September 18, 1946
“NEW YORK, Tuesday—I have just finished reading a novel called “Mr. Adam” by Pat Frank. It is inspired by our new ability to destroy, and deals with the numerous things that may develop from the power that we can now unleash. It is pure imagination, but there is just enough possibility that it might come true to make one read it with interest—and with the hope that it may make us realize what fearful responsibilities now rest upon us and what a very great people we must be if we are going to face up to these responsibilities.
We have the secret of the atom bomb. How long we alone will have it, nobody knows. But while we have it, the responsibility of what happens in the world is in our hands. Soon we may share it with others, and then we will have the uncomfortable feeling that, unless the other people of the world have goodwill and face up to their responsibilities toward humanity in general, we may have very little time left upon this planet.
One of the characteristics of human beings in the past has been never to face disagreeable realities until they were actually forced to do so. Fundamentally, that is the reason why we did not, after World War I, do much to prevent World War II. Sometimes I wonder if we intend to be so blind again!”