[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]
Remarks by Lord Elystan Morgan [President of The University of Wales, Aberystwyth]
at the Memorial Church Service
Prior to the Commemorative Plaque Unveiling Ceremony for Gareth Jones
on Tuesday 2nd May 2006
May I on behalf of the Council of Aberystwyth University and the public officers extend to you all the warmest and the sincerest welcome. Croeso.
We are very gratefully privileged to attend this event in commemoration and thanks-giving for the life of a young man of integrity and honour, of brilliance and of courage.
We are pleased enormously that you have chosen Aberystwyth as the appropriate locality. Not only in the light of the fact that not only did Gareth Vaughan Jones graduate here, but indeed that that was also the case with his father, Major Edgar Jones, with his mother Mrs Gwen Jones and indeed both his sisters, Gwyneth and Eirian were also graduates of Aberystwyth. So the link between the family and the Alma Mater is indeed a very, very close and warm one.
There are other persons far better more qualified than myself who will speak later of the detailed aspects of Gareth Vaughan Jones’ life.
But we at this stage all tender our grateful thanks to Almighty God for the strength, for the inspiration, the steadfastness with which this young man relentlessly and valiantly pursued the holy grail of truth, thereby causing the exposure of evil and oppression.
His assiduous studies of the cultural and economic trends his day. His deep understanding of diplomatic intrigues and his finely honed intelligence and his hunter’s instinct for significant news; all combined to place him, young though he was, at the very pinnacle of his profession. But it was, I believe, his messianic and remorseless determination to place bravely and challengingly before the world the evidence of tyrannical greed and power leading to atrocities of mass murder on a wholly unbelievable scale that was the heart core and kernel of his very being. It was his absolute dedication to such ends that led to his murder in captivity on August 12th 1935, ironically on the eve of his thirtieth birthday.
The world today is a far reduced and accessible place than it was 70 years ago. Advances in mass communication have given the journalist a greater range and impact than ever before. But the pursuit of factual truth is nevertheless, an end in itself and the eternal commission for humankind.
It is a formidable dread that is constantly at the elbow of the tyrant and the dictator - it is the fearful Achilles heel of every conspiracy to stifle embarrassing and damaging facts.
Even the most flagrant actions can only be hidden for a period.
Frances Bacon, will be known to many of you, Bacon, the philosopher, the Lord Chancellor, the essayist, said “truth is the daughter of kind and not of authority, her birth may be delayed, but never totally frustrated. No edict from the most powerful source can ever suppress the voice.”
The capacity to expose to tyranny in all its obscene and terrifying forms is the one of the fundamental elementals of human freedom and justice. The most enlightened international laws, the most noble declarations of human rights, the most carefully crafted treaties can never of themselves guarantee peace, and justice and freedom for the people of this earth.
It is only the relentless and unremitting energy and commitment of the investigative journalist that can breath the breath of life and emotion into the cold clay and dry bones of such institutions.
Gareth Vaughan Jones did exactly that; in the prime of his life and at the zenith of his powers. He gave to the world his foresight of the cataclysmic potential of the Nazi powers.
He spelt out the massive atrocities of Japanese aggrandisement in China.
In relation to Russia, he already made himself fluent in that language. The Ukraine held a very specialist place for him due to the fact that this mother has lived there as young woman for some three years in Hughesovka now Donetsk as a governess to the children of Hughes himself.
His travels in the Ukraine in the early 1930’s led to him broadcast in the press to the whole world, the brutal truth of the callous liquidation of many millions of Ukrainians, probably between five and ten million in total, a mass murder which went under the name of Agricultural Collectivisation and which was of course, the very foundation of Five-Year Plan of Stalin, 1928 to 1933.
To the world it was a stain on name of human kind. To many of you here, you have indeed been brought up in the very shadow of that unspeakable tragedy.
Gareth Jones spoke not as a political advocate, but as a witness of truth. Soviet propagandists after his death sought in every way to try and demean and denigrate his record, but it was a pathetic failure on their part. His investigative zeal, his lust for truth continued up to his death in Inner Mongolia in 1935. We may very well never know what dark and deepest forces of evil combined to perpetrate his murder in captivity. David Lloyd George for whom he had worked in relation to Foreign Affairs for some years described that area as a “cauldron of political intrigue”. What we do know is that Gareth Vaughan Jones’s name is flit large in annals of integrity and courage
The University is proud to honour him as one of the bravest and most distinguished of its sons.
The Nation of Wales revels in the fact that he has enriched our nationhood in such a splendid and unique way.
“Not gold but only men can make, a Nation rich and strong,
Men who for truth and for honours sake stand fast and suffer long
Brave men who work while others sleep, who stand while others fly
They build a nation's pillars deep and raise them to the sky.”
Gareth Vaughan Jones was such a man - We humbly thank Almighty God for his life and sacrifice.
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