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Although it was not publicized, a delegation of Project Washington students led by David Botstein '62 had a "very interesting" conference with officials of the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington last Friday.
The students were all science majors, and according to Botstein, the AEC "took us very seriously" and "complimented us on our information."
Bostein relates that "we were very much impressed by the seriousness with which they take the problem of testing, and with the extent for which they feel responsible for the dangers involved."
Apparently trying to avoid hiding behind the shield of classified information, the AEC Commissioners explained the possible reasons for a test resumption, emphasizing that scientists are not certain what will happen in a nuclear explosion high in the stratosphere.
The students argued, and, in the opinion of Botstein, with some success, the contention that additional testing was not essential to the development of an anti-missile missile, since many of the problems in that project are in the ballistics not the warhead.
The Commissioners agreed with the students that there was no need for an inspection system for atmospheric tests, as we now are apparently able to detect any nuclear shot in the atmosphere.
After the meeting the AEC officials asked for more copies of the Project Washington policy statement, and indicated they wished to reproduce it.
Before the meeting at the AEC, the student delegation called on the Undersecretary of Defense in charge of Civil Defense in his Pentagon Office. Botstein says the visit "was as good as it could be, considering that he (the Secretary) was paid to do CD work."
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