WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 1957 (UP) - The White House said today this government is studying Russia's rocket advances "very carefully." The statement came as congressional and scientific leaders voiced new fears that Russia, already first into space with a satellite and a living animal, may be piling up an unbeatable lead in war missiles.
The White House, which yesterday said Russia's half-ton Sputnik II came as "no surprise" to President Eisenhower, added this comment today:
"The executive branch is analyzing this very carefully, both as to what it means in terms of rocketry and, also, as to its scientific significance."
The President held a series of personal and telephone conferences yesterday with members of his staff and what the White House described as "several scientific and national security advisers."
As to a proposal by Sen. Joseph C. O'Mahoney (D., Wyo.) that the President call a special session of Congress on the missile-satellite issue, Acting Press Secretary Anne Wheaton said, "as far as I know there are no plans for a special session."
Defense Secretary Neil H. McElroy, who already has ordered restoration of funds cut from the missile and research programs, said there will be no new speedup.
Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D., Wash.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, proposed that Eisenhower put the U.S. missile program under a "czar" who would devote his full attention to it and launch a "bold program" for increasing scientific training.
John Rinehart, associate director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Laboratory at Cambridge, Mass., commented that "no matter what we do now, the Russians will beat us to the moon."
He said he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Russians send a rocket to the moon "within a week."