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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 10. 1965.

Formal Shape

Formal Shape

After the Lodge incident and our "To the Householder" pamphlet, the Committee on Vietnam began to take formal shape, with 150 present at a typical meeting of the Committee, where all levels of society and shades of opinion were represented. This meeting, despite the pleas of some of its initial student members, appointed a Chairman and a Secretary (Adrian Webster) and a number of specific sub-committees for such things as publicity and finance.

Financially, we weren't badly off. I had found fund-raising more embittering in some ways than any other activity, but in three days, four of us had succeeded in raising over £250, much of it from private individuals, but some from unions and organisations like the CND. More important, various well-known people gave permission for their names to be used as sponsors.

It was typical of the Committee on Vietnam that while some members were approaching Trades Hall and the Unions, others were posting circulars to MPs; yet others were seeking signatures from distinguished people to a short petition, the Gestetner presses were turning out up to a thousand pamphlets a day, a vigil was forming on Parliament steps, to underline the importance of Cabinet meeting next day, when Vietnam would be discussed, while a backroom committee consisting of the Chairman, Mrs. E. Lenart, Nan Taylor, Con Bollinger, Phil Evans and Barbara Metcalfe, was working three days and nights to produce a 30-page pamphlet. "Vietnam." The urgency came, because we felt we were working against ignorance, and a prejudice fostered largely by newspapers and politicians towards the one end—war.

Other organisations, ranging from the FOL Conference, to the Churches, to the Public Service Association, to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, joined in the campaign. Decision was deferred; for two weeks, Cabinet made no announcement, although Mr. Holyoake went through all the motions leading up to a declaration without actually saying anything.