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At the Brink of a Test Ban

- Abstract

IT is now eighteen years since the first atomic bomb was exploded in the desert of New Mexico, and for nearly a third of that time three nations-the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union-have been negotiating at Geneva on a treaty to ban the testing of nuclear weapons. The first step in these protracted negotiations was the appointment of a committee of experts under the auspices of the United Nations which published a report in August 1958 confirming the then common belief that of all the conceivable measures of arms control, a treaty to ban nuclear tests would be the easiest to arrive at and to administer. Yet precisely the reverse has turned out to be true, for on a dozen occasions since that report was issued, the negotiations at Geneva have all but broken down, as one draft treaty after another- usually presented in a spirit of “take it or leave it”-has gone by the board.

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