Atoms for Peace – 1953/12/08, United Nations General Assembly

Our subject was some of the problems that beset our world.

  • beset


At the same time that I appreciate the distinction of addressing you, I have a sense of exhilaration as I look upon this Assembly.

  • exhilaration


Your deliberations and decisions during these somber years have already realized part of those hopes.

  • somber


And in the confident expectation of those accomplishments, I would use the office which, for the time being, I hold, to assure you that the Government of the United States will remain steadfast in its support of this body.

  • steadfast


Clearly, it would not be fitting for me to take this occasion to present to you a unilateral American report on Bermuda.

  • unilateral


Nevertheless, I assure you that in our deliberations on that lovely island we sought to invoke those same great concepts of universal peace and human dignity which are so cleanly etched in your Charter.

  • charter


Neither would it be a measure of this great opportunity merely to recite, however hopefully, pious platitudes.

  • recite


  • pious


  • platitude


I therefore decided that this occasion warranted my saying to you some of the things that have been on the minds and hearts of my legislative and executive associates,…

  • legislative


The atomic age has moved forward at such a pace that every citizen of the world should have some comprehension, at least in comparative terms, of the extent of this development, of the utmost significance to everyone of us.

  • comparative


  • utmost


My recital of atomic danger and power is necessarily stated in United States terms, for these are the only incontrovertible facts that I know.

  • recital


  • incontrovertible


A single air group, whether afloat or land based, can now deliver to any reachable target a destructive cargo exceeding in power all the bombs that fell on Britain in all of World War II.

  • afloat


The development has been such that atomic weapons have virtually achieved conventional status within our armed services.

  • conventional


During this period the Soviet Union has exploded a series of atomic advices — devices, including at least one involving thermo-nuclear reactions.

  • advice


Second, even a vast superiority in numbers of weapons, and a consequent capability of devastating retaliation, is no preventive, of itself, against the fearful material damage and toll of human lives that would be inflicted by surprise aggression.

  • retaliation


  • inflict


The free world, at least dimly aware of these facts, has naturally embarked on a large program of warning and defense systems.

  • dimly


But let no one think that the expenditure of vast sums for weapons and systems of defense can guarantee absolute safety for the cities and citizens of any nation.

  • expenditure


The awful arithmetic of the atomic bomb does not permit of any such easy solution. Even against the most powerful defense, an aggressor in possession of the effective minimum number of atomic bombs for a surprise attack could probably place a sufficient number of his bombs on the chosen targets to cause hideous damage.

  • aggressor


To pause there would be to confirm the hopeless finality of a belief that two atomic colossi are doomed malevolently to eye each other indefinitely across a trembling world.

  • colossi


  • doom


  • malevolently


To stop there would be to accept hope — helplessly the probability of civilization destroyed, the annihilation of the irreplaceable heritage of mankind handed down to use generation from generation, and the condemnation of mankind to begin all over again the age-old struggle upward from savagery toward decency, and right, and justice.

  • annihilation


  • irreplaceable


Surely no sane member of the human race could discover victory in such desolation.

  • desolation