NUCLEAR TEST BAN AGREEMENT ANNOUNCED BY PRESIDENT KENNEDY 50 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy announced 50 years ago today, July 26, 1963, that an agreement had been reached in Moscow on a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty*.
*The Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed in Moscow on Aug 5, 1963, ratified by the US Senate on Sept 24, 1963, signed by JFK on Oct 7, 1963 and went into effect on Oct 10, 1963.
The LNTBT banned the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, outer space and under water. A Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was adopted by the UN in 1996, signed by President Clinton but defeated by the Senate.
The President, speaking to an evening national television audience, said:
"Yesterday a shaft of light cut into the darkness. Negotiations were concluded in Moscow on a treaty that will ban all nuclear tests in the air, outer space and under water."
The President concluded with these words:
"Let us...step back from the shadows of war and seek out the way of peace. And if that journey is a thousand miles, let history record, that we, in this land, at this time, took the first step."
JFK Announces Test Ban Agreement
July 26, 1963
JFK Library Photo
According to the JFK Library, work toward a nuclear test ban treaty began in May 1955 when the United Nations Disarmament Committee brought together Canada, France, UK, US, and USSR for discussions.
Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts supported a nuclear test ban beginning in 1956.
After a moratorium on testing, the Soviet Union announced resumption and conducted 31 nuclear tests over the next 90 day period including the explosion of a 58 megaton hydrogen bomb, 4000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.
Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept 25, 1961, President Kennedy said...
"The weapons of war must be abolished, before they abolish us."
JFK, who reluctantly approved resumption of atomic testing by the United States on April 25, 1962, was able to announce in his speech at American University on June 10, 1963 that a new round of negotiations with the Soviets had begun in Moscow.
"If we cannot end our differences...at least we can help make the world safe...for diversity."
The biggest snag in negotiations on limiting nuclear testing going back to 1955 was the reluctance of the Soviet Union to approve inspections to verify underground nuclear tests.
The American negotiation team in Moscow, led by Averell Harriman**, carefully avoided proposing a limitation on underground testing, thus removing previous objections by the USSR.
**W. Averell Harriman (1891-1986) was born in New York City. He established a successful Wall Street banking business and became chairman of the Commerce Dept's Business Council.
Harriman served as an envoy for FDR in Europe during WWII and after the war was US ambassador to the USSR and to Britain. JFK appointed him "Ambassador at Large," and later he was chief negotiator for the US in talks with North Vietnam in Paris.
Although the treaty was "limited" JFK considered it his greatest achievement as President. It has been ratified by most nations but China, France and North Korea are not among them.
"Nuclear Test Ban Treaty," John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, www.jfklibrary.org/
JFK Signs Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
The White House, Treaty Room
October 7, 1963
Photo by Robert Knudsen
JFK Library Image
NATIONAL SECURITY ACT SIGNED BY TRUMAN
Sacred Cow (JFK+50) President Harry S Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 66 years ago today, July 26, 1947, on board the Presidential airplane, Sacred Cow.
The act restructured the armed forces, foreign policy and the intelligence community.
The National Security Act merged the Department of War and the Navy Department under the Department of Defense.
The act also established the National Security Council to coordinate national security policy in the executive branch and created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The bill was signed by the President aboard Sacred Cow which was the first aircraft to be designated Air Force One.
October 17, 1961
WINSTON CHURCHILL OUSTED AS BRITAIN'S PM 68 YEARS AGO TODAY
London, England (JFK+50) Winston Churchill, who led his nation through the darkest days of WWII, was forced to resign as Prime Minister 68 years ago today, July 26, 1945.
Churchill's Conservative Party was defeated by the Labour Party.
Clement Attlee*** was sworn as the new Prime Minister.
***Clement Attlee (1883-1967) was born in London and graduated from University College, Oxford in 1904. He served as Deputy PM from 1942-1945, and PM from 1945 to 1951.
Statue of Sir Winston Churchill
Parliament Square, London
Photo by Ziko (2004)