The gathering in a Conference Room of the Bundestag’s ultra-modern Paul-Loebe Haus on Friday, 16 December was described by its organizers from the Détente Now! / Neue Entspannungspolitik Jetzt! initiative as a press briefing to officially launch the initiative in Germany. The conference host was Bundestag deputy (Berlin) from the SPD party Ute Finckh-Kraemer, who is a member of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and deputy chair of its subcommittee on Disarmament.
Detente Now! had already had its debut in the USA the week before with an op-ed article in the iconic Progressive weekly magazine of commentary, The Nation.
At the briefing, ACEWA European Coordinator Gilbert Doctorow delivered the following address:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank the organizers for inviting me to take part in this press briefing on behalf of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd.
The American Committee, which was incorporated in New York State almost two years ago, reinstates a similarly named platform for détente that existed from 1974 to 1992. That original Committee consisting of leading businessmen, diplomats and academics was founded when President Nixon’s policy of détente with Russia encountered very serious opposition in the US Senate, which had passed the Jackson-Vanik Amendment with intent to cripple trade with Russia and undermine the President’s foreign policy.
Today in America we stand at a similar juncture, with an incoming Republican president who is supportive of détente and a Congress that largely remains anti-détente and pro-Cold War.
I mention the American political context for one purpose only: to underline that peace, and détente is another word for peace, knows no Left or Right.
In the USA, détente has been a cause carried highest by the Right. Here in Germany, it was born in the SPD, on the Left as the Entspannungspolitik.
Whether called détente or Entspannungspolitik, it is the cause of people who share the belief that the highest value we must pursue in foreign policy is to preserve human life and that the key to survival in this world is co-existence and dialogue, not confrontation and self-righteousness.
Several fellow Board members and I fully support your Neue Entspannungspolitik Jetzt! Initiative and will do all possible to help realize your plans of creating a new, peaceful Atlanticism. – Gilbert Doctorow, PhD