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THE ATOM: Keeping a Pledge

3 minute read

Sixteen months ago the President of the U.S. left a Big Three conference in Bermuda and flew to New York, where he made a memorable promise to the United Nations Assembly: “The United States pledges before you—and therefore before the world—its determination to help solve the fearful atomic riddle—to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.” To back up his words, Dwight Eisenhower made a concrete offer of nuclear materials to an international agency designed to develop peaceful uses of the atom.

This week Ambassador Morehead Patterson, U.S. representative at international atomic-energy negotiations, and president of the American Machine & Foundry Co., speaking before an atomic industrial forum in San Francisco, was to report on what the U.S. has done to carry out its atoms-for-peace pledge.

The U.S. is now in the process of working out bilateral agreements under which it will supply some atomic material and information to Great Britain, Canada, Belgium, Italy and other countries. Some of the agreements should be ready to goto Congress for approval this summer. Something is also “ready to pop,” according to Patterson, in the U.N., where the U.S. has been trying to create an international agency for peacetime development of the atom, in spite of vigorous Soviet noncooperation.

The areas where atomic power is most needed are those with the least industrial and technical development. This is the main limiting factor on international atomic-power development. The U.S. has already begun training programs for foreign students, who can go back to their own countries and spread the nuclear know-how required to run atomic reactors. At present, 31 students from 19 nations are attending a reactor training school in Chicago, and 32 students from abroad have signed up for a special course in radioisotope techniques to be held at Oak Ridge next month. In addition, the U.S. has assembled technical libraries of nuclear information, each with 45,000 index cards. Japan, Italy and France have already received such libraries, and other nations will soon get them.

Patterson’s conclusion: “This then is a thumbnail sketch of our program for 1955, a program directed mainly toward spreading information throughout the world, toward developing technical know-how in all countries, and toward creating the first ties between ourselves and other countries, which will lead to broader cooperation as their programs build up.”

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