Two professors urged last night that the United States continue negotiations toward a nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union.
H. Stuart Hughes, professor of History, said most of the world's nations regard "the presence or absence of tests" as "the single most important indication of whether there is good will for disarmament." He said that the Geneva talks were too far advanced to be abandoned, and that the U.S. should conclude an agreement without worrying about France.
Speaking "as an amateur" on "an issue I feel strongly about," Hughes differed sharply with two Senators who have said that a test-ban treaty would probably not win Senate ratification. Hughes predicted that both Sens. Leverett R. Saltonstall '14 (R-Mass.) and Frank Church (D-Idaho) would vote for a treaty if they felt popular opinion favored it.
Pressure Can Change Votes
"In international affairs," Hughes said, "two-thirds of the votes in the Senate can be changed back and forth by public pressure." President Kennedy would "put himself in the catalogue of mediocre Presidents" if he let Senate opposition affect his test-ban policy, he added.
Roger Fisher, a Law School professor who shared the platform with Hughes, observed that the issue "has had more effort spent on it than it deserves for its own importance." But he said that the risk of signing a pact was less than that of trying to gain military advantage from small nuclear tests.
Fisher emphasized that scientists disagreed only about the feasibility of identifying secret tests of bombs of two to six kilotons, while yields went as high as 100 megatons.