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Atoms for NATO


America's NATO allies will undoubtedly press their request for nuclear arms and secrets at next month's high-level conference. The Administration can gain a double advantage by granting them this request.

The weaker NATO countries have already voiced increasingly stronger objection to the Anglo-American monopoly of nuclear weapons. Their parliaments are becoming increasingly unwilling to vote funds to buy weapons that are already obsolete. One French delegate, for example, has questioned the propriety and wisdom of France continuing to spend funds for building ships capable of killing a submarine at a range of 1,000 yards while America and Engand possess the secret of killing them at 10,000 yards by nuclear weapons.

The confidence of the smaller nations, already shaky in the wake of Soviet technological advances, could be greatly bolstered by giving them possession of nuclear secrets. As President Eisenhower noted in his speech of several weeks ago, our enemies already know these "secrets," and in some cases have improved on them. The United States is only depriving itself of possible further advances by its allies by denying them access to nuclear information. As NATO Secretary-General Spaak said last Wednesday, "For the prestige of the European countries it is not indispensable to reinvent what the United States has already discovered, and the security of the United States will not be imperilled if it makes known to its friends what its enemies already know."

There is, furthermore, a military advantage in our allies possessing nuclear weapons under control of a committee of the member nations. In the event of small, local wars, where sheer numerical superiority works to the advantage of Communist aggressors, the smaller countries could defend themselves with tactical nuclear weapons, without embroiling the United States in the conflict. This would be a valuable alternative to America's "massive retaliation" against Soviet targets, as reprisal for brush-fire skirmishes, while the provision for central control would prevent a nation's using the weapons for purposes not approved by the Alliance.

The Government has expressed favorable sentiment regarding the proposals, though not very high enthusiasm. If the NATO countries vote their approval, as is to be expected, it is hoped that the United States will adopt and pursue the policy with an active and optimistic, rather than a reticent attitude. The hopes and opinions of Western Europe, as well as those of the rest of the free world, will focus sharply on the happenings in Paris next month.

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