dated November 14, 1953: World coming together

Editorial: When the first deep-sea cables were laid, Rudyard Kipling wrote, "Through the slimy ooze, a voice was heard: The World is One." Since then we have had the aeroplane and wireless. The world has been more closely brought together in the past two decades than in the preceding 2,000 years. The world is not yet one, but technical progress has reduced it now to the unity of inter-dependence. There is a steady growth in the number of international conferences from year to year. Mr. Finn Moe, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Norwegian Parliament, speaking at the Scandinavia Inter-Parliamentary Union at Oslo disclosed that between 1840 and 1900 there were an average of 17 international conferences a year. Between 1900 and 1939, it was 222, while in just one year in 1951-52 there were no fewer than 715. It may be doubted whether nations get their money's worth for the millions spent on these conferences. Most meetings are so unwieldy that, with the best will in the world, no real business can be can be done in them. Some good committee work, of course, does get done; and, in gatherings of specialists in any particular field, there may be useful exchange of experience. The greatest value of conferences lies, however, in their promotion of very desirable international outlook, and concern for the common interests and problems of mankind. Amidst the alarums and excursions of the East-West conflict, it is consoling to reflect that during the past year in 715 international gatherings a variety of common problems were discussed — from a campaign against locusts, to regulation of civil aviation.