Committee Is Started To Fight ABM System
Mary I. Bunting, president of Radcliffe, and Abram J. Chayes, professor of Law, have joined with 44 other prominent Massachusetts citizens to form the New England Citizens Committee on the Anti-Ballistic Missile.
At a press conference on Saturday, the committee presented a statement saying, "We oppose the deployment of the Sentinel system, and in particular its location in the greater Boston area." The government has already begun work on a Sentinel missile installation at Camp Curtis Guild in Reading, Lynnfield and Wakefield, and on a radar site in North Andover. However, the Defense Department last week halted all work on such installations pending further study.
The Committee's leaders say they plan to hold a national meeting in Washington within the next few weeks, in conjunction with other groups, to persuade Congress to cut out $1.8 billion from this year's Defense budget request for buying anti-missiles.
The committee will also circulate petitions and urge citizens to write to members of Congress. In addition, it will ask them to attend a hearing at the State House February 26 and a municipal officials' hearing to be organized by Boston City Councilman Thomas I. Atkins.
At the press conference on Saturday, Jerome B. Wiesner, M.I.T. provost, said, "I don't believe that any of the strong proponents really believe the Sentinel system is of any real value. I don't believe they would build them at all except as a small down payment on the big system."
Speaking of the construction of a full anti-missile system, Weisner said, "We would buy absolutely no more defense and would be in more danger than before."
The Sentinel system was promoted by former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara as a shield against a possible Chinese nuclear attack. Critics of the system have charged that the $5 billion project will provide an impetus for building a far more extensive "thick" ABM system to shield against a Soviet attack.
Among the committee's other members are Morris Abram, president of Brandeis, and Councillor Barbara Ackermann of Cambridge.