Argentina and Brazil: The Latin American Rapprochement: Welcome and Introduction

Dr. Uriel Halavee
Director, Soreq Nuclear Research Center

We welcome you here today to honor the life and accomplishments of Shalheveth Freier with the opening of this Center for Peace, Science and Technology. Freier was one of the founders of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and its Director-General from 1971 to 1976. His endeavors spanned both the political and the technical aspects of atomic energy. His activities, however, went much beyond this important, yet limited field, and covered a wide range of capabilities and interests in the sciences, humanities and arts. A man of many gifts and talents, Shalheveth led a distinguished and unusual career, fully dedicated to his land and people, yet deeply aware of the intertwined ties and connections between our unique Jewish culture and the humanitarian heritage of western civilization. Shalheveth Freier was born in Germany in 1920, fled from the Nazi oppression to England and immigrated to Palestine in 1940, where he soon volunteered to join the British Army, fought in the battles of North Africa and Italy and in 1943-6 became one of the prominent organizers and commanders of the illegal immigration of Jews to the land of the forefathers. During the Israel War of Independence, Shalheveth served as Head of a Special Intelligence Unit. Years later, as Vice President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, he initiated and implemented the idea of industrial parks adjacent to institutions of higher learning. Shalheveth Freier was deeply involved with PUGWASH and served as a member of the PUGWASH Council and as the Chairman of the Israeli PUGWASH Group. During the dozens of PUGWASH conferences and meetings which he attended and to which he contributed, Shalheveth developed long-lasting personal relations with many prominent scientists, statesmen and world leaders. In recent years, Shalheveth Freier became an informal ambassador of Israel’s nuclear policy and participated in the annual meetings of the UN General Assembly—the First Committee as a representative of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and a member of the Israeli delegation to the UN. His charm, erudition, wisdom and wit induced feelings of trust even in political opponents and helped to bring about a real change of attitude toward Israel, shared by many delegations. Between other tasks and duties, Shalheveth also completed two terms as manager of Soreq Nuclear Research Center, first in 1970 and again in 1981. The dedication of this Center for Peace and Technology to his memory is both a challenge and a promise. We are doing everything in our power to make this seminar and future events to be held here in this Center successful. The Center already contains Israel’s National Data Center for monitoring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), its first contribution in the technical aspects of regional security arrangements. It will be the site for international seminars, such as this one, and exchanges with similar Centers abroad. I wish everybody fruitful discussions today. There is a lot for Israel to learn from it. Thank you.

Dr. Ariel Levite
Deputy Director and Head of Arms Control, Ministry of Defense, Israel

Distinguished guests, hosts, friends, and colleagues. I am pleased, indeed honored, to be given the opportunity to open this exciting event, both due to its substance and the venue in which it is taking place. Argentina and Brazil have an exceptional story to tell, one which I think the international community has not given them full credit for yet, and which they have been too modest to share with others. We are so used to hearing the stories of the so-called first world and perhaps we have neglected to give enough attention to those cases where other countries also have an exceptional story to tell. It is especially gratifying to be able to tell this story through the personal accounts of the people who have been involved in making it into a reality, into creating it, and who are currently busy implementing it. We are honored to have with us some of those people who will be telling, in many ways, not only their national and bilateral but also their personal stories. As someone who has been fortunate enough to listen to this story, at least in part, a couple of months ago in Washington D.C., thanks to the courtesy of ISIS and Professor Redick, I find it especially befitting that such a story be retold in an event honoring Shalheveth Freier and his legacy. Shalheveth, who was a friend and in many, many ways also a mentor, always attached considerable importance to a combination of features all of which we’ll be hearing about today. The combination of vision and realism, of scientific, diplomatic, military and political aspects are all somehow intertwined. Democratization and internal change coupled with international change—all of these transformations took place roughly simultaneously and produced the ultimate result of which we are going to hear. Of course an element of leadership and courage was also present there, and we will be hearing some of that as well. We are all indebted to David Albright and to ISIS for having made it possible to have all these distinguished speakers with us. I’m also grateful to the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, to its Director General, Gideon Frank, and to the management and staff of the Soreq Nuclear Research Center for having organized such a beautiful reception for us. Permit me to add here a few words of caution. Today’s focus is on Latin America, not on the Middle East. Obviously, we are all looking forward to hearing some things which would apply to the Middle East. However, our guests have made it abundantly clear to me that if one looks for recipes in their presentations he is bound to be disappointed. Expectations were very modest on how you can technically transplant an experience from one region to another. At the same time, I think that there are some things which are inspiring in the Latin American experience. Some elements, which perhaps when put into a different mix, could also make sense elsewhere. This is the logic that has guided our decision to hold this event today. So I think what we should try to do today is to expose ourselves as much as possible to this rich experience, which has so many fascinating nuances, and digest what it actually means and how it could affect our thinking on these issues. So now, I would like to introduce our first speaker, Professor John Redick. I feel somewhat awed, as an academic, by his list of publications. I won’t read all of them to you, but I can assure you that I will make it available to those of you who would be interested. Professor Redick is an Associate Professor in the Division of Continuing Education at the University of Virginia. He has taught and extensively researched issues of nuclear proliferation, both at national and international programs, and has also been a consultant to numerous foundations in the area of arms control. His research interests have largely been focused on Latin America, where he is a renowned expert and widely regarded as such; he has published numerous articles and books, has served previously as a research director for several foundations, and is a member of some distinguished institutions at the University of Virginia. Professor Redick will be presenting to us the broader context of the Argentina-Brazilian rapprochement in the nuclear domain. We will then complement the academic perspective with that of the practitioners who will fill in the nuances and the details. Professor Redick, please.