Following the decisions of our Committee at the IAF Congress in Amsterday, to seek official recognition of the Declaration of Principles Concerning Activities Following the Detection of Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Draft Declaration of Principles Concerning the Sending of Communications to Extraterrestrial Intelligence as approved by the Board of Trustees of IAA and the Board of Directors of ISSL, the following activities were undertaken:
J. Tarter, T. Pierson and E. Fasan had conversatins with IAA President M. Yarymovych, IAA Vice President G.Haerendel, and IAA Secretary General J.M. Contant. It was decided to present a report of the IAA to UNCOPUOS (the Main Committee, and not merely the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee), which report would deal with SETI, and would thus present the "Declarations" to the UN.
With extremely valuable advice and support by Academicians V. Kopal and L. Perek it was decided that our request should read as follows:
IAA respectfully requests
That the presentation of these issues and the IAA Position Paper be mentioned briefly in the Report of UNCOPUOS,
That a copy of the Position Paper, includint its appendices, be submitted to the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs for information and possible further use by the Secretary General or by UNCOPUOS or other relevant bodies of the UN.
On occasion of the Meeting of the Legal Subcommittee (LSC) of UNCOPUOS, in March 2000, in Vienna, Austria, E. Fasan had an opportunity to discuss the matter with Mrs. M. Othman, the new Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, and with the Secretary of LSC, P. Lala, and received valuable additional advice.
J.M. Contant requested J. Tarter to present the report of IAA to UNCOPUOS.
Beginning June 7th, 2000 J. Tarter and E. Fasan attended the UNCOPUOS meeting in Vienna, and informed the Chairman of UNCOPUOS, R. Gonzalez Arinat, about the above request, who agreed with the idea. We received the necessary technical assistance from P. McDougall, Legal Affairs Officer at the Outer Space Affairs Office. On June 8th, 2000, J. Tarter was invited by the UNCOPUOS Chair to present her Report. She did so in an outstanding manner. The Presentation was very well received, and our Request was endorsed by L. Perek, the Czech Representative.
UNCOPUOS agreed. Its Report to the UN General Assembly, of June 26th, 2000, A/55/20, on page 2, para. 16., reads as follows:
At the 464th meeting, a special presentation was made by the representative of IAA on the IAA position paper entitled "A decision process for examining the possibility of sending communications to extraterrestrial civilisations." The Committee, on the basis of the presentation, agreed that the Office for Outer Space Affairs retain a copy of the position paper on file for review.
And under para. 157, page 16, the said Report notes the following:
The view was expressed that the issue of the international process relating to possible communication with any eventually discovered extraterrestrial civilisation, as had been discussed in the context of the presentation by the representative of IAA (see para. 16 above), while not necessarily requiring immediate action, should be given serious consideration in connection with the future work of the Committee and its Legal Subcommittee.
Thus, thanks to the excellent Presentation by J. Tarter, we succeeded!
Your Subcommittee Chairman E. Fasan regrets that he can not attend this year's IAF Congress in Rio. J. Tarter consented to represent him.
I do look forward to our next meeting in 2001 in Toulouse!
Neunkirchen, Austria, Sept. 7th, 2000