EAST-WEST: The Congress of Helsinki

Clemenceau would have been appalled by the ambiguity of the gathering. On the other hand, Metternich might have delighted in its very lack of definition. Both European statesmen, however, would undoubtedly have recognized the potential historic significance of a meeting that gets under way this week in the starkly beautiful Finlandia House in Helsinki. In the white granite building's lofty concert hall, 35 foreign ministers from Europe, the U.S. and Canada will convene for the formal opening of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The conference has the opportunity to...

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