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McNamara Says Bomb Shelters Could Save 15 Million American Lives

Aug. 1, 1961 - Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara said today that 50 million usable shelter spaces could provide a "Spartan" minimum existence for one-fourth of the U.S. population. This does not mean that 50 million lives would be saved in the event of a nuclear attack, he stressed, since millions in shelters would die from blast, heat and immediate radiation effects. But he said such shelters could save as many as 15 million lives. Local officials, Mr. McNamara said, "should not rely on evacuation" of areas threatened with fallout as a protective measure because the warning time would be short and "evacuation, of itself, provides no protection" against widespread fallout.


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