INT: Excellent. Could you tell me a little bit more about that issuing of it to the press? I believe... was it at the Caxton Hall meeting? (B/g talk) Could you tell me a bit about what the atmosphere was like, and what the media's reaction was to the Manifesto?
JR: Well, I remember this very well. When Russell had gotten the signatures of nine other scientists, apart from himself and Einstein's - altogether 11 who signed this manifesto - he decided to issue it to the public. And at the time he was a bit concerned that not many people would be interested in this, so he decided to book a small room in Caxton Hall for a small sort of press conference. But during the days, as the week went on, he got news that more and more people from all over the world were becoming interested, so he began to have the next size, larger size room. And eventually we ended up with the largest room there, and this was packed at the time. I was involved because Russell felt that he may be asked technical questions about the hydrogen bomb, about which he didn't know very much, and since I was involved in the Manhattan Project, therefore he asked me. Although I was the youngest of the signatories of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, he asked me to chair that session. So I started off at the time, and introduced Russell, and then he read the manifesto, and then there were questions. And initially, the questions were somewhat hostile to the whole idea. But I think that Russell handled it beautifully, really in a masterly fashion, and gradually we could see that the hardened people, all these people from the press, they became really convinced that there is a point there. And indeed, the reaction was extremely good afterwards. I mean, the press everywhere gave us a very, very good reception. And one result of this was that we received a letter from a certain Mr Cyrus Eton, who was a US/Canadian industrialist, and he said that he's prepared to pay all the expenses of this conference which we called for, provided it will be held in a place called Pugwash. (Laughs) Now Pugwash is actually a village in Nova Scotia, and this is where Mr Eton was born, and therefore he set up at that time, some sort of an educational institution, and in the framework of this he wanted us to come. And so eventually we accepted this invitation, and two years later, in July '57, we got together; a small group of scientists came, only 22 of us, but this was the first time that we had high-ranking scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain, [who] came together to talk [about] what essentially were political issues. We were going to discuss the results of scientific work, but how it impinged on the whole problem, the situation, and its security problems, and so on. Therefore, it was a gamble since we didn't know how the Soviet colleagues will react. And remember this was at the time of the height of the Cold War, and the hostile propaganda and the fear was (.?.) on both sides. We took this gamble, mainly because we felt we are a group of scientists; as scientists we are trained to talk to each other in a manner which is based on reasoning and not prejudices, not preconceived ideas. And applying this scientific approach tells us that we really could understand each other. And it was very successful. And although we could see there are many issues about which we didn't agree, but we also felt that once we've established this contact, this is the way to go on from there. This is why we started, which became now known as the Pugwash conferences, from the place, from the site where we first met.
INT: What was not so much yours, because you came from a European background, but it must have been fascinating watching both Americans and Russian scientists meet, both of whom had been fed copious amounts of propaganda about how each side was out to destroy them. What was their reactions like when they first met?
JR: Well, we have to remember, first of all, that the basis of the Pugwash conferences is that people are invited as individuals, not as representatives. We knew each other already from our scientific work; we had some trust in each other because of the integrity of our scientific work. And it's a very good sort of capital on which to base, you see, we've invested in something. And therefore, although we viewed each other, on these issues, somehow, you know, with scepticism maybe at the beginning: we didn't know exactly what the other side what ideas they have... And indeed, at the beginning, even when matters such as the effect of fallout, say the hazards from radiation, from fallout, even then initially it appeared to be that we have different views. But then, when we began to talk as scientists, "Goddard, what's the basis of your view, why do you say this, what is the source of it?" gradually it turned out that we didn't differ at all; it was all a question of the way you look at it. And therefore we managed to get agreement on these issues very quickly, and from this we could also begin to see whether we can agree on more political issues: on the arms race, how to stop the arms race, how can we sort of convince the other side that a war, a nuclear war will be the end of civilisation, and therefore we must do everything which we can [to] prevent it, despite the different approaches by the two governments? And gradually we built up the atmosphere where we trusted each other, and this was most important.
INT: You say that a very important part of Pugwash was the fact that the attendees were coming as individuals and not as government representatives. How did the governments react to Pugwash?
JR: Normally our meetings are private; the press is not present there. And the reason is not because we are a secret society, but simply because we wanted to create an atmosphere conducive to free, frank exchange of opinions. Because if the press is present, and they may report what we said, people will feel constrained about this, they won't come out completely in the open. But without the press, they could be quite free, they can talk to each other. Therefore, we are really essentially a group of individuals who come together and talk to each other - it's like a club, if you like - to sit around a table and talk to each other freely. And then, at the end, however, we tried to issue a brief summary [of] what we have achieved. Therefore, after each meeting, we prepare a statement, and this is issued to the media. And somehow, also, since the participants were generally people who were quite high up in their respective countries - in the United States, say, and in the Soviet Union - therefore our views somehow percolated to the decision-makers, either directly or indirectly, and somehow our views became known. And in [the] course of time, it turns out that because of the way we worked, that we are individuals and we don't come to our meetings with any preconceived ideas or a remit, therefore very often we could reach certain agreements well ahead of governments, on their official negotiations. Therefore, very often the output from the Pugwash conferences became the input to the official negotiations, and in this way we could influence, you know. Although as a pack of individuals we have no power whatsoever, only intellectual muscle, you might say, nevertheless we managed to influence the thinking very often, and the really reaching of agreements on an official governmental level.
INT: Did you ever have any idea in the first Pugwash meetings how important Pugwash would become, and the fact that even today it is still going on?
JR: Well, no, the important idea was to establish a contact. This was our main problem at the time, because we felt, if we don't have this contact, then really we are going on a way which is bound to lead to military confrontation and then catastrophe. This was our worry at the time, how to prevent this catastrophe. And we felt, by talking toeach other, as scientists, this is our contribution to establishing some sort of peace in the world. I don't think that we worked for a Nobel Prize at the time. Of course, every scientist always thinks about a NobelPrize, but this is not the way we have been motivated. We have really... our worry was that we are on a very dangerous path, and we must do something to stop this downhill road to the abyss.