A-Bomb Disposal

January 28, 1953 — Spokane Daily Chronicle

The Mossadegh Project | June 16, 2017                   

U.S. President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)

Mr. Truman Changes His Mind ran as the lead editorial in this Spokane, Washington newspaper the day after the former POTUS gave an interview that raised eyebrows. Here is a Jan. 27th United Press wire report for background:

Atomic Officials Can’t Believe Truman Doubts Red A-Bomb

WASHINGTON (UP) — Atomic officials were flabbergasted today by a report that former President Harry S. Truman is still “not convinced” that Russia has a workable atomic bomb. They said the doubts attributed to Mr. Truman in a published interview are in direct conflict with official statements issued from his own White House office and repeated public declarations by high officials of his own administration in the past two years.

Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Gordon E. Dean, in Akron, Ohio for a speech, summed up the general reaction. Mr. Truman “must have been misunderstood,” he said. “We have announced on various occasions that Russia has exploded three atomic bombs.”

Dean and other experts were doubly baffled because Mr. Truman was also quoted that he knew of no nuclear explosions in Russia since the first two which he announced. Actually, the White House announced three Soviet atomic explosions during Mr. Truman’s administration—the first on. Sept. 23, 1949, a second on Oct. 3, 1951 and the third on Oct. 22, 1951.

Other persons, in close touch with atomic developments noted that Millard Caldwell, Civil Defense administrator under Mr. Truman’s administration, told Congress in late 1952 that the United States had “intelligence” reports indicating Russia possessed enough atomic bombs by which to blast 20 to 30 American cities.

Members of the Congressional Atomic Energy Committee, including its late chairman, Sen. Brien McMahon (D-Conn.), also have said publicly on numerous occasions that Russia not only had a workable A-bomb, but had a sizeable stockpile of the weapons.

Harry Truman editorial archive
Harry Truman letters, speeches, etc.


Former President Truman yesterday made one of the most unfortunate of his lengthening series of irresponsible statements in saying in a Kansas city interview that he is not convinced that Russia has the atomic bomb nor that they know how to make one work.

Surely he has not had access since he left the White House to information that would lead to that conviction. If he had any evidence of that sort he should have communicated it long ago at least to the joint atomic committee of congress.

If the former President was not convinced that Russia had the death-dealing weapon he can hardly justify his leadership in a headlong arms program into which this country was plunged under his administration with his own statement of 1949 that the Soviet was so armed. Twice since then he announced explosions of A-bombs behind the iron curtain.

Yesterday’s skeptical utterance has thrown things into a bad muddle, has shaken some faith in our leadership and certainly must have pleased the leadership in Russia.

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Related links:

Bogey Man Tactics | — The Bee, May 8, 1951

Mr. Truman Exposes His Own Flaws | The Spokane Daily Chronicle, Dec. 15, 1951

Motives and DangersThe Troy Record, October 9, 1951

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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