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Kennedy Calls Soviet Nuclear Tests "Atomic Blackmail"

Aug. 31, 1961 - The White House declared tonight that the Soviet Union's announcement that it would resume tests of nuclear weapons was "a form of atomic blackmail, designed to substitute terror for reason." A statement by President Kennedy said that he is "entirely confident that the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and the capabilities of the individual weapons and delivery systems are wholly adequate for the defense of the U.S. and the free world." The statement was issued after a meeting of the President and members of the National Security Council with Congressional leaders of both parties. Congressional leaders were advised at the meeting that a huge Soviet nuclear explosion was to be expected within a few days. It was said that the blast might have a power equal to 100 million tons of TNT.


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