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A Nuclear Way Forward

In response to:

Hurry Up Please It's Time from the March 15, 2007 issue

To the Editors:

Jason Epstein’s timely article about the risk of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty collapsing [“Hurry Up Please It’s Time,” NYR, March 15] recalls that the US and UN plan after the Second World War was rejected by Stalin. This rejection was in 1946 when a scheme conceived by Robert Oppenheimer and worked on by David Lilienthal and Dean Acheson had been presented to the UN Disarmament Commission by Bernard Baruch, who had been nominated for this task by President Truman.

The essential part of the proposal, which became known as “the Baruch Plan,” was that all nuclear activity, from mining to peaceful use of nuclear material, would be internationally owned and managed.

Baruch ruined any chance of the plan being accepted by the Russians because he demanded that, in respect of any breach of the arrangement establishing internationalization, the veto in the UN Security Council would be waived.

Given the serious risks to which Mr. Epstein eloquently draws attention, surely the original Lilienthal-Acheson plan should be reexamined as a suggestion even now, sixty years later, for a positive way forward.

Hugh Thomas

London, England

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