Vernon Defines the Role of the CFIA

DICK HYLAND spent an hour and a half with three of us Center denizens last week, in an animated discussion of the Center and its works. At least that was the way I thought of it at the time. He was just a little shy, to be sure, and just a little unhappy about having to introduce such nasty questions. But we must be aware that these questions were being asked by others; and it surely would be useful to respond, didn't we think.

We did indeed think. So we offered him a cup of our very best coffee- a subversive act, I gather- and bent an ear. As it turned out, the questions seemed pretty sensible to us. So we responded, sensibly or otherwise, as fully as we knew how. I hadn't realized then, silly me, that the content of Hyland's report couldn't possibly be affected by anything Hyland learned during that hour and a half. As far as Hyland was concerned, this was just fun and games- "a way of mutual indulgence in a creative function," as he describes it.

There was one central point that all three of us tried to make during that interview. Since Hyland's report creatively omits any reference to that central point, let me use this space to fill in the gap. In brief, there isn't any Center line of policy, nor any Center brand of polities. According to your taste, you can try to pin a label on the Center by emphasizing the names of Bowie or MacEwen or Hoffman or Bowles or Huntington. All have taken shelter and sustenance from the Center. But if you tried to pin a common label on any two of them, at least one would chew off the pin.

If the Center's people are diverse, the works it has supported are even more 50. One can try to draw some conclusions about the Center from Strike a Blow and Die: A Narrative of Race Relations in Colonial Africa, but they would be different occlusions than one would draw from Counter-Insurgency Warfare. Neither of them reflects the spirit of the Center, of course, because the Center has no common spirit. Or if the Center does have one, it comes closer to being captured in Sam Bowles' "The Aggregation of Labor Inputs in the Study of Growth and Planning: Experiments with a Two-Level CES Function," which is not a bad article for those who are interested in growth and planning.

But what about the facts that Hyland has marshaled? Can they really be denied? The answer is yes and no. Some of us at the Center are ancient enough to remember Joe McCarthy as if it were yesterday. McCarthy had a way of indulging in a creative function too. McCarthy's impact didn't come from his outright lies; it came from his half-truths, from the way he chose his quotes and the way he selected the facts he had at hand. One learned two things fast: First, if you're going to match a fact with a fact, get it in the same day's edition. Second, accusations are more fun than rebuttals, so don't count on anyone to remember the rebuttal.

Still, on the chance that someone might, let me add a little more substance to one central point: Hyland's Center for International Affairs, that stout arm of the imperialist military-industrial complex, is a fantasy; it simply doesn't exist. As the running dog of a sinister international conspiracy, the real Center would be in very deep trouble indeed. Take some of its activities over the past few years:

Under the sponsorship of Sam Huntington, the Center supported a series of post-mortem seminars on the U.S. intervention in the Dominican Republic. The seminar provided a platform for some harsh condemnations of the U.S. action. This was an inevitable result, since that was the way sensible and knowledgeable men judged the U.S. action.

Under the sponsorship of Tom Schelling, the Center is supporting the research of Gene Sharp, a committed anti-Pentagon pacifist, who is trying to explore the ways by which a disarmed populace can deal with military tyrants.

Also under Tom Schelling's sponsorship, the Center supported William Harris' preparation of an annotated bibliography on the work of the intelligence agencies of the big powers- U.S., U.S.S.R., and all that. The object of the bibliography, shortly to be published by the Harvard University Press, is to case the job of researchers who want to locate materials that shed any light on this dark corner of big power activity.

Under the sponsorship of various Center members, the Center regularly supports the appearance in Cambridge of various foreign intellectuals whose message is characteristically anti-U.S., anti-capitalist, or both. The list in recent years has included Andreas Papandreou, Miguel Wionczek, Helio Jaguaribe, Celso Furtado, and many others. (Celso Furtado, just by the way, is one of those Brazilians we weren't supposed to invite). The appearance of these men is sponsored not because they are anti-U.S., but because they are scholars and intellectuals.

But as Hyland indulges in his creative function, the portrait that is most off the mark is the one that purports to paint an image of the Development Advisory Service. Poor, maligned DAS. Scouring all the countries of the world for competent advisors, the DAS has managed to bring together an extraordinary group. As it turned out, about half of them are American, while the other half have come from Britain, Brazil, Burma, Germany, Holland, Norway; indeed from any country where well-trained men can be found to do this sort of work. Its forty-five advisers, stationed in six remote countries of the world, stubbornly work away at the task of raising the living standards, the hopes, and the self-respect of some of the most miserable people in existence. If their work requires them to take on the U.S. government, or the World Bank, or an indifferent local bureaucracy, that is all in the day's chores. Sometimes they work with governments that they can admire, sometimes with governments for which they have considerably less than total admiration. But they are not working to help governments; they are working to help people.

If DAS is a part of the military-industrial complex, it has a dreadful time getting its signals straight. For instance:

In Pakistan, DAS advisors have fought hard to support the claims of the poor, half-insurgent East against the more advanced West.

In Liberia and in Indonesia, DAS advisors have struggled to help government officials improve their skill in bargaining with foreign concessionaires and in enforcing their concession agreements.

In Colombia, DAS advisors have stood staunchly behind President Lietas when he decided to defy the demands of the IMF and the U.S. AID administration.

All these positions were guided not by ideology but by a pragmatic judgment of what was good for the country's economic development as well as that country's people. I pray that dogma, anybody's dogma, will never take over the task of making such decisions.

Hyland's comments on the Fellows' program at the Center are as creative and as self-indulgent as his remarks on the DAS. Over the years, the Fellows of the Center have spanned every shade of ideology: Nkrumah Socialism, Pentagon militarism, AID pacifism, Indian neutralism, Swedish formalism, and Yugoslav pragmatism. The ingredients missing from the mix so far have been representatives from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba, and China. But that hasn't been for lack of trying. At various times, Schelling, Inkeles, Kissinger, Brown, and I have made overtures in one or another of those countries, sometimes to qualified individuals, sometimes to appropriate academics. If someone with experience can tell us how to get a positive response out of these quarters, we could use the technical assistance.

All that we have been able to manage so far in the way of contact with the communist countries, apart from Yugoslavia, has been the occasional appearance at seminars of individual representatives, such as the foreign minister of Rumania and an occasional representative of a Soviet academy. But we're still trying.

A brief epilogue: Two weeks ago I had the opportunity of seeing Hyland in action not once, but twice. On the first occasion, on October 8, he was the disinterested reporter earnestly seeking the truth. One the second occasion, on October 9, he was a leader of the November Action Committee, supervising a peek at the imperialist animals quartered in the Center zoo. Reporters, it seems, will go to any lengths these days to get a story, even to wearing a disguise. But on which day, do you suppose, was Dick wearing the disguise?

A final point- this time, one of personal privilege. When I was born, my mother was hoping for a girl. As a result, for quite a long time she thought me altogether unlikely looking. Hyland's report on this point, therefore, proves to be solidly based on fact. Bob Bowie assures me, however, that what Hyland says of him is untrue. He changes his shirt every day, sometimes twice a day. Hyland's comments on that score, therefore, have to be regarded as part of his propensity for self-indulgence in a creative function.