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President Takes Steps to Prepare for Atmospheric Nuclear Tests

Nov. 2, 1961 - President Kennedy ordered today that preparations be made for the resumption of atmospheric atomic tests that might be found necessary to maintain United States superiority in nuclear weapons. However, the President did not give approval at this time on conducting tests in the atmosphere. Such approval, he said, will be given only if an evaluation of the latest Soviet test series shows that the United States must conduct some tests in the atmosphere “to maintain our responsibilities to free world security.” The Presidential decision to go ahead with preparations for atmospheric tests was reached during a meeting of the National Security Council attended by a large number of advisers, including Adlai E. Stevenson, U.N. representative. After the meeting in the Cabinet room, the President walked into his office to read the televised statement announcing his decision.

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