At The Hague, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham welcomed the inauguration of the International Code of Conduct (ICOC) against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. This is the first multilateral instrument that sets standards to curb the spread of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. Canada was one of more than 90 countries to subscribe to it.
One important new detail was released at an anniversary conference on the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. An officer named Vasili Arkhipov saved the world.
After Soviet nuclear missile bases were discovered in Cuba, a two-week standoff took place, as President Kennedy ordered a naval blockade, prepared to attack, and demanded that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev remove the missiles. Everyone realized at the time that the world hovered on the brink of war - but no one knew until recently just how close we had come to it. On October 27, a U-2 plane was shot down over Cuba, and another U-2 strayed over Siberia, with US Air Force jets (armed with air-to-air nuclear missiles) scrambling to meet a possible Soviet interception. The Cubans were firing on all low-level US reconnaissance flights.
And, worst yet, US destroyers were dropping signaling depth charges on a Soviet submarine near the quarantine line, intending to force it to surface. Unbeknownst to the US Navy, it was carrying a nuclear-tipped torpedo. The captain lost his temper, according to the archivist Thomas S. Blanton. The oxygen supply dropped in the sub and as temperatures rose to 120 degrees, some sailors fainted.
Vadim Pavlovich Orlov, an intelligence officer said the bombardment was like "sitting in a metal barrel, which somebody is constantly blasting with a sledgehammer.... But we were still holding on, trying to escape. We were suffering like this for about four hours."
The sub's commander, Valentin Savitsky, who could not communicate with the Soviet general staff, thought a nuclear war may have started up above. He ordered an officer to assemble the nuclear-tipped torpedo and prepare it to be fired.
But Second Captain Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov told Savitsky that the conditions for firing the torpedo, a rupture of the hull, had not occurred. Savitsky reversed his order and the submarine surfaced.
On the next day, the missile crisis was resolved. President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev reached an agreement. The Soviets would withdraw their weapons from Cuba and the US would publicly pledge not to invade that island. Also, President Kennedy secretly promised to remove US missiles from Turkey.
In Rome, six Nobel Peace Prize laureates and representatives of 14 other organizations that had received the prize, attended a meeting sponsored by Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Gorbachev Foundation. They signed a statement for distribution through the UN and to many world leaders, calling for the Iraq-US crisis to be solved by the UN Security Council, not by unilateral action.
They said that Security Council resolutions must be adhered to fully, and the rights of the Iraqi people respected. Opposition to terrorism must not become a pretext for unjust constraints on human rights. The statement criticized new military doctrines that make preemptive nuclear attacks possible. It also called for the abolition of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, saying: "Nuclear weapons are immoral and every use of them is illegal." The statement ended , "A culture of peace must overcome today's culture of war."
The theme of the Nobel meeting was the prospect of water emergencies. The group endorsed the "Water for Peace" initiative of Green Cross International, whose vice-president, Alexander Likhotal, warned of future wars fought over water. Increasing the access of people to water, he said, "is a tool of peace." Solving the global water crisis is key to sustainable development.
The role of the Nobel Peace laureates came under examination, with several participants encouraging a more concerted, active role as messengers of peace. The possibility for such action was considered enhanced by the award to the latest recipient, Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States.
If either the United States or Canada is attacked by terrorists, troops from either may cross their mutual border and serve under the command of the country that they enter, according to a new agreement the two nations have adopted.