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Template:TOCnestleft SANE, A Citizens' Organization for a Sane World is based in Washington, D.C. and was formed in 1957 as the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. It is now known as Peace Action.


The organization's original goal was to promote causes such as a disarmament in general. Headed initially by Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins, SANE launched a series of advertisements in the New York Times. Local groups then spontaneously formed around the country to buy space in other newspapers for SANE ads. These small groups, composed mainly of professionals such as businessmen, educators, and clergymen, served as the bases for local SANE chapters.[1]

SANE cooperates directly with the World Peace Council, co-sponsoring two Capitol Hill appearances by WPC activists in 1981. SANE and the CNFMP cooperated in compiling a joint computerized mailing list by Congressional districts, and in a media task force against the Reagan defense budget.[2]


SANE's major 1982 project, co-sponsored with Congress Watch and FRAC, is the Fair Budget Action program, which was intended to apply pressure in congressional districts for diverting the defense budget to social programs. The Zill report noted that SANE's 30,000-name mailing list, FRAC's big budget and Congress Watch's 100,000 members should ensure major attention.

SANE played a leading role in a 1975 Chicago National Conference to Slash Military Spending organized by the CPUSA's then head of WPC U.S. activities, Pauline Royce Rosen. The organization formed from that conference, the National Center to Slash Military Spending, joined CNFMP; but dissolved in 1980 and was superseded by the U.S. Peace Council.[2]


In 1959, SANE staged its first demonstrations, leading to a rally of 20,000 in New York City the following year.

In 1962 the Greater Philadelphia Council Executive Board was formed to coordinate regional activities. SANE also entered Philadelphia electoral politics in this year. Activity in opposition to the Vietnam War, from 1964 on, led SANE to develop a broader "grass-roots" base, in such groups as the People's Coalition for Peace and Justice, while continuing its electoral, lobbying, and publicity functions, and its concern with the arms race.

At the conclusion of the Vietnam War, as the peace movement declined, the Philadelphia staff increasingly devoted its efforts to producing mass media material such as radio programs. When the Greater Philadelphia Council disbanded in 1976, much of its staff continued as the SANE Educational Fund, which operated as a national organization based in Philadelphia.[1]


SANE's founders, inspired by Albert Schweitzer's Call too Conscience which stirred public action about the dangers of nuclear radiation, included Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins, American Friends Service Committee member Clarence Pickett, and poet Lenore Marshall, among others. The committee’s mission was to “develop public support for a boldly conceived and executed policy which will lead mankind away from war and toward peace and justice.”

SANE grew to be an effective national voice for nuclear disarmament.

Spokespeople for SANE include: Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Eleanor Roosevelt, Norman Thomas, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Bertrand Russell, Pablo Casals,Roger Baldwin, Paul Tilich, and Erich Fromm.

From the beginning, SANE linked issues of peace and justice. Supporters like Dr. Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, and Ossie Davis connected SANE with civil and human rights movements across the country.

Historically, SANE also forged close alliances with labor organizations such as the International Association of Machinists. SANE led a number of successful public education projects including hard-hitting advertising campaigns that brought nuclear disarmament issues to millions of Americans. SANE’s first major accomplishment was ratification of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

SANE was also an early leader in the movement against the war in Vietnam. In 1978 SANE was at the head of a victory against MX mobile missile deployment, avoiding massive environmental damage in Utah and Nevada.[3]

Long term political consequences of the Hughes campaign

Opposing Ted Kennedy in the 1962 Massachusetts Democratic Primary was Edward McCormack, nephew of House Speaker John McCormack; Kennedy's Republican opponent was Yankee scion George Cabot Lodge; and on the left was Independent peace candidate Harvard Prof. H. Stuart Hughes, chair of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.

Jerome Grossman was Hughes' Campaign Manager and Chester Hartman was the organizer of the massive signature drive required to place Hughes on the ballot. According to Grossman;[4]

Hughes needed 72,000 signatures, a purposely prohibitive number in that era of McCarthyism and nobody in fact had tried to reach it since the law had first been passed.
In this talented field, Hughes polled 50,013 votes, 2.3% of the votes cast. However, we collected a startling 149,000 signatures in ten weeks for a "peace candidate." The Cuban Missile Crisis arrived in October just before the election. With the integrity that was his hallmark, Hughes went against the popular hysteria: he accused President Kennedy of acting over hastily in imposing the blockade of Cuba, of bypassing the United Nations, and unnecessarily stirring up an atmosphere of national emergency. His position cost Hughes thousands of votes.
In the process we built a town-by-town organization all over the state, a structure that remains in place today. A clear result has been the election over recent decades of so many progressive voices to the state's first-rate Congressional delegation, including Michael Harrington, Father Robert Drinan, Gerry Studds, Jim McGovern, Barney Frank, Ed Markey, John Tierney, Michael Capuano and John Kerry.

SANE/Freeze founding board

Unity, December 7, 1987

The founding board of SANE/Freeze in 1987 included Butch Wing, Jesse Jackson, William Sloane Coffin, Pam Desch, Nativo Lopez, Barbara Shailor, Aubrey McCutcheon, Susana Cepeda.


Washington D.C. area SANE

Newsletter of June 1967: Key names and activities:

"Maryland Members Lobbying on Hill See Need for More Letters to Congressmen"

"Matinee Benefit A Success" "On Sunday, May 28, (1967), one hundred SANE members and friends enjoyed the hilarious review, 'Son of Spread Eagle' and socialized over a buffet dinner at the Washington Theater Club. Also on view and for sale in the lobby were paintings by Joe Shannon, Gladys Buch, Philip Tipperman and ceramics by Judith Simmons."

"The benefit was arranged by Vice Chairman Edith Cohen. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Somlyo arranged and served supper, made of foods prepared by members. As a result of the enthusiasm of those who took part, a similar benefit is contemplated for the 1967-68 season."

Other names and notices of importance in this issue:

For further information on the organization, call Mrs. Alice Arshack, 434-9051. [[Arshack will later show up in the local Washington Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam and similar protest groups, along with her teenaged daughter.

Call Ann Relyea; Ruth Auslander or the WSP.

Notes on the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.

"The D.C. Spring Mobilization Committee, with headquarters at the Church of St. Stephen and the Incarnation, 16th and Newton Streets, NW, has elected a 30-member steering committee. -Steering Committee-

[NB: Two radical churches in D.C. served the communist, radical and far-left/liberal community, that of [St. Stephen]] and All-Souls Unitarian Church All-Souls, the latter being the meeting place of the Washington Mobe during 1968-69, and led by several far-left, Unitarian clergymen (one being named Eaton).[8]

Pubic "wants test ban"

April 17, 1986, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy said a poll it commissioned with Opinion Research Corp. of Princeton, N.J., also showed that 60 percent of U.S. citizens believe the United States should halt nuclear weapons testing as long as the Soviet Union stops its tests.

The poll shows beyond a doubt that the vast majority of Americans want President Reagan to stop nuclear testing, especially before any second summit meeting, said David Cortright, executive director of the group.

The poll results were announced as several members of Congress pushed for House consideration of an amendment to cut off money for nuclear weapons testing until the president certifies that the Soviet Union has conducted another test.

The House Rules Committee agreed Thursday to allow consideration of the amendment in conjunction with a $1.7 billion supplemental spending bill scheduled to come up next Tuesday. The committee said debate and amendments to the testing cutoff would be limited to two hours.

What we're trying to do is break the administration's testing habit - cold turkey, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said at a news conference with officials from the anti-nuclear group.

Markey said he and Reps. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., and Tom Downey, D-N.Y., had planned to offer their amendment cutting off nuclear test funds Thursday on the House floor. But their vehicle, the supplemental appropriations bill, was pulled off the floor Wednesday after an unusual parliamentary maneuver.

According to the organization, governors or legislatures in five states - Washington, New York, Hawaii, Ohio and Rhode Island - have adopted test ban resolutions. More than 60 communities in 13 states have passed similar resolutions, the group said, while 25 Nobel laureates signed an April 8 letter to Reagan urging him to stop testing until a summit or until the Soviet Union resumed testing.

SANE also released a nuclear test ban endorsement signed by five former high-ranking government officials including former CIA director William Colby; former arms control negotiator Paul Warnke; former scientific director Jerome Weisner; former deputy secretary of the Air Force Townsend Hoopes; and former deputy assistant defense secretary Adam Yarmolinsky.[9]


As at March, 1982, SANE's executive director was David Cortright, a founder of the U.S. Peace Council, former GI organizer at Fort Bliss, IPS protégé of Marcus Raskin, and staffer of the Center for National Security Studies. Cortright has hired Chad Dobson of the Campaign to Stop the MX and moved him from Salt Lake City to the East Coast to help organize the June 12 demonstration with the June 12 Disarmament Coalition.[2]

1963 Personnel

As at June 7, 1963, the following worked for the organization:[10]

Honorary Speakers


Board of Directors


Board of Directors

As of May 1978, the SANE Board of Directors consisted of:[11]

As at March, 1982, the following served on the Board of Directors:[2]

1988 Fundraising Letter and Letterhead

A fundraising letter apparently sent out in later 1988 by David Cortright, Executive Director of SANE, listed the following people as members of the Advisory Council and the Board of Directors.


(Council in formation)

Board of Directors

Those with an asterisk next to their name were members of the "Executive Committee"

Executive Director:

External links