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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 23, 1949

STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT TRUMAN IN RESPONSE TO FIRST SOVIET NUCLEAR TEST

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    Shortly after the first Soviet nuclear bomb test on August 29, 1949, United States spy planes detected evidence of radioactivity from the blast. In this statement, President Truman revealed to the public for the first time that the Soviet Union had built and successfully detonated a nuclear bomb.
    "Statement by President Truman in Response to First Soviet Nuclear Test," September 23, 1949, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Department of State Bulletin, Vol. XXI, No. 533, October 3, 1949. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134436
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Statement by the President

Released to the press
by the White House September 23

I believe the American people, to the fullest extent consistent with national security, are entitled to be informed of all developments in the field of atomic energy. That is my reason for making public the following information.

We have evidence that within recent weeks an atomic explosion occurred in the U.S.S.R.

Ever since atomic energy was first released by man, the eventual development of this new force by other nations was to be expected. This probability has always been taken into account by us.

Nearly four years ago I pointed out that "Scientific opinion appears to be practically unanimous that the essential theoretical knowledge upon which the discovery is based is already widely known. There is also substantial agreement that foreign research can come abreast of our present theoretical knowledge in time." And, in the Three-Nation Declaration of the President of the United States and the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and of Canada, dated November 15, 1945, it was emphasized that no single nation could in fact have a monopoly of atomic weapons.

This recent development emphasizes once again, if indeed such emphasis were needed, the necessity for that truly effective enforceable international control of atomic energy which this Government and the large majority of the members of the United Nations support.

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