DescriptionDwight D. Eisenhower Typed Letter Signed. Two pages on White House letterhead, 7.25" x 10.5", July 9, 1957. Addressed to Norman Cousins and marked "PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL" at top. Eisenhower is responding to a letter from Cousins:
"Your letter of June twenty-seventh apparently assumes that I made an appointment with Doctors Lawrence, Teller, and Mills to discuss the lively argument that seems to be occupying the attention of so many in the United States concerning the effects of radio-active fallout. This was not the case at all.
These gentlemen were in the city to testify before a Committee of Congress. A member of the Committee... requested that I see them in order that I would be apprised of certain information which he thought was new in the general subject of weapon production...
By no means am I trying to act as the sole judge in a controversy which by its very nature, must be more or less scientific in character.
As to my opinions and purposes in this whole field of armaments, particularly atomic weapons, I refer you again to all the public statements and speeches I have made on the subject, beginning April 16, 1953."
Eisenhower declines Cousins' assistance in arranging meetings with scientists on the topic of radio-active fallout. He concludes the letter with the following: "So, while I carry on energetically the program I believe we must pursue at this moment to provide for the security of our country, I am working unceasingly for the time when war itself will be eliminated and the atomic danger will be a thing of the past."
Eisenhower was clearly conflicted regarding the dangers of nuclear armament. The speech he cites in his letter was delivered shortly after the death of Joseph Stalin, and was delivered to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and was broadcast nationally. His address cited the continued tensions with the Soviet Union, but stipulated that an arms race would not only heighten the military dangers, it would also place an undue financial burden on both nations.
Throughout his presidency, Eisenhower unsuccessfully pursued disarmament agreements with the Soviets. Once the Soviets successfully acquired the hydrogen bomb in 1955, mutual distrust resulted in both nations pursuing a policy of increased reliance on nuclear weaponry. This would have been obvious to Cousins who had dedicated himself to the pursuit of world peace and nuclear disarmament. Cousins June 27 letter cited by Eisenhower, would have been in response to Eisenhower's June 21 letter, offered in this auction as lot 47146. Ex. Norman Cousins Estate.
Condition: Lightly toned along top and bottom margins. Usual mail folds are present, else fine.
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