Q: So there's considerable concern and protest around the world, in reaction
to this beginning of this test series. What is the response of the Eisenhower
Administration? How does the AEC and the Eisenhower Administration respond to
MS: Well, right from the very beginning, actually even before the Bravo tests,
the Eisenhower Administration, the Atomic Energy Commission specifically has
certain types of policies that they intend to use regarding these types of
incidents. One of the policies is to keep the information about the tests as
secret as possible. That's one of the directives that even goes out prior to
Bravo, that you know, if there is any heavy fallout, that any personnel related
to the project should not give out any information to the press, and keep it as
secret as possible.
Once the tests-- the incident occurs, and information comes back to the
Administration regarding the injured Japanese fishermen as well as the Marshall
Islanders, then there is a lot of energy that's put into the relations with
the ambassadors, for example, the Japanese Embassy. There's all kinds of
information, telegrams that go back and forth between the State Department and
the Japanese Embassy, basically an attempt to limit the publicity damage
surrounding this incident, as much as possible. There are many other types of
public relations strategies (I would call them) that are used in order to
minimize the damage, try to downplay and, as I said, minimize the health and
environmental impact of the tests.
Lewis Strauss, for example, the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission,
comes out and makes some public statements right after the test takes place.
Not right after, but within a month after the Bravo incident occurs. He very
specifically conveys a message that's intended not only for the American people
but also for other people in different parts of the world. He definitely
downplays the health and environmental impact of the test. He explains that
he's visited the Marshall Islanders, and that they're actually well and happy.
He says that the condition with regards to the Japanese fishermen, he is
perhaps not quite as confident about their condition, but that he expects that
they will all recover. And in general, during this public statement, he puts a
lot of emphasis on the reasons why these tests are necessary.
That's another policy that the Administration uses, is not only to downplay
the health and environmental impacts of the tests, but also to try to emphasize
to Americans and to the rest of the world that these tests are really necessary
for (as they put it) the peace and international security-- you know, the-- for
the good of the peace-- not only national security, but the peace of the world,
that these tests are necessary; that there might be some problems that come
from incidents like this, but really the long-term gains are much more
important than what might happen to the people that are in the Pacific.
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