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Letter from Linus Pauling to Dag Hammarskjold. February 16, 1961.
Pauling writes to formally submit to the United Nations "An Appeal to Stop the Spread of Nuclear Weapons." Pauling's letter includes a list of those who signed the appeal.


16 February 1961

Dear Mr. Hammarskjold:

Three years ago we presented to you a petition to the United Nations urging that an international agreement to stop the testing of nuclear bombs be made. This petition was signed by 11,021 scientists, of 49 countries.

We now submit to you the accompanying petition, which urges that the present nuclear powers not transfer nuclear weapons to other nations or groups of nations, that all nations not now possessing these weapons voluntarily refrain from obtaining or developing them, and that the United Nations and all nations increase their efforts to achieve total and universal disarmament with a system of international controls and inspection such as to insure to the greatest possible extent the safety of all nations and all people.

This petition is submitted by us and by our 708 cosigners, whose names accompany the petition, as individuals. No organization has been responsible for the planning or the writing of the petition or for the collection of signatures.

During recent months we have become more and more concerned about the trend of world affairs, which has seemed to us to be such as to be leading to an increase in the danger of a devastating world war. One month ago we decided to take action. We wrote the Appeal to Stop the Spread of Nuclear Weapons, which is the petition that we are submitting to you, and on 15 January 1961 we sent copies of the Appeal to some of our fellow scientists and other friends and acquaintances in many countries and to some people whose names we obtained from reference books, with the request that they sign, as expressed in the following letter:

In response to these letters we received within less than one month the signatures of over 700 people, of 38 countries. Among the signers are 38 Nobel Laureates, 110 Members and Foreign Associates of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, 102 Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society of London, and 21 members of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R., as well as other distinguished men and women in many countries.

We feel that the problem of achieving international control of armaments, leading ultimately to total and universal disarmament, would be greatly complicated and increased in difficulty if many nations or groups of nations were to have stockpiles of nuclear weapons. We hope that the spread of nuclear weapons to more nations or groups of nations can be delayed long enough to permit an effective attack to be made on the problem of achieving peace and disarmament in the world.

Sincerely Yours,

[Linus Pauling]

P.S. At the last moment I have included twelve more names making the number of signers 720.

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