The Atom: The Grimmest Meeting

This was perhaps the grimmest meeting over which John Kennedy had presided as President of the U.S. Around him sat the members of the National Security Council, along with other diplomatic and military leaders and an assortment of top scientists. On the coffin-shaped Cabinet table rested a thin book, bound in blue paper and red-stamped TOP SECRET. It was an intelligence estimate of the results of the more than 50 recent Russian atomic tests. It made for unhappy reading, and its seriousness was only partly reflected by a public statement put out at week's end by the Atomic Energy Commission.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!