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Indian Ambassador B. K. Nehru last night defended his country's seizure of Goa as the only possible action India could have taken since international law had failed to provide procedures for peaceful change.
"We are not content to regard the United Nation as an instrument for the maintenance of the status quo," he declared, adding that in many cases situations approved by international law were "unjust and indefensible."
"Unless grievances . . . are rapidly removed, there are likely to be continuous breaches of the peace." Nehru predicted.
Two experts on international law unaring the Law School Forum platform with Nehru vigorously attacked the Indian's position on Goa. Roger D. Fisher, professor of Law, called the use of force against the Portuguese enclaves "outrageous, worse than the Russian resumption of nuclear testing."
He challenged Nehru's claim that international law provided no methods of peaceful change. "What makes me so cross," he declared, "is that India had a good case in equity; she did not have to use force."
Fisher suggested that India could have appealed for the U.N. to declare Goa an independent nation and admit it to the General Assembly with the understanding that Goa would immediately appeal for union with India.
He also attacked the Indian contention that since Goa was geographically and culturally part of India, the Indian government had a right to put an end to "illegal" Portuguese occupation unilaterally. Fisher claimed that Ceylon was also inhabited by Indians, and yet no one suggested that that country could be annexed by force.
Nehru retorted that Fisher and his colleague, Richard R. Baxter, professor of Law, were "ignorant of the facts of the world."
"We have endeavored for the past 14 years to negotiate with Portugal," he declared, but the Portuguese had resolutely refused to abandon their Indian colonies. Nehru also cited three U.N. resolutions declaring Goa a non-self-governing colony. Portugal had ignored even these less revolutionary resolutions, he said.
No Right to Use Force
Baxter, however, argued that India had no right to use force, even when Portugal refused to come to terms. "Stability may, on occasion, be more important than justice," he maintained.
Answering Nehru's charge that international law was written by Europeans without regard for the "different conceptions of justice" held by the poorer nations, Baxter pointed out that India had agreed to support the Charter of the U.N. He added that Article I of the Charter forbade unilateral action of the sort India took.
"There are great dangers lurking in the concept of a just war," he declared.
The Law School Forum staff has scheduled Billy Graham for the Forum's next session on March 26.
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