War and Peace and Nuclear Proliferation

Published: 1964
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Noel Bernard: Internationally, 1964 unfolded in the shadow of the nuclear bomb. This is Noel Bernard, Chief European Correspondent for Radio Press International. The problems of nuclear balance and organization were the constant concern of diplomacy. On October 16th, Communist China compounded the problem by exploding its first nuclear device, thus joining the ranks of the nuclear powers, said United Nations Secretary General, U. Thant --

General U. Thant: “The Chinese test in my view is very regrettable.”

Noel Bernard: Most other nations agreed. Inside the Western Alliance, nuclear power was also creating strains and stresses. France went ahead with its program of nuclear weapons development, strongly urging Western Europe to form a pillar of defense independent of the United States. The United States offered Europe the MLF, a fleet of mixed-manned surface ships armed with nuclear weapons designed to integrate Atlantic Nuclear Defense. President Johnson told Europe --

President Johnson: “We do not seek to have our way, but to find a common way.”

Noel Bernard: Germany was torn between a pro-MLF government and a Pro-Gaulist element. It was left to Britain to try and find a middle way. Prime minister Wilson traveled to Washington for talks with President Johnson and found that --

Prime minister Wilson: “There is total identity of view between the United States Administration and ourselves about the objectives we have set to guide our respective approaches to our allies and friends and our wider approaches in initiatives towards arms control and disarmament.”

Noel Bernard: While the consultations followed in several capitals, but as the year ended, the problem of reaching agreement on the nuclear organization of the alliance while at the same time, preventing proliferation of nuclear power remained unsolved.