In the summer of 1957, as a follow-up to the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, Bertrand
Russell and other activists held the world’s first independent conference of scientists
from both sides of the Iron Curtain to discuss their concerns about nuclear weapons.
Held at Pugwash, the Canadian estate of a wealthy industrialist, the meeting was so
successful that a series of them were planned. Pauling was unable to attend the first
Pugwash meeting because of his travel schedule, but eagerly joined in planning the
second for 1958 in Vienna.
By now Pauling’s efforts to rein in the testing of H-bombs, with their attendant fallout,
was taking up most of his time. If he was not debating the head of the Atomic Energy
Commission on Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now television program, he was joining a lawsuit enjoining the federal government to
halt tests, or writing letters to the editors of national magazines, or giving speeches,
interviews, and public appearances. His high public profile ensured ongoing attacks
against his patriotism. Time magazine, for instance, ran photos of Pauling, along with other anti-Bomb activists,
over the caption, "Defenders of the unborn . . . or dupes of the enemies of liberty?"
Click images to enlarge
Group photo of participants at the Second Annual Pugwash Conference. Lac Beauport,
Participants deliberating at the Second Annual Pugwash Conference. Lac Beauport, Canada. 1958.
"I venture to say that, precious as your time is, you could hardly use it to better
effect than to contribute to the resolution of some of the problems which you are
to discuss, for upon them depends the future existence of mankind. I believe that
the resolution of our present dilemma will be achieved only if we succeed in bringing
to bear on common problems an important part of the best creative intelligence of
mankind, and that only thus shall we avoid a threatening catastrophe."