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The nation is understandably frightened by Russia's recent successes with missiles and rockets. Last night the President appeared on television to allay the nation's fears. His success was questionable.

The greater part of the address was tub-thumping--in a sedate and presidential manner--for the achievements of American science. Then, almost casually, he conceded that the Russians have surpassed us in certain scientific areas.

When he moved on to policy, Eisenhower was very sound. While he would have done well to have taken stronger measures against intra-service rivalry, both his general policy and appointment of M.I.T.'s President Killian as his special assistant are laudable. However, the President's blatant minimization of Russia's recent achievements is hardly going to produce the peace of mind the President seeks. A little candor would have gone a long way last night.