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Lilienthal Calls for Optimism, Hits Fear in Speech on Atomic Energy


"I want no part in the Cult of Doom rising about us," said David E. Lilienthal, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, in a lecture at Symphony Hall last night. The title of his speech was "Atomic Energy for Peace," and he stressed optimism and hope in the atomic problem.

Before an audience of about 1800, Lilienthal emphasized the distinction between atomic energy and the atomic bomb. He stated that the American people today think only of the destruction of the bomb when the word "atom" is mentioned, and that fear and hopelessness characterizes public opinion.

No Need for Despair

Lilienthal added that there was no cause for despair and that "atomic energy is one of the greatest advances in man's long search for knowledge."

Lilienthal warned that "wallowing in fear" does not prepare the U.S. for war, but plays into the hands of the Communists. "The belief that security can be gained by making bigger and better bombs is a mountainous error."

The true source of American strength is found in the spiritual resources of the country rather than the material sources, he said, and by facing up to the problem, we can conquer it. "Faith that mankind was not given the knowledge of the atom to destroy itself" is needed, Lilienthal continued.

He gave a brief summary of the process that results in radioactive tracers, and expressed the opinion that great advances would come from the atom.

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