence arm, and the other was the domestic security arm. He put Primakov in charge of the foreign.
METTA: So tell me how were some of these people who had all been part of the Dartmouth meetings and who then were writing papers in the new political thinking area.
SAUNDERS: There would be Vitaly Zhurkin, if you want. He wrote several [plans] of a thing called [common] security with Andre Kortunov, the younger man, They coauthored things.
METTA: Kortunov and, who is the other guy? Three of them wrote something about reasonable sufficiency.
SAUNDERS: All three of them were Dartmouth.
METTA: I see.
SAUNDERS: Zhurkin’s was about 1970 or 71, so not just an occasional visitor but a long time since the time of Brezhnev. Arbatov must have written something—I can’t remember. Primakov and himself wrote an early couple of articles on foreign policy in context of Perestroika. Lukin and _____, Bovin [ ] at the time. I think that Petrovsky probably did.
METTA: Yeah I know he did. I interviewed him and he said he did.
SAUNDERS: But I know he was Dartmouth but I can’t remember exactly what he wrote. But he would’ve been one. The one who I think probably falls in this category of writing as a key figure, but not I think, a participant in Dartmouth although maybe in one of the other dialogues [was] Yakovlev. But I can’t remember.
[tape turned over]
METTA: Okay, I’m back. Maybe it’s worth talking about some of the topics that were covered in these conferences. Whether I could maybe even get a list of the conferences and the topics and the participants or something. Is that possible?
SAUNDERS: Certainly for some of them. I can’t tell you that we could go back to the beginning because Kettering did not come onto the scene until about 1970. We did do some general executive summaries and that sort of thing. I have to get a little time and get all the work done so I can tie it together for you.
There was one thing. There was not a single… and for the plenaries, which took place every 18 to 24 months, there was not a single subject. It was really each time people had an agenda, that depending about what was going on at the time, but the idea was to review the state of the U.S.-Soviet relationship in that setting. But it wasn’t ____. Really, though, in the later 70s, when the task forces began, in 1981-82, the real focus, the continuing focus, was on particular subjects like arms control.
METTA: Your assistant sent me a paper that I suppose, you and a Russian had written jointly. It was a while back.
SAUNDERS: The article on the public peace process?
METTA: Yes, that sounds right. Anyway, what has surprised me a little was the extent which you were dealing with process in that paper and I don’t know whether that’s characteristic of the Dartmouth meetings or not, but I attend — I am active in Pugwash and there’s no attention given to process at all, I would say. It’s all substance. So that you get copies of people’s papers and the proceedings and so on, but there’s not much description of relationships or even talk about relationships. It’s all assumed to happen in the background, one way or another. Am I mistaken, or is that your impression that there really is a difference?
SAUNDERS: The first thing that I would argue with very strongly is your notion that where there’s process, there’s not substance. Or where there’s substance, there’s not process.
METTA: Of course. I wouldn’t want to say that, but I would say that if you looked at papers that people send you from Pugwash meetings, the papers are not the process so much, they’re about…
SAUNDERS: There has never been a paper about the Dartmouth process so we published that article “30 years into Dartmouth.”
SAUNDERS: 24 meetings or 22 meetings into regional conflicts. That article is simply a crystallization, an articulation, a conceptualization of what we felt after a decade of meeting every six months. The process we thought that we had sort of gone through and the reason we conceptualized that in that article was that when the Soviet Union ended, the question was, well, what should we do now? And the answer was, maybe, since we have had this unique experience in terms of a prolonged and continuous dialogue, maybe we could go back and think about how we did this. And maybe, we could take it now to some of the conflicts that are erupting on the territory of the former Soviet Union. So we thought, step one, was to write a conceptualization of the process. I do write conceptually anyway about this process because there’s a lot of work in this field of non-official dialogue and it seems to me that one needs to conceptualize it. It’s not a big deal. You don’t sit in the meetings and talk about the process. We very — almost never sat in a meeting and talked about process.
SAUNDERS: But after a dozen meetings, you have to ask yourself, we’re spending all of this time and money. What are you going to get out of this? I had lived through, and in my government days through the intense period in the 70s of the Arab- Israeli peace process, and I saw it as a political — as a series of negotiations embedded in a larger political process and I thought describing the process as a process could be very helpful in helping figure out what they were trying to do, where they were in the process, what had to be done, what needed to be done, so the process for me was simply something in the back of my mind. I was always testing it and thinking about it but we were really talking about substance but were trying to talk about it increasingly in a way that revealed this second part of the agenda. That is, talking about Afghanistan to learn more about the U.S.-Soviet relationship. The other thing is that this is not an academic conference. As a matter of fact, it violently resists being an academic conference. Therefore…
METTA: How do you do that? How do you manage to violently resist being an academic conference?
SAUNDERS: We absolutely refuse to have anybody present or read papers.
METTA: Ah, I see.
SAUNDERS: Which is not an academic conference. You said at Pugwash, and you talk about the papers people send you.
METTA: They do.
SAUNDERS: We never had papers because the tendency in an academic conference is for people to spend all their time reading papers. Nobody listens because everybody is thinking about the papers she is going to present. And there’s never any dialogue. The whole purpose for this was dialogue. So statements were limited to maybe ten minutes on each side to get a conversation going about a particular subject and after that, nobody spoke more than four or five minutes. There were no speeches, etcetera. So, that also is ground rules, if not process. But the purpose was dialogue, and if you are going to make dialogue purposeful and therefore not just nice talk, you have to have it go somewhere, and you have to build. As Primakov said to me one time, we will start the next meeting where this one left off. In other words, we won’t go back and hash over the old complaint. We’ve reached a certain point in discussing this problem and we will pick up at exactly that point next time. So it’s a continuous process of deepening dialogue for the purpose of changing conflictual…
METTA: Seems to me that there be another difference and that is that Pugwash is multilateral.
SAUNDERS: Yes, that is a major difference. Actually, I’ve described Dartmouth often as the longest, continuous, bilateral dialogue between Soviet and American citizens because Pugwash does predate Dartmouth by three or four years, but, as you said, it became multilateral.
METTA: Would you… do you still think that’s the way to go? Bilateral? Well, that’s a stupid question. I guess what I’m saying is, for what you were trying to do, was it better not to have other perspectives involved and to have the thing be U.S.-Soviet?
SAUNDERS: _______ really escalated to the exclusion of all others, but I think there was a very strong argument at the height of the Cold War when the superpower relationship was critical for having a dialogue which aimed at understanding, well, at enabling people from the two bodies of politics to talk with each other, but also building an understanding of how and what the dynamics of that relationship were. So I think that you could argue that it had its values, but you could argue that there are other ways of doing, of accomplishing other things. But if you wanted to find out about that critical relationship, it seemed to me that the bilateral route was probably preferable.
METTA: Are things still going on? Russia-US?
SAUNDERS: Well, yes. As I say, there is the regional conflicts task force, which had its 24th meeting about three weeks ago. And a year ago, it gave birth to a child in the sense that we decided, as I said, with the end of the Soviet Union, maybe what we should do is conceptualize this process that we had lived through, walked through, stumbled through. See if we could use it in one of the new conflicts. So we decided in December 1992 to see whether we could apply it to the conflict in Kazakhstan. So three people, three Russians and three Americans from our task force, we’re counting the two that isn’t as a subgroup as it were, and in March 1993, we had our first meetings with Kazakhstan dialogue, bringing together people from the civil conflict Kazakhstan. And a week from tomorrow, I will be in Moscow for the sixth meeting of that Kazakhstan dialogue. We’re meeting with them every two months. And we have grants from two major US foundations to spend that out over three or four years. So that goes on. When we met a few weeks ago, we focused on the conflicts in Georgia, for a number of reasons. One of which was to compare conflicts in Kazakhstan and Georgia, partly because were… One of our little side projects here is to see whether we want to see or feel that we have something to say about the nature of conflicts so that they’re now preoccupying the world in the so-called ethnic conflicts. That part goes on.
Another legacy of Dartmouth which really isn’t of the same character, that [after] the Dartmouth meeting in 1988, some of us began to focus — a Russian and an American began focusing on problems of building civil society and because the Kettering Foundation does a lot of work in community politics in the United States, we worked for a group of Russians who have set up the Russian centre for citizenship education. And Kettering is presently associated with that.
METTA: Who are some of those people? Because I’m not sure that I know the organization.
SAUNDERS: Well, this was chartered last September so you very well may not.
METTA: Are they people who had been involved in the Dartmouth process?
SAUNDERS: At a later time, yes. Two of them come out of the USA-Canada Institute. One of them is a man named Boris Mikhailov, who spent a couple of months at Kettering a couple of years ago until recently. And we had a younger scholar who certainly published that you wouldn’t have any reason to know, a fellow named Igor Nagdasev, now, who is directing this centre at the centre Citizen. It took several founding parents, including the USA-Canada Institute, but also the Moscow Helsinki Watch. Centre Citizen is this group that… people who produce curricula of citizenship in Russian secondary schools. So it’s a relative… it’s a new process, another man named Yakov Sohkamov who is part of Centre Citizen working with a network of teachers and using various materials to give students an experience in participatory democracy. So that’s the second legacy of Dartmouth.
That gap that I think Vitaly or Greg Fisher may have talked with you about — this is the direct answer to your question. They are not many people that we’re aware of who are continuing the idea of dialogue about the US-Russian relationship itself. There are lots of people doing a variety of good things, but many of them are in the residual security field, bringing the militaries closer together, etcetera. A lot of technical assistance kind of things benefit in helping develop the court system, helping the parliament establish a research base and all sorts of things like that. Of course, there are economic themes , but it’s hard to find many, if any people who are filling that group that the Dartmouth plenary used to feeling and recently got to answering these questions. Whether people sense that is a gap, and that if there is a gap, then maybe it ought to be filled.
METTA: Now, I was talking to him about the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly and I would say that it’s definitely a multilateral thing and the Russians and the Americans are not even major players. There are people from Eastern and Western Europe who are much more numerous and… But they do carry on, I think very interesting dialogues trying to resolve conflicts. I went to one dealing with the Transcaucasus. They had maybe fifteen different people from Nicosia and Georgia and Azerbaijan, and Ossetia and all, hashing it out. The reason we met in Ankara two months ago was to work on the Kurdish-Turkish conflict, so they have a task force that’s running dialogues there. And they also go to central Asia, but I wouldn’t say that there are very many Americans involved and I wouldn’t say — there are a number of Russians, but that’s not what they do most of the time. A lot of the Russians are people from Memorial, so they have their own fish to fry.
METTA: But Memorial, by the way, is doing good work. Memorial sends people out to intervene in these places. They probably have people who go to Georgia and so on.
SAUNDERS: I’m not ________ anybody that there’s a lot of good work going on. If one were to feel the need for somebody to keep tabs on the US-Russia relationship to say, … that once again, one day, both of us will be large continental powers and it would be nice for both of us to enter that next chapter of having some kind of stronger, more collaborative relationship than we did last time we walked into that.
METTA: Let us go back a little and see if you can remember any occasions where people sort of changed their minds, where out of discussion, somebody went home with a different viewpoint.
SAUNDERS: Yes, I could give you one offhand, and maybe two. When I first got involved in Dartmouth was late ’81. I had left government earlier the year Reagan became president.
METTA: What had you been doing before in the government?
SAUNDERS: My last job was as the assistant Secretary of State for near East and South Asia, for seven years in there I was intimately involved in the US role in the Arab-Israeli peace process. I flown on the Kissinger shuttle. As Assistant Secretary, I was at Camp David with Begin, Carter, and Sadat. One of the drafters of the Camp David Accord and of the Israeli Peace Treaty. That’s why they invited to me to [government as] the US co-chairman of this regional conflict task force. They figured that I had been responsible for the US government’s participation in many of these conflicts. So that was my role in government. And when I left government I said I… I wrote conceptually about the Arab-Israeli peace process because I thought that it… if one could see as a whole process for delaying with conflict rather than just in terms of the mediation and negotiation. That might be constructive for dealing with other conflict. Anyway, that was my bag then. But, when I joined my first Dartmouth Plenary in late ’81, the Russians, Soviets, were still absolutely inconvincible when Americans said that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan had put the final nail in the coffin of the SALT II exercise. The Soviets said, look, Afghanistan is a faraway place. It has nothing to do with US-Soviet arms control or race. Jimmy Carter wanted to reneg on the SALT II treaty and he just used Afghanistan as an excuse. The American response was that you don’t understand how the American body of politics works. There is no way that an American government could ratify through the centre of the United States a treaty vitally affecting the interest of the United States when the American people had seen the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as a major breach, perhaps the major breach of international law since the Cold War. Since ’48 or ’49 except for Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Therefore, Americans are saying, we just don’t trust those people. We don’t want anything to do with them. The treaty on this subject, to try to get the Soviets to see that at least on our side, the US-Soviet relationship had to take account of American citizen’s perceptions of Soviet actions, and the mistrust or trust that that would build up. Ultimately, Gorbachev was smart enough to see that and in a December 1988 speech to the United Nations, he addressed that directly. But, in ’81, the Soviets were inconvincible. The same people, Vitaly Zhurkin for one of them, who at least took that line in ’81, by ’83 or ’84 were acknowledging the linkage of issues. They didn’t like the word linkage because kissinger had used it, but linkage and connectiveness is another word. They began to acknowledge, they began to change their minds about the way US policymaking in the deepest, most political sense of the word, worked towards the Soviet Union and how Soviet treatment of the Jewish community in the Soviet Union did have something to do. They should have learned that with the [Jackson-Vanek] amendment in the middle 70s. But I think ultimately they came to a different view about how the US policymaking process [works].
METTA: Can you say who they were besides Zhurkin?
SAUNDERS: Zhurkin, Arbatov, ________. People who come [ ]
METTA: I see. That’s very interesting and very valuable.
SAUNDERS: That’s one, the other side of it, if I give an American example, was in late spring, in 1988. We had a Dartmouth Plenary which was held took place down at the St. Johns school of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. This is a meeting to which Arbatov brought what I could only describe as a “[panoply] of the stars of Perestroika.” He brought the journalist, the sociologist, the philosopher, the soldier, the businessman to do business, and so on, and the usual crowd of Dartmouth participants like Arbotov, Milshtein, and Zhurkin and some others. And this was at a time when Americans were still asking whether Gorbachev was for real. Does this guy really mean it or is he a communist who is looking like a tiger instead of a bear right now, but he’s going to be a bear again in a little while? He’s just pulling the wool over our eyes. And these people through their sincerity and sort of the authenticity of the personal stories they told, I think persuaded the Americans there that this is still on the leading edge of Americans being convinced. By December, when Gorbachev came and spoke to the UN. I think it was more people put up with the fact that maybe this guy was serious. But at that point, I think the Americans who were there really changed their picture of Gorbachev as a grand finagler to a Gorbachev who is a man who is very serious about this.
METTA: Would it be possible for me to get a list of those participants?
SAUNDERS: Yes, I think so. We have published a little thing called the Perestroika papers which were actually a selection of some of the things that were said there so somebody edited it all night.
METTA: Do you have a rule of confidentiality that… Pugwash has a thing where you are not supposed to attribute anything to anybody.
SAUNDERS: That’s the rule.
METTA: That’s the rule.
SAUNDERS: Nothing is to be attributed to anybody outside of the room anyway. The whole thing was pretty much kept quiet on both sides. It couldn’t be secret but nobody was going to advertise his or her involvement in something like this on either side in the early days.
METTA: There was a stigma attached?
SAUNDERS: Well, for an American to be talking about the godless Communists in 1960 was… the people got hounded out of their jobs by Joe McCarthy a decade earlier. So yes, there was some, even though this had been instigated by Dwight Eisenhower, and on the Russian side, of course, they all had to have permission to come and…
METTA: Was Arbatov a coordinator or how did it all happen there?
SAUNDERS: It was a decade before either Arbotov or the Kettering Foundation became involved and the beginning story was that of Eisenhower in 1959. Eisenhower contacted Norman Cousins who at that time was the editor of the Saturday Review in the United States. They had known each other when Cousins was a correspondent in Europe after the war when Eisenhower was still there. And Eisenhower apparently said to Cousins, do you think it would be possible to establish, to get together a group of Americans and a group of Soviet Citizens who could talk with each other on a regular basis so that when government relations go sour, there would still be some communications between countries. And Cousins went to Moscow and ultimately found some receptive ears in the Soviet Peace Committee.
METTA: Like who?
SAUNDERS: Whoever was president there, was it Yury Zhukov. There’s a woman in Moscow who has done it. Gone back and reviewed all of this and was actually one of the interpreters at that earlier.
METTA: Oh really? She’s a Russian woman?
SAUNDERS: Oh yes. She was a young employee of the Peace Committee at that time. I think it was Yury Zhukov who was Vice- President. I’m not sure to whom Cousins talked.
METTA: When I first got involved with the Peace Committee, it was Zhukov but I wouldn’t have thought that he would have been there for that long. It seems to me that there was another person.
SAUNDERS: Could well be. She would know.
METTA: Do you know her name?
SAUNDERS: Yes, it’s Alice Bobrysheva. She’s in Arbatov’s office.
METTA: She’s the person one goes to for phone numbers.
SAUNDERS: Anyway, she’s tried to write some of the stuff. Anyway, that’s how Dartmouth started. The first meeting took place took place in October, 1960 at Dartmouth College. It had a very good picture, that’s how it got its name, although it’s never been formally associated with the University. So then, that ended in the Soviet Union a second time. And the third time it met, it got back again in the United States and just by act of God, it happened to be meeting, during what turned to be the week of the Cuban missile crisis. So there were cemented bonds between the people. So it then continued on a average of every 18 to 24 months after. But it was the USA- Canada Institute was established in 1969. In the early days the Ford Foundation, Rockerfeller had funded this on the US side, the Peace Committee on the Soviet side. By ’69 or ’70, Kettering got involved on the US side and Arbatov, they had created the USA-Canada Institute and Arbatov became its first director. So the co-chairs or co-hosts on the Soviet Side were the Peace Committee and the USA-Canada Institute.
METTA: Okay. That’s interesting.
SAUNDERS: The Co-chairs on the American side were the president of the Kettering Foundation and Norman Cousins.
METTA: Who was the president of the Kettering Foundation?
SAUNDERS: Bob Chollar, at that time. He died, and David Matthews a decade later became president.
METTA: How did people get selected from the US side?
SAUNDERS: Norman Cousins in that first decade picked them out, out of the…
METTA: There’s some kind of story about his acting as a go-between somehow. He was charged with some sort of Citizen Diplomacy and negotiating something or another. I think it was Kennedy who did that. Do you know of any such story?
SAUNDERS: I know something. Yes, he was doing something on behalf of the Vatican, with Khrushchev I think. It would have been around the right time, wouldn’t it?
METTA: I think I should look at his book. I haven’t read it but I think I heard that he talks about it.
Saunders: There’s a couple of other books called — there was one published by Columbia University Press called Diplomats or something like that. There have been 2 or 3 books published about this sort of thing. Alice Bobrosheva would know. She was present for that round too. She went down to Khrushchev’s dacha for that visit. Interview her.
METTA: Whom else should I interview?
METTA: I have. He did mention Dartmouth.
Saunders: I don’t know about Zhurkin. Some of them are dead. Milshtein.
METTA: Did Milshtein die?
Saunders: Yes, about 18 months ago.
METTA: Really. That must have been just after I met him. I interviewed him.
Saunders: He died very suddenly. Yury Zhukov died too.I don’t know who else died. On our side, Charlie Yost, Norman Cousins.