advice was very unpopular in many quarters of the Air Force, devoted primarily to strategic bombing.
In 1949, after the U.S.S.R. had exploded its first atomic weapon, the work of the GAC reached a crisis. As a response to the Soviet explosion, Edward Teller and Ernest Lawrence proposed that the U.S. should develop H-bombs. The GAC wrote a strong recommendation against the crash development of the 'super'. All members of the Committee agreed on this (Seaborg did not attend, after writing a letter stating that he was quite undecided).
One important argument of the GAC was that there was, at that time, no sufficient technical basis for this development (the crucial invention was made in 1951, by Teller). Another strong argument was that the U.S. should not deliberately step up the arms race, and should at least first make an effort to discuss with Soviet Russia the possibility of an agreement not to develop hydrogen weapons. A more radical minority report was written by Fermi and Rabi.
For about three months the issue was hotly debated in Washington. The Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the Congress enthusiastically endorsed the proposal by Teller and Lawrence. Lilienthal, Chairman of the AEC, supported the GAC position and writes in his 'Journal' about the nervous strain of this battle. The decision probably came when Acheson, the Secretary of State, endorsed the H-bomb plan. At the end of January 1950 President Truman decided to pursue with full vigour the design and manufacture of an H-bomb.
He probably could not have decided any other way at the time. However, it is most deplorable that time and again nations have decided in favour of another step in armament without first trying to obtain mutual agreement with other nations to refrain from new escalation of death. The effort of Oppenheimer and the GAC to make the U.S. Gov-