6. The Dialogue for Nuclear Disarmament

            Everyday, social, political, religious, educational, and other groups meet to discuss every conceivable variety of human problems. Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of these innumerable conversations address the threat of nuclear war.  One reason for this neglect may be the general psychological avoidance of a frightening issue.  Another obstacle to meaningful discussion is the oft-cited admonition, "Don't just talk about the problem, do something about it."   The fact is, talking is doing something. Talking is the first important step in mobilizing time, money, energy and political action for eliminating nuclear weapons.

          During the late 1960's, I conducted a series of "dialogue for peace" exercises with people in the St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri areas.  These exercises were done with my mentor, Dr. Theo. F. Lentz, director of the renowned Peace Research Lab in St. Louis, Missouri.  In 1968 and 1969, we talked with a variety of "peace-minded" individuals regarding the possible development of a systematic, grassroots movement towards a science of peace.  Dialogues were conducted with 117 individuals who, in one way or another, were identified with the peace movement, or with other social and humanitarian goals.[1] Most of the participants were business or professional people, and in a few cases university undergraduate and graduate students were included.

          The study also included prominent Missourians such as: Dr. Barry Commoner, Washington University in St. Louis scientist and U.S. presidential candidate; Missouri Lieutenant Governor Harriet Woods, who was then a radio talk show personality; and William Danforth, Washington University in St. Louis Chancellor.

          Each participant was asked to respond to, and discuss the following questions:

1.  In your opinion, how great is the danger of World War III?

2.  If World War III comes, how disastrous will it be?

3.  Do you believe war is preventable?

4.  Are we likely to abolish war on the basis of present know-how?

5.  Costs: How great an investment of manpower and money power would probably be necessary to solve this problem?

6.  How much would you like to help?

7.  Assuming that you agree that more research is needed, what types of studies would you want us, or others, to do if you were paying to have the studies conducted?

          A general conclusion of the study was that most of the dialogue participants did not see research as an urgent prerequisite in securing peace.  Numerous individuals felt we already knew how to get peace: We just needed the political will to do so.  When asked how that political will could be secured, most respondents had no substantive response.            Another interesting observation was the wide variety of definitions and meaning given to the word “peace.”  When it came to prescriptions for peace, the ideas ranged from Christian or humanist pacifism to democratic world federal government and the need for the rule of law, and many positions in between.  This fact, itself, opened my inexperienced eyes to the individual perceptions, attitudes, and difficulties in the search for peace.  I also came to see the incredible "spin-off" benefits of engaging others in a principled discussion of topics related to war and peace. 

          As is often the case, this dialogue exercise was successful in securing the services of several people who volunteered for various peace endeavors.  In addition to secretarial and publicity help for the Peace Research Lab, five individuals conducted studies related to peace and peace attitudes.  One study was "Social Work's Contribution to Peace Education and Peace Research."  Another was a factor analysis study of peace attitudes that used items from the Peace Research Lab's "International Opinionaire."  That study involved an analysis of the responses of 991 college students’ questions related to international affairs.

          From a personal standpoint, one of the best outcomes of the project was the training I received in conducting dialogues, or as Ted Lentz put it, "democratic conversations."  I have used Ted's techniques in many settings for over 40 years. These dialogues have resulted in tens of thousands of hours of peace work instigated by my conversations. 

          It is often difficult to accurately assess the results of one's efforts with “dialogue for peace” interactions because results are almost never immediate and the true fruits can be years down the road.  However, the following examples document the outcomes of three such discussions in my early years of peace dialogues.  The first example relates to a 1970 "dialogue for Peace Studies" I had with Dr. Jim McGinnis, formerly of St. Louis University.  While the example deals only partially with education for nuclear disarmament, it depicts the overall effectiveness of the Lentzian dialogue process itself.

          In June 1970, Jim invited me to present a talk in St. Louis on the development of peace studies programs in colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and other countries. My talk was widely advertised, and Jim anticipated that attendance would be sizable.  However, when I arrived at the 400-seat auditorium to speak, only three people were present—Jim, one of his colleagues, and I.  Needless to say, Jim was disappointed that students and faculty had not shown up.  On the surface, it appeared that I traveled all the way from Columbia for nothing.  Jim was surprised when I showed no significant disappointment regarding the turnout, and suggested to him that we engage in a "dialogue for Peace Studies," and its implications for St. Louis University. 

          For the next hour, the three of us explored a wide range of peace topics.  We discussed the meaning of peace and its many definitions. What the role of educational philosophy plays in determining the goals of higher education, the larger goals of St. Louis University, and how peace studies might fit within these goals.  We explored ways to approach students and other faculty members with a dialogue, including how Peace Studies might fit within specific curricula and examples of other Peace Studies programs.  This led to brainstorming steps to develop new courses and modules in various academic disciplines and how to begin the process at St. Louis University.

        As it turned out, our three-person conversation resulted in the establishment of the Institute for the Study of Peace (ISP) at St. Louis University, which graduated 100 peace studies students in its first five years.  In 1975, ISP left the university and was incorporated as an ecumenical Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ).  In 1980, IPJ created the Parenting for Peace and Justice (PPJ) Network, which, over a 20-year period, conducted workshops in forty-nine U.S. states, five Canadian provinces, and Northern Ireland. PPJ books were translated into Portuguese, German and Spanish; its programs have also flourished in the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.  IPJ also established solidarity projects in Nicaragua, and family exchange programs in Russia and Jamaica.  The dialogue "mustard seed" clearly grew into a fruitful tree.

          Documentation provided by Dr. McGinnis indicates that the original "dialogue for Peace Studies" resulted in over four and one-half million contacts and activities on behalf of peace between 1970-1995.  Included were 25,000 teachers who attended IPJ workshops, who then reached over one million students.  This mustard seed effect is often the result of dialogues for peace.  What is so unusual in this case is the extent of the documentation provided by Dr. McGinnis. 

          Another example of the dialogue's effectiveness in peace organizational development also occurred in the early 1970's.  Following a speech in opposition to the Vietnam War I gave at the University of Missouri-Columbia, a graduate student named Phil Gibbs contacted me regarding what he could do to help serve the cause of peace.  We talked about the war and other issues like the population explosion, nuclear disarmament, human rights, and environmental degradation.  We also talked about the Washington, D.C. based World Federalist-USA organization, of which I was the national field director in 1970-1971.

          I told Phil that the World Federalists had done remarkable work in keeping the notion of "World Peace Through World Law With Justice" alive for many years.  I also explained that the organization's Congressional lobbying efforts were failing because most U.S. members of Congress were short-term thinkers who focused primarily on immediate, functional approaches to problem solving, rather than big-picture ideas of world federalism, which required long-term vision and considerable cultural change.  I suggested that Phil move to Washington, D.C. and join the World Federalist youth group, which was entitled to one membership slot on the parent organization's board of directors. I also told him that he should run for president of that group.

          Later, I learned Phil did move to Washington, and within a relatively short period of time, secured a position on the World Federalist's board of directors.  In line with our earlier discussion, he wrote a proposal for the development of a new sister organization which would lobby directly for solutions to various world order issues.  The organization eventually formed was named "New Directions."  The group’s leadership included: Father Ted Hesburg, president of the University of Notre Dame; Margaret Mead, world-renowned anthropologist; Norman Cousins, publisher and editor of The Saturday Review; and John Gardner, former U.S. Secretary for Health, Education and Welfare, and founder of Common Cause.  In 1976, Russell Peterson, former Republican Governor of Delaware, became New Direction's first executive director. His successor was Sanford Gottlieb, former executive director of SANE (Citizens for a Sane Nuclear Policy).

          Several years ago, I discussed the origins of New Directions with Russ Peterson.  He was unaware of the early input by Phil Gibbs, which was stimulated by our dialogue in Columbia, MO.  The point here is not who deserves credit for the start-up of New Directions.  Many people contributed to that effort.  But, it shows how a purposeful dialogue can change the course of someone’s life path.  Phil Gibbs was already on the path of peace, but a subtle nudge of direction had significant results.  It is also a significant historical fact that two concerned citizens in Middle America, via dialogue, could sow the seeds for the development of an organization that brought the energies of well-known scholars and politicians to bear on critical problems facing humankind.[2]

          A third and final example of the value of peace dialogues relates to the U.S. Department of Defense's plans to deploy its "Safeguard" anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system in 13 counties of West-Central Missouri in 1969 and 1970.  The ABM system was to be used to protect the 150 U.S. Air Force Minuteman missiles, which had been located throughout the area.  The ABM plans called for the use of numerous, five-megaton H-bombs to intercept Soviet nine-megaton weapons at high altitudes.  Preferably, this would occur before their actual descent on U.S. missile silos, which had been located near small Missouri towns and farms. In the likely event that the five-megaton anti-missile missiles failed to strike the incoming Soviet H-bombs, a smaller anti-missile nuclear warhead would be used to destroy the Soviet missiles at a much lower level.  Thus, the U.S. Air Force would detonate small H-bombs directly over the towns, fields, and streams of Mid-Missouri, resulting in blast, radiation, and nuclear fallout—even if the action destroyed the incoming Soviet nuclear weapons.  This was, to use C. Wright Mills' term, "crackpot realism" at its worst.  Fortunately the “Safeguard” ABM was never deployed in Missouri. 

          Two organizations in Columbia, Missouri joined forces to oppose the ABM deployment.  Both the local Committee for Informed Opinion on Nuclear Arms (CIONA), and the Missouri Peace Study Institute (MPSI) sponsored a series of group dialogues with citizens in Columbia, Missouri and the surrounding area.  Previously, no attention had been paid to the impending ABM deployments aimed at the "protection" of the U.S. missiles in mid-Missouri. 

          As a result of individual dialogues, and extensive brainstorming with numerous small group discussions, it was decided to mount a statewide campaign of protest concerning the Air Force's plans for the ABMs.  It was decided that we would hold a series of town meetings in several neighboring towns, with the hope that our opposition to the ABM system would spread to other parts of the state.  Such meetings were held in Columbia, Warrensburg, Higginsville, and Marshall.  Appeals for local action were also extended to St. Louis and Kansas City, with the result being the formation of a statewide organization known as "Missourians Opposed to ABM and MIRV."  Once again, individual and small group dialogues triggered important promotional activities with like-minded groups.  We culminated our series of town meetings with a rally in Sedalia, a town not far from Whiteman Air Force Base on April 18, 1970.

          Interestingly, these meetings drew much more attention than any of us realized at the time.  I was able to attain my FBI file in 1976, with the help of Paul Simon, Illinois Congressman and later U.S. Senator. The file's contents covered some of my political activities related to nuclear deterrence, opposing the Vietnam War, and other problems associated with nuclear weapons deployments in mid-Missouri.  One section of the file focused on the anti-ABM rally in Sedalia.  Dated April 7, 1970, a teletype message addressed to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Assistant FBI Director William Sullivan was entitled: "Citizens concerned about the ABM, Anti-ABM rally. Liberty Park, Sedalia, Missouri.”

          The message read: 

On April Six, Seventy, Chief of Police W.E. Miller, Sedalia, PD, advised he was recently contacted by William Wickersham, Columbia, MO, identified as spokesman for the Missouri Branch of the 'Coalition on National Priorities and Military Policy', in company of Robert Scherer, employee of KSIS Radio Station at Sedalia, identified by Miller as one of the leaders of a Vietnam War Moratorium Committee March in Sedalia in the Fall of Sixty-nine, regarding planned ANTI-ABM Rally.  Chief Miller said the group also identified as "Citizens Concerned About the ABM", currently plans to hold a rally from one to three p.m. April Eighteen Seventy, at Liberty Park, a Sedalia City Park.[3]


          The meeting in Liberty Park turned out to be an anti-nuclear war protest and celebration of life coupled with speeches, singing, laughing, and dancing. We released helium filled balloons with a message attached concerning nuclear fallout.  The message noted that if the U.S. Air Force ABM system were to be activated, any individual who discovered one of the balloons would likely be a victim of nuclear fallout.  Another highlight of the gathering was the performance of Berkley, California comedian "General Waste More Land," who often made jokes about General William Westmoreland, the U.S. Commander in Vietnam.  The "General" was decked out in a green U.S. Army officer's uniform loaded with fake medals on stretchable rubber "ribbons," and red plastic missiles protruding from his military headgear.  He spoke of the absurdities of the Vietnam War and the U.S. upward escalation of the nuclear arms race through its plans for the Missouri ABM system.       

          All three of these examples were initiated by purposeful, systematic, "dialogues for peace."  All three provide abundant evidence that talking about peace is the first step in significant action for peace. Such dialogues are a precursor to the generation of substantial time, money, and energy for peace research, education, action, and politics.


The Dialogue Process


          The dialogue process developed by Ted Lentz is a consciousness-raising tool designed to stimulate thought and enable people to seriously consider ways to minimize destructive human interaction at various levels of society.  Topical formats relate to many areas of peace concern, including the abolition of nuclear weapons.  Years of experimentation with the dialogue shows strong possibilities in its use for establishing genuine reciprocal communication on behalf of nuclear disarmament and increasing public awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons. This process is designed to involve like-minded individuals and groups, as well as those with differing points of view.  It encourages the discovery of new and creative ideas for promoting nuclear disarmament at all levels of society.  Obviously, the Internet is a powerful tool to enable such ideas worldwide distribution.  Dialogues also help to discover new human and financial resources for nuclear disarmament education and citizen action, while increasing networking and inter-organizational cooperation.

          Experience indicates that many groups and individuals fail to be impressed with the value and effectiveness of the dialogue process as a tool for citizen action—especially if they have never been involved with the process or actually used it with another person.  Lentz's view was that if the dialogue could reach only one percent of the U.S. population, it could be the stimulus for the acquisition of significant amounts of time, money and energy for the cause of peace.  He also believed, as I do, that the dialogue helps to cause a multiplier effect, which will greatly broaden the efforts of non-governmental organizations and professional groups that have been educating for nuclear disarmament for decades.  It also can result in substantial increases of membership for NGOs, as well as expanded and improved communication between NGOs. Finally, it is possible that the dialogue process, if properly conducted on a widespread basis could provide the impetus for a widespread educational/action/political campaign, much like the Nuclear Freeze Movement of the 1980s.

          Initiators and facilitators of these dialogues require a number of skills to be successful. The first and most important is a strong commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons and discontent with the meager efforts of governmental, and some non-governmental, organizations to seek their abolition and the conditions for a livable world.  They must have a sincere desire to empower others to use their individual strengths, skills and abilities for the cause of nuclear disarmament. 

          It is not the job of dialogue initiators and facilitators to "show-off" their own knowledge, skills and abilities.  A non-argumentative approach to conversation and discussion is needed to not overwhelm or bludgeon one's conversation mates with disarmament "overkill"—especially with facts and strategies.  Rather, the objective is respectful sharing of ideas.  Tolerance, not condescension, is needed when hearing ideas from others that might tempt a less tolerant person to label their partner as stupid or confused.  At the same time, one must be inoffensively frank and challenge ideas during the course of the dialogue.  Lastly, they must have genuine respect for the size and complexity of the problems surrounding the possibility of planetary destruction with weapons of unimaginable explosive power.  Included here, is the necessity to appreciate the many social and psychological obstacles that impinge on individuals confronted with what appears, to many, to be an unsolvable problem.

          It is very important to point out that the acquisition of the above qualities is not a simple matter.  Many activists, by nature and habit have considerable difficulty in personally achieving these qualities.  In my own case, I have great difficulty in dealing with the problem of disarmament overkill.  My tendency is to talk entirely too much, with too many facts, and not always truly listen to my conversation mate. Lentz always told me, “Wick, don't give them a lecture, follow the dialogue rules." Today, I have an imaginary "impulse control button" which I visualize as located just over my heart.  When my compulsive talking begins, I push on my chest to signify my need to cut back on the blabber.


Dialogue Principles


          The quality of dialogue interactions is greatly enhanced when the following principles are used.  First, think of the dialogue as a democratic conversation with a mutual purpose and beware of the pitfall of heated argument. Do not seek to put the other person on the defensive; it is not a competitive game.  If reciprocal communication is shown to be totally impossible, politely end the conversation.  Remember, understanding is an evolutionary matter, not all or nothing, nor is it often suddenly acquired.

          The dialogue is as much a questioning process as an answering process. It is important to assure the other person that no one, including the initiator, has all the knowledge and answers to the problems associated with the quest for nuclear disarmament. All citizens have a right and responsibility to address the important issues facing them and their fellow human beings.  They are not expected to be experts.  After all, it is the scientific and mathematical experts who are so competent in game theory, systems analysis and statistical computation who have been partly responsible for leading us into the wilderness of nuclear threat systems.  Even without such expertise, average citizens can often see the nuclear forest better than highly trained military theorists and analysts.

          Try to stay focused on the task at hand.  Beware of irrelevant conversational directions and try to stay on the nuclear topic if possible without offending the other person.  Experience indicates that individuals who are in denial, or subject to other psychological mechanisms, will immediately steer nuclear war discussions in a different direction.

          Numerous ways exist to initiate a dialogue for nuclear disarmament.  On certain occasions, it may be appropriate to contact a potential dialogue partner via telephone or e-mail.  In this case, the initiator simply explains the purpose of the dialogue and then sets a time and place to meet.  On other occasions, one may wish to start the conversation on the spur of the moment while standing in line at a theater, grocery store or coffee shop.  Professional meetings, civic gatherings, Sunday school classes, break times and numerous other settings are quite suitable for the start-up of a dialogue.  Obviously, conversations can be kicked-off in a variety of ways, depending on the skills of the initiator and the personality characteristics of both partners. 

          The important thing for the initiator is to have a well thought out set of dialogue questions, or nuclear disarmament related statements, which can be posed to the other person so that the conversations run smoothly until the exchange becomes full-blown.  A tool that can be used for more formal, pre-arranged dialogues is a propositionaire developed by Ted Lentz for our St. Louis Peace Research project.  This format is excellent for stimulating discussion. It is very important to allow the respondent to fully explain his/her answer before the initiator provides information or answers to any of the questions.  However, when the respondent comes up with a "blank" response, the initiator should have well thought out answers.

          Here are 15 questions and possible approaches to answer a blank response:

1.    What are the chances that the U.S. and Russia will fight a nuclear war? -- Both nations still have hundreds of weapons aimed at each other, and in 200l, it was reported that Russia's nuclear command and control system had seriously deteriorated. Examples of past incidents could be given, or a discussion of the recent controversies surrounding America’s attempts to create a “missile defense shield.”

2.    If it occurs, what will it mean to our lives and those of our children? -- In terms of a "limited strike" the initiator can draw a comparison with 9/11.  The 9/11 terrorists killed about 3,000 people and destroyed buildings in a very limited area.  One Russian H-Bomb would kill hundreds of thousands, and would essentially destroy a large city's over-all infrastructure. In the event of an all-out U.S./Russian nuclear "exchange", civilization as we know it could be totally destroyed by global sizzling and then global freezing.

3.    Is Nuclear War Inevitable? -- Maybe, maybe not.  However, if the U.S. Russian nuclear arms race—egged on by U.S. weapons in space—continues, the probability of nuclear holocaust is significantly increased.  Especially, if the Russian command and control and early-warning systems are not improved.  "Murphy’s Law" may not be an absolute, but it comes awfully close.

4.    If not, what can be done to prevent nuclear war? -- The first step is the de-alerting of all U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons.  The second step is for both countries to honor the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  The third step is to sign a new Nuclear Weapons Convention, which includes U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  The fourth step is the implementation of the previously noted "Nuclear Disarmament Road Map," which calls for systematic, transparent, mutual reduction and elimination of all nuclear weapons by all nuclear weapons states.  The achievement of all of those steps will require attitude change, education, funding, and citizen action to pressure Congress to pursue their implementation.

5.    Are you aware that both the U.S. and Russia still have thousands of nuclear missiles on hair-trigger alert? -- This is a very important point to emphasize in the dialogue.  It is highly likely that most Americans are not even aware this problem exists.  Even many experts in international relations fail to grasp or talk about this dangerous situation.  They tend to believe the U.S./Russian nuclear conflict has gone away.

6.    Do you know that launch to landing time for Russian missiles is 25 minutes, and the time for U.S. missiles is 10 minutes? -- Russian missiles aimed at St. Louis, Kansas City and Whiteman Air Force Base will, in fact, destroy those areas in 25 minutes, or less.  For dialogues that take place in any other state, simply note that the largest city in the area is a likely target.  The Russians are definitely believed to target all major U.S. cities.

7.    Are you aware that the Boeing Corporation (a major U.S. defense contractor) is located in St. Louis, Honeywell Corporation (which makes nuclear weapons parts) is located in Kansas City, and Whiteman Air Force Base (which houses 21 B-2 bombers) is located at Knob Knoster, Missouri? And, all of these locations are obvious targets for several of Russia's nuclear missiles which are on hair-trigger alert? -- A very large portion of Missouri will be incinerated if all-out nuclear war occurs. When the dialogue takes place in other states, the initiator just needs to mention the nearest major city or area which hosts large elements of the U.S. military-industrial complex. For example, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming currently host Minuteman intercontinental missiles.  Or, Nebraska hosts the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, or Colorado Springs which hosts a variety of U.S. Air Force operations, including the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The initiator should point out that no one in the U.S. has absolute knowledge of Russian targeting.  However, many nuclear war strategists and analysts accept the large city—military installation model, and it is quite appropriate to use that approach to put the issue of nuclear war into concrete terms.

8.    Who in the community is seriously addressing this issue? -- This question is valuable in two ways.  It allows the initiator to gain information concerning organizations, religious communities and others with whom s/he might not be familiar.  It also enables the initiator to inform his conversation partner about the various individuals and groups who s/he knows are working on the problem.  In communities in which there are very few, or no nuclear disarmament efforts, initiators can help their partners understand the value of computer searches regarding activities and approaches used by numerous national non-governmental organizations dedicated to nuclear disarmament.[4]

9.    What are some of the possible obstacles to dealing with this issue? -- As previously noted there are a variety of social and psychological obstacles which nuclear disarmament advocates face when approaching others with their message.  The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation cites three major obstacles which are ignorance, denial, and apathy. 

10.     How involved are the local faith communities, civic clubs, schools, colleges, universities and other groups in confronting the issue of nuclear war? -- This dialogue question presents an excellent opportunity to examine the philosophy and role of local groups, and how nuclear disarmament education can be linked to various organizational goals, programs, and community activities. Considering the fact that nuclear weapons threaten human survival, it might be assumed that the problem would be near the top of religious, educational, and civic agendas.  Unfortunately, this is often not the case. While opinion polls indicate that high percentages of citizens do favor very significant reductions of nuclear arms, the issue is usually pretty far down on their list of priorities.  Some local institutions do, in fact, confront the nuclear threat educationally, programmatically and politically. Most, however, do not. 

11.     What about the local media?  Other resources? -- A little brainstorming on these questions may result in an accumulation of ideas concerning multiple outlets and contacts for the nuclear disarmament message.  Newspaper editors, reporters, and several other media professionals such as radio and TV personalities are some of the most important contacts for nuclear disarmament discussions.  It is often the case, that these individuals are never approached and challenged to offer such programs.

12.     What "outside" resources and materials are available? -- This question enables the initiator to discover unknown educational, organizational and financial resources of which s/he may be unaware. More likely, the initiator will be able to help dialogue partners to locate resources of which they are not aware. Website searches promise to be a valuable approach.  It would be helpful if the initiator had a one page handout containing the names of nuclear disarmament organizations and their website addresses to present those with whom he or she talks.

13.     In that both Russian and U.S. missiles remain on hair-trigger, would you favor a bilateral agreement to de-alert those missiles? -- The question will probably require define “de-alerting,” which means specific, feasible, and verifiable (via on-site inspections) ways to de-alert nuclear missiles, which includes:

§   Pinning open the switches of missile motors so they cannot be started by remote electronic command

§   Taking launch keys away from missile officers so they can not act independently

§   Shutting off the missile launch circuits

§   Deploying submarines out of range of their target

§   Removing warheads from delivery systems, and putting them under international monitoring

§   Reducing the yields of all warheads by removing components know as tritium bottles and storing them separately.

        Care must be taken not to use information "overkill" on this question.  Most individuals will be adequately informed with exposure to only one or two of the above examples of de-alerting.


14.     Are you aware that numerous organizations circulate petitions to change aspects of the nuclear weapon problem, such as the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, which is circulating a nationwide petition calling on the U.S. President to provide leadership for a nuclear weapons free world, and especially a Nuclear Weapons Convention for the phased, verifiable, and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons.  Would you be willing to sign a petition like this one? -- The initiator should stress the importance of this petition, and make the case that every concerned citizen can make a contribution to the cause of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by signing on the dotted line.

15.     What else needs to be done to deal with this problem? -- This may be one of the most important topics of the entire dialogue schedule.  Usually the initiator has a bag full of ideas related to the Nuclear Disarmament Roadmap that can be suggested for citizen involvement in the campaign to abolish nuclear weapons.  However, the conversation partner may also have several suggestions which the initiator has never considered, especially in a given community.

[1] Such groups included: the United Nations Association-USA, the United World Federalists, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Friends Meeting, St. Louis Ethical Society, etc.

[2] For an explanation of the role and scope of New Directions, see: Peterson, R. (1999). Rebel With a Conscience. Cranbury, N.J.: Associated University Presses, pp. 268-73.

[3] U.S. Dept. of Justice. (1970). Federal Bureau of Investigation file on Bill Wickersham.

[4] A list of websites is provided in the appendix.