-Reprinted from vital .spee. hes, Feb. I, 19B&
Atomic Status of the Nation
I "Triiil Italnnee" of the tlomie Energy Commissi,nt
By LEWIS L. STRAUSS, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission
Delivered before ihe National Press Club, Washington, D.CM January I I. 1 *>.">.">
This being the season of the year
when businesses, having completed
their year-end inventories, are- setting
up their balance sheets and writing the
first drafts of annual reports to stockholders, it occurred to me to try and
give you a "trial balance" of lhe AEC.
I don't mean by that to unload upon
you a lot of figures and statistics. In-
stead, I thought you mighl be interested
if I separated the debits and credits
the things accomplished, and the things
undone, or muffed as I see them from
the marble sanctuary over on Constitution Avenue.
In order lo he able to conclude hy
enumerating the good things—the assets
—I will begin with the debits.
The first item, and most important
of these, it seems lo me. was lhe discovery thai Malenkov wasn't talking
through his hat about what we call "a
thermonuclear reaction." The Soviets
produced it. without any doubt, and it
is unintelligent to decry their scientific
Proficiency in the technology of
nuclear weapons, and indeed of science
and engineering generally, is not so
much of an American monopoly as peep-
ular misconception once would hint-
Of course, by contrast with our weap
ons tests. Russian atomic weapons tests,
according to them, are all benign. They
remove mountains, change- the course
of ri\e-rs. and never, never have any
dangerous aspeels or any baneful effects on the' world. Also, according 1,,
them, only thc tests conducted by the
United Slates are wicked, warmongering and horrendous affairs.
EFFECT OF PROPAGANDA
Artful Soviet propaganda has actually
persuaded many people lo ihis fantastic
belief -even in our own country. At any
rate. So\ iel progress in weapons development is. or ought lo be, a prime
concern of free- people. Many feel that
it reduces thc time within which lhe
world has lo work out a sort of modus
Item 2 in lhe debit column is criticism
of the personnel security program, which
arose as a result of the' case of Dr.
Oppenheimer. Periodically, lhe personnel security program has given us grief
since the beginning eef tin- AFC. By
1950 we had evolved what we believed
a very fair procedure to deal with security. It has been widely commended by
both men of law and men of science.
It is a procedure lhat provides the
individual againsl whom charges have
been brought with every protection we
—Wide World Photo
Chairman Lewis L. Strauss (left) and General Manager Gen. K. D. Nichols oi the Atomic
Energy Commission, report to the Joint House-Senate Atomic Energy Committee.
could think of. He has to lie furnished
with a written catalogue of allegations!
hi' can resign or he can elect a hearing;
If he elects a hearing, he can challeng*
lhe persons selected for lhe special hearing hoard: he can be represented v]
counsel: he can attend all hearings bin1'
self: he can confront all witnesses, an''
he and his counsel can cross-exami"''
all witnesses. He can appeal from sn
adverse decision lo a board of review
and. finally, he can absolutely eonlr<"
ihe- issue of whether or not existence o'
the1 proceedings is to become known.
In spile of all ihis. there are th"-'
who feel lhal injustice is occasional!)
done just as I suppose is true of losers
in actions before a court of law.
Oyer the- years, we- have tried to sf
whal. if anything, can he done lo ii"'
prove the procedures. To this end. '
wrote to all our laboratory directors '"
November to say that we would ai*
them to meet with us here for an 6*
ploration of the subject. The meeting '"
scheduled to begin on Monday of ne*
I have had a considerable corresp""'
dence on ibis subject witli individus*
and organizations and no radically nj*
ideas have come to my attention. »•
are. however, going into the meetini
with an open mind.
I nder present procedures, il has l"'1'"
possible to protect the security of ''''
operations of the government as well "'
the rights of the individual, with <'"''
regard to the interests and privilege
I think it will never he possible. Il'1"'
ever, lo satisfy everyone', even under &
long-established rules of jurisprudent*
'I lie reeent records eel prolest. mail,' a'" '
fair trials before juries in the present
of our press and the presses of otl»;r
countries, I think demonstrated ''""
Item 3, also on the debit side', wo"'"
I"' the misunderstandings aboul "Jf
Mississippi Vallet Generating Contf**
—or lhe Dixon-Yates contract, if )'°\
slill prefer il he called thai -I siip|"r'
il always will be called lhat. i
The contract itself should be lis"'|,
among lhe assets. Ami. anticipat"!|
some' questions aboul this later, 1 "'.
not now say more aboul ihis contr*
a- two previous ones which
negotiated with private utilities ""
(Continued on Patfl
e sure an
tl see page Iii
FACTS FORUM NEWS, March