The State Department releases the so-called Acheson-Lilienthal Report, which outlines a plan for international control of atomic energy. The report represented an attempt by the United States to maintain its superiority in the field of atomic weapons while also trying to avoid a costly and dangerous arms race with the Soviet Union.
The March 1946 report had been instigated by a rather hastily assembled proposal put forward by Secretary of State James Byrnes at the Moscow Conference in December 1945. Byrnes presented a hazy plan for some sort of United Nations control of atomic energy; Soviet leader Joseph Stalin agreed to the idea. President Harry S. Truman was livid when he learned of Byrnes’s proposal. By the time of the meeting in Moscow, Truman had come to the conclusion that the Soviets were dangerous adversaries who must be met with force. Giving up America’s nuclear monopoly was not appealing. Nevertheless, he ordered the Department of State to put together a preliminary plan, assuming that America had such a huge head start in atomic power that the Soviets could never really catch up. In addition, perhaps an international body could help avert a potentially dangerous arms race with the Soviets... READ MORE