Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney told Johns Hopkins University graduates yesterday that the Western world's response to the end of the Cold War has been "hesitant and timid and out of scale with both the need and the opportunity."
Taking time out from talks in Washington to deliver the commencement address at the Hopkins Homewood campus, the Canadian leader said, "It is important that there be no withdrawal of American leadership.
"Leadership will cost money," he said. "But the Marshall Plan [after World War II] cost much more money than has been transferred to the former Soviet Union so far, and the Marshall Plan has repaid to the American people and to democracies everywhere its investment a thousand times over."
The university conferred some 3,700 degrees, certificates and diplomas, almost two-thirds of them master's degrees.
Honorary degrees were awarded to six men: Dr. Robert M. Heyssel, retiring president of Johns Hopkins Hospital; Abraham Horwitz, director emeritus of the Pan American Health Organization; Lee A. Iacocca, retiring Chrysler Corp. chairman; Dr. C. Everett Koop, former U.S. surgeon general; Zanvyl W. Krieger, Baltimore lawyer and philanthropist; and Michel Rocard, former prime minister of France.
Dr. Koop's award was greeted with prolonged applause that evolved into a standing ovation.
Mr. Mulroney, who met Wednesday with President Bush and was urged by reporters to join in current U.S. political disputes, began his address by listing "what I will not be discussing today -- the Toronto Blue Jays, H. Ross Perot and Murphy Brown."
He took note of Mr. Iacocca's presence to tell the graduates not to be surprised if the Hopkins ceremony ended up in a television commercial some day.
He also took advantage of Mr. Rocard's presence to lapse into an impromptu splash of French. A native of Quebec, Mr. Mulroney is equally at home in English and French.
Referring to the former Soviet Union, he said, "Economic success will go a long way towards safeguarding democracy and easing ethnic conflict, the byproduct of the [collapse of the] Soviet empire.
"People are tired, fed up and in some cases broke," he said, but the money must be found.
He also urged a five-step program to contain nuclear proliferation, including strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The IAEA now must try to control nuclear cheating on an annual budget of $180 million, which, Mr. Mulroney said, was "about half the cost of one B-1 bomber."
He joined the call for international science and technology centers to employ former Soviet nuclear scientists, "who now earn less than garbage collectors," to help keep them from going to work for "pariah states . . . like Iraq and Libya to assist them in putting together a nuclear weapons capability."