When it comes to nuclear weapons... it is the man in the laboratory who at the start proposes that for this or that arcane reason it
would be useful to improve an old or to devise a new nuclear warhead. It is he, the technician, not the commander in the field,
who is at the heart of the arms race.
Two wise men were arguing about the ancient civilization in their respective countries. One said: "My country has a long history of
technological development; we have carried out deep excavations and found a wire, which shows that already in the old days we
had the telegraph." The other man retorted: "We too made excavations; we dug much deeper than you and found ... nothing,
which proves that already in those days we had wireless communication!"
As the Director of the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos, I participated at the most senior level in the World War II Manhattan
Project that produced the first atomic weapons.
Now, at age 88, I am one of the few remaining such senior persons alive. Looking back at the half century since that time, I feel
the most intense relief that these weapons have not been used since World War II, mixed with the horror that tens of thousands
of such weapons have been built since that time - one hundred times more than any of us at Los Alamos could ever had
Today we are rightly in an era of disarmament and dismantlement of nuclear weapons. But in some countries nuclear weapons
development still continues. Whether and when the Various Nations of the World can agree to stop this is uncertain. But
individual scientists can still influence this process by withholding their skills.
Accordingly, I call on all scientists in all countries to cease and desist from work creating, developing, improving and
manufacturing further nuclear weapons - and, for that matter, other weapons of potential mass destruction such as chemical and
Here then is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful, and inescapable: shalt we put an end to the human race: or
shall mankind renounce war?
We appeal, as human beings, to human beings: Remember your humanity and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open
for a new paradise; If you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.