By Charles Laurence
Daily Telegraph – 25 September 1984
A group of former NATO senior officers who decry the West’s nuclear arsenal were accused yesterday by two Whitehall ex-Ministers of links with the Kremlin and of being a danger to Western security. Generals for Peace, run from London by Brig. Michael Harbottle, formerly commander of the British peacekeeping force in Cyprus, was set up in 1981 under the auspices of the International Institute for Peace, a Kremlin propaganda front.
The two ex-Ministers – Lord Chalfont and Sir Peter Blaker – are particularly concerned that the use of Brig. Harbottle’s name
“lends credibility to an operation that serves the Soviet cause”.
Lord Chalfont, Minister at the Foreign Office from 1964 to 1970 under Sir Harold Wilson, and now chairman of the All-Party Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Lords, and Sir Peter, Conservative MP for Blackpool South and a former Minister at both the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence, investigated the group with Dr Julian Lewis, a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.
“We regard Generals for Peace as posing a potential danger to Western security. We have convincing evidence that it is intimately linked with the World Peace Council and other organs of the Soviet propaganda machine.”
The group’s statements are consistently anti-American and pro-Soviet, said Lord Chalfont.
“I find it especially disturbing that this operation can be represented by the Soviet Union as representing the view of NATO generals, when it is clear that their views are totally at odds with those of NATO and those of its commanding officers”,
Earlier this year, Generals for Peace staged a conference in Vienna with eight Warsaw Pact generals to seek to break the deadlock over arms negotiations. The conference, with facilities provided by the International Institute for Peace, was publicised by the Soviet press, and the Moscow News reported:
“They recognised the fact that Washington’s course towards achieving military superiority was the main thing threatening peace.”
Generals for Peace in fact consists of three admirals – Antoine Sanguinetti of France, John Marshall Lee of the US and Antonios Papaspyrou of Greece – in addition to Brig. Harbottle and nine generals: Gunter Vollmer and Gert Bastian, West Germany; Francisco da Costa Gomes, the former Portuguese President; Georgios Koumanakos, Miltiades Papathanasiou and Michalis Tombopoulos of Greece; Johan Christie of Norway; Michiel von Meyenfeldt of Holland, and Nino Pasti of Italy.
The roots of Generals for Peace go back to 1980 when a Dr Gerhard Kade wrote a book of that name after interviewing eight retired NATO officers, including Brig. Harbottle and Gen. da Costa Gomes. Soon after the book was brought out in June 1981 by a Communist publishing house in Cologne, the eight founded the group. Dr Kade was their “Administrator” in West Berlin until Harbottle took over in London in 1983.
Dr Kade was the Vice-President of the International Institute for Peace from 1972 to 1981 and remains on the President’s Committee, or Praesidium, of the organisation. He is also a member of the World Federation of Scientific Workers, another Kremlin propaganda front, and the World Peace Council, the principal arm of Soviet propaganda in the West since the war.
It was denounced as:
“a disguised instrument of Soviet foreign policy”
by Sir Peter Blaker at the United Nations, which subsequently refused it full accreditation on the grounds that it was funded by the Kremlin and so could not be considered non-governmental. It is now based in Helsinki.
Sir Peter Blaker said:
“The lesson is that new organisations are constantly being created whose effect, whether members know it or not, is to spread the Soviet propaganda line and weaken Western defences.”
Dr Lewis said:
“There is a series of direct links running from the Generals for Peace at the bottom to the Politburo at the top.”
The International Institute for Peace was set up when the World Peace Council was thrown out of Vienna for
“activities directed against the state”.
Brig. Harbottle runs Generals for Peace from a new umbrella organisation, the Centre for International Peacebuilding, in Black Prince Road, Lambeth, South London. He is the Director, while his wife Eirwen is the Projects Co-ordinator while also acting as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Generals group.
Brig. Harbottle and his wife are at present in Rumania after visiting Hungary and Bulgaria.
[For later confirmation of the involvement of the Stasi with Generals for Peace, click here.]