They are a team.
When the father was a U.S. senator delivering speech after speech denouncing nuclear proliferation, the son was a high school student editing those speeches. A few years later, when the son was studying the medical effects of a nuclear holocaust, the father was still crusading, a pioneer for nuclear disarmament.
"If all-out nuclear war ever comes, every home, every kitchen, every cradle, could well become a cemetery," called out John Pastore, then a Democratic senator from Rhode Island, in his moving keynote address at the 1964 Democratic convention.
Yesterday, the elder Pastore brought his son, Dr. John Pastore Jr., to his old club to deliver a similiar message. "Nuclear War: The Incurable Disease," a paralyzing hour-long discussion between U.S. and Soviet physicians on the medical effects of a nuclear war -- with the younger Pastore participating -- was given a special screening for the Senate, a few feet off the floor.
In an unprecedented event, the program had been aired -- unedited and uncensored -- on Soviet public television last June. It is estimated that there were more than 100 million viewers.
"Let's face it -- this involves the survival of mankind," said the former senator. "I think the documentary is going to come as a great surprise to the skeptics... The Russian people want to survive a nuclear war as much as we do. Human nature is human nature. A solution is based on mutuality."
"The main significance of the program is to show that both the Soviet Union and U.S. really share the same conclusions and thoughts about the nuclear arms race," said Pastore Jr. "Medicine is absolutely useless in the event of nuclear war. There is no surviving..."
About 15 senators drifted in and out of the viewing, taking time from the Senate floor.
"They're preaching to the converted when they talk to me," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). "When people talk about limited nuclear war or civil defense... it's totally unrealistic..."
"This viewing hasn't reached enough of us here to make an impact," said Sen. John Stennis (D-Miss.). "The fact of the matter is that we have to face this issue more than we have in the past."
The idea for the program came about last spring during a meeting between American doctors and Soviet Ambassador to the United States Anatoliy Dobrynin. Dobrynin agreed, and the documentary ended up a radical departure from the Soviet policy of keeping Western views from the public.
The three American doctors involved, including Pastore, are part of a prestigious group known as International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which has Soviet membership. The Soviet physicians involved included Dr. Yevgeny Chazov, the late Leonid I. Brezhnev's personal doctor.