The Times – 17 December 1983
Your leader (December 5) is mistaken in claiming that "at its conference last year CND decided not to advocate Britain's departure from NATO". CND is committed by its own constitution (section A) to "the unilateral abandonment by Britain of ... nuclear alliances", and the only point as issue is one of tactics – namely, how prominently to proclaim this neutralist commitment at any given time.
At the November 1982 CND conference, militantly anti-NATO delegates succeeded in defeating a CND leadership attempt to water down a resolution calling for much greater emphasis on withdrawal from the Atlantic Alliance. With the General Election looming, however, the CND leaders chose to ignore the conference decision and to sweep the question of neutralism under the carpet.
You are quite correct, however, to challenge CND claims of non-partisanship. Last year's political complexion of what you term to be "clearly a left-wing front" was mild compared to the new team of 26 officers and national council members just elected at Sheffield.
Of the 20 whose political affiliations are known to this organisation, every one is a committed socialist, communist or Labour Party member. This includes all six national officers, two of whom have been involved in one or more of the following recognised Soviet-front organisations in the recent past: the British Peace Assembly, the World Federation of Scientific Workers and the World Peace Council, all of which formerly graced the Labour Party's list of proscribed organisations until it was abolished with dire consequences in 1973.
The actual breakdown is: (a) officers--five Labour Party (including one ex-Communist candidate) and one "Socialist Feminist"; (b) ordinary members of national council--four Communist Party (including a leading member of the British-Soviet Friendship Society); nine Labour Party (including two defeated left-wing MPs); one left-wing "Socialist"; and six whose affiliations are unclear.
The difference between this accurate analysis and the "witch hunt" it will undoubtedly be denounced as is that witches were non-existent entities, whereas leftist activists in key "peace" movement positions are regrettably all too real.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS
The Coalition for Peace Through Security