UNIQUE ROLE OF ADMIRAL STRAUSS
by Medford Evans
Former Chief of Training, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
Author of The Secret W ar for the A-Bonih
THE hard decisions that make history
turn on lonely men who know what
''"'} have' tee elee leeeallse no one else
•ml do it. [ nccrlainty needs collusion
W comradeship, bul clear faith will go
" alone. ;is David met Goliath, as Lindbergh flew Ihe Atlantic. Thc original do
[Wt wait for thc approval of others.
'"''eiusc they are sure of eternal company.
Lewis L. Strauss is not an indispensable man. bul he has done, alone, sev-
5**1 indispensable things. The most dif-
uculi wets simply putting in a word for
""' United Slates.
Strauss was a Truman-appointed
"nml.er of the five-man Atomic Energy
'•'"omission from 1947 to 1950. As is
""u well known, he voted some twelve
Hues against his colleagues in those
r**rs, always on mailers involving lhe
J*tlOnal security, and always resolving
!'M'bls in favor of national security.
''* last ami greatest administrative bat-
,'' as Commissioner was bis dogged in-
~N|,'ii'e that lhe United States musl al
■J?8' 'T '" build a hydrogen bomb.
■"' Opposition be met cannot he meas-
""''I merely by lb,' AEC's l-l vole
•gainst him on all the security issues
'Ari'l'l tlle ll-hi,nil., or the 3-2 vole on
,.at tin which Cordon Dean joined
. 'he American atomic energy project
"' *ose Mai- between World War II
'''" Korea was alumst entirely dominat-
, by a group of men of whom Robert
Ppenheimer was lhe mosl energetic
j".".1 intelligent. AFC Chairman David
>>."'"thai was their bureaucratic chief,
|!r"'H MiMahon their spokesman in
'"tigress. Dean A,iicson their represen-
'"'u' in the' Cabinet. They enjoyed the
'PPorl of an excellent administrative
j^re, which included Carroll Wilson.
^K'l'h Volpe, Jr., ami Frances llendor-
"'• Between Oppenheimer, Lilienthal.
I ![! Acheson was lhal nonpareil of in-
t. ''"'iiei' ami effective liaison Herbert
i.'ls "early perfect. William I.. Laurence,
,';""■'"! W. Baldwin, and Walter l.ipp-
ll'"1" were particularly important, bul
corps of journalists in general
y''''l'i those e,u the Chicago Tribune.
■/■'.'"' i ml. Daily Sens, ami Washington
J."*' Herald wa- either s,,lid for or
w,'''u on the subject of Lilienthal. To-
^"Oppenheimer they wen- obsequi-
■ I heir prompter was Eugene Rabin-
LEWIS UCHTENSTEIJN STKAl "SS
Horn, Charleston, West Virginia. January
31, 1896. Lewis S. and Rosa (Lichten-
I ,liie eel,-,I. public schools. Kie liiiii.ee,I. Virginia.
Employed by Herbert Hoover, 1917-19.
With Kubn, Loeb mid Co., 1919-46.
Partner, from 1929.
Financial Adviser to Messrs. Hockefcller,
V. S. Naval Reserve, 1926—: Hear
Member, II.S. Atomic Energy C.om-
President's Adviser on Atomic Energy,
Chairman, U.S. Atomic Energy Com-
Awarded: Legion of Merit and (.old Star
(Navy), Oak Leaf Cluster (Army) ;
Commendalion Itililenee: Officer Legion of Honor (France). Se. I). Medical College of Virginia; LL. I). Jewish
Theological Seminary, N.V.I!.: I..I1.I).
owitch, Editor of lhe Hitlletin of lite
Atomic Scientists, recognized by Time
as "Voice of lhe Atom."
To challenge this voice ami its ee hues
in leading newspapers and magazines
was to risk sounding like a crackpot.
When "Ihe scientists who made' lhe
bomb" had spoken, whal could a layman Bay? Science was supreme, and
Science was international. Thus national
considerations, such as lhe defense of
lhe United Slates, were sordid. "The
Commission," said Dr. Oppenheimer,
"has balanced very carefully th, requirements of security and the requirements of progress and humanity.'
But Lewis Slrauss did not accept an
essential apposition between national
security on the one hand and progress
and humanity on the Other.
Virginia-born, he inclined to take for
granted whal lhe Hungarian genius Ed-
waul Teller concluded analytically, lhat
the security of lhe United Stales and
lhal of all lhe freedom-loving people
of tbe whole' world arc one.
"I am nol an isolationist," Strauss
told the Joini Committee on Atomic
Energy in 191'). "and have never been.
\s far back as 1916, 1 began my inler-
esl in lhe welfare of human beings ir-
S FORUM NEWS, March, 1955
respective of na.'.onality. I served in
lhe Belgian. French. German, Austrian,
and Russian Relief. [He worked with
Herbert Hoover.] I organized the relief fund for Finland when that country
was attacked by Russia in 1939 . . .
\ulionul security, however, as lone, as
I am a manlier oj this Commission,
must he my paramount responsibility."
Of course no member of the Atomic
Energy Commission could, even in 1949.
have declared lhe contrary, but Slrauss
was obviously quite serious, and thai
was sometimes awkward.
"Chairman Lilienthal has testified,"
Strauss continued, "thai there was only
one Commissioner who bad dissented,
and . . . mv recollection confirmed lhal
thc Commission has always been unanimous except in those cases when I found
myself in thc minority . . . .Ill of these
dissents ileal with aspects of security
and national defense." Twelve such dissent- were mailers of record when
Strauss gave this testimony during the
hearings in June' 19J9 on Senator Hick-
enlooper's charges against David Lilienthal of "incredible mismanagement."
Opinions mighl -till vary concerning
lhe particular issues which impelled
Lewis Strauss lo he. twelve times in two
and a half years, a minority of one in
a five-man Commission. But whatever
thc merits of those cases, there is no
el,.nl.I that the independent judgment
s,e tested and tempered developed in
Slrauss lhe toughness which carried
him through ihe great H-bomb controversy. And if hi' hail nol been successful
in lhat- the I nited States would be today
considerably more vulnerable than il
is. Nor is il at all clear licit the "requirements of progress ami humanity"
would have been better met if Soviet
Russia had had today bv our default a
monopoly of H-bombs.
In any great project of applied science, scientists and nonscienlisls are
thrown together. For most of thc nonscienlisls the scientists feel contempt or
tolerance, bul they quickly recognize a
few natural enemies, to-wit: politicians.
accountants, ami security officers. Politicians rival scientists in influence, ac-
countants limit their expenditures, and
security officers interfere with their
movements ami talk. Such restrictions
implv that Science is nol sufficient. They
must In' removed.