August 1981 Council Minutes
The Council met on 18 August 1981, at 5:00 PM in Room 2P56 of the Forbes
Quadrangle of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA. Members present
were R.G. Ayoub, R.G. Bartle, Hyman Bass, Frank T. Birtel, Andrew M. Gleason,
Ronald L. Graham, Paul R. Halmos, Alan J. Hoffman, Meyer Jerison, Linda Keen,
Peter D. Lax, Lee Lorch, Richard S. Millman, Everett Pitcher, Marian B.
Pour-El, Daniel Wagner, R.O. Wells, Jr., and Lawrence A. Zalcman. Also present
were L.K. Durst, R. Hahn, E. Heiser, W.J. LeVeque, and John L. Selfridge.
Professor Gail Young was present by invitation with the privilege of the floor.
President Gleason was in the chair.
1.1 MINUTES OF 15 MAY 1981: The named minutes had been distributed by mail.
Two errors were observed. First, Robert G. Bartle was present, but his presence
was not recorded. Second, a line was omitted in copying the resolution on
disassociation from discriminatory practices in minute 7.1. The third line
should have words added as underlined so that it reads:
...mathematics in the USSR, on unfair CONDUCT of admission
examinations in several Universities in ...
With these two corrections, the minutes were approved.
COMMITTEE AND BOARDS
4.1 AUTHORIZATION OF POWER TO THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS OF MATHEMATICIANS:
Professor Gail Young presented a request from the Committee for authorization
to react quickly in extraordinary circumstances without prior approval of the
Council, but with the express approval of the President of the Society. The
request is stated precisely in a motion in the attached communication from the
Committee. The report, although labeled "draft", has the approval of the
The motion presented by the Committee was amened by the addition of words in
two places in the second sentence so that it reads:
In extraordinary cases in which delay might result in irreparable
damage to a mathematician whose human rights are in process of violation, the
Committee on Human Rights of Mathematicians is authorized to send a statement
of protest, or a request for delay or such other statement as circumstances
dictate without prior approval of the Council. Such a statement must be
approved by a majority of the Committee and by the President of the AMS in
advance of transmittal or by two-thirds of the Committee and by the EC in the
absence of the President. The Committee is authorized to take such action only
in cases where it is satisfied that the affected person is indeed a
In amended form the motion was passed.
4.1a PARDONS: Professor Lee Lorch asked Professor Young about the issue of
pardons for Americans who have served prison terms for what may in the final
analysis have been their political views. Professor Young stated that it had
not been discussed by the Committee on Human Rights during his tenure in 1981.
[The only recent record of the issue discovered by the Secretary is a motion
which was considered at the Council meeting of 10 April 1980 and was postponed
indefinitely. See item 8.3 Amnesty and Reparations in the minutes of that
4.2 VIKTOR BRAILOVSKY: The Committee on Human Rights of Mathematicians proposed
that the Council request the President to write a letter, with copies suitably
distributed, in aid of Viktor Brailovsky. A summary history of his case and
status as of several months ago, as produced by the Committee of Concerned
Scientists, is attached.
The Secretary called attention to the following resolution of the Council
of 6 January 1981:
When official, semiofficial, or similar relevant material, on a
human rights case is available and when supplying it to the Human Rights
Committee and Council would not delay unduly or prejudicially equitable
consideration of the case, such material shall be included in any packet
presented for action or information to the Committee or Council.
The attached information concerning Brilovsky was all that was in the hands of
There was a motion by Professor Lorch to refer the request back to the
Committee and to call the attention of the Committee to the quoted resolution
of 6 January 1981. The motion was defeated. There was then a motion
requesting the President to write the letter as requested, provided the
President is convinced that Brailovsky is a mathematician. The motion was
amended to include the provision that the President shall first be convinced
that the standards of the Council have been met. The motion as amended was
4.3 THE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AID: The Council considered for the agenda
the following item which was not on the agenda as distributed:
The BT has recommended that the Committee on Legal Aid, which is a
committee of the Council, be transferred to a committee of the Trustees.
Accordingly, the Secretary moves that the Council approve the discharge of
the Committee on Legal Aid, with the understanding that the same committee
will be established as a committee of the BT.
The reference is item 7.15 of the EC/BT minutes of 1-2 May 1981. Rather than
accept it, the Council scheduled it for the agenda of January 1982.
7.1 ACTION SUPPORTING DISSIDENTS, JEWS AND MINORITIES: Minute 7.2 from the
meeting of 15 May 1981, records the receipt of a proposal from Professor
Raymond Ayoub, attached to those minutes, which the Council agreed to consider
at the current meeting. Professor Ayoub requested that the proposal be
withdrawn. However, he invited individuals to consider the suggestions that he
7.2 NOMINATIONS: The Council had declared its intention of nominating for the
positions of vice-president or member-at-large those persons on whose behalf
petitions carrying at least fifty valid signatures are presented. There were
two such proposed candidates for the position of member-at-large namely
The Council nominated them for member-at-large in the 1981 election.
7.3 NOMINATIONS: The Council had declared its intention of bringing the
number of nominees for member-at-large to ten if proposed nominations by
petition do not do so. The nomination of Komkov and Neuberger brought the
number to nine. The candidate proposed by the Nominating Committee is:
Peter A. Fillmore (Dalhousie)
who was then nominated by the Council.
8.1 CONSTITUTION OF CBMS: The Secretary proposed the following resolution:
That the Council accept for the agenda two motions concerning
amendment of the constitution of the Conference Board of the
The background is as follows. The Conference Board is an outgrowth of a less
formal umbrella committee which was established during WW II. The Conference
Board has six constitutent member (AMS is one) and seven affiliate members,
all of them being societies in the mathematical sciences. It is governed by
a Council, consisting of representatives of the members and members-at-large,
and a BT. It has an office in Washington with a full time Executive Dir.
and a minimal staff. It operates under a Constitution adopted in 1972 and
Bylaws. Its objectives include "to encourage in the broadest and most
liberal manner the coordination of the activities of member organizations
in the mathematical sciences."
The CBMS is financed principally by dues (about 45% of budget) and contracts
(about 49%). It has been losing money for at least four years and the
continued operation in the current mode, based largely on "soft" money, seems
untenable. It is estimated that CBMS will run out of funds early in calendar
year 1982. Accordingly, the Trustees of CBMS at their meeting of 1 May 1981
passed the following set of resolutions:
The Trustees recommend to the Council that [on or before] 1 Oct. 1982
CBMS be reorganized to consist of member society presidents with the following
primary functions: (a) Washington representation, (b) public relations and
awareness, (c) exchanging information between member groups.
That an office be sought with the MAA, with no affiliation with the MAA, and be
managed by an administrative officer to be employed not more than half time;
minimum secretarial assistance will be used by this officer.
That member society dues be limited to funds needed to supoort the
administrative officer, a part-time secretary, and to pay for housing.
Expenses for meetings be paid by CBMS for administrative staff and officers of
CBMS, but expenses of representatives for meetings be borne by the
organizations they represent.
The dues apportionment formula remain the same but [for fiscal 1983] the
amounts be reduced by 50% and the total dues collected be the budget ceiling
That the Council be informed that the BT is seriously recommending at the
January meeting that no Council meeting be held in summer 1982, and if held,
CBMS will not pay travel expenses for members-at-large.
**The resolutions of the Trustees of CBMS and the proposed new constitution
change CBMS into a club of thirteen organizations governed by a Council
consisting of their presidents and the officers, modeled after the very
successful Council of Scientific Society Presidents.
The resolutions of the CBMS Trustees were considered by the CBMS Council on 9
August. The AMS representatives (Gleason and Pitcher) participated. To follow
the route described in the resolutions appears to require amendment of the
Constitution and changes in Bylaws. In anticipation of action by the Council
of CBMS and to assist delibertions, the Trustees of CBMS prepared a draft of a
new Constitution for CBMS and new Bylaws. The proposed new Constitution was
modified slightly by the CBMS Council. The modified text is attached. The
proposed new Bylaws were offered only as an aid to debate, as the new
organization, were the Constitution to be amended, would be responsible for its
The parliamentary situation is as follows. An amendment to the CBMS
Constitution (consisting in fact of complete replacement) has been formally
proposed. The proposal calls for the next step, that the members of the
Council of CBMS give written approval to proposed amendment. Hence, the
following motion for this Council.
I. The Council of the AMS recommends that its representatives on the Council
of CBMS give written approval to the proposed amendment of the CBMS
It is reasonable to believe that the Council of CBMS will approve the
amendment. The final step is to offer the new constitution to the six
constituent members for their approval. Hence, the second motion for this
II. If the Council of the CBMS approves the proposed amendment to the
Constitution of CBMS, the AMS as a constituent member of CBMS approves the
When all six constituent members have approved the amendment, it becomes
The Council accepted motions I and II for the agenda by the requisite
two-thirds vote. The Council then passed motions I and II.
8.2 FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COLLECTIVE PHENOMENA: The Council
accepted the following item for the agenda by the requisite two-thirds vote.
The Council requested the President to write a letter to the Organizing
Committee of the Fifth International Conference on Collective Phenomena
expressing the support and best wishes of the Council of the AMS and its
earnest hope for a successful scientific symposium.
8.3 U.S. NATIONAL COMMITTEE: The Council did not accept for the agenda a
resolution proposed by Professor Lorch concerning the composition of the U.S.
INFORMATION AND RECORD:
2.1 EC-BT MINUTES: The minutes of the EC/BT of 1-3 May 1981, were distributed
by mail for information under separate cover.
2.2 SPRING MEETINGS: Somewhat at the urging of the Secretary and the Execu.
Director, the EC agreed, as recorded in minute 5.5 of the EC minutes of 15 May
1981, that "unless circumstances demand it, spring meetings of the Council
should no longer be held." There is no requirements by the bylaws that there
be a spring meeting. It is in the category of special meetings called by the
President, though the scheduling has in practice been accomplished by the EC.
The Secretary had second thoughts and has been so far unable to see how to
carry out the nomination and election cycle without the spring Council meeting.
Both the action of the EC and the provisional opinion of the Secretary that
circumstances do demand a spring Council meeting were presented for
2.3 PUBLIC CRYPTOGRAPHY: Attention was invited to the fact that the EC and BT
will study the position taken by the National Security Agency requesting
voluntary submission of papers in cryptanalysis and cryptography for
The Council adjourned at 7:05 PM.
Everett Pitcher, Secretary
August 18, 1981