Where Is the Soviet Sandia?
A Bound estimate of Soviet atomic power is essential to sound l.S. policy. The common assumption
to date has been represented by Itobert Oppenheimer's famous comparison of llie l.S. and the Soviel
Union to "two scorpions in a bottle," and has led to Presidenl Eisenhower's formula for surrender—
"there is no alternative lo peace."
Tltere are, however, alternatives lo ihe assumption ilieil lhe Soviet Union is genuinely competitive
with llie U.S. in atomic power. George (.. Rosu's account (pp. 32-33) is a rare but impressive article of
corroboration of the thesis propounded in 1933 by Medford Evans. The contrasting view of Henry J.
Taylor is presented on page 39.
Chapter II from The Secret IIHr for the A-Bomb By Minioni) EVANS
There has been very little unequivocal
Iriith spoken aboul alomie energy since
19 15. This is ellle (o
(1) The natural difficulty of gelling a
complex subject straight,
(21 1'osilive elements of deception
introduced into lhe discussion for par-
tisan reasons, most notably by Soviel
eil Well intended notions of giving
lhe public what is thought lo lie- good
(or it from the point of view of some
kind of social psychiatry, inste-eeel ol the
best available approximation of the
facts, complete with indications of probable error.
THE TRUMAN HERESY
lhe classic illustration of the reliability of official I .S. releases was given bv
Harry S. Truman in January 195 i- just
one week lo tbe day after he left the
"I am not convinced."' the ex-President lold an IXS reporter in Kanseis
City—"I am not convinced the Russians
have achieved the know-how to put the
complicated mechanism together to
make an A-bomb work. I am not con-
\ iin eel they have tlie bomb."
Newsweek (February 9, 1953) head-
lined this: "'Ground Zero' in Kansas
("itv: Harry Truman Drops an A-
Bomb," ami indeed il was ei catastrophe
for supporters of the official propaganda
line. AEC Chairman Dean. Senator
Hickenlooper. and President Eisenhower
immediately issmel statements of con-
Ireulie lory import. This was necessary
but almost irrelevant. Tbe news was not
that Harry Truman doubted the Russian
A-bomb; the news was that Harry Truman doubted the Russian 'A-bomb. And
there was. of course, nothing thai Dean
or Hickenlooper or Eisenhower could
do about that.
The whole affair was like lhe apos-
tasv of an archbishop. The lowliest
*Henry Regnrry Company. 1953. Reprinted
vicar is shaken by lhe repercussions, no
matter how demonstrablv in error the
apostate may be.
ll hail been Truman who. speaking
officially, heul startled the world in September 1919 wilh an announcement nf
an "atomic explosion" in the U.S.S.R.
The credibility of that announcement
depended almost entirely on tin- ei"inn|i
linn lhal ihe President of the United
Sieiii-s. iii such a matter, could nol le
mistaken and would not l.e deceptive. 'I'"
question the statement was to imply the
fallibility of the White House—understanding thai lhe whole executive.
bureaucratic process is involved, not just
the integrity eiml judgment of one man.
To understand calmly lhe gravity eif
Truman's offense, one must understand
lhal upon lhe dogma promulgated in
September 1919—the dogma thai the
Russians had contrived an atomic explosion ami. as a corollary, had an
atomic energy project of their own
(1) the justification of a greal expansion of lhe .American program of
atomic production, ami
i2i lhe cautiously bul persistently
advanced inference lhal the American
program of "internal security" had been
unsuccessful in lhe past and would be
largely an unnecessary impediment in
These propositions were summarized
under the slogan "Security hv Achievement rather than Security bv Concealment," or simply "Security bv Achievement."
Much has been staked on this doctrine. Il justifies enormous expenditures
for the production of fissionable materials, and reckless candor in publication
poliev. Tin' latter is permitted emd the
former required bv the assumption lhal
the li'ussieins are going greal guns in
their own atomic energy project.
The slogan "Security bv Achievement" appears In have been Hist inlro-
elin id Into public discussion by Senator
Brien McMahon in the summer of
I916.1 ll received Irish impetus when
lhe Majorily Report of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy — published
in 1919. three weeks after tin- Truman
announcement of lhe first Russian explosion—gave an adverse judgment on
Senator Bourke B. Hickenlooper's "in'
credible mismanagement" charges
against the then AEC Chairman David
E. Lilienthal.8 Al lhe same lime lb''
Congress loosened the purse sitings t°
permit acceleration of the AEC expansion program. ' Meanwhile, however,
certain enthusiasts for "Security of
Achievement" fought tooth and nail ,n
ei rear guard action io delay incorpora-
lion of hydrogen-bomb development in'0
the pleins for Achievement.)
"Security by Achievement" is. "I
course, spurious rhetoric. There is n°
more real conflict between "Achieve*
ment" and "Concealment" as means °'
"Security" than there is between l'"'
accelerator and the brake as means ol
secure control of em automobile. Yd
ihis rhetoric wilh ils implied false
elii'lleellelllV W els elllople-el. though th1'
logical ambiguity had been pointed i1"
in em AEC stall memorandum eis '"'
back as ihe summer of 1948. (The ""'
thor of lhal memo was later released W
"reduction in force" in spilt- of lhe "''v
pending program." and "lln1 difficult
■ if gelling good men in Government.
Should I be eiskeel point blank: "Arf
vein implying thai he weis let go becaU*
of that memo?" I should have In repfl
that obviouslv the thought had occurf*
to me. but alt I am sure of is thai Al'"
was unfortunate lo lose bis servi'1'"'
since he. weis an able man.)
Naturally, lln- doctrine of "Securi'l
(Continued mi Page *
1 Congressional Record. Vol. 11. Part V- p'
2Investigation into rite United States U""v'
I'm-rgy Project, Report uf the Joint C***J
mittee nn Atomic Energy Ihereinal*
cited eis Investigation Report), re-liaisce! ' ',
i.iIiit 13, 1919 fGovernmenl Printing '
(ice, lOtol. ,,p. 7-11.
FACTS FORUM NEWS, June, 1°'"'