Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks at Ceremony Following Ratification of the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

July 29, 1957

Secretary Herter, Admiral Strauss, Distinguished Guests:

This document which I have just signed ratifies the participation of the United States in the International Atomic Energy Agency. In so doing it seems appropriate to remind ourselves that the word "atom" in ancient Greek meant "undivided."

This ceremony underlines the fact that in a literal sense the original meaning no longer applies. Out of the dividing of the indivisible has come the power and knowledge this newly created Agency now seeks to put to work.

But in a symbolic sense the original meaning can now have a far broader application. The known facts of atomic science remind us that the interests of the nations of this age are indivisible. Nations must unify their actions if this new-found power and knowledge are to create, not to destroy.

The high purpose of the International Atomic Energy Agency is to make atomic power for peaceful purposes available to all nations. The statute creating it has been negotiated and accepted by the governments of eighty nations. It is now in process of ratification by them. The instruments of ratification will be placed by these eighty nations with the United States government as official depository.

This document, which the United States has approved, ratifies our own participation.

As we look backward at the efforts and the patience required to bring this Agency into being, we might be tempted to congratulate ourselves, but if we will look ahead, we see how much new ground we still must break. Many new fields must be pioneered before this Agency becomes a functioning reality. New international functions must be organized and made to work. Much development in atomic science itself will be required before the full possibilities of these discoveries are realized. Much remains to be accomplished in the fields of arms limitation and international cooperation. When we have advanced further in these directions, then we can have real hope for progress and peace.

I recall the day in 1953 when the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency was first proposed. The plan was formally presented by the United States, but in fact we did no more than crystallize a hope that was developing in many minds in many places. At the United Nations, where the proposal was first made, spontaneous expression of support was received. This has been reflected since in the fact that all important United Nations actions on this subject have been taken by unanimous vote.

Now an idea, however great its potential, is of no use unless somehow there is brought to it a spark of faith, a sense of urgency, and a spirit of cooperation.

This Agency is the creation of this spark, this sense, this spirit on the part of the nations of the world.

If we are to continue to live with the power we have released, new rules and patterns of international life are required.

Secretary Herter, the document which I now hand you makes the United States officially a member of this International Atomic Energy Agency. As the Secretary of State once expressed it, the splitting of the atom may lead to the unifying of the entire divided world.

We pray that it will. Let us hope that the atom will stand again for the true and all-pervasive meaning given it by the ancient Greeks--indivisible.

When the world is such, then peace will be ours forever.

Note: The President spoke in the Rose Garden. The Statute was published in pamphlet form in the Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS 3873; Government Printing Office, 1957).

The President's opening words "Secretary Herter" and "Admiral Strauss" referred to Christian A. Herter, Under Secretary of State, and Lewis L. Strauss, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at Ceremony Following Ratification of the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233405

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