The Fifth World Order Study Conference of the National Council of Churches urged churches to study its recommendations of U. S. recognition and U. N. admission of Red China. Cleveland delegates could hardly have suspected that their proposals would lead, in some quarters, rather to a study of the NCC and the question of its value to the churches. Some church bodies have decided that they did not require a year’s study before making a pronouncement on the Red China issue. The American Baptist Convention, meeting June 4–9 in Des Moines, Iowa, was one of these.
Indeed, this lively issue provided the only extended debate of the sessions. After a number of staccato-like two-minute speeches, with delegates still wishing to speak, the convention voted narrowly, 245 to 234, in support of U. S. policy which denies diplomatic recognition to Red China and opposes its admission to the United Nations. Added to a Committee on Resolutions report which merely asked study of the Cleveland issues, was an amendment introduced by Missouri lay delegate O. K. Armstrong, staff writer for Reader’s “Digest and former congressman. Mr. Armstrong urged an immediate stand in view of impending U. N. action in September on Red China’s usual try for admission. His amendment urged that recognition be withheld until Red China shows respect for human rights.
The amendment carried in face of warnings it would mean “embarrassing headlines,” “condemnation of the Cleveland conference and the ‘Hartford Appeal’ of the NCC,” and “repudiation of the leadership of Dr. Edwin T. Dahlberg,” NCC president and a Baptist. Opposing the amendment: the Resolutions Committee; a new “Commission on the Initiatives for Peace,” which also had simply urged study ...1
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