Skip to main content
Read page text

23 June 1973 The international Catholic Weekly 12p

Europe o f the four Karls: Salvador de Madariaga England’ s oldest ally: Denis Brass Authority in the Church: Hans Kiing and Karl Rahner The ancient theology: Alan Gabbey Early Christianity: Hamish Swanston

Searching for security The bargaining that has gone on at Washington this week between President Nixon and Mr Brezhnev is preliminary to the formal opening of the European Security Conference at Helsinki on 3 July. The assembly of 34 delegates (Europeans minus Albania, plus Canada and the United States) has been the goal of Soviet diplomacy for several years. It is interesting that the conference will be in the Finnish capital, since Finland has a unique position in relation to the Soviet Union. After the first World War the Grand Duchy of Finland became the independent Finnish Republic, and the three Baltic States, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, also received their freedom, all becoming stable little democracies, Finland, of course, with an international reputation for music and architecture. So they flourished and proved good members of the League of Nations until the shadow of Nazism fell across their path. Hitler ceded the three Baltic states to Stalin, Finland was invaded by the Soviet armies, and the last political action of the League was in December, 1939, to expel the Soviet Union because of this unprovoked aggression. After the Soviet triumph in 1945 Finland was not reabsorbed into the Soviet empire, but as a neutral state was allowed, after the cession of some territory to Moscow for strategic reasons, to keep its independence and a democratic parliamentary form of government. Communism was not enforced on the country, though there is a Communist Party. Finland is noted for its social and religious tolerance; it is in no way a totalitarian state.

so powerfully assured, first by the partition of Germany, then by the Soviet forces stationed in the Federal German Republic and Czechoslovakia, and the immense increase in Soviet military, naval and air power? A possible answer is that Moscow seeks international recognition and acceptance of its conquests; also the Soviet authorities may well have wished to create a favourable impression so as to facilitate the granting of the huge credits and the technical and economic expertise, with which it is hoped to help the lagging Soviet economy. This means that the West has some good cards in its hand; already some German and American industrialists are querying the wisdom of equipping, on such generous credit terms, as Moscow has asked for, a potential rival; Moscow, it has been argued, must pay a political price. As a consequence the Helsinki conference was, by the insistence of the NATO countries, linked to the conference being held in Vienna, about “mutual and balanced military force reductions.” The Soviet government disapproved of the word “balanced,” but agreed that the separate Vienna conference should be resumed in October when, so the Soviet side seem to hope, the security talks will have come to an end.

The agenda discussions centred on three principles which the non-Communist delegations considered should form the framework of security among the nations; first, equal sovereignty must prevail; then agreed frontiers should be settled, with the exercise of fundamental human rights. It was argued finally that security could not be a reality without closer communications between the nations and freedom of information.

Why has Moscow so persistently advocated a security conference, especially at this time, when its own security has been

Last week, in Copenhagen, a nato conference was held at which the weakness of western Europe’s defences was bluntly stated, 2 to 1 in manpower, 4 to 1 in armour, above all tanks, as between the Warsaw Pact and the nato forces. It is they who generally feel a need for a real security. At Copenhagen the American Secretary of State, Mr William Rogers, pleaded for a “new conceptual framework” for relations between Europe and the United States, by which he seems to mean that prosperous Europe, having been assisted to economic recovery by America, should now help over America’s monetary and balance of payments difficulties due in part to the great expenditure of keeping American forces in Europe. Otherwise, certain American spokesmen express the fear that European isolationism will .provoke a similar trend in the United States. Mr Rogers, however, affirmed that his govern-

My Bookmarks


Skip to main content