As an American citizen concerned with the future of my children and grandchildren, I am distressed by the failure of our government to accept Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's latest offer regarding a moratorium on nuclear testing. This offer and earlier ones were labeled by our Administration as mere propaganda ploys.
No doubt Gorbachev is aware of their propaganda value, but a ban on nuclear testing is a good idea whether it comes from Gorbachev, President Reagan or Joe Smith. Taking a constructive step toward reducing the world arsenal of nuclear bombs must override any considerations of diplomatic jockeying.
I worked as a mathematician on the Manhattan Project in World War II helping to develop the first atomic bomb. I have seen how the mistrust between the superpowers has carried us from a few atomic bombs in 1945 to more than 50,000 nuclear bombs today, the equivalent of more than a million Hiroshimas. We are riding the crest of a wave carrying us toward annihilation.
The way out is to break the deadlock of mistrust between the United States and the Soviets. Gorbachev brings a breath of fresh air to Soviet leadership; he seems to be the sort of man we can talk to. And our military capability is great enough for us to take a shot at meeting him halfway without jeopardizing our national security.