Progress towards nuclear disarmament.


How negotiations towards a nuclear-free world really work.


 The first Special Session of the United Nations on Disarmament was held in Geneva in the summer of 1981.  The chairman addressed the Committee for Disarmament to question whether the committee had any relevance, given that the US and the UK had totally blocked any progress.  Ambassador Summerhayes for the UK and ambassador Fowleree for the US repeated their procedural objections after a period of complete silence and an atmosphere of heightened tension which lasted for ten minutes.  Fowleree objected to the Mexican delegate’s suggestion that they were making a mockery of the United Nations through ‘honest differences’.  The Mexican delegate refused to withdraw his criticism, adding that though the US talking had been ‘straight’, no one who had been following the record could question the patience of the group of 21 other nations on the committee after 15 years of talking and two reports by the U N Secretary General indicating that all the technical verification problems had been solved long ago.


The chairman concluded the session by hoping that the human species would not become extinct through ‘honest differences of opinion’.


[In the 24 years since that UN Special Session on Disarmament there has been no perceptible change of opinions or attitude.  The US is actively pursuing research into new ways of making nuclear weapons usable in war, and in the next session of parliament the UK government will probably decide to replace Trident. Ed]