Linus Pauling and the International Peace Movement Narrative  
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A Delay in the Test Ban
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Through 1959, the Paulings worked tirelessly to keep the pro-peace momentum going. The couple traveled from Canada to New Zealand giving talks on the arms race, with Ava Helen now starting to give her own speeches to groups including the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Her talks were warmly received, and soon she was making almost as many speeches as her husband.

In the meantime, the US and USSR had started talks in Geneva aimed at devising a ban on all nuclear testing, in the air, on the sea, and underground. Everything seemed to be moving in a positive direction -- until the fall of 1959, when the Geneva talks stalled. Pauling believed the reason was Edward Teller, who had announced that there was a glitch in monitoring compliance with a test ban. Teller asserted that underground bomb tests could be hidden, masked from detection, if they were conducted in a large enough cavern. His "Big Hole" theory threw a monkey wrench into the delicate negotiations for compliance oversight during a test ban, and became an impediment to further talks. At the end of 1959 the moratorium on testing expired. It was an unhappy New Year for the Paulings. They retreated to their seaside house on the rugged coast of Big Sur to rest and plan their next steps.

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Audio Clip  Audio: Pressing for a Peace-time Economy. 1960. (1:31) Transcript and More Information

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Video Clip  Video: People of Good Sense. 1960. (3:55) Transcript and More Information

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See Also: Notes by Linus Pauling re: a CBS television broadcast on nuclear fallout. May 4, 1959. 

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"The Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Cooperation and Disarmament and Festival of the Arts." November 1959.


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No Title. [re: the greatest scientific achievement of the 1950s and Pauling's hopes for the 1960s], December 21, 1959.

"You can trust a nation to adhere to any agreement for so long as that agreement continues to benefit the nation concerned. So long as they themselves can benefit, they will continue to adhere to an agreement. The entire world would benefit by an agreement to suspend nuclear explosions -- and would continue to benefit from such an accord."

Linus Pauling
June 23, 1958
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