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Richard Nixon: Remarks on Presenting the Atomic Pioneers Award
Richard Nixon
63 - Remarks on Presenting the Atomic Pioneers Award
February 27, 1970
Public Papers of the Presidents
Richard Nixon<br>1970
Richard Nixon

District of Columbia
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DR. GLENN T. SEABORG. Mr. President, we are honoring three old friends here, friends of yours, friends of mine in the field of atomic energy.

You are presenting them with the Atomic Pioneers Award. This is the first of a kind, and the only presentation that will be made of this award, because there is only one Dr. Bush, only one Dr. Conant, and only one General Groves.
No one would be able to be in their class with respect to the field that we are honoring them for today.

I would like to begin by reading the citation for Dr. Vannevar Bush:

For his exceptional contributions to the national security as Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development in marshalling the resources of American science for national defense during World War II and for his pioneering leadership as a Presidential advisor in fostering the establishment of new Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the Atomic Energy Commission, which have made possible the unprecedented growth of scientific research and development in the last two decades.

That is signed by President Nixon and the five Commissioners of the Atomic Energy Commission.

THE PRESIDENT. I would emphasize what you said, that this is most unusual, because the President has the responsibility to present many awards, the Medal of Freedom and others, and they are always distinguished people. But this is the only award that I know of that is a one-time award, and presented only to the three men that are here.

The award was created for the three pioneers in this field. I think, therefore, it has a unique quality that no other award that we have ever presented has had.
We want to congratulate all of you.

DR. SEABORG. Now the award to Dr. James B. Conant, and for Dr. Conant, the citation reads:

For his exceptional contributions to the national security as Chairman of the National Defense Research Committee in overseeing the successful development of weapons systems, including the atomic bomb, during World War II and for his pioneering leadership in the Nation's atomic energy program after the war as Chairman of the Committee on Atomic Energy of the Joint Research and Development Board and as a member of the General Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission.

I had the pleasure of serving with Jim on that at that time.

THE PRESIDENT. You were also chairman of other commissions. You started it all.

DR. SEABORG. Now I will read the citation for General Leslie R. Groves:

For his exceptional contributions to the national security as Commanding General of the Manhattan Engineer District, United States Army, in developing the world's first nuclear weapons during World War II and for his pioneering efforts in establishing administrative patterns adopted by the Atomic Energy Commission in effecting the use of atomic energy for military and peaceful purposes.

THE PRESIDENT. We have representatives of the Senate and House here. I wonder if the ranking Senator, Senator Pastore,1 would like to say a word to our three award winners.

SENATOR PASTORE. I think that mankind owes these three gentlemen a tremendous debt of gratitude. If it hadn't been for the development of the bomb, I think we would not have been able to withhold the onslaught of communism in the world.

1Senator John O. Pastore of Rhode Island, vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.

I think it was the mainstay in Europe. I think it is still a deterrent today and is really helping the security of this country and the free world. It all began with you. Without you, it wouldn't have happened.

CONGRESSMAN HOSMER. Both for myself and Congressman Holifield,2 who regrets very much that he couldn't be here today, I want to express our deep appreciation, particularly because although you started this in a warlike fashion, today the emphasis is on what the atom can do for the world. All future generations will owe you gentlemen a vast debt for this.

THE PRESIDENT. I think you can probably add, too, that this really quantum breakthrough in knowledge had a very dramatic effect in the thinking of the people of not only this country but the people of the world, particularly the scientific community.

2Representative Craig Hosmer of California, member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, chaired by Representative Chet Holifield of California.

After this breakthrough, then came the breakthrough in space and everything else.

DR. SEABORG. I think we should emphasize the tremendous peacetime applications that we are reaping the benefits of now and can look forward to an even greater extent in the future.

Note: The presentation ceremony began at 11 :15 a.m. in the President's office at the White House.
Citation: Richard Nixon: "Remarks on Presenting the Atomic Pioneers Award," February 27, 1970. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=2892.
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