The Woman's Leadership Conference on National Security being held at The International Hotel here ended yesterday after a three-day round of speeches and discussions designed to make women more active in national security affairs.
Since Monday, the women -many of them leaders of national women's organizations, college presidents, elected officials and congressional wives -tackled such intractable problems as economic stability and energy self-sufficiency at home, the worldwide nuclear threat, East-West relations and world peace in general.
In one of the final events yesterday, most of the 300 participants gathered at the hotel pool to hear Utah state senator Frances Farley explain how she was able to help keep MX missiles out of her state.
Listening eagerly was Patty Border, 20, an American University student and the youngest participant in the conference.
Border, representing the YWCA at the gathering, said that women must become more aggressive in confronting the tangle of arguments about national security. "Women have been silent for so many years and this is a great opportunity to come from all over the country and discuss these issues, Border said.
"World events leave women no alternative," Border said. "We must get involved. If we don't, what will happen to the future?"
That's what the conference, the first of its kind in the nation, was all about, its organizers said. It was sponsored by the Committee for National Security, a Washington-based group whose declared purpose is to encourage wider discussion of secrity issues.
Conference chairman Mary Grife said that women generally have had little to add to the debate. She believes the reason is that women have not had the information necessary to achieve a thorough understanding of the jargon-laced topic, which is "dominated by a white, male elite."
Michele Aisenberg, chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Women, said she was leaving the conference loaded with specifics and a clearer sense of her position on nuclear arms. For example, she said, she learned that the arms race is costing each family in her home of New Rochelle, N.Y., about $2,700 a year.
"It's time women start talking about national security," Ingrid Fabbe Bauer, said, shortly before hearing Sen. Farley tell the women that she never doubted a grass roots people's movement would prevent the government from laying 10,000 miies of track for the super missiles in the Utah desert.
"I think women will be the peacemakers," said Bauer, a single parent of four from San Juan Island, off the coast of Washington state.
"Women are nurtures. I believe we are more flexible than men and more able to accept change," she said. "I think we are in an age of transformation, and we are more interested in process than results."
Anne Cahn, executive director of the Committee for National Security and a former national security consultant for the Carter administration, said women need an objective examination of the most important matter before humanity -survival.
She said men long have thought that one must be cool, detached, rational and unemotional whenever national security is concerned.
"But once, you become informed," Cahn said, "it's okay to be emotional. The issues of war and peace and human survival is something to get emotional about, to get passionate about.
"That's what women can bring to the discussion, passion; and that's going to be a powerful force."