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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 10 May 28 1968



Sir—There is a touching modesty in Barry Mitcalfe's comment in your last issue on my assestment of the nature of the Committee on Vietnam.

I have not ceased to be amazed at the ungenerous attitude of the waves of protesters who followed Barry in the COV.

There have been some quite amazing attempts to belittle the contribution he made to the organisation and what ft stood for.

This has been in the period since he made his decision to abdicate from the chairmanship of the COV.

Had it not been for the personality of this very human human, all those diverse elements in the protest movement would never have been as cohesive as they were.

He was successful where contemporaries were not. Larry Ross, and William Hall, for example, likewise charged with strong feeling against the war, were unable to make the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation "stick" in the New Zealand context.

Now it seems that Barry feels a personal need to display the personal humility of one subjected to some ungrateful pressures.

He wrote that he was responsible, but with others, for the foundation of the COV.

If there is a need to set the historical record straight as to just who did "found" the COV, Barry ought to be seen in a wider perspective than he placed himself.

I call him founder just because he was, as he says, "midwife".

Had I written about those who "fostered the child" I would have Riven due credit, as he does, to Nick Rosenberg, Jan McElwee, Adrian Webster and the Melsers.

However, to do so is insufficient. Other individuals, too numerous to name, and sometimes I feel, too difficult to trace, contributed in various ways.

But this is the significant point.

Barry brought together and welded these diverse individuals, and these numerous groups who became linked to the COV— some of which I listed in my Salient article.

The Vietnam protest movement sprang out of the social climate in which it had lain latent for some time.

Anthony Haas.