FIVE 1960 INTERVIEWS WITH DR. LINUS PAULING
WAR AGAINST WAR - One
(Nov. 2, 1960)
COHEN: Do you think there's a possibility of disarmament agreements being reached in the near future?
PAULING: 0h, I believe that there will be disarmament agreements formulated and accepted in the course or time, and this may be (in) a good number of years, that will lead to complete disarmament in all the nations of the world. For a long time there will continue to be revolutions involving the use of force and violence, although I am opposed to them. I myself am not in favor of the use of force, or to (creating) situations which make it necessary to use force. People, as our forefathers here in America pointed out, have the right to free themselves from an oppressive government. and sometimes it is not possible to achieve this without force. As internationalism becomes effective, we will have less of revolution by the use of force and violence.
COHEN: What would you say have been the major developments in the struggle for disarmament here in the United States?
PAULING: There have been peace movements in the world for a long time, although I think we can say that they have hardly been effective until now. It has taken the development of atomic super bombs and the manufacture of great stockpiles of nuclear weapons and missiles to make the peace movement effective. It is now perfectly clear to the leaders and to those people who understand the situation that no great nation can benefit from war. We would all be destroyed - so we are now forced to abandon war.
MILL: How would you characterize or define the peace movement?
The peace movement in the United States today involves a large number
different kinds of people and different activities. The
have been closely connected with it from the first, since 1945.
scientists of the original atomic bomb project tried to keep the bomb
being used. There were a few chief administrators who favored
the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the scientists as a whole were
opposed to it.
MILL: The Japanese made extensive investigations, did they not, and we didn't get news of it?
Yes. It was suppressed. Our government, the government
military authorities, said that the Japanese scientists' methods just
any good, that there was nothing to what they said, when they said that
there must have been such a bomb, and that it involved fusion of
uranium at the third stage. It was later admitted, of course,
a super bomb had, indeed, been set off.
MILL: In recent years, that is?
PAULING: Yes, in the last fifteen years. So that there has been a lot of activity on the popular level, individual citizens working for peace. I think there are now about thirty thousand members of the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE). Now the attack on the Committee has come only recently.
MILL: Do you know anything about the Consultative Peace Council?
MILL: It's a group, decades old, of organizations like the Friends Service Committee.
Oh, yes. It's an organization of organizations who cooperate in
peace activities. When I speak - I've been giving a hundred
a year on peace, a hundred public lectures - my talks are usually
by the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, or the American Friends
Committee, the First Unitarian Church or the Methodist Church - often
a church associated in the sponsoring group. During the last year
or two the churches have been increasingly associating themselves with
the peace movement. Before this they'd kept aloof because of
feeling that it was wrong to make peace with Russia; that we should try
to overthrow the Russian government and liberate the Russian people.
MILL: Yes, and as a result there has been some question about the way Norman Cousins handled the questioning by the Senate Internal Security Sub-Committee.
PAULING: That's right. There's internal dissension now in SANE. Many people think that Norman Cousins, as a member of its Board of Directors, made a mistake in knuckling under to Dodd. Of course I didn't knuckle under. And I think that the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy will come out all right. But just what it will do is hard to see. I feel that even though there's a fight going on to change our policy and to prevent international (peace) agreements from being made, it won't be successful.
COHEN: Dr. Pauling, you have claimed that there is a powerful campaign underway to restart nuclear bomb testing and prevent disarmament. Could you elaborate upon this?
It is evident that there are people in the USA who are working to
the policy of our government. I don't say that there is a formal
conspiracy. It is probably more of a loose connection between a
number of people with mutual interests: including Doctor Teller, the
Cold War profiteers, and now Senator Dodd of Connecticut.
COHEN: Do you really feel that people like Doctor Teller and Senator Dodd are enemies of our country?
PAULING: Yes. I think they are working against the best interests of the United States.
COHEN: What reasons would they have for doing such things?
I'm sure that there is a very great factor of personal benefit from the
Cold War involved. There's a tremendous amount of profiteering
on. The military budget is forty-one billion dollars a
I estimate that five billion dollars a year of this goes as excess
to those people who are connected in one way or another with the
MILL: What organizations, if any, do you believe are trying to restart nuclear bomb testing and prevent disarmament agreements?
PAULING: The Internal Security Sub-Committee of the U.S. Senate seems to be doing it. Then, John McCone, Chairman or the Atomic Energy Commission opposes the international agreement that is being negotiated at Geneva and has been trying to keep the President from supporting it wholeheartedly. The AEC as an organization is working against the bomb test agreement. The Pentagon is also an organization with vested interest in the Cold War; and it has been working against the effort to make an international agreement that, in my opinion, will increase the safety of the United States. Then, for example, I can mention one private business firm, the Allen Bradley Company of Madison, Wisconsin, that published public advertisements last August 31st, 1959, saying, "Let there be no deals with Krushchev." This company is a manufacturer of electronic components and has a real possibility of a financial interest in the continuation of the Cold War. Other organizations may well be doing this, other defense contractors like Convair, whose Mister Lanphier quit his job as vice-president in order to advocate an increase in the military budget.
MILL: What about the information that is made available by organizations like the Rand Corporation?
Well, I don't know the activities of the Rand Corporation in a detailed
enough way to make a really broad statement. I do think, however,
that the scientists who are connected with the Rand Corporation are
schizophrenic. On the one hand they are making a study, not on as
grand a scale as the government ought to be doing, but a study
on the significance of atomic weapons, atomic stockpiles, and nuclear
to the modern world. While on the other hand there are people
with the Rand Corporation like Mr. Herman Kahn, who are clearly engaged
in propaganda activities against international agreements and for
COHEN: Do you have any opinions concerning the advocacy of a preemptive war?
PAULING: Yes, I've read statements that have been made. Mr. Kahn himself has made statements of just this sort. He has discussed it in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and in his various lectures. I have heard him lecture and I appeared on "The Open End" (TV) program with him and Norman Thomas. Mr. Kahn has said there might be circumstances under which we would feel that it was more sensible to initiate nuclear war than to continue with Cold War pressures, or to await a Russian attack.
Would you say that many of the people who are attacking the movement
peace are more concerned with their own short-term advantage than with
the future of humanity?
PAULING: They may not realize it. It may be that they are blind, and perhaps their subconscious operates in such a way as to keep them from facing the situation in a straightforward way; and keep them from realizing what they are doing. You know, people are complicated, and often they don't understand their own reactions.
MILL: Is it possible that some of them really want war?
There may be some people who are willing to face war. Mr. Kahn
to be willing to face the prospects of war and to be working to get the
rest of the Americans to accept a war. He wants us to be
if we can save half of the American people and shield the rural
from too great devastation, even though we have to sacrifice all the
and metropolitan districts.
COHEN: Do our magazines and newspapers print the truth about the dangers of nuclear testing and a continued armaments buildup, or do they cooperate with the enemies of disarmament?
PAULING: For example, a little over two years ago an article by Dr. Teller and Dr. Latter was published in Life magazine which was an attack on me. The heading said: "Dr. Teller Refutes Nine Thousand Scientists." There were many false and misleading statements in this article. I wrote a reply with just the same number of words as the article itself, but Life would not publish it despite the fact that the original article was an attack on me.
COHEN: Did Life ever explain to you why they would not publish your reply?
PAULING: They sent me a letter saying that they had published a short letter to the editor by me, a hundred words, and that that was enough to meet this 2,000 word article. I tried Look, The Saturday Evening Post, The Ladies Home Journal, and the Readers Digest. None of them would publish my rebuttal to the Teller-Latter article. That's why I wrote my book, No More War, which I did get published.
MILL: Have you ever been approached, at any time, by any national magazine for a story?
PAULING: Oh, I've been approached often for stories by the Saturday Evening Post, for example, but they wouldn't accept my story on the dangers of nuclear testing, the need for disarmament, or some similar matter. They wanted it to be only about some aspect of my pure scientific work. I've also been approached by the Readers Digest to write an article for them about some such ungrammatical expression as: "The Most Unique Character I've Ever Known." I didn't answer their letter.
MILL: Would you say that they were more interested in using your name to gain prestige than in publishing what you wanted to say?
PAULING: That's right. Now, the newspapers give coverage which can't be described as bad to my activities for peace. I make news, and the newspapers give me pretty good coverage. For other people and other activities involving peace, the newspaper coverage, in general, is poor. When we held a peace march here in Los Angeles on July 9th, 1960, three thousand or more people marched and I spoke. The newspapers published only rather small reports, and some carried one photo. When my wife and I participated in a peace march in San Francisco on the fifteenth of May of this year, the Los Angeles Times said that only two hundred people had marched to Union Square.
MILL: How many were there?
PAULING: There were really three thousand. It seems to me that the peace movement is misrepresented, especially in the very right-wing, anti-liberal newspapers.
COHEN: Do you think that when the publisher of a newspaper or magazine hears that the head of the Atomic Energy Commission says that there is no danger from fallout, he might tend to publish this sort of statement in preference to one of yours about the dangers of fallout merely because the AEC is a government agency and he respects his government?
This is what was going on five years ago, four years ago, and three
ago to a much smaller extent. At the present time, however, even
Doctor Teller says we don't want to pollute the atmosphere because we
that the radioactive materials cause damage. He says that all we