'RED LIGHT ON RUSSIAN "PEACE" '
Sunday Times – 8 June 1986
Bruce Kent's decision to abandon CND's boycott of the Murdoch newspapers by writing in praise of the conveniently-timed Soviet nuclear test "moratorium" (Letters, last week) is to be welcomed. But it would carry more weight if his record of praise of Soviet "peace" initiatives was a little more discriminating.
I well remember his support for President Brezhnev's 1979 decision to withdraw "20,000 troops, 1,000 tanks and some other military material" from East Germany as "a practical step which could greatly improve the prospects of success" in arms control.
On December 10, 1979, the Guardian published a letter signed by Monsignor Kent and others demanding that the West should use that unilateral "Soviet initiative to quell the arms race" as the basis for "genuine progress towards disarmament".
A fortnight later, Soviet troops and tanks – perhaps including some of those so considerately just withdrawn from the GDR – invaded Afghanistan.
Bruce Kent will have to forgive Western leaders for taking Soviet arms initiatives with a larger pinch of salt than he does.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS
Policy Research Associates