As a consequence of President Eisenhower’s historic 1953 UN General Assembly speech, “Atomic Power for Peace’” the world-wide promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy became the young U.S. Information Agency’s first major mission.
I had been managing a U.S. Mission-sponsored Atoms-for-Peace exhibition at the Berlin Industrial Fair. It included a huge replica of a swimming-pool reactor as its center piece. I was called by USIA management to Washington in June 1955 to head a small task force to implement USIA’s Atoms-for-Peace project. The task force, located within but not part of the ICS exhibit division, consisted of Maynard (Joe) Fourt, Lisa Borrison, Wanda Ellender (both coming from the White House) and myself. We were charged with back-stopping USIS posts throughout the world with policy guidance, programs, speakers, consultants, publications and exhibits to promote Atoms-for-Peace.
To gain background and information, I visited Brookhaven National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I then went to Tokyo to help the USIS post build a large Atoms-for-Peace exhibit, a sensitive but subsequently highly successful venture in nuclear-torn Japan. I next traveled to New Delhi to assist in constructing a huge Atoms-for-Peace exhibit there, also including a large mock-up of a swimming pool reactor. I met and assisted Jack Macey, the USIS exhibits officer, and we became life-long friends and colleagues (collaborating years later in the US National Exhibition in Moscow).
To our surprised delight the USIA deputy director Abbott Washburn took a direct interest in our project, visiting almost daily to offer budgetary, technical and personnel assistance and policy guidance. He gave us enthusiastic encouragement.
Henry Dunlap, the then-chief of the ICS bibliographic division and a close friend, told me that in his research there were a number of publications about atomic energy and its peaceful uses, written for youngster and teenagers but nothing for educated adults. He suggested that I use our exhibit text to write a book on the subject. I replied that I was not going to write anything unless I knew it were going to be published. He answered, “That’s my problem.”
The result was “Atoms at Your Service” by Henry A. Dunlap and Hans N. Tuch, published by Harpers & Brothers Publishers in 1957. It was translated into six languages.