Russian Nuclear Controversy

Published: 1961
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
President John F. Kennedy is seen here in this February 10, 1961 file photo during a news conference discussing the fact that he had not yet been given any information by his top military aides pertaining to the gaps between American and Soviet weapons capabilities. (UPI/File)

Announcer: Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev long has touted a peaceful line when it served his purpose to do so. Not too long ago, he thundered that any nation which resumed testing of nuclear weapons would be inflicting a great wrong on humanity. But after long obstructionism at the Geneva test-ban talks, the Russians broke off the discussions. Within 24 hours, they began poisoning the atmosphere with nuclear debris, fallout.

The anti-bomb groups exploded into action, among them Bertrand Russell's Committee of 100 in Great Britain. They staged a sit-in at the Soviet Embassy in London. The BBC reported it this way.

Unknown Speaker 1: "Well, you're outside; but four other people are inside. Where are they sitting?"

Unknown Speaker 2: "We were sitting in the large sitting room, quite comfortable, and the four members of the Committee who are remaining -- I came out to act as spokesman from our committee -- and they -- they intend to sit inside the Embassy until they have an assurance from the Soviet Government that they will not proceed with the testing of the 50-megaton bomb as announced today."

Unknown Speaker 1: "Well, the Russian Ambassador's no longer in this country; so how long do you think they're going to be inside there?"

Unknown Speaker 2: "Well, that remains to be seen."

Unknown Speaker 1: "Are they prepared to be there all night, do you think?"

Unknown Speaker 2: "Oh, yes, definitely."

Unknown Speaker 3: "Within the past hour, the four who had remained inside the Embassy were carried out by the police one by one."

Announcer: Shortly after the Russians resumed their tests, President Kennedy revealed the American stand on the resumption of atmospheric tests.

President John F. Kennedy: "Should such tests be deemed necessary to maintain our responsibilities for free-world security in the light of our evaluation of Soviet tests, they will be undertaken only to the degree that the orderly and essential scientific development of new weapons has reached a point where effective progress is not possible without such tests."

Announcer: If it becomes necessary, only time will tell.