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Four days later, Condon wrote Oppenheimer. Said he, in part: "One is tempted to feel that you are so foolish as to think you can buy immunity for yourself by turning informer. I hope that this is not true. You know very well that once these people decide to go into your own dossier and make it public that it will make the revelations that have been made so far look pretty tame."

On July 5, 1949, Oppenheimer wrote to the Times-Union. Said he: "From the published article, one might conclude that Dr. Peters had advocated the violent overthrow of the constitutional government of the U.S. He has given an eloquent denial of this in his published statement. I believe his statement ...

"I wish to make public my profound regret that anything said in that context should have been so misconstrued and abused that it would damage Dr. Peters and threaten his distinguished future career as a scientist . . ."

Condon's letter, of course, proved nothing against Oppenheimer's loyalty or integrity. But it did prove that McCarthy has no monopoly of smearing, and that one liberal scientist could impute the basest motives to another member of the great international fraternity.


Oppenheimer's first really severe setback as the Statesman of the Atom came in the fight over whether to make the H-bomb. Here is how Oppenheimer tells the story in his letter to the AEC: "No serious controversy arose about the Super [the H-bomb] until the Soviet explosion of the atomic bomb in the autumn of 1949. Shortly after that event, in October 1949, the Atomic Energy Commission called a special session of the General Advisory Committee and asked us to consider and advise on two related questions: "First, whether in view of the Soviet success, the commission's program was adequate, and, if not, in what way it should be altered or increased; second, whether a 'crash' program for the development of the Super should be a part of any new program . . .

"The GAC stated its unanimous opposition to the initiation by the U.S. of a crash program of the kind we had been asked to advise on ... I think I am correct in asserting that the unanimous opposition we expressed to the crash program was based on the conviction, to which technical considerations as well as others contributed, that because of our overall situation at that time such a program might weaken rather than strengthen the position of the U.S. ... I never urged anyone not to work on the hydrogen-bomb project . . ."

The public record contains not nearly enough information to determine whether Oppenheimer's version or the charge that he tried to block the H-bomb is true; the H-bomb charge would be disputed before the panel headed by former Army Secretary Gordon Gray, which opened hearings last week on the Oppenheimer case. It is known that Oppenheimer was the strongest man in a group whose opposition to the H-bomb was supported by moral and political (as well as technical) arguments. It is also clear that Oppenheimer, in his role as strategist and statesman, powerfully opposed the doctrine of the Strategic Air Command that the main reliance of the U.S., in preventing a war or in winning a war, was the capability of retaliation against Russia with the most effective atomic weapons that can be built.

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