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August 1947 brought independence to India. In spite of the long-drawn-out struggle that preceded it, it came in peace and goodwill. Suddenly all bitterness of past conflict was forgotten and a new era of peace and friendship began. Our relations with Britain became friendly and we appeared to have no inherited problems and conflicts with any other country.
That scientists today crucially affect decisions on national and international security-and therefore the fate of us all-will come as no news. After radar and jets and the A-bomb and the H-bomb and intercontinental rockets, the statement surely is obvious enough. But what does it mean? Like much else that is obvious, it is not very clear. Just how do the results of scientific research and the methods of science and the scientists themselves actually figure in decisions on arms and arms control? And how is the role of the scientist in such matters related to the more familiar functions of the politician, the military man and the ordinary citizen? Above all, what does "scientist" mean in such statements?
IF we look back at the year 1962 to see how it affected relations between the Atlantic powers, we find emphasis on a search for ways to put into more effective practice the spirit of partnership called for by President Kennedy in his speech of July 4. In this search, the obstacle over which both statesmen and writers have stumbled has nearly always been connected with nuclear problems and specifically with the sharing of responsibilities for the control and use of nuclear weapons.
The word "historian" is a relatively unambiguous word. It means simply a man who tries to write history. But the word "history" is thoroughly ambiguous. It may refer to events which have taken place in the past; or it may refer to the written record of those events. The historian therefore has a double relationship-to the actual experience, and to the subsequent record of the experience. The problem to which I address myself here is the interaction between history, in both senses, and the historian. Let us look first at the unambiguous factor in the equation. In our time, the historian tends to be a professional. He is a man trained in his craft, a product of methodical discipline, a member of a guild. His is a quasi-priestly vocation, supposed to liberate him from the passions of his day, to assure him a serenity of perspective and to consecrate him to the historian's classical ideal of objectivity. His creed has been well stated by Walter Lippmann, who once observed that no crisis in human affairs was unique or ultimate:
Be able if necessary to learn from the capitalists. Adopt whatever they have that is sensible and advantageous.-Lenin
In ten short years since Joseph Stalin's death a once potent revolutionary force has disintegrated into two mutually hostile phalanxes linked only by ritualistic proclamations of unity: an orthodox international Communism headed by Mao Tse-tung, and a revisionist international Communism led by Nikita Khrushchev. There is no coöperation between the Soviet and the Chinese leaders; no collaboration in actual policies; no coördination of a general outlook. The alliance as an active political force is dead.
Brazilians are now widely conscious that their country is on the march toward transformations in its economic and social structure. They want to understand what is happening so that they can take intelligent positions on the issues involved. Those who must make decisions of major importance therefore owe it to the public to define their aims clearly and disclose the methods to be used in achieving them. What follows is an attempt to satisfy this requirement.
Of all our foreign aid programs, the one which probably excites the greatest concern currently is the Alliance for Progress, that enterprise dedicated to promoting economic and social progress in Latin America. Agricultural land reform and improvement in the conditions of rural life are prominent among the measures advocated by the Alliance. Through these it is hoped that revolutionary ferment can be channeled into evolutionary development. At this time, when the direction of the Alliance is under review, we should consider whether these measures are the ones most suitable to achieve the stated goals, or whether other measures, presently subordinated, hold greater promise for success.
The Soviet missiles in Cuba were a threat to the security of the United States and the Western Hemisphere. As such they endangered the peace of the world. The action undertaken against this threat carried its own dangers. But as President Kennedy said on October 22, "the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing."
The Arab refugee problem is no longer the principal obstacle to peace between Israel and the Arab states. This was indicated in the recent United Nations Palestine debate. Concern of most Arab speakers about the refugees was secondary to their fear of the Zionist enclave in the Arab "heartland."
Since the time of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, scientists and engineers have participated in the high councils of this nation. Though these men were not elevated to high office because they were scientists and engineers, there have been many cases in which scientists, as scientists, have had a conspicuous influence on the activities and policies of our federal government.