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The meeting between Bohr and Churchill on May 16 epitomized the different worlds in which the scientist and the wartime statesman lived. Churchill not only refused to accept Bohr’s plan of disclosure to the Russians; he also rejected the more basic logic that an atomic arms race following the war represented a new and fundamental danger. Indeed, Churchill, like Roosevelt, was most concerned by the fact that Bohr had evidently been discussing the problem with colleagues in America and Europe and had made overtures to a colleague in the Soviet Union, thus violating the strict secrecy that was supposed to be governing the Tube Alloys program.

61 Roosevelt and Churchill avoided the topic of the atomic project during the formal deliberations at Quebec, perhaps worrying about the breach in security that Bohr’s campaign had revealed to them. After the conference ended Churchill followed Roosevelt to Hyde Park, where they formulated official—though secret—policy on international control of the atomic bomb. Their decision on this matter was unambiguous: “The suggestion that the world should be informed regarding tube alloys, with a view to an international agreement regarding its control and use, is not accepted.

To participate in such a new world order, the Soviet Union would have to relinquish its social and economic system and take on the system of the United States. Having fought a horrendous war against Germany in order to protect the Russian nation, the Soviet experiment, and his own dictatorial rule, Stalin was unlikely to agree to this. Could serious international collaboration, on matters as central as peace and war, work when one of the world’s greatest powers, the Soviet Union, remained outside of the new order?

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