Britain Gets Jitters Over Hydrogen Bomb
LONDN (AP)- Britain broke out today in a rash of hydrogen bomb jitters.
Reports of the awesome and unexpected fury of American's hydrogen bomb test
explosion in the Pacific March 1 prompted fresh demands in Parliament and the
press for all-out diplomatic efforts to banish the threat of atomic war.
The Laborite London Daily Herald, in a rare front page editorial, demanded
that the United States call off any more hydrogen bomb tests before it turns
the Pacific into a "source of peril."
It called on the British government to take the initiative in seeking international
consultation "on all the problems involved for mankind in possession of
The influential liberal Manchester Guardian also warned of the possible "most
serious" consequences of further hydrogen bomb tests.
Newspapers used "scare" headlines over President Eisenhower's news
conference statement yesterday that something must have happened at the March
1 explosion that surprised and astonished scientists.
In Parliament, Laborites have renewed their demands for some sort of fresh
approach to Russia. A few Conservatives also have asked questions along these
Lord Salisbury, Britain's atomic chief, told the House of Lords last night
the "hideous reality" of the hydrogen bomb makes necessary a live-and-let-live
understanding between Russia and the West. He warned that no one could win an
Other peers expressed similar fears. Lord Henderson, Laborite, proposed an
"all-in" Europe security treaty which would recognize the continued
existence of both he East's defense arrangements and the West's NATO alliance.
Lord Salisbury said the government would be ready to study the idea.
Prime Minister Churchill told the House of Commons last Monday he had not abandoned
his 10-months-old suggestion for an informal meeting between the heads of major
powers, including Russia, to ease world tension. He said "increasing good
will in the world" may avert war but he warned at the same time of the
stupendous problems and perils comprised in the sphere of a atomic and hydrogen
Many papers carried roundups of latest atomic and hydrogen bomb developments
throughout the world. Maps and diagrams spelled out for average Britons just
how a single hydrogen bomb could obliterate or devastate much of their island
The science editor of London's liberal News Chronicle said the extended risk
area now announced for future American H-Bomb tests in the Pacific would cover
territory equal to all the British Isles, half of France, all of Holland and
Belgium, and Germany as far west as Frankfurt.
He added that "no means of controlling the hydrogen reaction can be foreseen."
The News Chronicle warned editorially that fear and despair over the hydrogen
bomb may develop into a helpless apathy which might make atomic warfare "not
only possible but inevitable." The newspaper referred to President Eisenhower's
invitation to Russia to join in pooling atomic energy for peaceful uses but
said "the time has now come to have done with the oblique and to go directly
once again for the goal."
The Daily Herald quoted an unnamed British atom scientist as saying it is theoretically
possible to make a hydrogen bomb that would disperse sufficient radioactivity
to kill all humanity. He added, however, that the bomb's immense size would
make it impractical "in any foreseeable future."
"But in my scientist's view," he was quoted at saying, "the
Americans have now reached the stage at which they should remove their experiments
far from any land or any shipping routes."
The Communist Daily Worker, blared "H-blast got out of control."
Alongside it quoted the demand of a Communist candidate in a Parliamentary bi-election:
"Abolish every A-bomb."
Lord Beaverbrook's pro-empire Daily Express front-paged the first of a day-by-day
roundup report on "this stupendous problem- the H-bomb."
Dr. Donald Soper, president of Britain's Methodist Conference who frequently
espouses left wing causes, issued a press statement calling on Christians everywhere
to petition their governments to ban or abolish atomic and hydrogen bombs. He
said, "I believe we are approaching in this atomic experiment a point of
Much of Britain's "atomic uneasiness" follows last January's speech
by U. S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announcing America's policy of
instant and massive retaliation against aggression. Churchill himself sought
to ease these fears by assuring the House of Commons that the United States
would consult Britain before launching any atomic counter-attack from bases