A Test of Good Faith

Source: Peking Review, No. 36, 8 September 1959.

Transcribed for www.wengewang.org

WILL the world be plagued by more nuclear explosions? Or will the nuclear tests, with their poisonous effects on the international atmosphere, be stopped? The answers now rest squarely with the United States and other Western powers.

In a statement issued on August 28, the Soviet Government put Washington and London to an acid test of good faith. It said in plain language: The Soviet Union will not resume nuclear explosions if the Western powers do not renew atomic and hydrogen weapon tests. And the Soviet Government is ready to sign an agreement with the U.S. and British Governments immediately to stop testing all types of nuclear weapons permanently.

  For all the Western propaganda efforts to complicate and confuse the question, the issue is now clearer than ever. If their professed desire to end nuclear tests were not glib talk, the U.S. and British Governments could conclude an agreement with the Soviet Union to that effect. Or, if they were not ready to stop the testing for good, they could agree to its suspension for a fairly long period of time (certainly not just a couple of months or one or two years). In that case, the Soviet Union will of course refrain from testing. And this, too, will help ease international tension.

The United States, however, announced recently that it would extend its one-year stoppage of nuclear tests, which began last October, by only two months, to the end of this year. This was a gesture necessitated by the mounting pressure of world opinion and the impending exchange of visits between N. S. Khrushchov and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Apart from the brevity of the extension, this U.S. move is rendered meaningless by the busy preparations to detonate more subterranean and high-altitude nuclear explosions. The New York Times, for instance, reported on July 21 that “the Atomic Energy Commission is quietly preparing for immediate resumption of nuclear testing.”

The Soviet Union, on its part, has all along worked for immediate, permanent and complete suspension of the testing of all types of nuclear weapons. On March 31, 1958, it unilaterally announced a test suspension and urged the United States and Britain to follow suit. But they refused. On October 30, on the eve of the convening of the Soviet-U.S.-British conference in Geneva for1 discontinuance of nuclear tests, the Soviet Government again asked for an immediate test ban for all time. This proposal was also turned down by the United States and Britain. And the blocking by their delegates in Geneva to this day has prevented the ten-month-old tripartite talks from accomplishing their mission.

As an important step to free humanity from the spectre of nuclear peril, the banning of nuclear tests is one of the most pressing demands of the peoples of all lands. The Fifth World Conference for the Prohibition of Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, which convened in Japan last month, was further proof of this. And popular opposition is rising in Africa and other parts of the world to French plans for nuclear tests in the Sahara.

The Soviet Union has pointed out a way for the solution of this urgent question. It is high time that the United States and other Western powers accepted an immediate, permanent suspension of nuclear tests.

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